Boost Event Attendance! 8 Ideas…

Need some ideas on boosting your event attendance?  Here are some of our faves:

  1. Industry Event Postings – What industry publications exist? Do they have a listing section on their website to help promote industry events? Can they partner with you to help market your event?
  2. Write effective copy – for your website, emails, blogs, social, gear it towards two kinds of people (or, one person if they are one and the same!) – the attendee and the decision maker. The attendee may want to have certain tactical information, while the decision maker, if it is in fact a second person, needs to understand the overall value.
  3. Get visual – memes, infographics, etc. Make your posts and other marketing efforts visually appealing and less text-heavy.
  4. Use video – get your speakers, staff, board, members and others to submit short videos on why your conference is so great, and what they will be missing if they do not register!
  5. Find your influencers – and get them to help you promote the event online.  They are already trusted by your industry – use that to your advantage if you can.
  6. Make sure you have a healthy mix of promotional information but create conversations too.
  7. Get your delegates to share – and if you can, track the success – services like snoball event influencer marketing are becoming increasingly popular.
  8. Create a contest or two to build some hype – can you promote something like “those who register by the early bird deadline will be entered into a draw to win their flight to the conference!” or another bonus that they can receive?

What else are you doing to boost your event attendance?

Effective Conference Marketing Strategy – Tips & Advice

There seems to be an interesting trend occurring – event design concepts are growing, and most associations are on board with trying newer formats (at least, in part), but we are starting to see in some cases that attendance patterns are dropping.  There are more opportunities out there for people to access education; and as a result, organizations are fighting more and more for the same professional development budgets.

How can you combat this?  Part of overcoming this is an effective conference marketing strategy; that includes activity in advance, onsite, and post event.  Here are some tips and advice:

  • Stay traditional and go digital at the same time – they need to compliment each other.  You need to plan your social activity leading up to the conference, and your digital marketing assets too – but you should also be incorporating traditional marketing opportunities (phone, mail, etc.)
  • Outline your “Why”, and early – why hold the conference?  How is it different from a competitor? What purpose does it serve?  Reinforce this message in each marketing touchpoint.
  • Create a timeline for your marketing – and include all departments at your organization – membership should know the key points; as they have a high touchpoint (or at least they should) with your target audience. The Board should know the key highlights, and other committees too.  While they may not have the authority to tweak the operational plan, they should be able to access when key messages are going out (like, keynote speakers, or CE credit evaluations); so that everyone can actively talk about the conference, the program, and the special events should the need arise.
  • Budget appropriately – you should be accounting for any and all spend that relates to marketing your conference – and add a cushion just in case you need to implement something that was not initially thought about – for example, if you have the opportunity to exhibit at an industry tradeshow last minute, but don’t have the funds to prepare appropriate marketing material to promote your conference – what will you do?
  • Create a dedicated landing page – that has brief info for attendees, sponsors and exhibitors, re-directing to more detailed info (and registration of course!).
  • When going social, incorporate hashtags – and not just yours, see what others in the industry are using and pull them into your messaging
  • When onsite….keep the promotion consistent and exciting, creating FOMO – it is never too early to start promoting for next year, and keeping your social media accounts active with short live videos, fun images of activity, etc will create some FOMO and get people thinking about the next one.
  • Can you afford to live stream? It’s become more affordable as time goes on…can you stream the awards ceremony, or a keynote speaker to drive some interest in future participation?
  • Post-Conference Takeaways – are you asking the write questions in your evaluation? What worked for the attendee? What didn’t? How did they hear about the conference in the first place? What would they like to see continue? What should you try next year?  This data is critical to continue to create successful conferences that are attractive to your attendees – and critical to how you are going to promote them going forward.

These are just a few things that have worked for us – what has worked for you?  If you need assistance in creating a marketing plan for your conference, and get more people out to it, please do not hesitate to reach out.

