So you’re hosting a B2B event. You’ve developed an amazing agenda with a top-notch speaker lineup. You’ve hired all the right vendors to set up your stage and AV equipment. You’ve narrowed down your target attendee list and have started spreading the word to your contacts.
Now you just need to sit back and wait for the ticket sales to roll in, right?
Despite what you learned from Field of Dreams, the “if you build it, they will come” approach simply doesn’t work with corporate event planning. You need a holistic strategy to market a corporate event — one that covers the event’s entire lifespan, including the pre-launch, the day it kicks off and the days/weeks after. This will ensure maximum reach, attendance and business opportunities.
If you’re planning a B2B event, here’s an outline of what you need to do to publicize it and get the right people to attend.
Before: Pre-event marketing
Direct personal outreach
Whether you email attendees or speak with them in person, it’s important to personally connect with the individuals you want to attend the event. You could do this yourself as the event organizer, or have one of your staff members conduct outreach on your behalf. Tailoring your message to the individual attendee and explaining how attending could benefit them and their business is key to generating interest.
Before your event begins, it’s essential that your own brand’s social accounts advertise the event and its agenda. If you have a landing page with more details or sign-up information, share it on your social channels with a clear call to action, so your followers understand how to sign up and purchase tickets.
You should also tag/mention anyone who is sponsoring, speaking or exhibiting at your event, where appropriate. This can promote engagement and sharing, and even get your event trending.
Finally, create your own event hashtag and encourage attendees and event sponsors/speakers to use it. This can potentially create a lot of buzz around your business and the event you’re planning.
Written and visual content
Creating both written and visual content to support your event drives users to your website and business. By building blog posts, video teasers, graphics, whitepapers and more that highlight important topics, key speakers and other relevant happenings at your event, you can drive people to both your website and your event. For example, if you’re hosting a cannabis industry conference, you can write an article outlining employer considerations for accommodating medical marijuana patients in the workplace.
During: Promoting the event in real time
Social media updates
Social media is the backbone of your event’s on-the-ground marketing plan. While your event is happening, appoint someone to handle the social media aspects of the day, whether it’s a staff member or a contracted social media marketer. This person should take pictures of your audience, talk with event attendees and build hype around the event (and the companies involved).
Make sure you leverage your event hashtag so you can further build momentum. Regular feed posts to Instagram or Facebook can help, but it’s wise to focus your attention on Instagram and Facebook Stories, or live tweets. These are more appropriate spaces to give your followers a play-by-play of what’s occurring.
Live video streaming
In addition to Story updates and tweets, you should also invest in a video setup to livestream certain portions of your event (e.g. keynote speeches or panel discussions) for people who are interested but couldn’t attend in-person.
If you hire a video crew to manage this for you, you can also ask them to capture footage throughout the event that can later be turned into a recap highlight video. Great visuals and video content can help you market a corporate event in a way that the written word alone can’t.
After: Following up with vendors and attendees
Recap on social media
After your event ends, recap what occurred on your social media channels. You can create a slideshow or collage, point out the event’s major highlights, and thank everyone who attended. You can go further by tagging relevant speakers and attendees, and sharing user-generated content from the event to try and pump up your impact on social media.
Create post-event content
Writing articles and creating video content about the event, what you learned and why it was a success (or not a success) can be a great way to drive users to your website. In addition to posting photos and videos, you might consider asking an attendee to write and share a guest blog post about their experience and what they learned. This honest, unfiltered take can often be more powerful and relatable than something published by your own brand.
Follow up directly with vendors and attendees
If you collected emails during registration (which you should have!), send a thank-you message to all vendors and attendees to express your gratitude for their attendance. You might want to make a list of “VIPs” that warrant a direct, personal message, especially if you spent time networking with them during the event. Sometimes, a simple note can be the bedrock of a future business relationship.
When you properly market your corporate event, you have a greater chance of event success
A huge part of pulling off a successful B2B event is marketing it properly. No matter how you decide to promote your event, know that your marketing strategy is an essential part of the overall planning process.
Not sure where to start? BridgeTower Media offers end-to-end event planning, consulting, and management services to help you showcase your business and expertise to the right audience. Learn more about private label BridgeTower Media events here, or contact us for a quote.