This is a guest post from Carsten Pleiser, Senior Sales Director, EMEA, at InGo Certified Partner etouches.
The date is set, the venue booked and the speakers lined up. The most important and difficult job though is yet to come. How do you get people engaged, interested and ready to sign up and attend your event versus another one?
No matter if your event objective is to motivate, inform or to network you MUST be ready to execute an effective and well thought out communication strategy. Trust me, it will help inform the industry about your event, increase attendance and extend the lifecycle of your event pre, during and post.
If you need a few creative ideas or need some help to help you market your event, here are a few well thought out tips:
Event Website / Landing Page
The center of all your event promotions and efforts is your event website or landing page. It’s not only the cornerstone displaying event related information, but can also be a content aggregator and social sharing site for attendees & sponsors. See some best practices below:
- Create a splash plash with the main highlights around your event including key USP’s and why your target persona should attend your event. A video highlighting previous events can be used to amplify.
- Give clear information when and where the event takes place. Ensure to re-cap the main benefits for each attendee type. Keep it brief and simple. A few bullet-points are enough. Don’t overload with information.
- Display references / testimonials from speakers, sponsors or attendees to create credibility and raise more interest.
- Create an agenda page which lists the sessions, workshops, different streams and tracks and your overall event program. Each session description can have a direct link to the speaker biography.
- The speakers page – Amazing speakers draw attention to your event like a magnet. Include professional pictures that show their faces and add a short speaker bio which highlights their professional profile. This can be used on the agenda page.
- A prominent ‘Register Here’ button is important to increase conversion. Also make sure you give your attendees the ability to modify their registration directly from your event website. You can use different tools like Google Analytics to measure your click-through rates (CTR) and compare metrics to allow you to make amendments and slight adjustments.
- Display a list of your attendees:Some high calibre company names or titles almost sell for themselves and create further interest.
- Some of your events might have international audience, in which case you should create all content on your websites in the main languages. If necessary, allow your attendCapture8ees to toggle between languages so they don’t have to switch sites.
- A custom URL/domain can further help develop your event branding. For example, you can create one umbrella page under which you hold all of your events, e.g. www.example.com/event1 and www.example.com/event2 OR you might have one separate domain for each, e.g. www.myawesomeevent.com
- Include an event calendar on your website: This is great for associations or workshop/seminar providers and can help to promote other events in your portfolio.
- Event related content: Create video interviews with key-note speakers or previous attendees. Interview can easily be done with Skype or through Google Hangouts, which are free.
A pre-event invitation email can be a great marketing channel if you have built up your list.
- Make sure the email is sent from your own personal email address and not just a generic one (e.g. marketing). This can help build trust from the beginning and makes it more personal.
- The subject line should be engaging and interesting. Keep it short and simple OR try to use a subject line which either causes anger, exclusivity, excitement, awe or urgency. Studies have shown that those have the highest opening rates. For example: “10 things you miss out on, if you don’t attend!” or “Here’s an exclusive preview of XYZ, just for you”
- Add your own imagery to the email, keep the maximum email width of 650 pixels. This is to ensure the email will be viewable but not obstructive in any email preview window.
- Make sure to add a prominent call-to-action and also give your attendees a way to feedback if they can’t attend. Collect the answers in a survey form to gather the data which can help you in your future decision making.
- You can also enrich your email with a video testimonials, pictures of the venue and an overview of the key benefits to attend, which potential participants can scan through quickly.
- The email should have the same look & feel as the event landing page / event website to create and seamless & slick experience.
- Test your email before sending it out to ensure it’s rendering properly in multiple browsers and email service providers.
- Studies have shown that you should send your event invitation emails on Saturdays or Sundays as this is the time with lowest competition and highest unique opening rates (17.8 %).
- Keep sending reminder emails, but don’t just spam sending the same email. Provide value instead. For larger events you could send the speaker line up and venue information months in advance and then an additional email weeks before the event to promote any discounts. A last reminder email can be sent to communicate that it’s not too late to attend your event and a clear call-to-action that this is the last chance to register.
- Do not send out emails to people who have already registered or declined to attend your event. That can be quite embarrassing.
- No matter how many emails you’re sending, create a clear communication plan in advance.
Your attendees are your biggest asset and its important you target your communication appropriately and ensure their objectives are met. So think about what communication would be useful for your stakeholders to receive.
Stay tuned, next week we will be covering registration, networking, on-site and surveys.