What do you get when you cross a group of digital marketers with an endless supply of wine? This blog, apparently.
On the 22nd May, the Netleadz team descended upon London Olympia for this year’s London Wine Fair. Our visit was purely for research purposes… obviously.
We explored how brands in the drinks industry marketed themselves on social media for a B2B trade event of this magnitude. We also wanted to see what creative measures were taken to stand out from the crowd in both the physical and online space. Naturally, it would be rude of us not to sample a little vino on the way. Here, we delve into how a brand can maximise outcome from tradeshows through effective events marketing.
Hakuna Moscato – Effective Planning
Usually, plying people with alcohol at an industry event is a great way of making a positive impression. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to really put your stamp on an event. The very purpose of the London Wine Fair was for potential buyers and industry experts to sample each company’s products. No matter how great the wine was, it wasn’t enough to stand out from the sheer number of competitors.
This applies to pretty much all of digital marketing. The quality of a product isn’t enough to ensure successful growth in a crowded sector. Brands need to do more, engage more and show genuine personality.
The first thing to do is understand your objective. Are you looking for potential partners, affiliates, sales or brand exposure? Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can draft a promotion plan which will get you this. Your promotion plan should include a content and social schedule which is specifically tailored for the event. This will include pre, during and post promotion activities to maximise outcome.
Let’s explain this step by step using the brands we met at the London Wine Fair as an example.
Everything Happens for a Riesling - A Lesson in Digital Marketing from the London Wine Fair
So, let’s give you the lowdown on how to make a real impact with pre, during and post promotion.
You Had Me At Merlot - Pre-Stage Promotion Activities
So, you’ve decided to exhibit (or even visit) an event like the London Wine Fair. Now’s the time to start working.
In a case study by Deloitte & Touche, their pre-show marketing activities boosted the quality of audience attracted to their stall by 46%. The number of visitors converted to qualified leads increased by 50%.
The first thing you must do is research the event. See who is exhibiting and earmark any potential partners, affiliates or businesses you’d like to talk to. If you’re attending for purely business development purposes, it may be worthwhile sending a few outreach emails and booking a time slot where you can talk to key attendees.
If you’re exhibiting, you really should be creating a piece of content for the event. Do a little keyword research and see whether there are any relevant opportunities you could rank for – event guides, competitions or unique discounts can offer a real boost to your pre-stage activities. If you don’t see an opportunity to rank, it’s not the end of the world. Unique event specific content can be seeded into your social engagements.
All social communications should point to your content. Be sure to include numerous internal links and call to actions with a clear path to conversion.
Hint: Be aware that any event based content will not add evergreen value to your brand. The earlier you create this content, the more value it’s likely to deliver. Don’t forget to optimise your content for maximum exposure!
Social media will play a huge role in your promotion activities before an event. This is all about building anticipation and social outreach. Don’t just share posts about your involvement at the event – be social! Speak to different exhibitors and engage in conversations.
If you’re using an event for business development purposes, outreaching to brands on social media will ensure you won’t be ‘going in cold’. Use this time to introduce yourself ahead of time and avoid any awkward small talk. Don’t wait for people to talk to you, make an effort to engage first.
During your pre-stage promotion activities, the relevant event hashtags are likely to be less crowded. This means you’ll have more chance of being seen by a highly relevant audience. Think about the image you’re portraying online. If you’re one of the top contributors to an events hashtag, you’ll be seen as an authoritative figure.
Hint: Build Twitter lists of key businesses and influencers who are attending the event. This will give you a mini feed of relevant accounts to help your social engagement activities.
If you’re just visiting the trade show, you may not see the value of creating content for the event. If this is the case, you could use existing relevant evergreen content in your social sharing. This is what we did for Eatapas prior to the London Wine Fair. There would be little value in creating specific content for the event beforehand, so we shared the brand’s food and wine pairings article. This piece is both relevant and interesting to the LWF audience.
So, how did the brands at the London Wine Fair go about promoting their attendance?
A special mention goes to Vermouth Padró & Co and Backsberg for their enticing pre event tweets:
Others, like freelance wine expert Matt Wills, opted for a more socially interactive approach: