No trade shows – no problem

June 5, 2020


Trade shows are the ‘proof of the pudding’ for content marketers. It’s often where we finally see all our hard work pay off – especially if you are in the B2B tech space. Events such as MWC are fundatimelmental calendar markers for the telecoms industry, with a hundred thousand attendees travelling from all over the globe to network, generate leads, and of course, see and test out the latest innovative tech.

The event was of course cancelled this year, the first time in its 30 year history. So, the question now facing B2B tech marketers is how to redistribute materials, budget, and resources in the face of an eventless market?

Reuse, repurpose and recycle

Unlike many industries at the moment, the overall B2B tech ecosystem is surviving, and in some cases, even thriving. But without events to close sales and build relationships, it’s essential to understand what other channels will be most effective. For many B2B tech brands, this is the moment to find out that your content marketing agency or in-house expert is your new best friend.

If, like many of our clients, part of your marketing calendar is given over to preparing for big events such as MWC, you might have already created a stack of sales content, before cancellations. Use them.

Yes, you may not be able to hand out a brochure, white paper, or use case physically to a prospect, but you can still leverage the content within it. Here are some tips:

  • Repurpose the content you’ve spent months preparing, drafting, and refining
  • Place use cases in sales presentations and conduct virtual meetings with warm leads, tailored to their specific business challenges and requirements
  • Create a LinkedIn campaign for your target audience and send them to gated content on your website, so you can track leads and performance
  • Send a drip-email campaign to your current customer base to share a recent white paper, repurpose that white paper to create a series of blogs for your website, and share them on your social channels
  • Better yet, create a social media programme and get your colleagues involved to share recent content to their individual networks to increase visibility

This is the era of digital content marketing and the B2B tech industry is well equipped to deliver the sales enablement materials your customers want and need, in a virtual way.

Be prepared

None of us truly know if, or when, things will go back to ‘normal’. But, in the meantime, we need to get good at running these events online – fast. While running an event virtually is a skill that has to be learned through trial and error, planning and rehearsing can cut down that margin for error.

Take webinars, for example. You don’t need to focus your efforts on large stands plastered with key messaging, but you should consider a plain backdrop with your company’s logo design on it for brand awareness. And whereas, you previously spent a number of days setting up your stand and ensuring seamless technical integration for screens and videos, you now need to worry about whether your home internet bandwidth is going to keep up if you have 500 people attend a session. If possible, set up the ability of how you can easily switch between screens and monitors if you have more than one asset to stream live.

Think about putting a guide together for webinar hosts and panellists, so everyone knows what to expect – this will be valuable for future webinars. Ensure you build enough time into your planning and timeline to conduct a dry run and iron out any creases, so things go smoothly on the day.

Tackling virtual events

A Zoom webinar is just one example of how to approach an online event in the current crisis. There are numerous platforms available to utilise, depending on what your end goal is.

Another great way to run virtual events is to create a dedicated webpage on your existing site, showcasing the products, solutions, and content that you would have otherwise presented at an event. Make it visual, incorporate infographics, videos, or platform demonstrations into the page to keep content varied and engaging for readers. Get your colleagues involved by embedding an around-the-clock chat service, so viewers can pose questions directly to the experts like they would at any ‘normal’ event.

Offering content in this way can even generate more leads than ‘regular’ physical events. Readers will have the advantage of perusing your content at their leisure, taking their time to digest what they’re looking at and ask those all-important questions, which will get them on your database and gently guided through the sales funnel.

But don’t forget, you need to plan these types of events well in advance, so your experts can be available on the day(s), and that they have all the materials they need to answer any questions the audience may ask.

While we are all still hoping to inject a little normality back into our lives, it is possible that large industry events will be one of the last areas to ease restrictions. And while we all wait for that day to come, virtual events should be at the top of your agenda, to keep the momentum going and increase sales.

If you’d like to learn how to drive ROI with content marketing for events in 2021, read our recent blog, here. Alternatively, contact [email protected] to find out how Isoline can help you with your content marketing in a COVID-19 world.


Photo by Benedikt Geyer on Unsplash

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