Updating an Event Marketing Strategy

updated approaches to event marketingPlanning an upcoming event? While seminars, tradeshows, conventions, and intimate retreats have been around for ages, this doesn’t mean that you can’t update your event marketing strategy to better meet the times. Below are a few modern marketing twists to update your event marketing strategy.

Get Social – Social media is a great tool to use before, during, and after your event. Before the event, you can drum up interest by releasing teasers, interviewing some of your scheduled speakers, issuing time-sensitive discounts, and holding contests. Just before the event, create an event specific hashtag and encourage attendees to use it throughout the event. Not only does this open the door for virtual conversations, your social media followers who couldn’t attend in person can follow along. You can also use hashtags to encourage attendees at live presentations to ask questions. At the end of the presentation, answer some of those questions.

Use QR Codes – QR codes are those quirky little squares you see in magazines, newspapers, and occasionally, on products. Using either a Web or smartphone app, you can create your own custom QR codes. When someone scans the code with a smartphone, your message – whatever it may be – will appear. Use QR codes to play a video, send attendees to a specific URL, giveaway a special report, encourage users to “like” you on Facebook, and more. QR codes can be printed and placed on virtually anything including signs and promotional items. You could even have a QR code embroidered on your shirt if you wanted.

Create a Cozy Space for Attendees to Power Nap or Power Up – Have you ever noticed that some of the most popular booths at trade shows have hammocks or chairs? While you may not be in the hammock or chair selling business, it’s not a bad idea to create a comfy space for attendees to get off their feet and relax for a few minutes. While you’re at it, consider making power outlets available for attendees to plug in their mobile devices for a quick charge.

Use Email Judiciously – It’s easy to go overboard with event-related email messages. Obviously, you’ll want to send targeted emails to people you think could benefit from attending your event. Likewise, you’ll want to send a confirmation email after someone registers to attend. You may want to send a reminder a few days before or share hotel information. However, there’s a fine line between being informative and being spammy. Try not to cross that line.

Use Streaming Video – While it’s not fair to paying attendees to broadcast the event to a wide audience for free, you could use streaming video to broadcast selected events to people who could not attend in person. Alternately, you could offer a “virtual” attendance package for a price, again limiting access so that the virtual package isn’t so attractive that it prevents people from attending in person.

Use Recorded Videos – Similarly, you could sell videos of some of the presentations after the fact. Again, be sensitive to your paying audience so that they feel that their physical attendance was the best possible value. For example, you could add value to your live audience by offering exclusive access to videos after-the-fact for free (or for a nominal fee) while charging non-attendees a premium per video.

Choose Speakers Your Audience Wants to Hear – Just as with other marketing methods, it’s crucial to match content with your audience. This means you absolutely need to know your audience. Create personas, hold focus groups, survey your customers, and use other methods to gain a deeper understanding of your audience’s interests.

Despite dramatic changes in marketing, event marketing is alive and well. Use these tips to modernize your event marketing strategy.

Content Marketing – Overcoming Common Challenges

Planning content marketing strategyAt first glance, content marketing sound easy, doesn’t it? After all, how hard is it to write a quick blog post and paste a link to it on Facebook or Twitter? Anyone who has dabbled in content marketing knows the truth: content marketing is challenging.

Some of the more common content marketing challenges can be broken down into just a handful of categories:

  • Generating relevant content
  • Timing content delivery to reach leads at the appropriate time in the buying process
  • Segmenting leads
  • Lack of resources

Generating and Creating Relevant Content
Content marketing requires a clear strategy and an understanding of what your leads are interested in. One of the first steps in any content marketing strategy is to identify several “personas.” This helps you to visualize the people you are targeting and get a deeper understanding of their own challenges, problems, desires, and interests.

Once you know who your personas are and their interests, the key is to focus on publishing optimized inbound resources that both capture their attention and provide useful, relevant information. While you may be full of great ideas for blog posts and targeted web content development, the next challenge involves getting it done. This is where it may make sense to bring in external writers or marketing consultants to create targeted content. Otherwise, other priorities may distract you from creating a continuous stream of relevant content or even finding worthwhile information to share via social networks.

Content Timing / Delivery
What if you have plenty of content available or a few in-house writers who can quickly generate content as needed? The next challenge involves delivering the right content to the right person at the right point in the buying cycle. For example, someone who is just beginning to research widgets may find articles about the benefits of widgets relevant and compelling. Meanwhile, someone further in the buying process already knows about the benefits and may be more interested in learning about the differences between solar-powered widgets, hybrid widgets, and battery-operated widgets. It’s helpful to map out the buying cycle of your products and services and create content that aligns with each major stage.

Creating Content for Segmented Markets
Prospects, leads, and existing customers will be in various stages of the sales funnel, making it important to segment communications based on where they are in the buying process. Not only that, they will be interested in different products and services or match different personas. In order to send the most relevant content possible, it’s vital to segment your prospects, leads, and existing customers as much as possible. For example, your “soccer moms” will have different interests, needs, and communications preferences than CEOs.

Once segmented, you’re back to the content creation and timing challenges mentioned earlier. However, once segmented, it becomes easier to create high quality, relevant content that guides prospects toward a buying decision.

Limited Resources
Finally, one of the biggest challenges of content marketing is this: getting it done with limited resources. For smaller companies, the sales and marketing team may already be stretched thin with little time or money to spare. While you may see the value of launching a content marketing campaign, having limited resources is a legitimate concern that could derail even the best of plans. It’s not uncommon for marketing personnel to find themselves supporting customers more often than expected, especially when marketing is responsible for interacting with customers on social media sites. To overcome this challenge, it’s smart to segment social media responsibilities as well. Train several customer service representatives in the art of providing customer service via social networks and allow your marketing team to focus on strategy and content development.

Lead generation and content marketing are important endeavors. It may be advantageous to work with marketing consultants to ensure that your inbound marketing efforts pay off.