Seo strategy

A simple SEO strategy for any b2b event

By Mathew Beech, Marketing Director, Patch

When I started in event marketing, email was king. It was a pretty easy job back then. Early in an event’s marketing cycle, we purchased new datalists, borrowed datalists, and had job titles and company listings searched for more names and email addresses. . We emailed and emailed and sometimes we sent direct mail. When we were really lost, we would send out a mailing with a scan of the job title. The objective was the same as today: to make as many people as possible aware of our event as quickly as possible.

To the surprise of some, and thanks to GDPR gray areas, this is still used as a tactic by event organizers, and it still works. This is probably why so many event planners neglect SEO.

The usual excuse I hear is that SEO is a long game, events have short time-to-market cycles, and by the time a ranking is achieved, any feedback will be hard to cash in on because it will be too close to the event date. He forgets that successful events are repeated year after year, and the exposure all year round is good.

Another common excuse is that there is no search demand for an event and event marketing is generating the need instead of filling an existing need (except for recurring delegates, but they are on anyway). mailing list). I do not agree. Events fill a need for information, and throughout the year, people who attend events turn to search engines for the same information they seek about the events they attend.

Instead of providing knowledge and solving problems a few days a year, an event brand could solve year-round problems with search engines. The content plan for most events is already top-notch, it’s called a speaker and exhibitor program and it’s guaranteed to attract the people you want to attend your event.

Usually, when I can convince an event planner that inbound marketing with content will drive more website visitors interested in their event’s offerings, they ask their marketing team to write content. If we’re being honest with ourselves, the real event experts aren’t the marketers or the producers, the experts are the speakers and exhibitors.

The simple SEO strategy

  • Ask your speakers and exhibitors to submit content that people are looking for on the internet.
  • The majority of speakers and exhibitors want to promote themselves; they’ll jump at the chance to have their content hosted on another brand’s site. Especially an event site with guaranteed exposure.
  • They will likely share it on social media and maybe link to it from their site – these are positive SEO signals that will help your site rank.
  • If you’ve chosen this speaker or exhibitor for your event, hopefully they have something to say that your target market wants to hear.

It’s that simple, a few months ago I wrote an article for Conference News that recommended free tools for keyword research. If you want to get strategic, you can research keywords that have established search volume and ask your speakers and exhibitors to write about that.

I recommend hiring an SEO professional if you have the budget. You can see results without, but an SEO professional will make sure your site and pages are structured according to SEO best practices, they will advise you on content production to ensure it is written to rank and once it is published, they will generate off-page SEO signals that help your site and its pages rank above other websites that produce similar content.

How to turn them into delegates, sponsors and exhibitors

Like the old mailing lists, not all visitors will be suitable for your event, but it’s a numbers game. Even if you get good numbers, you don’t want them to land, read content and walk away, forgetting who you are. You want to communicate with them again. There are several ways to communicate with them after the first acquisition via a search engine.

You can interact with them by offering more content (related articles). The more they consume during the first visit, the more likely they are to remember the brand and come back to check what is going on. You can invite them to subscribe to the newsletter by e-mail and/or to follow you on social networks. If they like the content you post, that they found in the search engines, chances are they will want to register more and maybe one day get involved with your event. You can even set up audiences in Google Analytics to place retargeting ads that promote particular event USPs to past website visitors based on the type of content they consumed during their visit.

You can get really smart with retargeting and SEO combined. If I divide my content into categories, such as innovation, marketing, and technology, I can create audiences based on those content categories. Visitors who land on my innovation content will go to the innovation audience and receive ads focused on the innovative exhibitors while my marketing audience will go to the marketing audience and receive ads promoting key marketing speakers.

How does it work for a conference?

Last year I spoke to the Smart Places Summit. After the event, a member of the marketing team asked me to do an on-camera story explaining why the Smart Venue Summit was such a great event. I know why they did it, I’ve done it before. They want to use my video testimony to convince other people that it is worth attending in the future. They must first attract the attention of these people.

Around the same time, I wrote a blog post on how to write a location marketing strategy and published it on the Patches website. Over the past year, this blog post has brought 393 visitors to our site and I’m sure most of them work in places.

I don’t want to criticize the kind people who invited me to speak at the Smart Venue Summit, but if they had asked me to write a blog post for their site instead of the video, I would have jumped on it. opportunity, and they reportedly had 393 additional site visits over the past year. I probably would have made the video too.

Everyone knows it’s been a bad year for theaters, my blog post is still there and it is still relevant. I have high hopes for next year as things are looking up. Content lasts, if you follow this tactic for your event year after year the numbers go up. Imagine if the Smart Venue Summit took my blog (and 393 site visits) and did the same with ten other speakers. This number of free qualified visitors is not bad. Now imagine if a large-scale event did that with 100 speakers.

How is it going for an exhibition?

I worked for the World Interior Design Festival. At the time, AkzoNobel (parent of Dulux) was naming the color of the year at our event. This is a big problem for many people. So big that in the UK, throughout 2020, the term “Dulux Color of the Year 2020” was searched on average 2900 times per month!

People who care about the color of the year could potentially attend the festival, but even if they didn’t attend, their attention was the attention our sponsors and exhibitors were looking for, so that was important.

We didn’t just host the Color of the Year announcement at our event. At our expense, we did a massive PR campaign (to generate visibility for our sponsor and backlinks to our site – backlinks are another SEO signal). Every media coverage generated exposure and every link to our site helped our overall SEO and it helped us rank well for searches by people trying to figure out the color of the year. We have attracted a few thousand qualified visitors each year by doing nothing more than helping one of our exhibitors attract attention.

Chances are your exhibitors have news and stories that their industry (and your target market) wants to hear about. Be sure to support and shout about what’s happening at your show. Talk about them on your social networks, talk about them on your website, distribute press releases for them and do whatever it takes to give them more exposure. You will receive more visitors to your website who care about your exhibitors and will surely care about your event.