How to Get the Right Event Attendees
You’re planning your next event or meeting – maybe it’s a new one or you’re trying to improve attendance from your last one – and the question arises who are the right event attendees for it and how to you get them there? When organizing an event or meeting, you don’t want just anyone to show up. It’s about getting the right event attendees to show up. No matter how much time, effort and resources you put into doing an event, it will be difficult to find success if the right crowd is not in attendance.
Whether it’s a huge multi-day conference or a small intimate meeting, getting the right event attendees is the first key to hosting a successful event. But who are the right event attendees to invite and how do you get them to come? Who makes up the right crowd of people?
Getting the right event attendees requires successful event marketing including social media, content marketing, and ads are important to attracting the right event attendees. Often, however, the one area not given enough attention is conducting an effective event email marketing campaign. Many event professionals are clueless on how to run one that brings in the right event attendees. What starts out as well-intentioned communications turns into a SPAM fest, unopened emails, unsubscribers, and lost potential attendees.
How do you turn this situation around? One way is better segmenting of your event marketing lists and using them to target the right event attendees you want to come. Here is how to get the right event attendees to your next event or meeting by effective segmenting of your event email marketing lists.
Getting the Right Event Attendees: Determining Who They Are
To determine who they are, ask yourself a couple of questions: what do I want to accomplish with this event? What are the business goal and strategy which this event is meant to support? Your answers will help you define the right event attendees. Also it will give you a clear direction to head to that will help you to make better decisions while planning and implementing your event.
Next, you want to make sure that the people you’re inviting to your events are at least the right audience. This might seem easy but figuring out what types of people you want at your event is a step not to be taken lightly. There should be strategic thought given to who you want to reach. It is up to you to determine who the right event attendees for you.
First off, the right event attendees consist of the people who will be most receptive to your event or meeting’s purpose and message. It also includes people who are invested and loyal to your company or organization as well as influential prospective customers, donors, sponsors, or business partners. Having the right event attendees not only fosters deeper engagements, it also turns them into devoted advocates for your company or organization.
Once you are aware of your business goal and what strategy your event will support, it is time to define the right event attendee profile you are going to target. The best way to do this is by searching your event email marketing lists for the potential attendees that will deliver your goal. Organize through segmentation, the data there and use it to target, or focus on, the type of people you want to invite and eventually come to your event.
Getting the Right Event Attendees: Why Segment Your Lists
If you are experienced in email marketing, you are probably familiar with the terms segmentation or segmenting. The term simply means dividing people into groups based on information like interests, demographics, geography, passed behavior, preferences, and other psychological attributes. When dividing your list into groups, make sure you spend time on data quality to ensure that the lists can be reused in the future.
The idea is to try and understand what your most valuable attendees or potential attendees have in common and how they differ from the rest of the people in your event’s universe. That way you can be more targeted (focused) in your event email marketing efforts and appeal to your high value attendees.
When used for events, segmenting your email marketing lists is vital to getting the right event attendees registered. When done properly, you can significantly increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns and the eventual success of your event.
Often emails are not one size fits all but must be tailored (segmented) to appeal to the right event attendees. This is especially critical when developing the right message for a particular list segment. One email might appeal to some people on your list while others need something completely different. The people who aren’t interested in your emails might delete them or, worse for you, unsubscribe if they find that your messages aren’t relevant to them.
A study by the email marketing service, Constant Contact shows that 56% of people who unsubscribed from a business or non-profit list did so because the content wasn’t relevant. Segmenting your event email marketing list to target the right group of people with the right relevant message or content can help you avoid this problem and increase your event success.
Getting the Right Event Attendees: Prospects and Previous Attendees
There are so many different ways to potentially segment your email marketing list to get the right event attendees. From an event marketing perspective, the simplest way to divide your list is into people who have never attended your event (prospective attendees) and those who have attended in the past (previous attendees). Then create the right message and provide the right information for people in each list to ensure getting the right event attendees.
Marketing to Prospective Attendees. If someone has never attended one of your events before or knows very little about your company or organization’s mission, then your marketing approach needs to be different. When it comes to converting prospects, your focus needs to be on building trust and credibility. Concentrate on creating a value proposition for them to attend your event, moving from showing value to eventual registration. Starting off with a hard core sales pitch sets you up for failure and perhaps losing a prospective attendee.
Marketing to Previous Attendees. One of the greatest ways to jump start your event registration is by targeting your list of previous attendees. Most likely, the right event attendees are those who have attended your event before. Provide your previous event attendees special attention with your best deals you can offer. This doesn’t have to be a huge ticket discount; is there a value-add or additional premiums you can offer them. When you go the extra mile for previous attendees, it pays with early registrations for your event. It also gets them back in the future too.
Getting the Right Event Attendees: Taking a Deeper Dive with Your Lists
But you can divide your list down even further. Here are 5 common ways to potentially segment your email marketing list more and help you get the right event attendees. You might want to use them to improve your event marketing and promotional efforts.