17 Ideas for Social Media Content for Your Association

 

Struggling to keep your association’s social media feeds fresh, and with good, consumable content?  Here are 17 ideas:

Post Ideas About Your Association

  1. Promo/Discount Codes for your events, resources for sale.  Create these codes and use them exclusively on your social media accounts.  This will help you track activity, and boost your engagement!
  2. Case studies. Have a look at your member benefits, and see if you can create a case study (or two, three!) about success stories that these benefits have given to your membership.
  3. Testimonials!
  4. Photos from events, day to day office work, etc.
  5. Announcements of upcoming events, online and offline. For example, let people know if your company will be at an expo.
  6. Feature your team by profiling them on your social media channels.

Post Ideas For Your Following

  1. Feature your members by profiling them on your social media channels.
  2. Monthly reminders about events, upcoming industry initiatives, etc.
  3. Links to external or internal resources that are relevant – new legislation, advocacy work, etc. Links to legal resources relevant to your audience.

Posts Ideas About Your Industry

  1. Links to blogs and articles (internal and external) relevant to your industry.
  2. Share-able news stories. Commentary on how this story impacts your membership/industry.
  3. Consumable tips for your industry – What are common issues?  What are recommendations your organization can provide to help solve that issue?
  4. Polls – are you creating new resources, or looking to launch another initiative that would benefit your association, and your industry?  Release polls to get quick, usable feedback.

Posts Ideas That Have Personality!

  1. Share news – if a member has crossed a certain membership threshold, if an employee is celebrating an anniversary, and other milestones.
  2. Start a conversation that creates an online relationship – what does your industry people do in their downtime?  What are their favourite places to go to unwind? Learn about the person!
  3. Fun Holiday reminders are always fantastic (Yes, the standard ones, but what about the fun ones?  What can you celebrate? This list always makes me smile!
  4. Calls for volunteer opportunities – not just the opportunity, but jazz it up with some fun photos and why their awesome personality is needed.

Creating a Social Media Strategy for your #Association

Social media continues to be more and more effective each year. It has GREAT potential for your association – for member recruitment, retention and engagement, event promotion, sponsor and partner opportunities, advocacy, etc. Here are some tips to get you started on creating a strategy for social media for your association:

Where:  What are the best platforms for you?

Audiences are different from platform to platform.  Instead of being everywhere (something I have never favoured); research where your members live online…Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Instagram?  Others? Where is your target audience?  Ask them!  And then create content that is relevant for them, in that particular format (articles, video, memes, infographics, and more).

What: Create Content that is Relevant, Useful

What can you consistently produce? When creating your wish list of content to produce, take a moment for each idea to identify WHY it’s relevant – what will make them take action (share, change their behaviour, etc)

How: It’s got to be visually pleasing

Examples can include some identified above: infographics, video, blogs, case studies, third party content, and more. Make sure that you are creating something that is visually pleasing, and lines with the goals of the content, and your over-arching strategy.

Other questions to ask when developing your strategy:

Here are some other things to ask when developing your first, or revising your current, social media strategy:

Do we have a following?
Do non-members know about our association?
What are our associations goals?
Are they clearly represented on our website?

At the end of the day, developing the strategy is great, but consistency is key.  A handful of posts is not going to be relevant forever.  You need to be producing fresh, meaningful content on a time frame that both works for you, and your association.

More Thoughts on Your #Association #Member Retention #Strategy

How do you keep your retention rate from sliding?  Here are some thoughts….

Member-Friendly Websites: Is your website member-friendly?  Set aside the fact that it needs to be mobile-friendly, attractive to the public, enticing for partners and sponsors, but is is actually member-friendly?  Testimonials, case studies, and member stories are of interest to like-minded individuals.  Does your website have this functionality? This can be both front-facing and gated in your online community.

Engagement Scoring: Forward-thinking associations are tracking engagement metrics; fully engaged members are low-risk to lapse, and those who are not really engaged can be identified and focused on to ensure that you increase their activity. Think about your activities, such as volunteering, event registrations, social media interaction, email opens and click throughs, downloads, etc, and how they can be scored.

Share Engagement Scores with Members: Create a game out of it!  Present badges for member profiles for those who are actively engaged, and create a plan of action for those who are not – you can even start by sharing their metrics (or, report card) with them.  If you are creating a contest out of it, can you offer some sort of prize draw for those who are above a certain level within a period of time?

Have Strategic Discussions with Members:  Don’t leave these conversations at the board level – include the general membership as well.  Ask your team to optimize their time with membership via phone, email, at events, on committees, etc, and ask strategic questions – how often should we be reaching out? What should we be contacting you about?  How important is the new initiative?  What can we be doing differently?

Most people join an association to better their knowledge, support the industry, and learn from their peers – your strategy should ensure that you are including all of these, asking the right questions, and rewarding those who are making their mark!

Member Retention Tips – Quick Wins for Your #Association

Retaining members is absolutely critical to the success of your association.  Motherhood and apple pie, but as a quick reminder, it costs WAY more to win over a new member than it does to hang on to an existing one.  Some experts believe it is 7-10 more.  So, what are you doing to get your quick wins with your membership?  Here are some tips to retain your existing membership base:

  1. Improve your onboarding process – what are you doing as soon as the member joins? Have you showed them where to find the information they need?  Record a webinar or video that walks them through where and how to access their benefits.
  2. Survey existing members to find out what they want, how they want it, and when they want it.  Never assume that you know – this kind of survey should be done annually.
  3. Provide the ability for members to switch their current payment plan – are you able to take fees in payments? Quarterly? Semi-Annually?  What can you do to make it easier on the pocketbook?
  4. Publish your content calendar – tease members with what’s coming content wise in the next quarter – so that if there membership is due during that time, they know what they are getting – and know what they will be missing.
  5. Make their lives easier – what tools, templates, software or other resources are available to members that they would miss if they left?  Make sure they know what they are, that they are using them.
  6. Focus on the positive – give members an area in the members only section where they can share their success stories, and celebrate one another. And, as the association, acknowledge and celebrate them.
  7. Time tested, testimonials are a great way to remind members why the association is THE organization to belong to.

There are SO many more ways to continually engage members and ensure your lapses are low – what else could you be doing?

Need help with your member retention strategy?  Reach out to Greenfield and see how they can help!

Meagan Rockett to join the 2019 CanSPEP Board of Directors

Effective August 2019, Greenfield Services CEO, Meagan Rockett, will join her colleagues on the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP) Board of Directors.  She will serve a two year term as the Vice-President, Membership.

The Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP) is a powerful, vibrant and growing association of independent event planner entrepreneurs who collectively produce thousands of meetings, conferences, and events across Canada each year.

During this term, Meagan will work with her fellow Board Members to create a rejuvenated membership recruitment, retention, and engagement plan.  This effort will be to engage current members of the association, but also create outreach to the event entrepreneurs across Canada.  Her goals are to create resources, member benefits and long-term partnerships with the Board to ensure the satisfaction of the membership increases.

For questions related to CanSPEP, please contact the association management office:

CanSPEP (Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners)
4 Cataraqui Street, Suite 310, Kingston, ON K7K 1Z7
1-866-336-2653
www.canspep.ca

5 Member Recruitment Ideas You Can Implement NOW

Truthfully, I have 12 ideas; but I am giving you 5 in the blog.  If you are interested in the rest, let me know by reaching out – happy to forward our PDF!

Marketing #1 – Email
Focus on what you offer that no one else does…like a large number of job postings for members only, as an example. Start your message off with a catchy subject line to your prospects, like

“Sarah, are you looking for work? Our members had access to over XX job postings last year!”

Marketing # 2 – Tradeshow
Does your organization participate in industry tradeshows? Most do. Encourage them to come by your booth for a meet and greet and a special offer – like a promo code for those who do visit to join at a special rate. Yes, it really does work!

I was involved in a 150 in 150 campaign that say new members join in Canada’s 150 for $150 – pickup was really fun to watch!

Marketing #3 – Special Event Pricing
You have events throughout the year – and you are marketing to them at a non-member rate. Don’t forget to create a registration category for them to register for the event AND buy a
membership at a special combined rate!

