Our 818 Agency content team created, distributed, and ran real-time social advertising campaigns for the largest B2B merchandise trade show/retail conference in the U.S. Now we’re sharing a dozen bite-sized tidbits all trade show and conference execs should consider. (Hint: content marketing has become essential to trade show marketing, and social channels have now become indispensable B2B tools.)
Planning your next trade show? Here’s your cheat sheet:
1. Define your business objectives.
Are you attracting attendees, vendors, or sponsors? Which segments? Make sure you ask these questions first.
2. Establish audience content, channel, and keyword preferences.
Best bets: concisely-written broadcast surveys, one-to-one interviews, and keyword research
3. Develop your editorial strategy + content creation.
Create and publish audience-focused content — insight-driven, SEO-optimized, search-friendly, with beautiful images. This plan of action requires regular publishing on your event website and/or blog. Thereafter, packaging existing content in the proper format(s) so readers convert into customers
4. Run paid content distribution campaigns on Facebook/Instagram.
Use your ad account to create and deliver “content units” instead of ads to your audience. Boosted posts = bad (ask us why). Promoting your page = also bad (again, ask us why).
5. Start retargeting/website remarketing.
Content creation and distribution attract qualified website traffic that you can retarget on Facebook and Instagram with “direct-response” CTA ads. This is how you turn editorial content into paying customers.
6. Create and distribute lead generation content.
Develop real-time lead collection and delivery at scale. “Gated” content requires customer information in exchange. These are most effective when your copy is elegant, easy-to-read, and actually useful.
7. Make sure your registration and lead generation — i.e. “conversion” — process is lean and mean.
We suggest Unbounce landing pages for registration and lead-generation; gated content, mentioned above, integrates and sends data directly to most CRMs and enterprise registration systems and are high-converting (when your messaging and data are synchronous).This approach is essential for email, Facebook, and PPC campaigns.
8. Launch paid Facebook attendee and vendor acquisition ads.
Track down alumni and retention customers to register and/or renew; an efficient process may acquire business prospects in the U.S. and even around the world. Remember, cost-per-conversion optimization is your friend. Make sure you use “structured ad testing” best practices and send traffic to landing pages that allow for only one action (or use lead ads). Needless to say, a crystal-clear CTA is mandatory.
9. Bring your content marketing on-site during your event and increase your attendees’ and vendors’ ROI in the process.
Real-time blog, video, social media updates paired with paid social advertising (geo-targeting, custom audiences). Other routes to consider: mobile app downloads, daily event recaps.
10. Partner with influencers (B2B advocate programs).
Structure partnerships with B2B influencers to create and distribute content and drive registration. Make it trackable so you know your audience vs. their audience.
11. Consistently distribute press releases (but focus on content).
Promote research, gated content, and show partnerships before, during, and after your events.
12. Ensure your conversion and content performance tracking + analytics are set up.
If you use Google Analytics/GTM implementation, set UTM parameters. Conversion and remarketing pixel placement is the secret sauce.