Back in early 2010, I wrote a blog post called "Why HubSpot Won't Exhibit at Tradeshows Anymore." However, any of the 45,000 Dreamforce '11 attendees could tell you we indeed were a sponsor and exhibitor this year, and we wanted to make as large of a contribution to Dreamforce as possible. We were honored to receive amazingly positive feedback on our presence, and the creation of our event strategy was based on those very same concepts we use for our online marketing every day. So what are those?
1. Offer Valuable Content to Attract [Foot] Traffic
HubSpot sent approximately 20 of our inbound marketing consultants who -- when not at Dreamforce -- teach our customers how to do inbound marketing using HubSpot every day. These natural teachers gave Website Grader reports to all visitors of our "un-booths," or our HubSpot lounge areas. During each conversation, we offered advice on how to improve their marketing. This valuable information led to some great conversations and attracted more people to our HubSpot lounge who wanted tips about their marketing, too.
2. Be Remarkable So People Will Share Your Content
This year, HubSpot brought free unicorns to Dreamforce as a means to dispel marketing fantasies. We wanted to send the message that marketers should avoid living in a fantasy world by basing their marketing on FACTS. The unicorns were a hit, and thousands of people requested one for their sons, daughters, nephews, grandmas -- you name it! People told us it was fun, memorable, and nothing they had seen before. And that remarkableness helped it spread across the conference.
3. Include Calls-to-Action (CTAs) on All Your Content
Brand exposure is awesome, but we're all here to attract qualified customers at the end of the day. Why not make it as easy as possible for folks to do business with you? All our unicorns, posters, speaker presentations, and t-shirts had a QR code to our special Free Unicorns Dreamforce landing page. This QR code was a subtle and fun CTA for those who were curious and wanted to download more facts and fantasy quotes from HubSpot!
4. Share Your Content Everywhere
Online, you should have your content in as many relevant places as possible to increase your chances of getting found. Why can't the same concept apply to an event? At Dreamforce, we had a handful of locations around the venue where folks could get Website Grader reports and unicorns. In our awesome, orange track suits, we represented HubSpot even when we grabbed a sandwich. And even at night, we sang karaoke in the HubSpot RVIP Lounge among our unicorn and Dreamforce friends. We wanted to be everywhere our best potential customers could be. Don't limit your opportunities to spread your valuable content.
I had a fantastic experience at Dreamforce, learned a ton, and enjoyed making some great new contacts. I'm excited to see what's in store for 2012.
How else can you apply inbound marketing principles to your event marketing? Did you attend Dreamforce? What other marketing strategies did you notice?
Originally published Sep 2, 2011 8:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016