August 16, 2015

Audience Generation: 6 Ways To Fill Seats at Your Next Event

Technology Event Attendees

Lead Generation for Technology Companies

Technology industry marketers are keenly aware of how important events are to their marketing strategy. A recent Regalix report found that 57% of B2B marketers indicated events are extremely significant for accelerating lead generation and growing their sales pipeline. But in order for an event to be successful you need the right attendees – people who want to be at your event and who will truly benefit from what you have to offer.

Generating quality attendees for your event with the appropriate job title, company size, industry, and location can be extremely difficult (especially if your event is exclusive to executives and C-Suite contacts).

To help make your event a success, here are some event marketing demand generation tips for attracting a high caliber audience of decision-makers:

1. Clearly define your target audience and the value they’ll gain

As you’re planning your event marketing strategy, clearly define who your target audience is and what value they’ll gain by attending your event:

  • Why should customers and prospects attend your event?
  • What’s the benefit to them?
  • Are you addressing the challenges/pain-points of your target audience?

This step is critical. Invite the wrong target group and your event marketing efforts will be ineffective. Worse, you risk alienating prospective customers by wasting their time if they do attend.

When you’ve defined your target audience and the value of your event to them, make sure your communication material and images reflect this value. As you develop your promotional materials, consistently go back to your plan to ensure your communications reflect your initial intent.

Once you know who you want to attend, plan out your promotional strategy. The type of event you are conducting (online or offline) will influence your approach, but there are a few standout ideas to get the right attendees to your event. According to the Regalix report, the most effective online channels for promoting events are email (84%), web (68%) and social media (68%). The most effective offline promotional tactic is direct mail, which could be considered if this is an approach that would attract your target audience.

Source: The State of B2B Event Marketing, Regalix Research 2014

2.Email prospective attendees

Promote Your Event with Email MarketingSince email is still the most effective promotional tactic for your event, it should be first on your list of audience generation tactics. Create a series of emails you can send to members of your opt-in list that fit the event target market criteria. To get response and attention from your event email:

  • Speak to your audience’s pain-points in the email subject line and copy
  • Create excitement about the event with copy and images
  • Make sure the details of the event are clearly highlighted in your email copy
  • Add a call-to-action that links to a registration page. Once the prospect has signed up for the event, send a confirmation email immediately and reminder emails leading up to the event.
  • Craft at least two emails and set up a rule in your email management system to send a follow up email if the prospect hasn’t signed up for your event after the first email.
  • Don't forget about the fact that the majority of us are addicted to our mobile devices - make sure your emails are mobile optimized.

Of course, this approach is dependent upon having a valid in-house email opt-in list. If you don't have one, there is no time like the present to develop your email opt-in strategy. It is well worth the time to figure this out - sooner rather than later.

Also consider asking your sales or customer service team to directly email prospects and customers. Sales and customer service are close to your customers and understand their issues and concerns. A personal invitation from these teams would go a long way in encouraging customers to attend your event. Make it easy for them by developing an OFT email invitation template they can easily personalize and send.

3. Update your website with event details

Don’t forget to promote your event on your website on pages relevant to your event target market. This is a relatively easy update, which may result in additional attendees for your event. Again, focus on the value of your event to your target group in your promotion and landing pages.

4. Leverage Social Media

Use Social Media

Social media is a cost-effective channel for promoting your event and shouldn’t be missed. In a study on Event Marketing by HubSpot and EventBright, 61% of marketers listed social media as the most cost-effective channel for promoting events. To effectively leverage social media, promote your event on your company’s social channels with particular emphasis on the social media channels your target audience frequents. Use relevant hashtags to reach out to your influencers, partners and guest speakers.

Also, listen for opportunities to engage with prospects and customers who may be interested in attending your event. These opportunities could come in the form of customer questions or comments on your website or social channels related to the subject matter of your event.

To really target B2B decision makers, consider LinkedIn Sponsored updates for your event. Segmentation capabilities of LinkedIn are rich, allowing you to specify target market details such as job titles, LinkedIn groups, geographical region and skill set. Sponsored updates allow you to limit the audience for your content and updates, you can get your content seen by key influencers and decision makers.

5. Include Content Marketing

You’ve clearly defined your target audience and their key challenges to be addressed at your event. Use this information to create content that speaks to these challenges and entices prospective attendees to attend.

For example:

  • A series of blog posts timed a few months or weeks prior to your event. Possible content could include a review of past events, features on guest speakers, a discussion of the event theme or agenda.
  • A press release with information about the event and keynote speakers
  • An attractive, optimized landing page to attract attendees and encourage them to register for your event

6. Consider offline channels

Although offline channels may not be as effective as email and social media, they may work for your circumstances. For example, does your event target market respond well to direct mail? If so, and if you have the budget to implement a direct mail campaign, then include this tactic. Telemarketing may be a good approach for your business to follow up with prospects who may not have responded to your email campaign or if you have a telemarketing list of potential attendees.

Depending on your budget and time frame, the best approach to get the right attendees to your event is an integrated marketing campaign that uses two or more of the techniques discussed in this blog. It’s important to have consistent messaging on all communication vehicles and to be sure you plan each activity well in advance. This will allow your attendees to schedule your event and plan for travel time if required.

GamePlan Marketing is a Full-Service Creative & Digital Agency located in the Oakville, Greater Toronto Area in Canada. We Specialize in Digital Marketing for B2B Technology Companies.

Attract the right audience and wow them with an event that speaks volumes.

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