event promotion strategies for your b2b brand

The events space has dramatically changed due to shifting regulations, expectations, and standards in the past few years. B2B brands that depend on events for lead generation had to maneuver this space in a way many never thought would become an essential part of their day-to-day. Now, as we emerge from a virtual era filled with lockdowns, Zoom meetings, and online catchups, the B2B world is ready to meet in person again—and that means taking your event marketing to the next level.

Hosting an event is a great way to connect with your community inside and outside your business, and the options for promotion are essentially unlimited. Even with a small budget, your marketing tactics can still significantly impact your bottom line. According to research conducted by event management platform Bizzabo, almost half (48.5%) of the events scheduled through their system for Q2 2022 were in person, compared to only 16.8% of in-person events in Q4 2021. They’ve also seen a two-time increase in hybrid and in-person events in the last three months compared to the three months prior.

This means that most people are not only eager for the opportunity to return face-to-face but also believe that the value they receive forming in-person connections cannot be replaced by virtual gatherings—even though it’s clear that virtual events won’t disappear anytime soon. So regardless if your next event is in-person, virtual, or some combination of both, it will be a phenomenal success as long as there’s the right marketing to give the best results.

The bar is set at a new level as people become more comfortable with hosting in-person events and attending them. You have to give your audience a reason to care about your event and, ultimately, your brand. The right amount of event promotion—before and after—will get feet in the door, generate buzz about your brand, and even convert consumers. 

Related Reading: How to Execute a Successful Event Marketing Campaign

Pre-Event Promotion

The one hurdle most marketers find difficult when promoting an event is ensuring it’s effective—creating a strategic game plan before your event is just as important as the event itself. Organizing your corporate event can require some out-of-the-box thinking to ensure you capture your audience’s attention. 

Content is King

Obviously, guests are the most important factor for events to work, and without them, the occasion is doomed to fail. People won’t know your event is happening if you don’t tell them it’s there. Curating shareable content leading up to the event can add to the pre-event buzz, tap new audiences for attendees, and keep the event top of mind when it’s all over. 

Blogging about your event gives you something other than your event landing page to link to social media. If your posts offer value to your audience, they will also share, increasing your exposure and making it easier to reach a wider audience. Running a teaser digital campaign can add to the anticipation and boost the interest in your brand. Constantly engaging with your audience is a key part of the promotion stage.

Don’t be afraid to involve your guest speakers and partners in your promotion. Whether you’re writing up an enticing description on your event page, sharing related videos and pictures, publishing a blog post about the event, or putting out a press release, the more content there is, the better—and it doesn’t hurt to give it a little B2B SEO love. Every little detail helps push your event front and center.

Be Creative, Engaging, and Personal

It’s crucial to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for your audience. People want to have fun when attending events—this expectation makes them get out of the house to come to your event. Now more than ever, people need a compelling reason to leave their families, spouses, and even pets home alone to go to a work event. So what can you give them that will make it worth their while?

When promoting, focus on the benefits they will get by attending your event, not the features. While the specs are essential, people desire to know what value your event gives them. Knowing what your audience is looking for can be advantageous, improving the chances for more attendees. Knowing what they want, you can better describe why they shouldn’t miss your event. For example, it’s worthwhile to mention there will be an influential photographer available to take headshots for attendees. This is also a chance to play up keynote speakers or any guests that relate to your audience and provide opportunities to network and community build.

Show your guests that you appreciate them and their time, and you’ll often find they’re more than willing to promote your event from sheer gratitude.

Lean Into Social Media

Events are social occasions, and no how-to guide would be complete without the mention of social media. You can promote your event on social media in various creative ways, varying widely depending on the platform. 

Facebook and LinkedIn enable you to build a page for the event and invite your professional connections. These platforms make it easier to enter communities interested in specific topics, so find one that fits your event’s central theme. On the other hand, Instagram and Twitter are great places to post creative graphics, real-time updates, and even exclusive behind-the-scenes of what’s coming. 

Related Reading: LinkedIn Events: Why They’re Awesome & How To Create Them

Creating an event-specific hashtag is also the perfect way to allow attendees to directly engage with your brand and become active participants in its promotion. Every time you post about your event, you want to always include this hashtag. This goes for your social media posts, other marketing channels, and any printed material. Reinforcing the hashtag helps anchor your event and keeps it on people’s minds. Try to stick to one consistent hashtag. No one likes a hashtag spammer.

