Once a primary marketing method, in-person events are an afterthought in the dawn of online tactics like email, SEO, social media and pay-per-click (PPC) ads. But in a day and age where the majority of business is conducted digitally, in-person events can be a refreshing (and effective) change of pace for B2B professionals.
If you aren’t incorporating in-person events into your B2B marketing strategy, you’re missing out on the opportunity to reap benefits that can’t be obtained online.
The Value of Person-to-Person (P2P) Interaction
With access to plentiful online communication technologies, it’s easy to forget about the value of person-to-person connections when conducting business on a global scale. Genuine in-person interactions can’t be replicated by your competitors through automation, design or content creation, so take advantage of your opportunity to stand out simply by showing up.
Build Rapport with Prospects, Clients, Partners and Peers
Obviously, generating leads and ultimately, customers, is the most common objective for those attending in-person events. However, in-person events offer opportunities to forge connections that are often overlooked. Leverage events for more than just lead generation; use them to establish your company as an active member of your industry, build rapport and strengthen existing relationships with peers and strategically expand your professional network.
Improved Sales Conversations
In B2B industries, doing business across states, countries, languages and timezones is difficult enough as is. Doing so 100% digitally is even harder. Take advantage of in-person events to remove some layers of complexity whenever possible. If your prospect is planning on attending a conference you’ll be at or traveling to your city, don’t miss the opportunity to meet in person and strengthen your relationship. One great in-person conversation can accomplish just as much as 10 conference calls or 20 emails.
Events like trade shows and conferences are excellent for establishing your company as an authority in your industry, and that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to sponsor an event or host a booth. Simply by being present, networking with people and passing out your business cards, you can represent your organization and increase your brand’s reach.
Thanks to the countless number of ways consumers can connect, communicate and gather information, even smaller-scale events like local meetups or panels can be effective for amplifying brand awareness on a large scale, especially if you live in a metropolitan area.
Strategic Partnership Building
They say you are the sum of the people (or in this case, companies) you surround yourself with, so it’s no question that forming strategic partnerships with other successful organizations can help you drive sustained success. But how do you identify which organizations are going to help you achieve your goals? Well, the first step is finding them, and attending in-person events is an excellent place to start searching.
Leverage your presence at in-person events to scout out ideal partners and begin building rapport through networking. From there, you can get a foot in the door and strengthen that relationship into an eventual partnership.
Client Success and Retention
Conducting in-person meetings with your clients once or twice a year can go a long way in terms of client success and retention. Making the effort to not just deliver a product or service and form a meaningful relationship wins you not just a customer, but a brand evangelist.
In-Person Events for Driving Growth
Contrary to popular belief, effective in-person events aren’t limited to costly trade show exhibitions and conferences. While trade shows and conferences are some of the most common types of in-person events, there are a variety of different event types to suit different businesses, budgets and brands.
Product or Service User Groups
If your client base leverages a certain product or service, user group meetups can be an excellent place to meet new prospects or expand your network. For example, at New Breed, we work with clients that use HubSpot, therefore, attending HubSpot user group meetups is a great way for us to meet prospective clients. Keeping up with organizations that your client base cares about by subscribing to their newsletter or following them on social is an easy way to stay in the loop with upcoming events.
Client, Prospect and Partner Meet-Ups
Hosting or attending a client, prospect or partner meet-up event is another small-scale in-person event that can provide large-scale benefits. For example, using Eventbrite or Facebook to organize a casual meetup at a nearby bar or restaurant and inviting your local client base is a low-cost, low-preparation way to get some facetime with your customers.
Local or Regional Networking Events
If you live in a metropolitan or suburban area, there’s a good chance that industry networking events occur near you on a consistent basis. Often times, local businesses or universities will hold networking events that are low-cost or even free to attend. These events are great ways to expand your network and forge connections with professionals you would not have met otherwise.
Panels, Fireside Chats and Q&A Sessions
Taking time to attend panels, speeches, presentations and the like on topics relevant to your business or industry is another effective way to network with prospects, clients and peers. Moreover, as long as the subject matter of the event you’re attending is related to your product, service or industry, it can be a natural catalyst for discussing your business objective.