6 Ways to Pivot Your Event Strategy to Cover Your Lead Deficit
Best laid plans. That’s what comes to mind in the wake of mass cancellations due to Coronavirus (aka COVID-19). HIMSS, a major healthcare industry event; telecom’s Channel Partners Expo; SXSW, Austin’s largest music festival; and many other noteworthy events have been canceled just days before the event.
These cancellations are unfortunate for anyone whose plans are affected, but especially B2B sales and marketing teams that rely heavily on tradeshow leads to fuel their funnels. These teams spend months planning for seasonal shows to maximize direct interactions with prospects. Now thousands of professionals are at a loss, asking: how do we recover those leads?
Fortunately, technology enables some creative and relatively low-cost options. Here are six ways to pivot your event strategy to help recover those leads.
1. Take Your Event Online with a Virtual Booth
If you’ve already completed your booth creative, you’re halfway there! Use that foundational design to develop a virtual booth. You can house it with a video, landing page or micro-site, or whatever sparks your imagination. The more creative you can be, the more you can rise above the noise and grab your prospects’ attention.
Pro tip: We highly recommend an incredible tool called vablet to create your virtual booth. You can even try it for free.
2. Host a Webinar
Many people attend tradeshows to capitalize on the latest trends in their industry. In the wake of these massive cancellations, your prospects suddenly have a gap in their schedule—a gap you can fill with thought-leading insights about your industry.
The webinar can be an asset in your virtual booth or another tactic entirely. Regardless, we recommend producing an educational session with the message you were hoping to convey at the event. You can even create a learning path to hold your viewer’s attention after the webinar is complete. Every suggestion in this blog could play a role in your learning track.
Pro tips: Liven up your webinar with customer testimonies and/or a virtual panel discussion with channel partners. Remember: the webinar is for prospects, so it should be about what they want to hear—not just what you want to say. There’s a difference!
3. Personalized Video Messages
This option can serve multiple purposes—it can be a great addition to your virtual booth, as well as your social and email campaigns.
Personalized video messages help cultivate the face-to-face interaction lost by the conference cancellation. So, be authentic, and don’t worry about creating a high-end production. All you need are a few client-centric points, a location with good natural light, a decent backdrop and a smartphone. Trust us, the more candidly you can present industry insights, important updates and the solutions your prospects should know about, the more empathetic and trustworthy you will seem.
Pro tips: If you’re posting your video on LinkedIn, edit the version down to under 30 seconds. If you’re using the video on a webpage, landing page or in an email series, feel free to go longer (but no longer than two minutes). Keep in mind, people want the information they crave fast. So be brilliant.
4. Recycle Your Booth Giveaways
Don’t bury those event tchotchkes in the marketing closet just yet. Instead, re-purpose them. You can send them to your desired accounts in a direct mail campaign with a hand-written note. Bonus points if you include additional tailored content—an invite to your webinar, perhaps?
Pro tips: If you were planning a giveaway, use it to incentivize people to take an action. Use that lusty iPad or Alexa giveaway to fill seats in your webinar (don’t forget the “must be present to win” disclaimer!). Or, use it to entice email subscriptions to bookings on your calendar. Whatever your goals may be, don’t let any of your event efforts go to waste. Reduce, reuse and recycle your assets, and continue to engage target accounts.
5. Account-Based Marketing or “Named Accounts” Marketing
Chances are you’ve done the hard work of identifying key accounts you wanted to touch base with at the conference. Now all you have to do is use that data to your advantage.
You can turbo-power all these strategies by delivering virtual assets to your top accounts. If your events strategy isn’t already woven into your ABM strategy, this might be an exciting opportunity to think “big picture” about your overall marketing.
Pro tip: Small tweaks to your existing event content could easily yield tailored content intended for a small run of hot, sales-ready accounts. Do some preliminary research about decision-makers at your top accounts and tailor your messaging to address that person’s pain. The more specific you can be, the more your content will resonate, and thus, lead to conversion.
6. Triple Check Automated Programs
This one is crucial. The moment you catch wind of the event cancellation, make sure your team checks—and re-checks—all your automated programs. The last thing you want is to mistakenly send social posts or emails about a canceled event. Instead, update the messaging (remember, no waste allowed!) and promote your new virtual booth or thought-leading content.
Pivot Your Strategy, Recover Your Leads
COVID-19 is stressful for many reasons, not just as a public health crisis but as an economic disappointment as well. The best advice we can give is don’t let your event efforts go to waste. Pivot your strategy, and nurture leads with new, virtual assets.
If you need an extra set of hands to create assets quickly, target specific accounts or simply want to speak with someone who can help you brainstorm your way out of the struggle, Access Marketing Company can answer the call. Visit our contact page to schedule time with B2B Account-Based Marketing experts who get it. We’re here to help recover your event dollars with smart strategies that work.