Use whichever platforms make the most sense to you, depending on where you expect to find your target audience.

Related Reading: How to Market a Conference 

Post-Event Promotion

Ride the Momentum After Your Event

If you thought the promotion period was over because the event has passed, then you’re wrong! 

An event should not be the be-all-end-all solution for bringing awareness to your company. Instead, it should be a stepping stone toward your business goals and garner the attention you desire. This is the time to start compounding on all the activity your event has received. In other words: amplify your success, just like a B2B PR hit. 

Provide A Summary

Event recap posts are often easy and fun to create. A summary of presentations, photos during the event, and positive feedback quotes can keep the conversation surrounding your brand going and show others what they missed if they didn’t attend. User-generated content is much more relatable to people, so put a few of the best photos on your social platforms. Be sure to tag and mention people.

Related Reading: How to Take Your User-Generated Content from Good to Great

Be Generous With Thank-yous

Show gratitude after the event by thanking the speakers, sponsors, and attendees in follow-up tweets and posts. You can even send out surveys to collect information on what went well and what you can improve for next time. As we mentioned, showing your audience your appreciation is good for networking.

Keep Sharing!

In the days after the event, listen for others’ tweets, mentions, and blog posts. Then, when you see these mentions, share them! 

Related Reading: The Zendaya Method: How to Take Your Strategy to the Tipping Point

Corporate events are an excellent way to connect with your employees, customers, and business partners. Nonetheless, there’s little reward without proper promotion, so if you plan to host an in-person event, give it your all. You’re creating an experience that has the potential to build short-term and long-term success for your B2B brand and insert your company in the minds of consumers for a long time to come. 

And if you’re looking for a little help (or a lot), reach out! We’d love to help you reach your goals through event marketing.

b2b email marketing best practices to improve your roi

In B2B, we know email marketing works. Who can argue with an ROI of $36 from every $1 invested? Not us, that’s for sure. 

As B2B content marketing experts, we’ve worked with clients across industries to develop email campaigns, target the right audience, and optimize each element—from the language used to the images chosen. 

But for B2Bs without a full-service marketing and PR agency behind them, knowing what kind of B2B email marketing they need and how to execute them can be a conundrum. How do you make sure you’re using the channel in its most effective capacity? And what are the most crucial elements of a successful email marketing campaign? 

While there are many answers to those questions, let’s start by defining the two most popular kinds of email campaigns and talk about best practices for B2B email marketing.

Most Popular Types of B2B Email Marketing Campaigns

Drip Campaigns

Email drip campaigns are a series of messages sent at a regular interval—established by the marketer—to develop a brand’s relationship with its prospects. These days, drip campaigns can go beyond email—including SMS messages, direct mail, and social media. Unless a prospect unsubscribes, the drip campaign plays itself out to the end—regardless of consumer interaction, like clicks and purchases. 

Nurture Campaigns

Alternatively, nurture campaigns are a series of messages based on the prospect’s behavior. Rather than following a schedule like drip campaigns, nurture campaigns are sent via triggers, such as link clicked, form submitted, video watched, event registered for, and more. 

Five B2B Email Marketing Strategies

1. Write short and snappy subject lines. 

Subject lines are the first thing your recipient sees. Keep it short and snappy to get them intrigued enough to open. According to HubSpot, “The most effective email subject lines engage curiosity, include promotion offers, and are personalized to each recipient’s interests.” Another effective marketing tactic is highlighting facts and figures pertinent to your audience. 

But with 77% of marketers using email to reach their audience, the environment is competitive. Subject lines are the best way to help your message stand out amongst the rest. Consider the possibility for your subject line to create a sense of urgency or FOMO in your recipient. “Check out our sale!” isn’t nearly as urgent as “Only 24 hours left!” Additionally, it’s proven that those kinds of subject lines increase open rates by up to 56%

Brevity also helps, as most emails are opened on a mobile device nowadays, and the shorter headlines can be read in full on the smaller screen. Keeping your subject line under seven words (or under 30 characters) is a good rule of thumb. (PS: iPhone users won’t see your subject line past 32 characters anyway, so really keep this one in mind!) 

Related read: 11 Email Marketing Strategies That Guarantee a 50% Click-to-Open Rate

2. Define your segments—and actually know who they are. 

As with any digital campaign, it is imperative to know your audience. In email marketing, we can take this a step further by segmenting an audience into various categories: types of products purchased, declared interests, industry, job seniority, etc. In fact, subscriber segmentation was the most effective email marketing strategy—and message personalization followed as a close second.

