These B2B event marketing ideas, compiled from a one day workshop I led at the Event Marketing Summit in Chicago, are great ways to leverage digital media to build community online and generate leads.
Professionals with common interests and goals regularly invest time and money to attend business-to-business events where they can network with others in their trade.
They bought a ticket. They traveled to get there. They’re already engaged and motivated.
And they’re all in the same place, listening to the same speakers and talking to the same exhibitors.
They’re all on the same page. B2B event marketing is an entirely unique opportunity.
What better place to launch a B2B digital marketing initiative that extends the excitement and the knowledge?
After the carpet’s rolled up, and the staging’s been struck, and the keynote speakers have all gone home, what do sales and marketing pros have to show for themselves besides a stack of business cards they probably won’t be able to follow up with quick enough?
If you could create events that are able to capture and archive what happened online, they could be discovered after the fact through search, shared on Facebook and Twitter and reap dividends in perpetuity.
Imagine the potential impact on your brand marketing strategy.
B2B Event Marketing Workshop
At my B2B event marketing workshop for event organizers, I presented lots of examples of digital media can generate excitement before, during and after business-to-business events like trade shows, conferences and strategic corporate training events.
Here are some B2B event marketing tips from my workshop:
Socialize Your Event Website
Make your hashtags easy to find. Include them in your event logo and allover your website.
People expect your website to be up to date and modern. The capabilities of your website will help or hinder your event brand. Get it right the first time.
Don’t gang all of your sessions up on one page, or one page per day.
Put each session at its own permalink, so people can share links to specific sessions. Include each speaker’s Twitter ID in their bio and make it clickable.
Implement Linkedin “Share” and Twitter “Tweet” buttons that can be used to share links back to any session on your agenda.
Never mind that Facebook isn’t distinctly B2B. People spend time there, and there’s nothing more powerful the a personal recommendations from a friend. Install a Facebook “Like” button as well.
And include an “add to calendar” widget that makes it easy to add sessions to your Outlook, iCal or Google Calendar with one click.
Make sure the calendar item has all the pertinent info about the session including the Twitter IDs of the presenters and the hashtag for the conference or session.
Social by Design B2B Event Marketing Websites
How many times have you registered for a conference and wondered who you might know that’s attending?
At SXSW, Janrain built this feature into the SXSW website, so you could cross reference registered event attendees list with your Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter contacts.
This was an awesome feature, because it gives you a chance to schedule more meetings, network smarter and attend more in person events.
So build social networking into your website so your capabilities are social by design.
Promote Your Call for Speakers Online
If you want to generate excitement before an event, so get your call for speakers, keynote speaker announcements and other event news in your content marketing campaigns.
Email market a call for speakers with a deadline and send two reminders as the date approaches. People are more responsive when there’s something in it for them.
Blog your call for speakers as well. And share a link to your blog post on relevant Linkedin Groups and via Twitter.
Post Your B2B Event to Linkedin and Facebook
Go to Linkedin > More > Events and select the “Add an Event” tab on Linkedin Events.
Post your B2B event and send out notifications to your Linkedin contacts who might genuinely be interested. You can also advertise your event on Linkedin, and the targeting options are very precise.
Post the event to the Events area on your Facebook page.
I realize its not the go to B2B social network for those of us in the know. But it’s so enormous at this point, you can’t afford not to recognize that in your B2B event marketing efforts.
Ask an easy to answer question and rewrite your meta data to encourage engagement in the stream.
The more “Likes” and comments you get, the higher the post will rank and the more people who will see it.
Share Slide Decks from B2B Events
Set up a channel and post the PowerPoint presentations directly following each session.
Velocity here is key, because you want the session attendees to retweet the link, and they’ll be more inclined to do so right after the session, than a day of two later.
Use your momentum wisely. Event management at live events is demanding and challenging. Complete the timeliest tasks first and one of them is getting the slide decks up quickly!
Tweet out a link to the deck with the conference hashtag and the Twitter ID of the speaker and watch the ReTweets come in.
Come back after the show and SEO the titles and descriptions of every slide deck and make sure you include a link back to your event website.
I call this the homeland embassy strategy and it’s a very manageable, effective addition to your B2B event marketing strategy.
Podcast Live from B2B Events
The cost to record the audio from your sessions and make it available after the fact is pretty much the cost of labor.
Bottle up the knowledge and insights your speakers share on stage and make them available immediately.
Draft a search engine optimized transcript, give the final MP3 file name that’s search friendly, upload it your blog, park your RSS feed at iTunes, social media optimize your feed and count the downloads.
If you have the dates and location for next year’s event, include a brief, soft-sell announcement at the beginning of each recording to generate excitement for next year’s event.
Don’t worry about losing registered attendees because you’re giving away the session recordings for free.
People go to B2B events to network and press the flesh.
You can’t do that on a podcast.
B2B Event Mobile Apps
Users can create profiles, connect with other profiles, use social sync to find Twitter and Facebook friends, share status updates, photos and links to an activity stream, like and comment on items, publish out to Facebook and Twitter, check in on the app and on Foursquare, unlock badges and watch video.
They’ve even built in QR Code reader right into the app, which can be used for check-ins. Now you can use incentives to drive foot traffic to exhibitors and sessions by offering unique QR codes at different destinations.
Cisco Events is using the app very effectively to sustain the buzz they generate at their corporate events.
If you’d like to have look, here’s my B2B Event Marketing Social Media Boot Camp Presentation
It was a one day workshop so there’s a lot more examples in the slide deck but these are some of my simplest and most useful B2B event marketing tips.
Get moving on these quick cause at this point, virtual reality enable experiential marketing are right around the corner.