Marketing Alternatives to Event Marketing in 2024
There's no debate that a face-to-face approach is best when creating a lasting impression and a trusted relationship. Whether it's a pitch meeting, a conference, or a trade show, nothing replaces the human touch for getting a deal done in event marketing. In 2019, over 75% of content marketers said that it's the single most effective marketing channel in their arsenal.
Why? Because it's real. In fact, according to EventView, 62% of senior sales & marketing executives feel that event marketing accelerates and deepens relationships, even though we're living in an online world. It's that personal approach, and it's a time-tested and proven method.
Except, we can't rely on it anymore.
So how do you keep your business thriving and keep up the momentum you've built to date with acquiring leads and customers? You bring them to you and leverage your online tools. Here are a couple of ideas:
Webinar Marketing: Webinar marketing as close to event management as it gets, using online platforms to host online seminars featuring one or more speakers or group of speakers. Webinars can be used to educate customers, generate leads, and build brand awareness.
Content marketing: Creating and distributing valuable, relevant, consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
Social media marketing: Using social media platforms to promote products or services and engage customers.
Influencer marketing: Partnering with influencers (people with a large social media following) to promote products or services.
Email marketing: Sending emails to a list of subscribers to promote products or services.
Affiliate marketing: Promoting products or services on behalf of another company and earning a commission for every sale made through a unique referral link.
Referral marketing: Encouraging customers to refer friends and family to a business for rewards or incentives.
Public relations: Building relationships with the media and creating positive press for a company.
Online advertising: Placing ads on websites or social media platforms to reach a targeted audience.
Partnership marketing: Partnering with another company to promote products or services to customers.
While that might seem daunting at first, especially if your best efforts have been borne out of a strong showing at events in the past, it's a pretty reasonable shift in techniques. Given the current circumstances, a tactical, informed, and well-thought-out approach can do more for you and your brand than event marketing.
Webinars are online presentations that people from all over the world can attend. They are a great way to connect with potential customers and provide them with valuable information.
Webinar marketing can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
Generating leads: Generate leads by providing potential customers with valuable information that they can use to decide whether or not to purchase your product or service.
Building relationships: Build relationships with potential customers by providing them with a personal and interactive experience.
Foster brand awareness: Increase brand awareness by providing potential customers with information about your company and its products or services.
Promoting products or services: Promote products or services by providing potential customers with a demonstration or overview of the product or service.
Content Marketing continues to be a force to be reckoned with:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Here, I wanted to highlight the bolded words because those are the key components to replicate the face-to-face effect of trust-building. By offering valuable content and a consistent approach, you'll facilitate similar effects to that personal talk at an industry event, minus the awkwardly positioned name tags. Your content here works two-fold:
- It provides helpful information to your audience at no cost, inviting them into your fold. And it invites them to reach out to you.
- It attracts prospects and partners to learn more about your offering.
What also shouldn't be overlooked is that your current audience is already on board with you, and the more value you're offering to them as customers, the more they can generate buzz.
Like we're being encouraged to do in the real world, ensure your housekeeping is current. That means ensuring that your website is attractive, refreshed, and populated with relevant things and that you have content posted within the last five days.
It might be time to revisit your content posting frequency. In this time of uncertainty, any expertise and advice you can offer would be more than welcome, and if you have a strong stable of content marketers, it’d be good to get them working. Regular updates are an excellent way to bring people back to your site, ensuring a steady flow of site traffic.
Having relevant articles/blog posts, downloadable ebooks, and even podcasts on your site can help strengthen your trusted rapport and relationship with your customers. It's something that they can take away and share with their network, and that will send new prospects your way.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing involves using social media platforms to promote products or services and engage prospects and customers. This can be done by creating a presence on social media platforms (such as creating a company page on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram), posting updates about the company and its products or services, and interacting with followers by answering questions and responding to comments.
Social media marketing can be an effective way to reach a large audience and build brand awareness. It can also be a useful tool for customer service, allowing companies to quickly and easily communicate with customers and address any issues or concerns.
To succeed with social media marketing, having a well-defined target audience and creating relevant and engaging content is essential. Be consistent with posting updates and promptly monitoring and responding to comments or messages.
Examples in the B2B space include using LinkedIn and tapping into the knowledge to help attract followers to your LinkedIn page. Whether it's optimizing your LinkedIn page for SEO, adding follow buttons to your website and page links in your email signature, or diving deep into your analytics and adjusting your content accordingly, there are a lot of options through the platform to facilitate some of the same things that an event can offer.
Likewise, you can also rely on LinkedIn's latest "Invite Connections" feature that allows you to invite your (personal) connections to follow your (company) page.