Knowing your audience is no joke. ​​According to research, 83% of email recipients are more likely to open a personalized email than a generic one. So defining your segments and truly knowing who they are and what they want to get in their inbox is a surefire way to win at B2B email marketing.  

3. Automate! 

The third most effective strategy in email marketing is automation. Automation is crucial for both drip and nurture campaigns. It can help set and obtain measurable goals, improve message targeting, and increase customer satisfaction. With versatile AI options for small and large businesses, there is no reason not to take advantage of the power of automation. 

Automation can even help you become more personal with your email marketing by optimizing content with mapped customer behaviors. Investing in AI has effects much larger than the success of email marketing campaigns. It reduces time spent and errors introduced in many manual tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more creative tasks that require a human. But even if you ignore the larger picture, AI in email marketing is a game changer and should be used by every business running an email marketing campaign. 

Related read: 21 Common Questions About Email Marketing Answered

4. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. 

The key to most great things is testing. A great digital marketing campaign is no different; this goes for any kind of marketing. How are you supposed to know what works if you don’t test anything at all? Brands can expect up to a 28% higher ROI when split and spam testing emails before committing. 

While you are bound to find success once in a while by flying by the seat of your pants, testing your email content can help you understand what the best subject line is, whether your target audience likes emojis or not, and even what images drive more conversions! 

5. Respect your consumer’s privacy.

One of the biggest trends in recent years has been consumers’ emphasis on their privacy. They want personalization balanced with security. They don’t want to hand out their personal information—like email addresses and phone numbers—if they think a company will abuse them. 

In recent software updates, Apple’s iOS 15 can allow users to block email marketers from seeing specific data, including open rates. While this can seem disappointing, it’s an opportunity to pivot. By prioritizing more telling metrics—like click-through rates, web traffic, and even unsubscribes, marketers can still get a clear idea of what is happening in campaigns without invading their audience’s privacy. 

There’s a lot to learn to master the art of B2B email marketing. So if you’d rather concentrate on running your business, reach out. We’re happy to take your B2B marketing and PR efforts to the next level.

If you attended an event in the past few years, you’ve felt something has changed. Events went from canceled indefinitely to remote to hybrid to in-person with hybrid and remote options. The rollercoaster of expectations and regulations has been a lot, especially for businesses that depend on events to drive leads. 

In Q4 of 2020, the B2B exhibit cancellation rate was 97.9%. Within a year, in Q4 of 2021, the cancellation rate was down to 12.5%. So while everyone adapted to a virtual world, this significant drop illustrates that people are ready for live events again and adapting to “the new normal.” 

People are investing in travel to live events despite rising gas prices and airline tickets. There is a pent-up demand for connection, but the standards and expectations are different than they were before. The last two years have changed how attendees view events, and the ROI standards for event marketing are higher than ever before. 

Here at Zen Media, we do a lot of event marketing for our clients. Whether they are attending a trade show and need to know how to leverage that experience fully, or they are hosting their own event for the first time, we’ve guided them through the process. In fact, our president Stephanie Chavez is one of the world’s top 1% of event marketers!

But the bar is higher now. People are more protective of their time; they want connection and new experiences—not just the illusion of it. They want flexibility and fun. 

So how can businesses decide what kind of event to plan? And how can they meet (and exceed) the new consumer expectations? Check out the criteria below and see if you’d benefit most from a hybrid, virtual or in-person event!

You need a hybrid event if…

You want to increase your reach and flexibility. 

Hosting a hybrid event gives brands the ultimate reach and flexibility to accommodate attendees both physically and virtually. An in-person event will always have an upper limit on how many people can attend. But inviting virtual attendees means the sky is the limit. 

Hosting a hybrid event also means increasing your brand and content’s accessibility. The more accessible your content is, the more diverse your audience can be. And with  40% of LinkedIn’s membership changing job title, seniority, and industry every four years, it is imperative that brands reach beyond their niche market. Someone in an adjacent field with an interest in your industry may not cough up the money and time to go to a physical event, but they may join the virtual sessions on their lunch break or listen to the replays of recorded sessions. 

Hosting a hybrid event means a massive potential reach. But as Uncle Ben said, “With great reach comes great responsibility.” (Or something like that.

You can deliver a complete experience for both in-person and virtual attendees. 

