October 21, 2016
How to Increase Event Registration
What’s the single most effective content marketing tactic? Is it case studies? Nope. What about blog posts? Definitely not. Webinars? Close, but no. This may surprise you but, for 75% of marketers, it’s in-person events. That’s right: For more than 6 years, in-person events have delivered higher return-on-investment than any other content marketing tactic. In the digital age, people want to get away from their computers. They want to connect with other human beings face-to-face. But convincing people to attend an event isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve come up with 8 essential messages to include in your event-related customer journeys.
Announce your event
First, you’ll need to announce your event. Add these 2 messages to your customer journey:
1. “Something big is coming your way…”
About 6 months before the event, generate early buzz with this mysterious message. (Secrets always get people talking.) When designing your customer journey, use Autopilot’s “Send SMS” action to notify your subscribers via text message. In the message, tell them when and where they can tune in to learn more. Next, share the same message with your anonymous website visitors using Proactive Headsup. But instead of telling them when and where to tune in, invite them to sign up for notifications. That way you convert anonymous visitors into subscribers while building an audience for your announcement. (Score!)
2. Save the date: [Conference Name], [Date]
Next, use Autopilot’s “Send Email” action to schedule the announcement. You’ll want to include these elements in the body of your email: Date, location, theme It might seem obvious, but it’s important to include the event date, location, and theme in your email. Why? Well, the event theme will help convince attendees that your conference is relevant to their interests. And participants can’t block off their calendars until they know the event date. Plus, the location of your event is surprisingly important. More than 80% of event goers say the destination helps them decide whether to attend an event. And about half extend their stay for personal or business reasons. A multimedia teaser promoting the event It takes about 9 months to plan an event, so you probably won’t have all the details in place when you make the announcement. To entice prospects to attend your event, create a video that showcases the irresistible destinations, captivating speakers, and immersive experiences you’ve curated in the past. Testimonials from people who’ve attended the event in the past More than 80% of participants will recommend an event after a positive experience. Be sure to capitalize on that opportunity! After all, past attendees can provide the social proof you need to convince new prospects to attend. You’ll want to schedule this email for 72 hours after your subscribers receive the first message. Thankfully, that’s easy. Simply use the “Add Delay” action when setting up your customer journey.
Get prospects excited
Now that people are aware of your event, it’s time to get them pumped up! Add these messages to your customer journey:
3. “Here’s a sneak peak at the agenda”
Schedule an email for 5 months before the event that’s solely focused on your event’s agenda. You may not have every speaker confirmed, but you should have a good idea of what you’ll be doing. Seeing all the incredible sessions you’ve planned will give your subscribers FOMO: fear of missing out. Your agenda should include keynotes, panels, fireside chats, and roundtables. But it should also include time to socialize. Why? Because when deciding whether to attend an event, the opportunity to network with others is important to 75% of participants.
4. “You can’t afford to miss this…”
Schedule an email for 3 months out that emphasizes the 3 best aspects of your event. To prepare this email, ask yourself:
- What unique experiences will we provide participants? If your participants will get to test drive Oculus Rift at Facebook during an exclusive campus visit, shout it from the rooftops.
- Who are our most influential speakers? If Rand Fiskin will be presenting his 7 SEO predictions for 2017, let people know.
- Which sessions feature in-demand content? If you’ve planned a session that will walk participants through Snapchat best practices, note it in your email. Keep in mind: 90% of event goers say educational content is one important reason they attend conferences.
- Which attendees will attract others? If 150+ Fortune 500 digital marketing leaders will be there, it just might be worth a mention.
Always consider the preferences of your audience when making such calls. If your audience doesn’t care about Snapchat, a session about Snapchat won’t drive registration.
5. “Check out the full speaker list”
If a subscriber hasn’t purchased a ticket yet and it’s already 1 month prior to your event, they may want to know exactly what they’re getting into before pulling the trigger. That’s why it’s the best time to schedule an email that emphasizes relevance. Event goers want to engage in sessions that directly impact their lives. If you’ve lined up appropriate speakers, sending this email should convince them that it’ll be worth their time and money.
Convert, convert, convert
Finally, seal the deal by crafting offers people simply can’t refuse. Add these messages to your customer journey:
6. Early bird tickets are on sale now
Offering an early bird special is effective because it makes people feel like they got a deal. In fact, discounts help persuade 60% of event goers to buy tickets. Schedule this email for 2 weeks after you announce the conference. Include both the discounted price and the dates of the sale in your message. Then, 24 hours before the sale ends, send a reminder via SMS. Your subscribers are more likely to act on the offer if they know it’s their last chance.
7. Enter to win 2 free tickets
Schedule an email for 4 months before the event. In the email, announce a contest to win any combination of the following:
- Free conference tickets
- Free nights at a hotel
- Travel and/or transportation vouchers
- Access to VIP sessions
Ask subscribers to post a promotional tweet you’ve prepared in advance. Subscribers should be able to enter the contest with a single click. Okay, 2-3 clicks is fine. Just make it easy! Don’t forget to include a link to your event’s landing page in the message.” The cost of an event is a huge barrier for most. To attend a conference, people must pay for event tickets, flight tickets, several nights at a hotel, and transportation to and from airports and the venue. By entering a contest, they have a chance to win tickets they couldn’t otherwise afford. In return for the prize, you get more buzz about your event and a flood of new leads. It’s win-win.
8. “Register today to get a special bonus…”
Schedule an email for 2 months before the event that offers a special bonus. You could offer a small bonus that everyone receives (e.g. a $20 Lyft gift card) or a limited quantity of large bonuses (e.g. 10 complimentary career coaching sessions). Participants want to know: What’s in it for me? Like the early bird sale, this message will give your subscribers an incentive to buy a ticket right away.
That’s just the beginning
Remember, this list is just the beginning. When designing your customer journey, be creative with the messages you send. If you have the content to support it, send more emails. What emails do you send to drive event registration? Let us know in the comments.