It’s b2b event marketing season. You’ve bought your 3 x 2 pitch and you’re planning your giveaways. Now what? How can you maximise your marketing events – in short, how can you do great b2b event marketing?

If you want to turn a good event (decent size, interested buyers, in your niche) into something that’s really special, read on.

Marketing for B2B Events – 5 Tips

  1. Give something away on social media 

Now is the time to let people know that you will be at the event. I’ve worked with a client recently who started this as late as 2 weeks prior but released 12 tips over the days preceding the event, which was a speaking slot. As should be tattooed to your head when you work in marketing, remember to ask ‘why does anyone care’? Whilst you may be delighted to get out to the office for your b2b event (hello, Pret stop off), you have to add value to anyone you are lucky enough to be connected to. Tips are a great way to do this and get the message out that you are important enough to go to nice places and speak or have a stand.

This picks up likes and also, impressions. The chances are at the event you won’t meet over 700 people. But on Linkedin, you can!

2. Ask to meet in person or show your face

Another great way to use your business network is to ask people to DM, connect or email you before the b2b event. A simple message post is enough for this – don’t feel you have to ask people outright. People feel more comfortable seeing a specific call to action to arrange to meet that really speaks to them so be specific as another client have here ‘do you run a spa or a salon?’ No one likes to feel vulnerable sliding into a busy email box or DM or even trying to find you at a packed show – so ask them first with a strong message and maximise your day.

3. Plan for the day and forget the automated follow-up route 

It’s always a great idea to know what good looks like from an event. Why are you there? Realistically, there are sunk costs in the time, management and attendance at any event so the idea is to connect with people who are likely to buy some time in the future. Capture business cards and data asap and get it working hard for you – strike while the iron is hot with a PERSONAL follow up message.

Whilst email automation has great benefits, no one wants to enter a sales funnel that’s meant for everyone. How many leads are you picking up that means you can’t call, email or DM them? If it’s more than a day’s worth of work, please tell me all your secrets.

A personal email or LinkedIn that references the actual conversation you had works much better. I was going to give an example, and the one that sticks in my mind is where the lovely Ivka Markovic, Director Of Communication and Strategic Partnership at Madai reached out to me after a show, just giving me warm greetings from Florence, her home town which we had chatted about. It was a nice touch and now she is someone I think is a great lady. Whilst we aren’t buying or selling from each other, it’s nice to have a point of reference. Well done Ivka!

4. Ditch the promo stuff or be very careful with it 

Ooh, I think I will get a block from some people for this one. Years ago I would be there with my pens and cups and all that stuff. Nowadays, we have the remember the whales. people are far more eco-conscious than ever, for good reason. Watch the hidden message of giving people big bags of branded merchandise. Unless you are in the promotional goods business, go for something smarter. A gift card, a game to win something, a doughnut – don’t go wild – the idea is to attract people and then speak to them, like a human.

If you do have something that is actually eco but looks like plastic, watch the message isn’t lost. People get lots of gubbins at a show and the overall perception of a big bag of ‘loot’ is often that its low value, churn, wasteful.

I would much rather with a Burberry scarf or a nice pen or indeed anything I could value and keep forever than be guaranteed a coaster with the name of a hosting company on it. *Shrug.*

My only tip if I was to choose some stuff would be – a large paper or eco-friendly bag with your brand on that people can stash all the other companies’ tat in, or a folder that helps them organise the reams of paper you get given, tissues or hand sanitiser (especially in London!)

5. Create learnings from the event and showcase them

I wish I had an example but I ran this a few years ago ‘Our Learnings From The Rubber Duck Expo’ (name changed!) It had the expo logo on and came out in an email newsletter. It was very well received because we had been to all the speeches and distilled the best bits into a guide. It was helpful for the people who may have fancied going, but couldn’t and also reiterated that yes, we were very important and went to the show. It also brought it back to the reason other people go – which is to learn. Take away the big sell and give something back. Publish everywhere the audience would enjoy it.

According to the Event Marketing 2020: Benchmarks and Trends report, the majority (85%) of leaders and executives have identified in-person events as critical for their company’s success

I hope this helps give you some ideas on how to make your b2b events run smoothly!

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Your Marketing Managed, founded by Elaine Keep is a freelance marketing service for companies who don’t have the resources for a dedicated marketing manager but need some support, perhaps with copywriting, SEO, email marketing or traditional marketing.

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