In a survey of more than 200 marketers across the globe, Forrester found that 58% of respondents agree that “all flagship B2B marketing events will be hybrid in two years.” But it’s important to remember that hybrid doesn’t simply mean livestreaming your in-person event. A true hybrid event offers a full experience for both the in-person and virtual attendees and even provides some cross-over in terms of tech use. In-person attendees may even have the opportunity to network with virtual attendees, and the technology used will be inclusive to your audiences—no matter how they attend the event. Hybrid events demand seamless integration between the in-person and virtual audiences.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case in many hybrid events, with 39% of virtual attendees saying they didn’t feel included. But a hybrid event is an excellent option if you are committed to providing the whole event experience for all attendees—and have creative ways to do so. 

You want to increase pre- and post-event value. 

Think about your event marketing in terms of pre-, during-, and post-event. While everyone is hung up on making the occasion perfect, what you do for pre- and post-event marketing can sometimes outweigh the actual event. In fact, 86% of B2Bs see a positive ROI of their hybrid events up to seven months after the event date. Thoughtfully creating buzz before the event and then using post-event marketing to follow up on meaningful conversations—with leads, industry colleagues, and media—can make a massive difference in your company’s overall success.  

You need a physical event if…

You are relaying complex information. 

Sure, conveying compelling messages about complex information in a virtual setting is possible. But when it comes to genuinely making a connection with your audience and understanding their interests and needs, nothing beats in-person communication. If you are hosting a conference and presenting on your latest and greatest research, having a dynamic, interactive presentation will undoubtedly convey your point better than a screen. 

So if you want your audience to be actively engaged, fully understanding the complexity of what you are saying, a live event—and perhaps even a smaller crowd—is your best bet. 

You want to focus on building connections. 

Forrester found that 67% of respondents felt challenged in successfully delivering networking opportunities in a virtual environment. While virtual event marketing technology includes chat boxes, polls, live Q&As, and more, there is still vast room for improvement in the realm of attendee networking. So if a primary goal for your event is to create rich networking opportunities and space for collaboration and exploration, then a physical event is your best option. 

You have time to dedicate to planning.

Planning a physical event is a huge undertaking. It can take hundreds of people, thousands of hours, and even more dollars to pull off successful large live events like conferences, workshops, product launches, and networking events. But if you have the team, the time, and the resources to host an event that accomplishes your goals, engages your audience, and furthers your industry, then the stage is yours! 

You need a virtual event if…

You’re delivering more brief content. 

Virtual event fatigue is real, and 45% of virtual event organizers have opted for shorter multi-day events to combat the fatigue. Additionally, virtual audiences appreciate shorter, more talk-show-esque content. The average virtual attendee watches only 68% of a virtual session longer than 20 minutes. So the more concise your content—up to 20 minutes—the more engagement you’re likely to have for the entirety of your event. 

As digital content, you are sometimes competing with their latest Netflix binge or the sports game they don’t want to miss. Make your content long enough to be engaging but short enough to hold their attention. 

You’ve got a limited budget and/or you’re short on time. 

Physical events can come with a hefty price tag. While hybrid events can mitigate that somewhat, virtual events are undoubtedly the cheapest option. You’ll, of course, have costs associated with planning and promoting: hiring an event marketer and planner—if you don’t have them on your internal team—choosing a virtual hosting platform, developing and managing the schedule, coordinating speakers, and more. But if you hosted a hybrid or physical event, you’d have all those costs and then some. 

Virtual events take less time to plan, promote, and execute than hybrid or physical events. Event marketers reported that, for small virtual events, they only needed between three and six weeks to promote the event successfully. 

And cheaper and faster doesn’t mean “less than.” Large brands still use entirely virtual events, and virtual events can be a springboard for bigger things and support other company events throughout the year. Brands can never really outgrow the value of a virtual event. 

You want to build a community. 

The best kinds of networking opportunities for businesses with a small budget or those new to an industry are low-cost, high-value events. It’s proven that virtual event attendees seek the kind of connection-building and networking opportunities that in-person provides, but they want them in a different way. You can begin building a community in your industry by hosting smaller events—perhaps even free to attend or by invitation only at first. A network of complementary businesses growing together can be powerful. 

No matter the kind of event you are planning, it is essential to keep your audience at the center of your efforts. Let us know what kind of events you are hosting or attending this year on social media! And if you’re looking for someone to take your event marketing up a notch? Reach out.