Planning a marketing event can be stressful. Organizing the subject matter, speakers, and target audience is one thing, but getting the right leads to attend is another. Not only do you need to fill the seats, but your sales organization demands true decision makers and influencers.
Here are 6 practices that will ensure you exceed your attendance goals with qualified guests every time.
Failure to plan is a plan to fail …
Think through all aspects of your event before you start the registration process. Timing, location, understating your target audience, and being able to effectively forecast registrant to attendee ratios (what percentage of registrants show up to your event) all have a huge impact on attendance.
Make sure you research the timing of your event. Are there competitive or industry events, holidays, political rallies, or school vacations running adjacent to your event? Can weather or road construction impact attendance? This is an aspect of event planning that is easy to overlook.
Select a venue that is appealing to your audience. In the case of multi-day events, book an appealing location that is reasonably close to a major airport with appropriate hotel accommodations.
Do your research to make sure it’s a convenient location. For local events such as executive luncheons or business happy hours, run a demographic study to ensure an adequate number of prospects within a reasonable driving distance.
When forecasting your event turnout it’s important to understand your registrant to attendee ratios. Each event is unique, but if your program is executed correctly, you can expect a minimum of 35% – 45% of your registrants to attend.
Select the right technology platform…
There are numerous technology platforms available that allow for smooth campaign deployment and management. Your best bet is to select a solution that allows you to deploy custom promotional cadences, event registration pages, automated confirmations, lead tracking, social integration, webcasting/online events, and comprehensive reporting.
Ensure you have adequate marketing lists…
Ideally you have a conditioned opt in database with behavioral based information such as key interest points (think downloads, site visits, past event participation, email engagement). This allows you to target the right individuals with the most relevant and timely messaging.
If your contact database is less than robust, contact a data or lead vendor. Look for a list provider that is highly knowledgeable in email hygiene, email deliverability, spam laws, and opt in processes.
Tread cautiously when buying or “renting” third party data. You will find yourself in hot water with your technology platform provider and ISP if you start marketing to contact lists loaded with honey pots, spam traps, outdated email addresses, or non-compliant lists.
A good list provider can also help you build and refine your internal list. They can educate you on the do’s and don’ts of contact database development and even provide you with a conditioned opt in list. Syndication vendors, publishers, and social channels are also another source for building your list of possible attendees.
Educate vs. Advertise…
Implement a sound event promotion plan that includes a variety of marketing mediums such as tele-marketing, email, social, paid, direct mail, and radio. Think through and plan your cadence strategy so you can touch your audience at the right time and place with highly relevant content.
Your target audience is coming to your event to learn something. Make this learning the central theme of your messaging.
Don’t just advertise your event; make each touch point a learning experience in itself. Even if your prospects don’t commit to your upcoming event they will be far more receptive to future invitations and most importantly, more receptive to your brand.
Monitor and Measure
- Just like any other marketing campaign it’s highly important to monitor your registration progress daily. Event dates come up fast so understanding what’s working and what’s not is critical to success.
Monitoring the registration effort reveals trends like:
- How your target audience s responding to your messaging
- Email engagement rates like opens clicks and download
- Audience interest when speaking with your tele-marketing reps
- Activity within your social channels
Be prepared to change up content or educational points to keep your audience educated and engaged. If indicators show a large number of your registrants fall into the likely and very unlikely categories, adjust your registrant to attendee ratio and amp up your recruitment efforts.
Confirm, Confirm…and one more time, Confirm!
Executing a strong confirmation process is one of the most important components of your campaign. Your registrants should receive a confirmation immediately after registration, at least one to two pieces of nurturing (educational) content prior to the event, a verbal confirmation 2-4 days prior to the event, and at least one email reminder the day before.
It’s even good practice to have a morning of reminder email. In the case of a webinar, an email letting your registrant know the event is starting in 15 minutes with a login link improves attendance.
Custom events – either in person or e-based- drive leads with the highest quality conversion ratio. The risks associated with running an event, far surpass that of a traditional lead generation program. But the rewards are also greater. Following this 6 steps helps mitigate the risks and produce a stellar event that fills the pipeline!
KPI works in partnership with our clients to recruit high quality attendees and maximize attendance rates. To learn how we can help make your next event a success:
Call: 866-959-7574 or: Contact Us