Conference Marketing – on premise and off – 5 Winning Strategies That Drive Leads

Conference marketing – on premise and off – 5 winning strategies that drive leads

We know you invest a lot in your conference participation. From booth development and construction, collateral and giveaways, to the staff sent to man it, a conference is no light commitment. Yet so many times up and down the aisles of conferences big and small, there are the winners –  with people lined up to see what it’s all about, and the ones that miss the mark – booth managers sitting dejected behind a dish chock full of give-away pencils.

It’s not always about the product or service at hand. You wouldn’t be at the conference if the topic missed the mark, and people generally don’t go to conferences unless they have an interest in or work in the industry or subject being presented. Therefor we will factor that there is an inherent relevance. Attendees have some level of interest in your offering and you have some level of interest in speaking with them.

So why does it go downhill from there? There are 5 key, easy to identify challenges which many managers find hard to overcome. We’ve provided the strategies that will help you make your conference participation worth the effort.

  • Lack of planning and pre-marketing – Everyone is running a mile a minute leading up to the conference, how can you possibly do any “pre-event” marketing?

How to fix it: Get the list of attendees ahead of time, send a personal note (postcard, email or letter); PIXEL (cookie) the email or landing page of the promoted website where people will go to get more information, and add those individuals to a remarketing campaign counting down the weeks/days to the event. Reaching folks digitally is a great way to stay in front of them with your brand in a fun, consistent way so when they get to the conference, they have instant recognition of who you are and what you do, because of course, you will have read item #2 to reinforce this.

Include a special offer so if they stop by your booth and have the secret code – they get something unique or useful. One of my favorite uses of this tactic was a group who sent out actual invitations prior to the conference, including a branded coffee mug. In the letter, they asked prospects to come by their booth and meet with them to pick up the coffee to go with it (a $10 Starbucks card). Bribery? Maybe – but it worked, and people responded. Remember the theory of inherent relevance. Plus, you control who gets these special offers, tailor them to the industry, have fun with them or make it practical.

Is there a conference app? Most conferences are implementing conference apps like SummitSync to help conference goers network and communicate before the conference, during the conference and to stay connected after. Use it! SummitSync is a social app for conference goers.  You can quickly identify who you want to connect with, make appointments to meet and broaden your network, maximizing your time in attendance.

Use Lists. Have a check off list for everything you need to take, pull everything together a week prior and make sure you know the shipping dates and policies for the event;

Have a calendar – set dates to complete you pre-marketing efforts; your pre-booked appointments, travel times and post event follow up activities. Treat it all as if it was a very important meeting, and you can’t miss any of them.

  • Misalignment of message – whether you’re using up old collateral, brought the wrong banner (see #1) or have untrained people manning the booth – by not having a clearly identified Value Prop, visible everywhere and repeated often – you’re missing out on one of the key reasons for being there – branding and awareness of who you are and what you do.

How to fix it: ALWAYS put your best foot forward. Anything less and people will judge you for it. Invest in the best booth you can, make sure your collateral is up to date or don’t use it – offer an online version instead, organize what you need days ahead – do a mock set up to see how it all looks, and train your people! Give them talking points, arm them with samples, role play and ask challenging questions. Make sure your message and brand are familiar to attendees by following the tactics in #1 and repeat that message throughout the conference.

Reinforce that message by geotargeting the conference center and all the hotels within a logical 1-10 mile radius, and follow up your branding message with digital marketing to targets in the comfort of their hotel room or over dinner in a nearby restaurant.  Put out a NEW special offer to get them to stop by – maybe a conference survival pack with chocolate, water, extra coffee, and some cozy socks for weary feet at the end of a long day. Put your spin on it but make it meaningful. Have people register online for the goody pack and come by the booth to pick it up – that way you have prospect information being collected even while you are hitting the gym off hours.

  • Lack of engagement mechanism – why should people talk to you? Forget the stickers and bingo dots – unless you’re giving away an iPad or a Hover Board what’s going to get people to come talk to you?

How to Fix it: If you’ve done your homework from items #1 & 2 and planted a few seeds, even set up some pre-determined meetings, you’ll have people lining up to see what all the fuss is about. Promote designated times for demonstrations; don’t fall for gimmicks – I once had my photo taken with Cinderella at a health conference – I had absolutely no interaction with the booth who sponsored her – just stood there taking up their booth space saying “Cheese” – Gimmicks might get people to your booth – but not the right people. Instead offer live demos, compelling video on a big screen of people using your product or service and making their lives better because of it, or a Q&A session with the founder or inventor, developer, family, CEO or best client. Better yet – brand yourself ahead of time with special invites to have a personal demonstration or meeting.

  • No follow up plan – If I had a dollar for every business card I’ve seen collected in a fishbowl….

How to Fix it: For every business card collected have a next step identified – is it a call to discuss? – set a day and time as you collect the card, or is it a referral to someone in your organization – send an email intro in the moment. Identify the specific follow up activity for each lead or prospect and assign a deadline. Prioritize. Follow up with the most pressing and most relevant leads first. Delegate. If you have the support, delegate unqualified leads to someone else. In addition, do broad follow up to the list of attendees, reach back out digitally and retarget prospects who ended up opening an email or going to your website, use the conference app to check back in with connections and make the most of your time and budget by not missing a moment to do business with the people you deemed worthy to spend your time with.

