Improving the impact of science industry events with pre and post-event inbound marketing tactics.
Most companies within the science industries we work in recognise the importance of face-to-face events. I can’t think of one client who doesn’t exhibit at their industry's blue-ribbon event, be it CPhI, In-Cosmetics, SupplySideWest or similar. (Here is a list of events that we attend.)
It's also true that there is a downward trend in both visitor numbers and exhibitor numbers at a lot of events. Put simply, it's harder to encourage younger professionals to take a day/days out of the office to attend live events for several reasons. But events do provide great opportunities to speak to potential customers, before and after the event.
GETTING MORE OUT OF YOUR EVENT PRESENCE
Marketers have many more cost-effective tools available than previously to ensure that events no longer are only a three day-marketing opportunity confined to the footfall an event can encourage to cross the show floor.
We can now not only include events as a touchpoint in an inbound marketing/lead nurturing campaign but also ensure we leverage any content opportunities onsite and extend their life beyond the exhibition hall. All that's needed is a platform to publish and host content, the capability to generate leads via forms as well as an email marketing provider.
PRE-EVENT INBOUND MARKETING
Most exhibitors will have an event marketing budget to promote their participation in an event through pre-event marketing in the form of print adverts, emails and digital display ads, but marketing automation provides a valuable opportunity to engage with sales-ready prospects and invite them to meet at an event local to them.
Not only will your company sales representative be armed with valuable information from their previous engagement with your marketing efforts, but for a prospect attending an event already, arranging an appointment with your company may seem less of a commitment than agreeing to a site visit or conference call.
Also, most modern marketing automation software, such as SharpSpring, has a live calendar widget allowing prospects to automatically schedule a meeting with your sales team. An event meeting could prove the final stage in converting a prospect to a sales-ready lead.
Pre-event marketing tactics to drive awareness:
Snippets of event activities.
Downloadable event survival guides, previews and tips.
POST-EVENT INBOUND MARKETING
Most events provide onsite conferences which attendees register to attend. Why limit the audience of your session to just those that can attend? Consider videoing the session and using the footage as a further piece of content to promote to your prospects.
You can use marketing software to tailor the message dependent on whether a prospect attended the session or not, with either a personalised “thank you for attending”, or a ”sorry you couldn’t attend, here is what you missed” message.
Most presentations can be transcribed into a whitepaper or edited into a highlights package, re-purposing the content as such allows recipients to engage with content across different platforms, or view it from a different perspective. Be memorable, can you personalise your post-event follow-up (via email) with a nugget of information you gleaned from your meeting or a photo with the prospect?
Post-event marketing tactics:
Convert keynotes into blog posts/e-books.
A roundup of key event activities and occurrences.
Attendee-only post-event breakdown and discussion points.
Invitation to other networking events/meetings.
For more on promoting events and promoting your organisation's attendance at conferences and trade show, see our post entitled Strategies and Tactics For Event Marketing Success.
CREATE MORE EVENT-BASED CONTENT
Previously, an event was viewed as an opportunity to meet existing customers and catch up with colleagues. But as we have to work harder and harder to bring in new leads and win business, ensure that event marketing is part of a holistic marketing approach and event activity can be better analysed for its return.
The content created for the event can be re-purposed and used in different ways before the event takes place to promote the event presence and generate leads. Similarly, pharma content generated from the events - keynotes and discussion papers - can be packaged and promoted post-event to those who might have missed the original content. Thinking this way about content will dramatically increase your inbound marketing capability, and your overall capability to generate leads.
Do you have any content opportunities waiting to be discovered and re-purposed for an inbound marketing campaign?