August 4, 2020

It is no secret that the event and trade show world has been turned upside down as we continue to battle the ever-changing times of 2020.

While we have seen waves of initial shock and cancelations, we are also noticing that many event organizers are now switching gears to embrace this digital environment by offering virtual alternatives to in-person events, allowing attendees to participate from the comfort of their computers.

In this changing environment, what is a business to do?

So many brands rely on large events and conferences to market their products or services and reach new and existing customers. Targeting clients in this digital landscape is not easy, but with some thoughtful planning, you can seize opportunity, even at a distance.

Before we dive into our actionable tips, let’s first look at the different types of event formats. Digital events don’t have a rule book yet, and there isn’t one size that fits all. While there have been a handful of digital platforms that have risen to the top, the process and offering can vary widely.

Your first task is to talk to event organizers and understand every touchpoint that a customer will receive before, during, and after the event.

  • Can businesses advertise in event emails and promotions?
  • Will the event company allow businesses access to their email list(s)?
  • Is the event company sending any physical promotions or swag boxes prior to the event?
  • Can you take over the event company’s social media page(s) with a Facebook or Instagram Live session or posts?

Be sure to ask questions and understand what’s available and how to take advantage of unique opportunities.

Remember, we are currently living in the wild west of modified event planning. Nothing about these times are normal, so dream up innovative ways to reach target audiences and decide how you plan to “show up.”

5 Tips for Marketing Your Business at a Digital Event

1. Digital Ads
If you don’t read any further, read ads are more important now than ever. Re-target event attendees with your products, services, or supplemental information and webinars before, during, and after the event. Even if you aren’t interested in participating as a sponsor, you can identify and re-target event attendees. There are endless possibilities for digital ad campaigns and storytelling abilities; talk to our team about ideas, we’d be happy to help.

2. Email
If you can gain access to the attendee email list, be sure to take advantage! Develop a solid digital marketing campaign that scales from email to digital ads, ensuring event attendees are being exposed to your brand in multiple areas.

3. Be a Resource and Subject Matter Expert
Many events are still offering a tiered admission. Higher-end ticket prices will include extra webinars, resources, and even swag that is mailed before the event. Find out how your brand can integrate into these tiered structures. Can you offer an additional webinar for top-tier ticket holders? Perhaps you can host a virtual lunch 'n learn cocktail social, or coffee chat. We’ve seen fun ideas like sending out digital Grubhub gift cards in advance to webinar registrants with great success. The “sponsor” was able to truly host a lunch 'n learn, provide fresh content, interact with participants, build brand recognition, have a captive audience, and create a memorable experience for all involved.

4. Join the Conversation
Follow event hashtags, post on social, and be sure to engage in the event’s communication platform(s). From chat rooms and breakouts, you will want to be sure you are engaging with and answering questions during and after the event.

5. Plan Your Digital Assets
Thankfully, with a digital conversation, information can be passed quickly and saved easily! As you’ll be conversing with event attendees, you’ll want to make sure you have digital assets that are ready and easy to send. Send personalized thank you notes, create sharable thought leadership-style content, consider digital giveaways, and build landing pages specifically around your promotion of the event. This will allow you to track your conversions as well as continue the conversation after the event is over.

As we are all learning how to market in this new landscape, know you are not alone!

As branding and advertising strategists, we want to help you get the most out of navigating our new abnormal. If you need any help preparing for a virtual event opportunity, reach out to us. We will ensure your brand stands out from the rest!