You’ve created your lead funnels and attendee attribution journeys, but are you filling them? Your analytics design is complete, as is your CRM of choice, but to what end?
Bypassing content strategy will ultimately leave your sales and attendee cupboard bare.
This just in: Content marketing and building audiences for your trade show, event, or conference is essential.
Before, after, and especially during.
Over the past few years, “Content Marketing” for B2B events has gone from catchy buzzword to being the proven approach to building laser targeted audiences all year-round – while driving sales, and getting event participants to interact with each other at scale.
It’s also a means of providing value afterward (which technically means before all over again, right?). Here are eight content marketing strategies you can execute right now for your event.
Before Your Event: Create Engaged Audiences
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “80% of content marketers are focused on building audiences — and 92% of the top performers — representing an 18% year-over-year increase.” This is the key to your “before” strategy.
1 – Create new and/or repackage existing video, site, and social content focused squarely on your audience. Great content builds audiences and lowers your CPA over time.
2 – Build warm target audiences by running “video views” campaigns on Facebook, retargeting visitors to your site content and via people who have engaged with your Facebook company page and Instagram business profiles (i.e. Facebook’s “engagement custom audiences”).
Did you know you could use Facebook Live and other types of video content to capture “custom” audiences of people who watch a certain percentage of your videos? For more insights, check out our Event Exec’s Guide to Facebook and Instagram Advertising.
Pro Tip: Linkedin now has website remarketing pixels you can place on your site (– and ask us how to use it!).
Propelify conference used a high-profile giveaway to engage audiences prior to their main event.
This means leveraging the rich content you already have (GIFs, video, e-books, blog posts, contests, etc.) into ready-made audiences you can target later.
3 – Deliver Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin conversion ads (“buy tickets,” “register now,” “inquire to exhibit,” etc.) once you’ve built up these warm “custom” audiences. These are the people most likely to take action.
Here’s Agenda Trade Show using video content to build audiences in advance via their Instagram business profiles:
4 – Promote your key speakers and exhibitors to your pre-registered and prospective attendees.
This is where you can use your media budget to close sales before the show: by offering paid PPC campaigns (before and during) as part of your exhibitor sales package.
5 – Calculate and optimize your CPA (Cost-Per-Acquisition) + CPL (Cost-Per-Lead). Are these numbers lower than when you started?
During: The Secret Sauce
Connect your attendees with each other and capture your offline audiences.
When it comes to creating content in real-time, it takes lightening speed skills, quick thinking, strategy, and agility. Heading to Sin City this weekend for @asdshow. And, here we go… 🏁🏁🏁 #regram @manoftheworld #journalism #contentmarketing #content #b2b #contentagency #eventprofs . . Content that connects buyers and sellers.
Using content and tactical paid marketing while at your event can unlock HUGE untapped opportunities — and is an oft-neglected part of marketing an event.
You’ve spent months promoting the show, hitting your sales and attendee pre-registration goals — the event is nigh. Now the goal is to ensure your participants maximize their ROI and make $$$ while they’re there (and for you to hit your KPIs).
On-site social video and real-time ad campaign by @818agency:
6 – Each and every day of the show, create and deliver on-site, real-time blog content, social video, emails, and paid PPC campaigns that match up your buyers and sellers in real-time and in real life (IRL).
This is a golden opportunity to leverage Facebook email custom audiences, Instagram custom audiences, and website remarketing.
7 – Use your media spend to drive traffic to key vendors and speaker talks.
This is also where sponsored content comes in: create a paid media plan for your A-tier exhibitors that includes promoting them during the show to their customers.
Here’s ASD Market Week’s on-site social video by our team connecting their two different venues in real-time:
When done right, attendees find the right vendors more quickly, sponsored speaker talks are standing room only, and exhibitors re-up for your next event before this one is even over.
After Is the New Before
8 – Build more audiences right after the show by delivering key editorial event “takeaways” to all of your participants. This way, they’ll walk away armed with information and new customers.
This also might also mean using Facebook’s event engagement custom audiences tool and “Closed Facebook Groups” more create perfect audiences in-between shows.
In Closing: One More Buzzword
Trade shows, events, and conferences are uniquely positioned to be the best at “omni-commerce” (the buzziest of buzzwords).
In other words, they can provide the most cost-effective and efficient ways for their attendees to connect with each other online and off — or as we like to say, IRL-meets-URL.
Content marketing does just that.
Jed Wexler is a former trade show development executive, fashion editor, and now 818 Agency’s CEO + Chief Content Officer