The State of Event Marketing in 2023
In-person events and conventions are still a question mark as we move into a new, post-Covid world. You need to adapt your marketing strategy to demonstrate the value of getting your audience out of their so-called safety bubble and willing to attend live events. To do that, you need to get your message across distinctly and clearly about why they should attend your conference, trade show, or other events in person.
Digital marketers also need to focus on the channels they use to distribute that message and ensure maximum engagement with the messaging and the event itself. Here are some strategies you should consider incorporating into your event marketing plan.
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More Shows, Smaller Audience
Instead of attending major shows as an exhibitor, you should attend smaller ones. The remaining restrictions on crowd sizes and the less inclination for consumers to attend more significant, higher-populated shows make the smaller ones more attractive and feasible.
What this means for you is that it might take two, three, or even four shows to reach the audience that you previously have reached at one major trade show. Be prepared for more intimate engagements and more time away from the office.
Attending multiple shows sounds expensive, and it will come at additional costs. You can mitigate this by better organizing the shows you plan to attend. Look for events happening back-to-back in adjacent territories to minimize travel costs by going from one event to the next instead of back and forth from your home base. For your marketing collateral and posts, highlight the event’s intimacy, the limitations on numbers, and other pandemic-related steps you have taken.
When events started to get canceled en masse in 2020 and then again in 2021, the shift to virtual events was fast. Even as in-person shows return, we can expect to see the retention of virtual to some degree. Businesses may choose to save money and time by instructing their personnel only to attend online, and employees choose, on their own, to forgo the apparent risks of attending in person.
For the exhibitor or show-runner, this means that allowances will be required to cater to virtual attendees. You should give your digital stall as much attention to detail as your physical one and ensure that there are tools in place to allow for virtual attendees to catch the eye of a company representative.
Similarly, when considering your event marketing strategies, you will need to emphasize the physical event while still letting your potential audience know they can attend virtually. In post-event marketing efforts, consider linking to videos or digital presentations to pick up engagement from those who could not or did not participate in the virtual or in-person show.
Be as Agile as You Can
Government regulations, venue-set limitations, and new covid variants can change from one day to the next. You need to be as flexible and agile as you reasonably can. A last-minute cancellation of an event is a problem, but you need to turn it into an opportunity. Take the time you would have spent at the in-person event to increase your virtual interactions.
Here are some ways to do that.
- Always have a virtual presentation ready to go.
- Use your direct email list to engage your existing and future customers.
- Increase your activity on social media.
- Invite customers to attend online panels and presentations.
Show attendees had already set aside the time for going to the event. They have at least a passing interest in your industry; use this to your advantage by quickly getting your information out there.
Social Media Marketing
Social media engagement is higher than ever, with continuing growth expected throughout 2022 and beyond. Your social media marketing strategy should promote your presence at events and shows using all of the channels available to you. You should mainly focus on those with the most reach and highest engagement for your particular business and industry sector.
Do not simply state that you are exhibiting at a particular show. You must give the audience a reason to come to the show and see you specifically. Of course, you should also take the opportunity to link to your website and include some relevant and interesting copy that you have written.
Content marketing is about showing that you are a trusted expert on a subject. It also shows that you empathize with your audience's needs. Traditional advertising tends to take a look at this approach; content marketing is subtler. You demonstrate that you are an authority and convince your audience that they should consider you and your business as the go-to expert in your industry.
An effective content marketing strategy can also benefit from your social media presence. You can increase your interaction with potential customers by providing links to and from social media activity. A Follow Us button helps you establish a captive audience for your later posts and other communications.
There are many reasons that people attend industry conventions and shows. Some go just for entertainment purposes. While others anticipate purchasing in the near future, and you want to engage with this second group either in-person or online.
You will need to encourage attendees to come to the show and visit your booth specifically. That will take good content marketing on your part to prove that you have interesting and timely information to share and you have established yourself to be an industry leader.
For help with marketing for your event or assistance with your broader digital marketing strategy, turn to our Las Vegas digital marketing agency. We are helping a range of companies with their plans to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and many others.
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