We know events. After working with over a thousand events in the past three years — small, huge and everywhere in between — we’ve learned that there are two ways to approach trade shows, expos, and conferences.
The first and most prevalent way people define these events is as a “happening.” A three-day extravaganza that descends on a venue like a battalion of soldiers, bustling through booths, herding into keynotes, and swapping business cards and cocktails. Then, everyone goes home and takes a sick day, the event fading from their memories in a haze until next year.
Face-to-face events will always feature this component; it’s the backbone of our industry. But with recently-plateaued industry growth and a rising tide of digital competition, organizers must get the most mileage out of their events or risk obsolescence.
Therefore, the second and more slow-burning way to think of events is as a brand unto themselves. Publishers will nod knowingly at this, even if attendees and exhibitors don’t think of events that way. We must recognize the event experience itself as a 365-day-a-year ROI opportunity. Publishers work year-round to produce amazing events as well as amazing media, so why limit brand engagement to a few days?
This is the way Feathr approaches events. Publisher-hosted events create a marketplace between your attendees and exhibitors — but are you doing everything you can to monetize your audience year-round? It starts with leveraging the data you already have, like content consumption trends, webinar attendance, and session attendance at last year’s event. Using this data, you may already be providing compelling content marketing to distinct segments of users.
You can also maximize your event ROI by making sure sponsors and audiences get connected via technology, data points, and face-to-face meetings. Your exhibitors want access to attendees — not just during the event, but before and after as well. By taking a 365-day perspective and leveraging digital tools and audience data, you can provide value and monetize access between those parties throughout the year.
Start small by simply keeping in touch with event audiences. Email, social media, and the event app itself are excellent starting places. Publishing engaging content and having industry-specific webinars, niche events, and discussions a few times a year keeps your event at the top of your audience’s mind, as do digital tactics like retargeting and omni-channel marketing.
Let go of the idea that your every move be aimed at driving registrations. Focus on providing educational and entertainment value year-round with content like articles, polls, photos, or videos. Featuring exhibitors and sponsors throughout the year is another way to elicit cross-promotional opportunities and expand the audience of both brands. This can be done by driving traffic to referral landing pages and including them in your digital and live outreach events. A year-round engagement plan only needs to inspire an audience to think about your brand during the off season. That’s part of the overall experience, and it’s essential in today’s market.
Here at Feathr, we are always happy to hear from publishers who want to get more ROI out of their events. How do you engage your audience 24/7/365?
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