Over the years, our Greenfield team has “rescued” numerous programs because event registrations were not coming in as expected. Here is our prescription for a successful event marketing campaign:
- Get permission first: It is important to obtain and track permissions for your stakeholders -your prospects. Members are OK; they have opted in to your communications through their renewals. However, your prospective list is a different story: with CASL in play, it is important to build a list that won’t get you in trouble later.
- Maintain your database: With CASL, if there is a complaint, the burden will be on you to provide that permission was obtained. Don’t risk the fine! Keep your database clean.
- Make it about ME: Who cares if your event has a record-breaking number of exhibitors, sponsors or break-out sessions? If your communication isn’t articulating WIIFM (what’s-in-it-for me) for the potential attendee, they likely won’t register.
- Twitterize your message: Don’t send long emails telling me ALL there is to know about your event. Since your message is most likely to be viewed on a mobile device, keep your message short and to the point. If there’s more to the story, give links where the recipient can go for more.
- Make it shareable: An increasing number of business event attendees are active on social media. Make it easy for attendees to share your event with peers by using ShareThis or other social media sharing platforms. That way they can tweet, post to Facebook or LinkedIn, or whatever social medium they prefer.
- Tell them who else will be there: Not just speakers or sponsors/exhibitors; people want to know about their peers. So upon a registration, gain permission to publicize the fact that an attendee will be there. Those who agree will have their name posted on your event website. It’s a simple way to create FOMO (fear-of-missing-out).
- Show them: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth a million. Use this powerful tool to show clips of speakers, testimonials from attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors. Score double points by showcasing a video of someone with similar attributes to your prospect.
- Vary your channels: Unless recipients have white-listed your email address, anytime you are using email deployment software, there is a 30-40% chance that your message will be caught in spam filters. Your audience may be interested but may never see your message! Pay special attention to where your prospects hang out on LinkedIn. Get the influential people in your industry to tweet about your event. Or even send something by mail – something that will pique curiosity, and will drive traffic to your website.
- Don’t be so business like: Learn from what gets shared online; people enjoy funny or touching stories. Your promotion will rise above the clutter if you show emotion humour, or an edge. Don’t be so serious!
For meeting, conference and event planners, covering each tactic can be a daunting task. But a well-rounded event marketing plan will drive attendance & engagement.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net