Influencer marketing involves partnering with influencers (people with a large social media following) to promote products or services. Influencers are often seen as trusted sources by their followers, and collaborating with them can be a way for companies to reach a new audience and increase brand awareness.
To be effective, influencer marketing campaigns should be carefully planned. This involves working with influencers who fit the brand well and whose followers align with the target audience. Influencers can promote products or services through sponsored posts, product reviews, or by incorporating the products into their content (such as using them in a tutorial video).
It's important to remember that influencer marketing is a form of advertising, and being transparent with followers about sponsored content is essential. It's also important to do thorough research and due diligence when working with influencers to ensure that they align with the values and goals of the company.
Email Marketing should be a vital component of your marketing strategy. It's a way to nurture your existing leads and audience, engage your customers, and continuously nurture your trusted relationships.
If, on the other hand, email marketing isn't something you're doing, now's the time to start. Email marketing allows your business to keep your customers informed. It's one of the most cost-effective and conversion-rich forms of digital marketing today, and it's a tool that 81% of SMBs use as their primary acquisition and retention channel. Plus, you can personalize and customize your message to drive your message home and start building relationships.
Without the benefit of a face-to-face meeting, establishing brand-consumer trust through other methods is invaluable to the longevity of your business. You might as well set it up now for your long-term success.
Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing in which a business rewards affiliates for each customer brought to the company through the affiliate's marketing efforts.
In affiliate marketing, affiliates promote a company's products or services on their website or social media platforms and earn a commission for every sale made through a unique referral link. The referral link tracks the sales made by the affiliate and credits them with the commission.
Affiliate marketing can be an effective way for companies to reach a larger audience and for affiliates to earn income by promoting products or services, they believe in. It's important for the company and the affiliates to be transparent about the affiliate relationship and disclose any sponsored content.
It is essential to choose affiliates who align with the values and goals of the company and whose audience is relevant to the products or services being promoted. It's also important to provide affiliates with the resources and support they need to effectively promote the products or services.
Referral marketing is a strategy that encourages customers to refer friends and family to a business in exchange for rewards or incentives. This can effectively attract new customers and a low-cost marketing option, as it relies on word-of-mouth recommendations.
To implement a referral marketing program, a business can offer incentives to customers for every successful referral they make. These incentives can be in the form of discounts, free products or services, or other perks.
You will need to have a product or service that is high quality and that customers are happy to recommend to others. It's also essential to make the referral process easy for customers and ensure they know the referral program and the incentives available.
In addition to offering incentives to customers, it can also be helpful for businesses to provide referral marketing materials (such as referral cards or social media graphics) to make it easier for customers to spread the word.
Public relations (PR) involves building relationships with the media and creating positive press for a company. This can be done through various tactics, such as press releases, media outreach, events, and content creation.
PR aims to create a positive image for a company and shape the public's perception of the company. PR can be used to promote new products or services, share company news, or address negative press or misinformation.
Have a clear message and know the target audience. It's also essential to establish relationships with journalists and media outlets and to understand their needs and preferences.
PR can effectively reach a large audience and position a company as a thought leader in its industry. It can also be a valuable tool for managing a company's reputation and responding to any negative press or issues that may arise.
Online advertising is a form of marketing that involves placing ads on websites or social media platforms to reach a targeted audience. This can be done through various types of ads, such as display ads (which appear on websites as banners or graphics), search ads (which appear when a user searches for specific keywords), or social media ads (which appear in users' social media feeds).
Online advertising can be an effective way to reach a specific audience and track the effectiveness of the ads. It's often possible to target ads to specific demographics, interests, or locations and to track how many people have seen the ad and taken a desired action (such as visiting a website or making a purchase).
Have a clear marketing goal and create relevant and appealing ads to the target audience. It's also important to track the ads' performance and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that they are meeting the desired goals.
Partnership marketing is a strategy that involves partnering with another company to promote products or services to its customers. This can be an effective way for companies to reach a new audience and gain credibility by association with a well-known brand.
There are many different ways that companies can partner to promote products or services. Some common examples include co-branded marketing campaigns, joint webinars or events, and cross-promotions (such as offering a discount to customers of one company when they purchase from the other).
Choose a partner that aligns with the values and goals of the company and whose audience is relevant to the products or services being promoted. It's also essential to have clear communication and define the partnership terms up front to ensure that both companies are getting value from the collaboration.
Partnership marketing can be a powerful way for companies to reach a larger audience and create mutually beneficial relationships. Still, it's essential to consider the potential risks carefully and thoroughly research potential partners before entering agreements.