How to Better Leverage Events in Your Demand Generation Strategies
November 15, 2018 | Kara Widdison
Despite the rapid growth of digital marketing in the B2B space, events still provide marketers with a tried and true method to bring quality leads into the sales funnel. Unlike other marketing efforts, B2B events bring together prospects that are more likely to fit your ideal target audience right from the get-go. Why? Because events provide marketers with the opportunity to get highly personal, one-on-one time with potential customers, making it easier to strike connections and get prospects into the sales funnel.
With this in mind, events make up a crucial component of a successful demand generation strategy. Marketers who focus on better leveraging the impact of their event marketing will be better equipped to grab prospect attention and convey the value that convinces them to engage with a brand further, travel through the sales cycle, and reach a buying decision.
In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, 52 percent of business leaders say event marketing drives more ROI than any other marketing channel. What’s more, 24 percent of B2B marketing budgets are directed toward optimizing the impact of events. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that organizations who aren’t focusing on their event marketing are missing out on a serious demand gen opportunity.
In this post, we’re exploring three ways to bolster your event marketing and boost the impact of your demand gen efforts. Take a look:
1. Be a Voice for the Event on Social Media
Think about this: you’re attending an event and brand 1 has provided you with the important details you need to know before the event, led discussions into themes related to the event, and highlighted the unique problems and solutions the event aims to address. Brand 2, however, has provided little information on the event, nor have they showcased their presence at the event.
More likely than not, on the day of the event, you’ll be more inclined to engage with brand 1. This is because brand 1 became a “voice” for the event itself, educating potential attendees and engaging them before the event took place. With this in mind, marketers need to make sure they’re demonstrating their brand’s value by showcasing their contributions to an event, including attendees in social engagements, and facilitating discussions into the event’s subject matter.
Consider a recent study indicating 74 percent of event planners listed social media as the most effective tool for event marketing, leveraging social to become a voice for your next event can lead to serious results.
By leveraging social to engage prospects interested in an event, marketers gain the unique opportunity to differentiate themselves and showcase their brand’s value. Then, when it’s time for the event, a potential customer will still have your brand top-of-mind, likely leading to greater engagement, more demand being generated, and more quality leads entering the top of the funnel.
Take Boston Content’s event promotion for example. When the marketers behind the brand wanted to boost engagement for an event via social channels, they created a fun contest to boost conversion rates. In short, Boston Content put together a voting contest for “Boston Content Marketer to Watch,” asking prospective attendees to vote on their favorite marketers. The result? Increased engagement and awareness surrounding their event.
2. Develop Buzz by Engaging Prospects
At its core, successful events rely on one thing…excitement. Without an excited and eager audience, an event won’t generate high attendance numbers. When it comes to your event marketing (and your demand generation strategy), the same principle applies. By creating buzz around an event, your participation, and the value attendees can expect by paying you a visit, prospects will be more inclined to engage with your brand.
When prospects engage with your brand at a live event, the payoff can be big. According to a study conducted by EventTrack, a staggering 98 percent of users felt more inclined to purchase after attending an event. With this in mind, it makes sense to grab the attention of potential customers right out of the gate, right?
Consider promoting your event with interesting and engaging content that not only helps convey the importance of the event itself but also connects your target audiences to your brand. Events are hectic and often times, crowded. To cut through the noise, consider generating buzz by keeping some of these pre-event best practices in mind:
- Highlight the details your audience wants to know: Does your organization offer a specific product or service that aligns with key event themes? Where can a prospect find you, and more importantly, what value are you providing the prospects that pay you a visit? By highlighting the important details in your promotions (where the event is, where attendees can find you, etc.), you’re helping attract the right leads to your booth or session.
- Include some exciting elements into your promotions: Do you have a new product you’re looking to unveil? Maybe you’re providing attendees with a unique demonstration they won’t be able to find elsewhere? Tie your pre-event engagements to something exciting, and you’ll help entice attendees to engage with by keeping your brand top-of-mind.
- Start a conversation with your audience around event themes: Maybe there’s a specific product or service that aligns with themes of the event. Let your target audience know!
3. Leverage Interactive Content to Capture and Engage Prospects
In the B2B setting, leveraging events as part of a demand generation strategy is separated into three parts. First, you need to pique the interests of prospective customers enough to visit you at the event. Next, you need to engage them in a way that lets you capture the information needed to get them into the sales funnel. Lastly, you need insights into their particular needs, interests, and pain points that allow you to nurture those prospects well after the event is over.
With this in mind, interactive content may be the secret weapon you need to unlock your event marketing potential. Interactive content works by engaging your potential customers in a fluid, conversational manner across the content you already use. From there, those prospects can be connected to tools, resources, and additional content that helps them reach an informed buying decision.
Using interactive content before, during, and after your event can be a great way to generate interest, demonstrate value to your prospects, and most importantly, gather participant data for more impactful marketing. Considering the fact that 77 percent of B2B marketers indicated leveraging events to distribute their content for content marketing efforts, the more your content can work for you, the greater demand you’ll generate for your organization.
Knowing this, B2B marketers need content that helps them stand out from the scores of other businesses leveraging content for their events. Moreover, that content needs to be able to both inform and entertain prospects. That way, marketers can pique interest before an event, engage potential customers at the event, and understand the leads they acquire on a more granular level that leads to more targeted, relevant nurturing.
Take this interactive assessment for example. A quick, and fun way to test participants’ knowledge on bad data, it’s a fresh take on traditional quiz style content that helps facilitate discussions at the event booth and educate prospects. What’s more, it contains lead qualification questions that help marketers target the right leads following the event.
When it comes to demand generation strategy, event marketing can be a powerful tool that excites and educates prospects. However, in order to ensure that events successfully bolster demand generation efforts, marketers need the ability to not only draw attendees in but capitalize on personal engagements they make with prospects. In doing so, marketers will boost their event engagement, and more importantly, the quality leads those events help to generate.
For some creative ideas that you can use to help boost your demand gen efforts before, during, and after events, check out our Use Cases pages. We highlight a variety of different strategies marketers can use to help them generate event traffic, boost engagement, and understand their leads.