The Financial Services industry is a relationship business – and because of that events are a crucial part of marketing plans across the industry. As we’ve managed over 10,000 events for our clients over the years – ranging from live conferences to web seminars and conference calls, we know these types of initiatives tend to see a high engagement rate when promoted and executed the right way.
So, what exactly is the ‘right way?’ Well, it will vary from business to business, but there are some best practices that every organization should follow when managing their event promotion and follow up.
In this post, we outline tips for hosting an event with a successful turnout and following up afterward – and how data analysis plays a big role in seeing that return on investment you set out to achieve.
Emails that have to do with events tend to see a higher open rate than other types of emails, but when it comes to event registrations – open rates aren’t what you should be focusing on.
The experience the recipient gets when reading your email is what will draw them to visit your registration page and ultimately convert.
Here’s what to keep in mind for a better user experience when building your event promotion emails.
These days people are working from anywhere and have that ‘always on’ mentality – which means emails aren’t just being viewed on the desktop. Emails must be responsive to fit mobile devices of any kind.
Have you ever had trouble finding a CTA on a mobile device? That is likely because the email or website was designed for one screen size.
Make sure accurate design specs are met before launching, so your email designs don’t shift when viewed on different screens.
If you don’t have the resources in-house to do so, it is recommended to outsource this type of work to professionals who have experience with UX design and a track record of delivering responsive emails.
What is the message? Is it engaging? Are you providing the right information to get someone to click a CTA to learn more or register? Make sure you provide the important details about the event up front in the email – aka ‘don’t bury the lead.’
If you have keynote speakers and interesting sessions, you’ll want to highlight them in the first email that goes out, as well as the event location, time, and if the event is paid or free of charge.
Calls to action
Your call to action or CTA plays a key part in your email marketing campaign. One of the reasons being that it’s the purpose of your communication.
CTAs, for the most part, utilize bright colors and mindful arrangement, yet the best ones utilize exact, noteworthy language to pull in the attention of the recipient.
We know we keep stressing the importance of thinking about the end user, but really, think about the end user! How will they register for the event? What will make their experience a positive one?
We recommend using a microsite as an extension of the email to provide additional event information. Within the microsite it’s important to think about how the user will register and if they can register more than one person at one time. Will their details automatically pull into the registration form based on their contact information in your CRM or email marketing platform?
After the user has registered, they should receive a confirmation email informing them that they’ve been registered to attend the event. The main things people include in the confirmation are calendar files, agendas, locations and directions.
You’ll most likely be using different methods of communication with your contacts. For example, email, social media, websites etc. It’s vital that you keep track of where exactly your contacts are registering from. You need to be able to gain insight into which campaign resulted in the highest click-through rate (CTR) and adapt for the next send.
Throughout the process, you’ll want to be sure you’re also keeping track of who’s invited, registered, declined, canceled, attended and not attended. This will affect your marketing actions and tell you if you need to tailor the plan.
It’d also be useful if you were to look at the same factors each time you analyze your data. This way you can compare statistics and measure your progress. You could analyze which venues and days of the week are the most popular. This data will play a key role in your event making decisions.
How to Make Your Event Stand Out
So, you’ve analyzed the data, have responsive designs in place and your content and CTAs are all where they need to be.
So what next? Since events are so popular in the financial industry, yet attendee budgets aren’t infinite, it’s key to do things that will set yourself apart from the others to ensure your event makes the cut.
Continued professional development (CPD) offerings
Professional investors are always looking to continue their education, and many use events to do this.
You’ll find that offering and advertising CPD credits (If you offer them) in your event campaign will increase the rate of interactions and boost registration numbers by a large percentage. It’s important that you don’t leave your attendees waiting too long to receive their CPD certificate.
Getting the certificate over to them swiftly after the event will increase the chances of them returning for future events. Certain solutions like StoneShot can provide your attendees with their CPD certificates straight after your event has concluded or when specified. We create the CPDs and manage the automation process to make sure every contact gets their certificate simultaneously.
Your content is the heart of the event – it’s what draws people to attend (besides a nice location and of course a CPD opportunity).
Find speakers that will engage the audience, meet the theme of the event with their expertise, and that are well known in the industry. If you can’t find all three, at least make sure they are engaging and that they have a good talk track lined up for your attendees.
If your event is going to be a live event, you’ll want to research a couple things before aligning on a location. Is the event space the right size and does it accommodate all your needs such as A/V requirements and meals? Are there things to do around the area to entice people to make the trip, or will the event be local?
You’ll also have to set a max capacity for your venue when creating a registration page, so you make sure you are not overbooking the space available to you.
During the event
If your event is happening live, a person’s first interaction with your event is likely going to be at check-in. Ensure this experience runs smoothly for the attendee.
Having all registrants organized in one location will speed up the process. A check-in tool (Such as the one in StoneShot’s app) is worth investing in as it makes things run more smoothly the day of the event.
StoneShot’s app is for iPad and allows you to view who has registered for your event and mark them as attended as they turn up at the door. This information will automatically update in the main app in real-time.
If your event is virtual, you’ll want to ensure the registrants know how to access the event, have received a reminder before the event begins, and will know how to ask questions during or after the content is presented and if you’ll be sharing any of the content with them afterward.
While an event is happening, you may want to update your attendees with important information. After your email invitation has been sent out, the first email update your registrants should receive is the confirmation of registration email.
You may also want to update your registrants with reminders for the event. The reminders could include the start time, agenda, directions, and a calendar file etc.
Continuing the Conversation
Just because the event has concluded, doesn’t mean your job is over. Marketing is a continued journey, and there are a few follow up initiatives that should take place.
Feedback surveys are a great way to gather information and get the most out of your attendees. When your event has concluded, and you begin to send out post-event communications, like ‘Thank you for attending’ and ‘Sorry we missed you’ emails, you can start to think about your attendee satisfaction.
If you incorporate a user-friendly feedback survey on your ‘Thank you’ emails, you can start to gauge the loyalty of your relationships with clients and how you can improve on it, or what you do that is already well received.
You must really take this opportunity to go into depth with your feedback form questions. This way, you’ll know what your attendees disliked, liked, loved, and how to improve your event for next time.
StoneShot Event Management
Now it’s time for you to maximize the ROI on your events, and if you need support getting there or are on the hunt for a new email and event marketing platform, StoneShot has both the technology and services to assist you.
These are some of the things you’ll be able to accomplish with our email and event management solution and services:
- Create and manage all your events in an easy-to-use dashboard
- Build a microsite to share agendas, speakers and venue information
- Auto-schedule dynamic event emails for every venue in advance
- Get full reporting on your event and compare to benchmarks in the industry
- Send dynamic CPD certificates and feedback surveys to attendees
- Use our iPad app to check in attendees and sync to StoneShot
- Build branded registration forms that pre-populate and feed data straight back to your dashboard, and more
If you’d like to learn more about event management best practices or our solutions and services, we’d love to hear from you.