Events are an important part of marketing your product. This is especially true for the B2B niche, where events bring tons of potential clients and partners together.
There are dozens of major ecommerce conferences, like eTail or the Imagine Conference. You also have hundreds of local events, meetups, and seminars. You can’t visit all of them. For many businesses it’s also a matter of budgeting. Sending someone to an event costs money and you can only cram so many events into your marketing expenditures.
There are a lot of great guides out there that can help you position yourself during an event to maximize the impact of your marketing efforts, bring in leads, and boost your brand’s recognition.
But what about the events you’re not visiting? What if I told you you’re missing out on some great opportunities that can help you boost your growth without actually having to be present at an event? At MageCloud we deal with a lot of Magento events taking place all over the world. With a small team and a modest marketing budget, we had to find other ways of promoting ourselves during conferences. We found a couple of very practical ways to help us expand our reach without actually having to visit these numerous events.
In this post I’ll share some simple practices to help your marketing team reap all of the benefits of going to industry events. The best part is that you don’t actually have to attend all of them. These will require some planning and timely execution, but the benefits for your business can be very powerful.
One of the most important steps in this process is careful planning. You have to be able to identify important events in advance and plan your marketing activities accordingly, which we’ll discuss later in this post.
You can do a couple of things. First, you’ll have to find the events (duh) if you’re not yet familiar with your niche’s landscape. A simple Google search for terms like “ecommerce events” will help you identify the initial list of conferences and other potentially interesting events. You can always refine your search by using terms more specific to your niche like “Magento conference” or “retail events.” Always make sure to add the year that you’re interested in to get the most relevant results.
Industry organizations might also have relevant information. For example, National Retail Federation has a great list of upcoming events you might want to check out.
Another important part is logging these events in a way that will help you to easily contact organizers and execute your marketing activities.
Everyone has a way that’s most convenient for them and their team. We, for example, like to use a shared Google Sheets document that displays all of the upcoming events with details about organizers, social media info (including relevant hashtags), and any other contact info that might come in handy. This way any member of our team can access the information and add details if there’s a new event that hasn’t yet been included. You can also sync this info with your Google calendar for useful reminders.
Screenshot of our event sheet
It’s also important to be able to contact these people and organizations in advance. Because some of the tactics I’m going to share below will require planning and content that has to be ready in advance.
There are a lot of event organizers looking for additional publicity. There are also a lot of events that use publicity as their main marketing driver. This is especially true if we’re talking about niche industry events that are relevant to specific businesses and don’t have a wide audience.
If the contact list, that we discussed previously, is properly updated you can easily contact event organizers in bulk with your partnership requests. A simple promotional package that you may offer in your request can include blog posts, social media shares, and other activities that can help organizers spread the word about their event.
Our company listed on an event website
In return, you can always request the organizers to link to your website and share information about your company with their fans, followers, subscribers, etc.
Examples of links to our website from various event websites
There are no downsides to this approach—you’re getting additional publicity, more backlinks, and more traffic. At the same time, your audience is exposed to relevant information about niche industry events. In some cases, the organizers may choose to print your logos on various promo materials. This also means additional free offline advertising.
You can do the same thing with participants and contact companies you know are going to be attending. Find out if they need help spreading the word. Point to posts and links that you’ve prepared for the organizers. This might get them interested in a cross promotion through social media, blog, or newsletter.
As you can see, we have some relevant hashtags in our table with event details. These are very useful for engagement as they allow you to get the right attention from the right audience. And most importantly—on the spot.
There are a large amount of people tweeting during various popular ecommerce events. It’s a great opportunity to get in on the action.
Example of a tweet during IRCE 2016
You can tweet highlights or your thoughts about specific speakers or presentations. You can also post relevant links to your publications that might be interesting for the attendees.
A nice way of attracting people from social media is to organize a live broadcast of the event. You can experiment with formats, but the key factor here is being able to update the information on the go.
You can search Twitter for updates, as they happen, using the relevant hashtags you collected before the event.
You can also provide context for the information you’re sharing by sharing stats and numbers that people usually tweet out during presentations. This also helps you with content for your blog.
Not to mention that, as long as you keep the broadcast updated, you can post it through numerous social media outlets without any damage to your reputation.
If you’re looking for great content marketing opportunities, then this is the right tactic for you. It’s simple and can generate some great shareable and memorable pieces of content.
After the event is over you can create a recap post with the most important details and updates that were revealed during the event. This post can be based on your live broadcast that I suggested earlier.
This kind of content might also be interesting for other people who haven’t attended the event. Depending on the niche, this might be a great potential audience. This content also serves as great newsletter material. Many businesses in our Magento niche have realized the benefits of this type of content:
It’s important to create these recaps very soon after the event is over while you can still leverage the buzz about it. In terms of PR, this kind of content also solidifies your position in the niche.
Tap Into Niche Discussion Forums
There might be hundreds of locations where you can spread the word about an upcoming event. If you already have content about it on your blog, use these niche forums and spread the word about the event. But keep in mind that people don’t like spam and it’s always better to give your content a human touch. Simply posting links online won’t cut it.
Here are some locations you might want to explore for your additional content sharing needs:
- Facebook and Google+ groups dedicated to the event/niche
- Niche forums, dedicated to your product/market
- Niche subreddits
- Niche Q&A discussions, where your links might be appropriate
Some of the benefits, depending on your execution, destination website, and content, may include additional traffic, boost to brand recognition, and better content indexing by search engines.
All of these simple techniques can be used separately and as a complex solution for business growth. The above tactics allow businesses to explore event marketing, even when they’re not actually attending specific events. But they can also be easily executed if you’re actually present at the event, which may greatly multiply the effect of your marketing tactics.
All of these can also be easily integrated into your content marketing strategy, as the proposed tactics carry a number of very promising benefits for businesses. You can build partnerships, satisfy your content needs, increase traffic, and build a better SEO profile with these tactics.
If you have any other marketing ideas that can be easily implemented off-site during various niche events and conferences, feel free to share them in the comments below.