One of the key objectives of any event is to meet and engage with target accounts, have meaningful conversations and come away with some decent leads, and hosting your own conference gives you complete control of the agenda, and the invitation list.
It makes sense that if you build your own agenda, offer compelling content and host your event in a good and convenient venue you can attract an audience who are interested in your offering and are at the right stage in their buying cycle.
You have a strong story; they have a requirement – voila!
Sadly, it’s not that easy. All too often companies make considerable investment in building their own events but fail to invest in securing the right delegates to register. The result? A mad rush at the last minute to get ‘bums on seats’, to fill the conference room and avoid the embarrassment of their sponsors and guest speakers talking to an empty room. This serves one purpose – the room is indeed full but there’s a possibility its full of people who want a day out and a free lunch on you.
So how to get the right people on your delegate list?
We support vendors with audience acquisition and management services for all types of events across EMEA, from executive briefings and regional seminars through to large scale conferences with thousands of attendees. Here are our top tips for success:
Articulate the value
It sounds simple, but what value will attendees realise from the event?
We write a value proposition that clearly articulates the ‘why attend’, tailoring the message for each key vertical, market or product focus. This enables us to target specific personas and buying groups with relevant messages.
A clear audience acquisition campaign
Our event experts work alongside the existing events team to design, execute and manage an audience acquisition campaign to drive interest from the right profile of audience. The program is multi-touch, multi-tactic and is designed to raise awareness and drive interest then convert that interest into registrations.
Keep talking to registered delegates
It’s so easy to keep the focus on registrations and lose sight of maintaining a conversation with registered delegates. We build a nurture stream for registered folks, keeping them informed with event news, ancillary events, cool demos and new speakers. We also run a ‘bring a colleague’ program to enlist registrants (and speakers!) as influencers within their networks.
Add value with a concierge service!
To really provide value-add over and above digital communication we offer a concierge service to enable VIP delegates to achieve a bespoke event experience. We advise on session to attend, arrange meetings with senior execs, offer private meeting space and facilitate any travel and logistical support they need. This layer of VIP service ensures your high profile delegates place value on the event and significantly reduces the number of dreaded no-shows.
If you would like to avoid the ‘rent a crowd’ approach to audience acquisition and would like to learn more about the Yellow Spider approach, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to chat through our experience and how we could help you maximise your ROI with the right audience at your next event.
Social media can be key to a successful event. It helps you create interest, stand out in a crowded room and ultimately drive customers to your booth. A few actions taken by the right amount of people can have a significant impact on the success of an event and consequently on your business.
Social media is all about multiplying the outreach and it’s more straightforward than you might think. When we run an event for client’s we follow these five golden rules.
Join the social conversation.
Online conversations are happening in the runup to, and during, all major events. By adding the official event hashtag to your post the event audience becomes your audience – tell them what you are planning, where you are and what to talk to you about. Remember show organisers frequently repost messages that includes their hashtags which increases the reach of your posts!
The power is in the hashtag. Use it, always.
Hashtags not only make any word searchable online, they also group information posted by whoever, wherever, whenever. As well as the event hashtag make sure you identify and use your company keywords for anything you post on social media. The rule is no more than three.
When it comes to social engagement content is king. Be sure you have done your preparation and have relevant content ready to share. Use the show traffic to amplify your digital campaigns and drive audiences to also visit your website and download your assets. If you don’t have your own content most events and tradeshows have apps you can download prior to or during the event which are always a good source of content, so share comment and like.
Post, like, share, engage
Be active and monitor your online activity. Post, like, re-tweet, share and reply! Being on top of what’s going on and being responsive will help you increase your company’s virtual presence at the event and any follow-up actions take less time than the original one. Make the most of each post, after all, social media is all about engaging with your audience. Remember that this part can be done by anybody, so have some help lined up back at the office so your booth team are not spending their time on smartphones!
Embrace the power of video
Video marketing has emerged as one of the best ways to engage your target audience. Events are providing countless opportunities to generate video content that will create a sense of community, drive traffic to your stand and extend your presence. You can record attendees’ opinions, share industry upcoming trends or video the team to give a touch of authenticity.
Many organisations view events and trade shows as a necessary evil rather than strategic lead generating activities, while most also admit spending a significant portion of their budget on them.
As the New Year is underway and the deadline for finalising 2018-19 marketing plans is looming if not already past, I would like to share some of my top tips for getting the most value from your event participation.
1. Start early
Trade shows are a major investment. Many marketers spend over a third of their annual budget on events. Start planning at least nine months prior and make sure that all key stakeholders are engaged and actively involved in the strategic development process.
2. Have a plan. Better yet, have more than one
Create an overall event plan for your region establishing a show selection criteria to ensure you are reaching your desired target audience. Develop a strategic plan for each event setting measurable objectives, outlining message strategy and detailing marketing initiatives. Most importantly, once you have created your plans - stick to them!
3. Execute pre-event marketing
Consider your objectives and execute pre-event email, social or direct mail campaigns accordingly. Pre-event campaigns should have a clear, measurable call to action such as booking an appointment or stopping by your booth.
4. Create your own audience
Don’t focus marketing efforts solely on the event delegate list or rely on the event organiser to drive traffic to your booth. Instead capitalise on your own resources by focusing your pre-show marketing on your customer base, leads from previous shows or web generated contacts. Your current customers are the most likely to be interested in new product information and the opportunity to meet with key executives or to have questions answered by technical experts.
5. Create a team
Your booth staff are your key to success so choose valuable team members. Make sure all show staff are briefed on the show strategy and understand how to utilise all of the stand resources before the event. Be strict with your stand rules – i.e. no mobile phones, laptops, etc. Make the best of the time you have with prospects and customers.
6. Promotional items
Promotional items do not have to be expensive, but they do have to be relevant. Make sure give-aways effectively represent your brand and are something useful for your customer. Give everyone a reason to carry or wear your brand such as a chance to win a grand prize at the end of the day.
7. Prize give-aways
Who doesn’t like to win something? Grand prizes add excitement and can create a buzz around your booth especially if you tie the entry into a quick, fun game or competition. Excitement can be created with items ranging from the newest technology gadget to the latest Star Wars themed Lego kit.
It can be easier said than done at a busy booth, but it’s imperative to input notes and capture information regarding each conversation and booth scan. Whether it’s a phone call or email, follow-up will likely be more well-received if it is personalised. Collate and distribute the show information so that hot leads can be followed-up directly by account managers.
9. Measure your ROI
Know going into the show how you are going to measure success and define how you will measure each marketing technique and its effectiveness. If your business goals include driving inflow, accelerating pipeline, building brand awareness, promoting thought leadership and strengthening partner relationships then set measurable targets.
10. Event wrap-up
Lastly, create an event summary report. You will be glad you did when it’s time to consider renewing event sponsorships. Summarise all of the events details, get honest feedback from your event team, analyse your goals and recap what worked and what didn’t work.
To sum it up, executing a successful trade show involves a great deal of advanced strategic and tactical planning, attention to detail and targeted follow-up.
MEET THE AUTHOR: SIMONE BARRY
Prior to Yellow Spider, Simone held EMEA Channel Marketing roles at Cisco and Dell EMC, where she was responsible for the pan-European implementation of marketing initiatives and lead gen programs.