Marketing #4 – Email
Pick a member benefit that most of your members see tremendous value in (like massive insurance discounts, for example), and promote it with vigor! In some cases, the savings on the insurance alone could outweigh the cost of membership.

Marketing #5 – Current Members
Your current members likely know colleagues who SHOULD be a member of your association. Start a member-get-a-member campaign, with rewards for those who participate!

Need Member Recruitment Strategies? Here’s a few…

STOP reacting to a declining membership base – your growth strategy should be reflected every day, not just when you are in panic mode.  Here are a few examples of how to achieve this:

  1. Accept the fact that it is a sales game: Whether at a live event, through your email marketing, your social media channels or through word of mouth, your association is being reviewed – by prospective members – in a typical sales cycle for them.  They are looking at your membership fee just like they would when they are buying anything else of similar value.  Make sure that you are prepared for the sales cycle, assess how prospects are making purchasing decisions; and be ready to overcome objections to the sale!
  2. With sales, comes appropriate branding:  Avoid a website that is too cumbersome, not easy to find the info they want, etc.  Make sure that your social networks are active with content (self-created and from industry experts) that your industry will be interested in.  Share photos from your events to create FOMO – but keep in line with your brand.  What message are you sending to the universe?  I was on a fantastic webinar today about branding – the host really drilled that home – be REAL, but be professional.
  3. What’s your niche/value? Have you been able to clearly articulate that in 10 seconds or less?  If you have not, your online profile likely reads the same way.  Make sure you are clearly defining what your association represents; as it will have a greater impact on your recruitment efforts.  Here is an example:

    I am a member of – and recently joined the Board of Directors – of the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners.  We are a small but mighty association.  But here is where we differ in the world of industry associations – we are THE association for event entrepreneurs – those who’s business is to create event and conference experiences for their clients – but are also running their own business.  We are DIFFERENT to other associations because we not only have professional development related to our craft; we really focus on the education for the entrepreneur – human resources, legal, taxes, marketing, business development, contracts, cash flow, everything you need to know as an entrepreneur you can find out about with our association.  And this is something not offered by the others – which is why we really are poised for growth!

How are you demonstrating your growth strategy every day?

Lessons Learned: Why The Power of a Team is SO Important

OK – cards on the table.  I have ALWAYS believed in teams – based on the simple fact that the more that people work together and  have an understanding of the projects overall goals – the easier it is to achieve said goal when one of the teammates has to disappear – for whatever reason – for a while.

But the reality is – sometimes people find it easier to just do the entire job themselves.  I am one of many who is guilty of this.  I surround myself with people who WANT to help; for the greater good, because they believe in the project; or the objective, but at times I don’t want to admit I need help.

This is the WRONG way to lead – and a recent experience reminded me of this.  Last month, during Engaging Associations Forum, I came face to face with a family emergency that not only left me unable to think about much else, but unable to stay at my own corporate event.

And, this is where I was reminded (like a slap in the face!) that teams are greater than one person trying to achieve a goal.  Here is why:

  1. A great team demonstrates that the sum is greater than its parts.  My team was able to pick up the pieces when I had to leave, and deliver the event in my absence.  This is because they were well aware of what needed to happen, and when.
  2. A great team empowers the lead:  While the lead may be responsible for the final decisions on various items – the lead is NOT the expert at everything; which is why the lead must choose its teammates carefully; bringing people into the fold that can help you achieve a common goal.
  3. A great team does not have to deal with hierarchy.  Giving decision-making power to your teammates is important, from the outset.  They can then start helping get tasks completed without having to question and get approval every step of the way.
  4. Teams can help respond to change: We had a few speakers bail out at the last minute, which was un-cool.  But because my team was in place, we were able to (quickly) source solutions. In this case, the solution was all about crowd-sourcing content. But when faced with a few last minute changes, working alone can leave you frozen in the problem, unable to see a solution.  Teams help you avoid that.

I always knew teams were important – but last month I truly was reminded why.  Thanks to Frank Rockett, Mark Thompson and Bettyanne Sherrer for standing by me.  I have the best team in the world!