Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still causing many exhibitions and conferences to rethink how they host events this year. For many, seminars, keynotes and workshops have moved online. And while it’s impossible to replace the networking and chance encounters you find at in-person events, thanks to cloud computing and some nifty platforms, you can still attend and create online events that pull in the crowds and bring you face-to-face (sort of) with potential leads and partners.
This blog looks at how, even if you can’t attend a show IRL, you can still obtain the benefits of online event marketing and promote your digital brand presence. This is for companies who want to know how to get the best out of expo season (both in terms of attending and staging events) from the comfort of your home or office.
Online event marketing and virtual networking
First, for those who regularly attend expos and events in person, you’ll know. It’s almost impossible to replace the ad-hoc encounter that leads to something great. However, with a good plan of action you can attend even more events online (without the travel or hotel costs) and up your networking numbers that way.
> Create a digital version of yourself
When it comes to putting your best foot forward online, it’s important to update your social media profiles (largely LinkedIn and Twitter) to represent your current circumstances. So, for individuals, that means making sure your job title and work profiles are not out of date. So, for LinkedIn you should connect with your colleagues, like and share your company’s posts, as well as connect with people who are relevant to your professional world. Think about who you’d like to meet in ‘real life’ and try to befriend them online.
For organisations, this also means posting up-to-date content that is relevant to your audience in the run-up to any online events. Choose from the events that are out there and tailor your content and other posts to fit. If you’re thinking about creating a webinar or other kind of online event, posting quality content to engage your audience is also a must.
> Attend events
To make the most of ‘event season’, search around for the usual events your sales, marketing or developer teams usually attend. Find out when and where they are happening. Then make a schedule of events, encourage your teams to pick and choose events they will get value from, and book yourself in. This way, you can keep a profile of what events are happening, who’s attending and what you hope to get out of them.
Looking for value from expos and events will vary depending on what your organisation does. For most of our clients, attending keynotes from large technology partners, networking with other partners and amplifying their product or services to gain leads is a key reason they attend these events in the first place.
Host online events
The last year has taught many of us that it doesn’t actually take that much to create and host an event yourself. This can be a great way to amplify your digital brand presence. Thanks to cloud computing tools, setting up several webinars, inviting guest speakers and presenters over consecutive days is cheaper and faster than you might imagine.
> Webinar for leads
Creating a webinar is more straightforward than you might think. It’s also a tried and tested way of bringing in those precious leads. Our advice:
- Consider your subject: what does your audience want to hear and see?
- Bring in a big name: who can you bring in as a guest speaker to liven things up?
- Create your presentations: much in the same way you would for sales or marketing proposals. Add multimedia to make your webinar as engaging as possible.
- Start a conversation: the great thing about hosting a webinar is you get a live response to your work. Make sure to include a Q&A session, so your audience can contribute.
- Promote your event ahead of time: use social media, blog posts and other marketing channels to make sure your audience knows when and where your event is happening.
> Web summit for industry presence
Create a web summit where you showcase your company’s thought leadership and/or demonstrate the value of your solutions live (and on-demand) to your leads. This is an excellent way to create essentially a several-day event that showcases your company’s expertise. Our advice:
You could think of a web summit simply as a series of webinars. You can tie them together thematically or separate different subjects on each day of the event. Creating a landing page or even microsite is a good way of making sure all the right information for your audience is in one place.
> Release an industry report
Industry reports demonstrate your expertise and show that you truly have your finger on the pulse of your target audience’s wants and needs. Understanding your industry and going really in-depth with your subject matter is a differentiator and will make you stand out in a crowded marketplace. Our advice:
Decide on your subject matter. So much of your success will be tapping into the right subject that engages your readers. You already have reams of experience and expertise at your fingertips. Use it. Create a team in your business who can come up with a good idea for a report. Consider creating a survey for your customers, both current and potential, and get some on the ground data that you can use to create some electrifying content.
Partner with the experts to bring your online event to life
Even if you have a lot of experience creating online events, you could always use a helping hand. And if you’re only thinking about dipping your toe in the water, a marketing partner with experience of creating online events is a good way to go.
At Fifty Five and Five, we use our extensive online event marketing experience to develop content that speaks to our clients’ audience. And that includes helping create the narrative and strategy around your online events. Get in touch today.