Inbound marketing is without doubt the future for event marketing as a discipline. Audiences are fed up with a torrent of selling emails and they are getting much more discerning in turning off the flow when it suits them.
Successful inbound marketing allows you to maintain a positive relationship between your prospect and event brand at every stage of the buying process, but you need to understand the rules so as not to make mistakes and turn them off forever. Here are our 5 most important inbound marketing insights to consider...
1. Understand your target audience.
How well do you know your audience? Not the cold, soulless facts like job title, industry and booking history that let you augment your database. I mean really know and understand what kind of people you’re dealing with. Do they respond most easily to logic or emotion? What keeps them up at night? What do they dream of achieving?
Answers to these questions and more allow you to build up detailed enough portraits or buyer personas to begin a successful inbound marketing strategy.
2. Inbound is not a “build it and they will come” game.
Whilst there is an element of “building cool stuff” to bring people to your door, they’re not just going to see a killer blog post and drop into your lap credit card in hand. You have to stack the deck. And that means managing every stage of the funnel, all the way from stranger to buyer.
The way you craft every touchpoint the customer has with your event brand should bring them closer to becoming customers (or turn them away from you if you do it badly). Whilst the process down the funnel feels natural and autonomous for the customer, actually their movement down the funnel has been staged and orchestrated at every turn by a smart marketer.
3. Whoever you’re selling too, they’re not stupid.
Whoever your customers are, they’re smart. They can smell dishonesty or a lack of authenticity a mile off and they’re more than happy to drop you like a hot rock as a result. Inbound marketing done well leaves the customer feeling positive about the event brand at every stage. But it’s very easy to get lazy, stop thinking from the customer’s perspective and think you can “cheat” the system, jumping over stages in the funnel, getting yourself to better results more quickly.
It’s also very easy to fall back on old outbound techniques when in a jam, which kill the effectiveness of your inbound efforts. It takes focus and discipline to stay on point with inbound marketing for events and not let yourself get bullied into a string of mass emails to “help” a badly produced event.
4. But they are human.
B2B marketing can often be used as a reason to leach any personality or soul out of communications under a misguided sense of what it is to be professional. Whilst accepted levels of informality differ from market to market, no one ever got fired for speaking like a human, to another human. And with inbound marketing for events, where we’re relying on a person’s response to our brand to move them down the funnel, it is essential that we don’t lose sight of the basic humanity of our audiences.
5. Quality over quantity.
Inbound marketing is a bit like dating. Every contact you have with your prospect, you have to impress them enough to make them want to come back for another date. That means that you have to put thought, effort and yes, love, into every touch point.
This is hard for event marketers who are for the most part conditioned to frequency of contact over quality of contact, because even with the unsubscribe link in there somewhere it’s damned hard for your prospect to escape the clutches of your database.
If you plan a ridiculously complex inbound infrastructure with hundreds of landing pages and workflows, it becomes impossible to give each touchpoint the attention it deserves, no matter how clever your overall system or architecture is. Less is often more with inbound marketing for events.
Want to learn more inbound marketing insights for events and create a custom plan for your organisation? Come along to our next inbound marketing workshop.