Does your user conference marketing need a boost? Start with these six steps to get your message out to the audience you want and register the numbers you need.
Whether this is your first experience with user conference marketing, or you’re building on a multi-year event, lay the groundwork for success with the right up front research and planning.
Start Planning Early
The best time to start planning any event is sooner than you think! Setting the date and location for next year’s conference before a current year’s conference takes place not only makes it easier to nail your preferred location and secure busy keynote speakers, but also lets you leverage this year’s momentum to promote next year’s event. Share the date and location of your next conference at a current event along with a limited-time offer or discount that invites attendees to commit early.
Ask “Who Should Attend?”
The typical user conference may have sales seeking new prospects to close, product marketing looking to discuss details with power users, and executives pushing visions of growth out to the C-suite. Reviewing current and prospective customer data can clarify potential groups of attendees to invite. Consider questions such as what industries are your largest, what job titles purchase from you and how experienced they are? Targeting your conference marketing to appeal to the desired mix of attendees sets everyone up for success.
Define the Benefits of Attending
Before you launch an event website or send out an email blast, get clarity on what type of offer will turn your prospects into registered attendees. Is it being the first to see new products, in-depth training that improves job skills, networking with leading industry personalities, or something else? Talk with your stakeholders to map out the benefits your conference will offer to each targeted group of attendees.
Create the Tools You’ll Need
Once you know who should attend your conference and why, you’re ready to start building the tools to communicate your message and get your audience excited about registering. Start with an event branding guide to set a consistent style for all event-related pieces. The branding guide should define event logo, tagline, fonts, colors, theme imagery, and usage guidelines. Building event marketing tools such as website, email campaigns, social media tiles, and sponsorship prospectus around a brand guide creates the consistent look of a successful brand.
Use Proven Channels
You have your message and your tools but what is the best way to reach your audiences? It may be different for each group you’re targeting. Existing customers can often be successfully reached with an informative email campaign. According to a 2018 survey by Bizzabo, event marketers find email to be the single most effective channel for promoting live events. Depending on your audience, email alone may not be enough though. A new sales prospect may respond better to a promotional discount offered by a sales manager while a C-suite executive may require a personal phone call. Enlist all your allies in getting the word out including sales, partners, social media marketers, customer advocates, executives and guest speakers.
Track Results and Adapt your Plans
Knowing the numbers equips you to communicate exactly where your event is at in terms of achieving its goals. Once registration is launched, track total numbers registered in a weekly report. Analyze which channels are performing well and which may be underperforming, then make any necessary adjustments to your pricing and communications strategy to keep registration numbers on track.
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