Here in Austin, the sun is shining brighter, the birds are tweeting louder and the traffic is a whole lot traffic-ier than usual. That’s right, folks—SXSW is upon us! We have several Bulldogs scheduled to attend and can’t wait to see what the festival has in store. But all the excitement got us thinking—how can companies make the most out of their events?
We often have the pleasure of helping our clients plan and market industry events throughout the year. Whether your event is as big as SXSW or as small as a local happy hour, conferences, road shows and even webinars are your chance to meet with clients and provide information about the latest technologies or services, educational resources and opportunities to network.
If you play your cards right, the ROI of an event can far exceed expectations. By using a few key tools and tactics, you can help your event sprout legs and extend its reach beyond just one day.
1. Social Media
This does not mean create a hashtag and call it a day. Don’t get me wrong—a hashtag is an important piece of the puzzle, but simply plastering it on a bunch of signs and slide decks is not enough. To increase engagement, round up tweets and display them throughout the event. At TD Ameritrade’s National LINC conference, select tweets with the conference’s hashtag were displayed on “Social Walls” throughout the event space.
TD Ameritrade even took it a step further by including a mobile version of the Social Wall in the National LINC app. This app was specially created for the conference and included a variety of other interesting features, such as maps, exhibitor information, speaker bios and much more. By crowdsourcing tweets, you’re not just giving attendees the thrill of seeing their content featured—you’re also encouraging others to get in on the fun and share their thoughts.
2. Downloadable Resources
Another great use of TD Ameritrade’s National LINC app was the ability to download slide decks and other resources mentioned during sessions. But you don’t need an app to do something similar. Try creating a landing page or content portal that your event attendees can visit to download key resources that were discussed during the event. (Content2Conversion did a great job of this!) You may even consider making the resources shareable on social media and via email. If the resource is high-value, try gating the content to gather more qualitative data about your customers. Another great result of sharing slide decks and other resources after an event is that attendees will be less focused on taking notes and more focused on the information you’re telling them.
Even if your organization’s website doesn’t contain a blog, writing summaries of the information discussed at your event is a great way to refresh attendees’ memories, give them something to bring back to their colleagues and to inform those who weren’t able to attend. If you don’t have a blog, try guest blogging! Find an industry blog or online magazine that serves your target audience and negotiate some space for native content. It’s also a good idea to invite writers and representatives from these press organizations to your event. Doing so will likely prompt them to write a few blog posts or articles of their own, at little to no charge to you.
4. Video Highlights
If your event is highly informative, consider recording it and letting it live on a gated landing page. This is another effective way to collect qualitative data and generate leads, as well as expand on your investment in the event. Not only does video let attendees revisit content, but it also gives anyone who didn’t attend the chance to view the content.
Did your event uncover a few quick bites of information that could make a mighty impact on your industry? Create an infographic! These highly-visible pieces of content are great for catching people’s attention and are easy to share across social media.
6. Email Nurtures
Once you have your resources in place, be loud and proud about promoting them. Create a post-event email nurture that alerts your clients (and potential clients) that there are fresh resources to be downloaded. Encourage them to pass these resources on to others where applicable, then watch as your audience starts to grow.