Who could have predicted what 2020 would have brought us? As well as significant changes in our daily lives, normal work practices have also altered for the foreseeable future. For marketing, this has caused many planned 2020/21 activities to be halted, in particular, events.
The loss of event marketing is a misfortune for many B2B companies that rely on their annual trade show circuit and specialist conferences to connect with customers, showcase their products and discover new business. The immediate future for this channel has disappeared, and businesses should now look beyond their usual event appearances to demand a presence in their marketplace.
With many planned 2021 events now cancelled, there is likely to be more flexibility in a company’s marketing budget to spend on a channel that can be used now. But where should you reinvest that budget? For Motion, digital marketing is our strong winner. As customer habits and behaviours shift online during this period, we want to share how digital marketing can help you still achieve the key benefits event marketing would have delivered for your business.
Face-to-Face Connection with Customers and Prospects
Exhibition and event venues are rarely a place of quiet. The buzz from attendees and exhibitors offers plenty of conversation and face-to-face contact with existing customers and prospects. Businesses may be feeling apprehensive about how they stay connected with the loss of this interaction.
A Digital Marketing Solution:
Video Conferencing – Video conferencing can enhance not only internal team motivation and collaboration but also your customer/prospect connection. At Motion Marketing, video conferencing is an extremely valuable tool. It allows face-to-face time with our team and clients for improved partnership, understanding and morale.
Video conferencing can be integrated across all your digital channels. Update your call-to-actions on websites, email campaigns and other online communications to allow for customers to book 1-2-1 video meetings to keep the communication flowing. Video meetings were attractive to many customers even before the COVID-19 restrictions, as they provide an opportunity to quickly learn about your business, its offerings and USPs without the same time commitment a physical meeting often requires.
Social Media Marketing – Social media was designed for conversation and connecting. So, at a time where our social communications and interactions are restricted, this is the perfect tool for reaching out to new users in your target audience and building relationships.
Regularly post thought-provoking messages, not just promotional, to stay at the forefront of a customer’s mind. Encourage users to comment and get involved, join the conversation and you will slowly build up a loyal following. If you need help with your B2B social media, see how Motion can help here.
Showcase Your Physical Products
Events are a great channel for showcasing physical products to potential buyers. Allowing them to see the product in-action and directly ask questions all contribute to building more confidence in your offering. For engineering and manufacturing, this is extremely useful for demonstrating often physical products and solutions and for generating a ‘buzz’…we have worked with customers over many years with events for good reason!
A Digital Marketing Solution:
Website and Educational Tools – Firstly, ensure your website is current and regularly updated with your new products and solutions, clearly showcasing their unique benefits. Provide plenty of educational resources to allow customers to perform their research before making a purchasing decision.
Creating white papers, datasheets, product animations and videos, downloadable infographics and product catalogues will keep the confidence in your products high. Case studies will make it clear for them to see your product/solution in-action (even better if it’s in a similar environment to their own) and running regular webinars with an open forum will enable customers to ask their questions.
E-Commerce – Consider expanding your website with an e-commerce store. The transformation in the industrial sector is largely driven by changing customer habits and buying behaviours, which has only increased during COVID-19.
A B2B e-commerce site for manufacturing and engineering will offer their customers a streamlined ordering process to help improve business-customer relationships and in turn, their overall experience with the brand. It will unlock much-needed opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, important for business during uncertain times.
Although industrial businesses are often complex, translating this to an online e-commerce store is achievable and can offer more personalised products for users, product configuration tools, or an opportunity to sell spare parts easily.
Discover New Business
Perhaps one of the top goals for businesses attending events is the possibility of discovering new business. There are often thousands of attendees during large exhibitions such as the Southern Manufacturing Show, Railtex, IT Expo etc. which presents a great opportunity for businesses to connect with new prospects.
A Digital Marketing Solution:
SEO and Content Marketing – Digital marketing can still allow you to reach a wider audience. More users are shifting online during this period, and as such even more users are researching and purchasing online. By targeting the right keywords and optimising your content for those actively searching for your product/service offerings, you can generate new and relevant traffic that has a higher intent of converting.
As a key lead-generation source, B2B SEO is important for sustained website success. With no upfront costs, SEO is a cost-effective strategy that will aid website growth. As an inbound and long-term strategy, the initial investment in your SEO will help to generate new leads far beyond the end of an event.
Social Media Advertising – Online platforms, like LinkedIn, are good for targeting new customers. Their extensive list of filter options means you can run advertising campaigns directly targeting your focused audience. Adapt your event sales pitches for paid sponsored posts, carousel ads or in-mails on LinkedIn to start growing new business. With LinkedIn’s flexible budget options, there is a solution for all looking to advertise.
We hope the loss of event marketing to B2B companies can be overcome through clever reinvestment into digital mediums that can deliver results now. If you need help reinvesting your 2021 event budgets, please view our digital marketing services to see what we can achieve together or book a video meeting with the team to discuss how we can help.