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Using email to promote events

January 25, 2014

Promoting a corporate event, such as a conference, seminar or webinar, is one of the most challenging and pressurised campaigns a marketer can be involved in. With an average six month lead time to announce, promote and sell the event, combined with the inevitable competition from the myriad of other events vying for your customer’s attention, event marketing is not for the faint hearted. Email is the perfect channel for instantly promoting awareness, building momentum and ultimately selling the event to all your target sectors.Here is Extravision’s guide to better event management.

Stage One: Plan, Plan, Plan.

It goes without saying that your first efforts should be concentrated on planning. Not only on the event itself, venue, dates, speakers, topics etc but also on who you want to attend and how best to entice them. Once you have developed a clear idea of your target audience you’ll have a much better idea about the direction of the creative and which marketing mix will be most effective.Whatever your target group it’s highly likely that email will be the most cost-effective and quickest way to announce the event. It can be tempting to ‘bang out a quick email’ from the moment the date and venue are confirmed, but by taking time at the beginning to plan how the entire campaign will fit together you’ll get better results and also avoid sending mixed messages and duplications.

An announcement email that attracts attention

Whether it’s a first time or regular event you should be able to gather together a list of people to send a ‘Save the Date’ announcement email to kick off the marketing campaign. The easiest way to do this is to compile an in-house list. If it’s a regular event, the people on this list might include:Last year’s attendees Last year’s cancellations Attendees from other events Other customers from companies where a colleague attendedIf it’s a first time event then don’t worry - your list should come from customers old and new, and prospects. If you don’t have their email addresses than the best way to get them is to conduct a telemarketing campaign, this is also a great way to seek permission to contact them.‘Save the Date’ emails sent to these people should be the most effective because they already know you. The best way to maximise response however, is to further segment these groups and develop highly personalised emails targeted to each small segment.The group ‘last year’s attendee’s’ for example will probably break down into several further segments e.g. senior level managers, middle managers, exhibitors, etc. Each should be a sent an email with a highly relevant subject line and call to action. The aim of the announcement email will probably be to get as many pre-registrations as possible; however different groups will be motivated to register by different offers.Senior managers for example may be motivated by well known keynote speakers or networking opportunities. Lower level managers may need to justify the cost so may be more influenced by an early registration discount. Email allows for a number of variations of the announcement to be sent at very little extra cost.

Tracking – use Intelligence to Build Momentum

Of course email isn’t the only way you should promote your event; brochures, advertising and telesales also have their place in attracting interest. Email combined with a micro site however, enables you to closely track your customer’s responses, allowing you to deliver a campaign that builds on the individual’s interests to tease and motivate them.Email’s trackability makes it a uniquely powerful weapon in engaging the prospective attendee’s interest. You could for example analyse click-throughs to see which topics/speakers a prospective attendee clicks on and send them supplementary information about that speaker, additional speakers, complimentary exhibitors etc.Emails should be tracked and managed from day one. Prospects may register at any stage so careful management is necessary to avoid duplications.Once someone has registered, email is also the most cost effective way to send them all the supplementary information they will require in order to attend (and incentives to encourage them to invite friends and colleagues). Ongoing personalised contact is a crucial part of effective event management. After all you want to minimise cancellations, encourage attendees to help you sell the event to others and build a brand so that attendees become loyal.

One last push

Finally email is the perfect medium for encouraging all those fence sitters who have shown some level of interest but have not as yet committed. A few days before the start of the event a final email can be sent which offers the ability to perform a last minute ‘fast track’ registration via the micro site - something that would be impossible to administer so close to the event using traditional methods.

Summary

Email offers a number of benefits for the event marketer. Not only is it a way to deliver a series of invitations at lower cost but using powerful personalisation software, it is possible to deliver highly targeted messages that sound like one to one invitations, and to respond more accurately to an individual’s interests.Automating these processes means that a more focused, and therefore effective, campaign can be implemented, without additional burden on precious resources. All in all email is the perfect medium for better event promotion and management.If you would like further information, please email [email protected] or call 0161 817 2929

Posted by Paul Latham
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