- Type of Company or Job
Geography. One of the simplest places to start in further segmenting your email marketing list is based on geography. For example, if you find that your previous event attendees have come primarily from a certain location or locations, you may consider segmenting your list to focus on these particular geographic areas. See whether spreading your event marketing budget and efforts across a broader geographic area is the best thing to do or whether targeting specific geographic locations is more successful in getting your right event attendees to come. Evaluate activity throughout your registration process and see the results. This should lead to a much better outcome for getting the right event attendees as well as marketing ROI for your events.
Demographics. This is perhaps the most familiar ways to segment your event marketing list. It is a way of looking at your potential event attendees based on common attributes such as age, gender, income, marital status. Combining several demographic attributes, you can create a much targeted event attendee breakdown, which becomes a target persona. Build your segments off your previous event’s information so you know who is actually registering and not just who you think might be registering. Once your event is done, you can review your attendee report and look for trends. What you find, can be used to build other target personas for future events.
Type of Company and Job. Another good way to further segment your event email marketing list is by grouping your potential attendees based on the type of company they work for. Often this is based on what industry they work in, such as retail, non-profit, automotive, software technology and others. Or segment them on company size, revenues or location.
Within the company segmentation, you also can further segment based on the job or position held by the targeted event attendee such as sale, marketing, human resources, IT. Combining two attributes such as position and job gives you yet another way to segment your list to get the right event attendees.
Behavior. Potentially the most powerful way to segment your event marketing list is based on behavior of your event attendees. While this may be tricky to determine for first time attendees, it can be done for previous attendees.
One example is to segment them based on behavior when registering for your event. Segment your list of previous attendees by how and when they registered for your event. Group the “early bird” registrants into a segment; do the same for those who register late or at the door. Another group could be your long time attendees. Create a more effective marketing effort to reach each group based on their past behavior.
Personalize the email invitation message based on this behavior to get them in the door. Maybe you can even get those who register late or at the door to become “early bird” registrants. Also, your long time attendees deserve special attention and a more personal approach. Show how you value them when communicating with them in an email invitation that is specifically for them.
Psychographics. Psychographics is the subjective information about what motivates and interests your potential even attendees. It’s a look at internal motivations such as values, attitudes, personality rather than external attributes you find in demographic information.
To develop such data, survey your event attendees before your event to gather revealing psychographics about their values, lifestyle, attitudes, or whatever subjective information is important for you so you can target the right event attendees. Analyzing survey results helps you develop the target personas for your event so you can create highly focused and effective event communications for each segment. Psychographics information can help you hone in on what makes them tick – and click.
Developing tailored psychographics profiles also can help you refine the right message for the right group of people. Understanding what type of message will appeal to people in a group divided by psychographics information can make your event marketing campaign more successful and get you the right event attendees.
Getting the Right Event Attendees: Benefits of List Segmentation
Segmenting your list means you will have to invest some time and money sorting to get your right event attendees. But it also means you will have more success with your event email marketing campaign. So what are the benefits of all this work? Here are at least 3 benefits.
Better Open and Click-Through Rates. There has got to be nothing worse for an event marketer than putting together an email marketing campaign, send the emails out, and….nothing or next to nothing with responses. Ouch! That hurts a lot.
To get people to attend your event, you need to get people to open you emails and click. To increase the chances of this happening, you need to create a tailored, relevant email with interesting content which motivates them to take the action you want – register for your event.
To ensure a high open and click-through rate, have an appealing subject line that makes a person want to open the email. Once opened, the message in your email needs to be engaging and persuasive so the person takes action and registers for your event. If you are seeing low open and click-through rates, try testing different subject line text or messages to see which gets better results for you.
Fewer Unsubscribes. Not everybody is going to be interested in your event emails so unsubscribes will happen. However, if you’re seeing a high number of people unsubscribing to your event emails, then you have a problem needing attention. An increase in unsubscribes is like adding insult to injury.
Before pushing the panic button, assess your email messages. Perhaps the person unsubscribing might have been interested in your event but the email didn’t seem relevant to him. This happens frequently when using generic mass emailing rather than segmenting your email list and customizing your content for a target group.
Next time, segment. It is likely you will see fewer unsubscribes and a higher positive response rate for your emails.
List Fatigue. Wearing out your welcome in the inbox is tough. There is a fine line between creating your event buzz and providing the necessary event information and being just a bit too annoying to people. So much so, they delete your emails or, worse yet, unsubscribe from your list completely.
A person has to care about what you are sending him and see the relevance in the message you’re sending. Again, mass generic mailings increase the possibility of a negative outcome for you. A targeted approach using segmented list with customized messages is more effective.
Strategically send you emails to your smaller, segmented event email marketing list, staggered over time throughout your event planning. This allows you to get you message and information out without being an unwanted presence in a person’s inbox.
Getting the Right Event Attendees: Conclusion
It may seem a lot of tedious work but the more customized the event emails sent to smaller groups that share a common characteristic, the greater the chance of success for your event marketing efforts. More segments and personalization creates more responses. This increases the chances of a larger turnout for your event. More than what you might get using generic emails sent to a large group of untargeted invitees. If you want the right event attendees, it’s worth the extra effort.
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