There is plenty of advice on audience acquisition out there for trade show and expo organizers. Most of it is about squeezing more value out of your current membership or marketing database. That’s useful information, but what about the thousands or even millions of people who would benefit from attending your event, but do not know that you exist?
You could buy a marketing list and hope the people on it are up to receiving communication from a total stranger, but wouldn’t it be better if they came to you? Wouldn’t it be better if this unknown audience were to seek you out and willingly give you their contact information or even simply register for your event because they trust you to deliver valuable content?
Blogs and Articles
An executive at a manufacturing company once told me that he didn’t read blogs. He claimed he didn’t have time for them. We did a quick search history in his browser and I pointed out all the blogs he had visited. While he did not subscribe to any blogs, he was most definitely reading a lot of content from them.
You want to make sure all the great content you are sending out to your subscribers via your newsletter is also available on your website and optimized to show up in search engines. You should not be gating this type of content. If you want someone to give you his or her contact information, you have to earn it first.
Once people begin to rely on your organization for delivering quality content, they will be more than happy to hear from you. Add an email signup form at the end of every blog post or article with a note that says something like, “If you liked what you read, sign up for our email list for more great content.”
White Papers and Studies
Despite what you may have heard, long form content is still popular in the B2B world. When people are looking for a deep dive into a topic, they often seek out white papers and studies. Organizations can use this type of content to increase their credibility and showcase their knowledge and insight in their industry.
This type of long form content is often gated and people are more likely to be willing to exchange their contact information for access. However, they are often still a bit suspicious of being inundated with marketing messages, so it is not unusual to give a “junk mail address” here.
Be sure to include a signup form or a link to your signup form at the end of your white paper or study. At this point, you will have proven that your content is valuable and initially suspicious readers will likely be more willing to hand over their real contact information.
There is a name for this kind of marketing; it is called inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is marketing that brings visitors and prospect to you, as opposed to you having to go out and find them.
Whether you call it inbound marketing or content marketing or just good content does not matter. What matters is that it helps attract people who would be ideal attendees, exhibitors and sponsors to your organization.