Content Marketing and Trade Shows: How to Drive Conversions Post-Event

Event marketing isn’t just what happens at the event. You need a pre- and post-show plan. While the pre-event email may be a simple message to guide people to visit you, what are you doing post-event? Simply sending an impersonal “great to see you” email with a call to action to sign up now just won’t cut it.

How do you know they are ready to buy? Where are they on the buyer’s journey? Have these leads been qualified? Are they new or existing? Lots of questions, and you probably don’t have all the answers.

You also need to gain better ROI for trade show spend, which for B2B companies can be as much as 41.3% of their marketing budget. Spending this kind of money means you have to have a follow-up plan that converts.

That’s why content marketing makes sense and has the power to extend your connection with a customer beyond the initial meeting. Let’s take a look at how your post-event plan can be guided by the power of content marketing

Create Interest Around a Content Offer

The interactions at trade shows between companies and prospects seem almost intimate, as you get the chance to look someone in the eye and shake their hand. But how can you keep that connection going?

It all starts with creating interest around a valuable piece of content. This content should be educational in nature and really help open the eyes of your audience. In so many sectors, there is plenty of misinformation or myths floating around. How can you capitalize on setting the record straight? How exactly do you do content marketing for an event?

When an education gap exists, you’re still playing in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. Play to that in the type of content you offer. A perfect example is an eBook with titles like “Myths Revealed” or “Ultimate Guide.”

You generate interest on such a piece by sprinkling in excerpts all around your booth. Your digital display could have talking points. You could also add infographics that illustrate different data points. Let your booth help tell the story.

In fact, you may have prospects asking lots of questions. Don’t answer them all. Give them some information, but revert back to talking about the content.

Boost Sign-Ups with an Offer They Want

At every trade show, the main objective is lead generation, with a dominating 83% of trade show exhibitors citing this as their main motivation to attend them. This begins with a simple email address. Once you have this, you have a channel to communicate. But why would an attendee give you their email address?

Sure, they may complete a form as a way to enter a giveaway; however, they’ll probably quickly unsubscribe if you have nothing else to offer. Instead, sell the content.

Make sure the employees working your booth talk about this amazing piece of content you have and how much they’ll learn from it. When your content is both relevant and interesting, people will actually want to sign-up to receive it.

Why This Approach Works

The bottom line is that in this approach, you aren’t trying to sell them something. You are genuinely trying to educate them. This empowers decision makers with valuable information, information that competitors or their current providers probably aren’t talking about.

When you lead with education, your brand is immediately seen as more trustworthy. It also set an expectation that they’ll receive this follow-up email with a link to the content. Then once they have reviewed and learned, they should be in a position to ask more questions and, hopefully, develop more interest.

Crafting the Email

Now that you have prospects interested in the post-event email, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be strategically crafted. You’ll still want to follow the best practices of email marketing.

First, it needs to be timely, within four to five business days from the close of the event (consider that attendees may stay longer than exhibitors).

Next, you should use a relevant subject line referencing the event and content. The design should be simple, using an image of the front of the eBook. The copy should embody friendliness and helpfulness. Make sure it reminds the reader that he asked for this content.

Finally, finish it with a straight link to the PDF, as there’s no need to send them to a landing page because you already have their email, and your email system tracks clicks.

Keep Nurturing the Lead

Based on how the receivers respond to the first email, you can set up a nurture campaign to move them closer to becoming a customer. If a user opens the email and clicks on the content, that’s a sign of interest.

Follow up to this with another content offer based around some of the same ideas like an infographic or video. It’s something bite-sized they can scan or view in a few minutes. Keep the message consistent. It could even be repurposed content from the eBook in a new format.

If recipients didn’t click to the content, follow up with a slightly different email that offers the eBook to see if you have better results. Sometimes attendees are swimming in emails when they first return, and yours can get lost in the sea of messages.

After you’ve nurtured these groups, it’s time to offer them something that a sales-ready prospect would receive like a demo offer, free trial, or quote request. Any of these conversions could lead to the ultimate goal of winning the customer’s business.

Ensure Better ROI from Events with Content Marketing

Events are a large expenditure, so it’s important to understand how you get leads like this from introduction to conversion. Using targeted content offers to educate versus sell sets your brand up as an authority on the subject.

By setting the expectation and promoting the offer during the event, the post-event email is sure to have more success. With this kind of strategy, you should see improved conversions for leads obtained at trade shows. The key is to lead with education and continue the conversation.

If you’d like to learn more about how content marketing can improve your trade show ROI, then it’s time to talk to the experts at Marketing Insider Group.

Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.

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