How Marketing Automation Helps the Events Industry
Here on the Grapevine Interactive blog, we’ve shared some tips on how marketing automation helps a huge range of industries, from real estate to the pharmaceutical industry, travel industry, and retail sector. Today, we’re taking a look at how automation helps the events industry.
Essentially falling within the B2B sector, the events industry comprises two sub-markets – in-person events and functions, where physical attendance is required and remote events such as webinars, which are attended from various locations all over the globe. While both have very unique challenges and requirements, they fall under the broader niche of functions. Whether you are a small marketing agency specialising in product launches, a trade show organiser planning national exhibitions, a large scale eventing firm that plans conferences and corporate team building adventures, a wedding planner or venue or even a coach or author who regularly plans remote events such as webinars and live chats on social media, marketing automation can offer huge value.
Some of the areas that marketing automation adds the most value to all types of eventing businesses include the following:
- It simplifies pre-event and post-event messaging in a way that ensures highly personalised messages rather than generic messages. This, in turn, can encourage repeat business in the case of post-event messages and even boost attendance in the case of pre-event messaging.
- It can easily integrate within your CRM, providing sales and bookings teams with critical insight into event attendees and audiences, which can be used for future messaging and targeting.
- It ensures a holistic overview of each guest. For example, a person visiting your expo booth could have already visited your website or interacted with your email campaign, which increases the value and helps to score leads more effectively.
Using Marketing Automation for Events
How can you use marketing automation to get more from your in-person and remote events? Let’s take a look at some of the ways that automation can be used for events of all types.
Trade shows, private events, conferences, exhibitions, and other in-person events are governed by a number of best practices that can be met with the help of marketing automation tools to ensure a more efficient event. Some of the ways that these tools can assist include the following:
Drive traffic to your event.
If you’re booked for a trade show, you may get lucky enough to have access to attendee email addresses before the event. It is more likely that you will need to do your own outreach, however. You could make use of an omnichannel marketing strategy that incorporates email, mobile, social, and lead generation to build up email addresses of relevant audiences who are likely to attend your event. You can go one step further by using segmentation to divide your list according to geographic and demographic factors or even business interests. You can also use lead scoring to focus on the leads most likely to attend your event. In all communication, make sure that you add your booth number along with information on why the event will be worth visiting.
Provide networking opportunities.
Once people attend your event, you will be able to stay in touch. Even before the event, however, you can use audience insight to segment your lists for networking. You could offer an exclusive pre-event function, for example, inviting strong leads who have shown signs of interacting with your website. Rather than focusing only on selling, see it as a chance to network and build relationships. This can be far more valuable over the long term.
Nurture event contacts and relationships.
After your event, you want to ensure that your business is kept front of mind. Marketing automation helps you plan post-event campaigns that can be personalised according to whether purchases were made, how large the purchases were, whether or not the customer has been a customer previously, how interested they were in general, and various other behaviours. You can build a rich, optimised campaign such as a lead nurturing funnel that leads people up to sales or other conversions.
With the right tools, you will also be able to track and report on attendance, follow up message opens, pre-event message interaction, and various other behaviours. Reporting is a vital tool for events, helping you perfect your strategies and improve wherever needed. You will have a clear outline of problem areas and successful areas, which, in turn, can only help you deliver a more consistent client experience at the next event.
For remote events such as webinars, online courses, live chats, and similar types of events, marketing automation can be equally useful. Some of the ways that automation can assist with this type of event include the following:
Unifying your brand message across all event communications.
Generic webinar platforms can be limiting from a brand consistency point of view. A custom system that incorporates automation platform and other tools will be far more effective. When you are able to integrate your webinar or remote online event platform, you will be able to create personalised landing pages, emails, reminders, invites, follow-ups, and other communication that is designed to convert and impress.
Perfecting your pre-event and post-event messaging.
Like in-person events, messaging is essential both prior to events and after events. Personalised campaigns can be created to raise awareness and increase audience reach before events take place, while post-event communication can be used to sell related products such as courses, ebooks, and similar merchandise.
Recording presentations to use in follow-up campaigns.
You could also sell videos of conferences that were recorded in real-time, for those who were unable to attend the main event. Otherwise, you can also drive engagement with recorded snippets from your event, to use in various ways. This can be effective for those who attended and those who were unable to attend.
Creating a registration page.
You can use landing pages to create rich, optimised registration pages that encourage people to sign-up and attend. You could add opt-in freebies such as exclusive resources – worksheets, mini-guides, short ebooks or other helpful tools. Unlike in-person events, remote events are more flexible and do not require attendance in real-time if the event is recorded. This gives you a lot more flexibility in how you market your webinars and online courses.
Scoring leads from your event.
Last, but not least, you will, of course, be able to collect and score leads from your event. These can be used to create segmented lists to target for future events and promotions. Make sure that you make full use of testing and other features to get the most from your lead scoring.
Ready to see how a digital marketing platform can take your events business to the next level? Contact us today to learn how Grapevine Interactive helps you succeed with tailored marketing automation solutions.