  • Tracking for ROI  That’s immediate ROI as in closed deals, potential ROI as in feeding your pipeline, and lifetime ROI as in the long-term value of a newly acquired client or the nurturing and development of a current one. Many organizations fall-down here. It’s all lumped together with every other business development effort.

How to fix it: There’s no reason for this. Today’s technology allows for easier tracking than ever.  Most CRMs provide features to identify leads with source codes. Digital campaigns can be tracked and funneled into your pipeline with campaign codes and even if you are working with simple excel spreadsheets – add a column identifying your lead source. Follow the dollars. Use the data to justify your expense in both materials and time.

Simple improvements in each of these areas will help you shine at your next conference, have a deeper understanding of the impact you are having on your bottom line and make it easier and less stressful as you drive more qualified leads. For more information about geotargeting and retargeting, give us a call today. Enradius 800-838-1184.

*Photo Credit: Adler Display
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Top 7 Geotargeted Marketing Strategies for B2B (Engage me part 3)

Geotarget

Geotargeting is a great way to get your brand or services in front of the decision makers you need to reach. From the C suite to HR, middle management to small business owners – find their digital footprint. Then position your business in front of them, seamlessly, as part of their everyday online experience.

In the previous post we covered curated ads. Ads directed to a targeted profile, receptive to the message based on demographics, behavioral and geographical markers. Here we will dive into how this applies to B2B.

Your brand’s online presence is a critical component of your overall brand perception.  As mobile has overtaken desktop, and more time is spent online, more conversions happen in this space. Businesses need to have a greater presence in this conversation.  Here are strategies to leverage to drive effective B2B results with geotargeting and retargeting

  1. Find their footprints: Two great ways to find your audiences are by using Audience Insights and Lookalike Audiences.
    1. Use Audience Insights to review demographics and purchase behavior, as well as details around interests and lifestyle. This information will help you understand how to reach who currently connects with your brand. Tailor your creative and target prospects with interests and demographics based on these insights to change how they perceive your brand.
    2. Use Lookalike Audiences to find more people who look like your best customers.
  2. Some ads are better than others – Create ads that build awareness and consideration. An ad is only as “good” or effective as the quality of its composition. From how it’s written, to the images used, to making sure the call to action is functioning (no broken links!), in the digital space you have good creative options:
    1. Video – video is where it’s at. People are responding and appreciating video communications and it’s the best way to convey your “story.” Here’s our videographer’s reel samples – http://www.outerloopmedia.com/#!motion-reel/cee5 He does a great job at “capturing the essence” These are an example of long version videos which would live on the landing page, and a short 15-30 sec “clip” with a call to action would be the “ad” to entice a click through, a registration, a phone call or a memorable intention.
    2. Carousel – Leverage multiple images within a single ad experience.
    3. Link ads – A compelling image and a strong headline, a bit of descriptive info and a call to action make up a good link ad. Make sure your telling your prospects where they are linking to and what to expect when they get there. (learn more here: http://www.enradius.com/services/zip-code-targeted-advertising-products/ )
  3. Geofence actual addresses – trying to reach nurse executives? Geotarget a radius around medical campuses and around hospital systems with demographic overlays for nurses; managers. Want to engage corporate travelers? Geotarget Airports with demographic overlays for business traveler or specific industry profiles.
  4. Geofence by city or zip code – Need to reach broad regions? Added behavioral data can help you saturate a region to reach the right targets.
  5. Retarget – pixel your website and retarget visitors with ongoing marketing; Retargeting is a process in which a pixel is placed onto your website or into an outgoing email. Once a visitor comes to your site or opens your email, a cookie is placed on their computer.  This allows us to ‘re-serve’ your message to them as a way to re-engage and bring them back. A Pixel is code that instructs a website to take action.  There are actually (2) types of Pixels.  A retargeting pixel and a conversion pixel.  Ways to Retarget:
    1. Pixel Your Website
    2. Pixel placed in an out-going email
    3. Pixel placed in a video at ¼ , ½, ¾, or completion
    4. On Facebook by matching up email addresses in your database
  6. Conquest your conference – to add some zing to your typical conference exhibit – geotarget the location of your conference. Nothing like reinforcing the message of your day behind the booth with some powerful online exposure as conference goers catch up on their favorite news or entertainment back in the comfort of their hotel. And again, a week after, when they’re back at home (Yes! We can do that!)
  7. A/B test your messages; targets; and networks – validate what works. Use data to drive smart marketing decisions.

Don’t have time or the interest to do all this? Don’t panic, give us a call. We can help.

Enradius digital geotargeting and retargeting puts you in front of the business decision makers you are trying to reach. We have the expertise in developing digital strategy customized to your organizations’ goals and needs. And we practice real time monitoring of campaigns to make adjustments in order to maximize your impact. You don’t get  that from an automated platform. Try  the B2B geotargeting recommendations out for yourself or let us help you manage your digital campaigns. We’re good at it.