Over the years, our team has had to "rescue" numerous programs because they had not been marketed well to begin with. Here is our prescription for a successful marketing campaign for your next event:
10. Get permission first
With the implementation of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) July 1, 2014, make sure you get permission before you start marketing electronically. You can build your list by reaching out by phone, in-person at another event, or through social media connections. To find out more about CASL and how it applies to ALL Canadian businesses that use email marketing, go to www.fightspam.gc.ca.
9. Maintain your database meticulously
In case there is a spamming complaint, the CASL puts the burden on the marketer to prove that permission was obtained. Don't risk a fine by sending unwanted messages to recipients whose information you haven't updated in your database. Keep your data clean!
8. Make it about ME
Who cares if your event has a record-breaking number of exhibitors, sponsors or break-out sessions. If your communication isn't articulating what's-in-it-for-ME, as your attendee, then you likely won't get me to register.
7. Twitterize your message
Don't send long emails telling me ALL there is to know about your event. According to the latest research, the majority of emails are now first opened on a mobile device (see http://bit.ly/1d564vQ), so keep your message short and to the point. If there's more to your story, give links where the recipient can go for more.
6. Make it easy to share
An increasing number of business event attendees are active on social media. So make it easy for attendees to share your event with peers by using ShareThis (see www.sharethis.com ) or other social media sharing platform to have your prospective attendees sell for you by tweeting and posting on whatever social media they prefer.
5. Tell them who else likes you & who else will be there
When you tell your event's story, impart the experience through the voice and words of people who are like your prospect. A testimonial with of a REAL person, with a name, title, company and photo, will go long way to convince them your event is worth their time. And while you must respect attendees' privacy and not reveal their personal information, it's OK for you to tell the names of the organizations who will be represented at your event. This will help your prospective attendee (and their boss, if they need approval) better decide if your event is for them.
4. Show them too
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth a million. If you need more convincing ready these mind-blowing video marketing statistics (http://bit.ly/1lErwzx) Use this powerful tool to show clips of speakers, and those testimonials from attendees, exhibitors, sponsors. And as mentioned in #6, make sure the video showcases someone like your prospect.
3. Vary your channels
Unless recipients have "white listed" your email, then there's a 30-40% chance that your mass-deployed email will be caught in spam filters. So while your audience may be interested, they may never see your message. You need vary the ways you reach out. Pay special attention to the groups where your prospects hang out on LinkedIn. Get the influential people in your industry, those with lots of followers, to tweet about your event. Even send something by mail; something that'll pique recipients' curiosity, that'll get them to check out your event online.
2. Understand your prospects’ communication preferences
While Boomers and GenXers may appreciate getting information by email, younger professionals may not be so interested. According to the latest research (Hubspot.com, MarketingSherpa.com), GenY/Millennials are less inclined to read email. This, coupled with the CASL, may require you to shift resources to building a following on social media or even texting (as long as you get permission first).
1. Don't be so business-like
Learn from what gets shared online; I'm not talking about silly cat videos (unless your event is about cats), but we all enjoy funny or touching stories. Your promotion will rise about the clutter if you show emotion, humour, or an edge. Business need not be so serious!
Doreen Ashton Wagner