Planning an individual conference or event is demanding and labor-intensive. Add on more than a dozen different cities, venues, and guests, and you’ve got a stressful few months ahead.
Hosting a successful roadshow requires lots of preparation, but more important than reserving the venue, gathering the speakers and hiring the lighting crew is nailing down your audience. Without an audience, all of your hard work is for nothing.
Approach your event with a goal in mind. Is this event meant to attract new clients or reward current clients for their loyalty? Is it both? With that in mind, feel free to start putting together the details of the plan. Regardless of what you choose, it’s important that the topic of the event and/or the event itself is appealing enough that clients and prospects feel comfortable inviting along friends and colleagues.
Once you suss out the details and get a venue booked, you can embark on the long road of digital promotion that lies ahead of you.
As stated earlier, without an audience, the event is pointless. So you have to be as effective as possible in not only garnering interest initially, but also sustaining that interest all the way through the end of your event.
Harnessing the power of digital marketing to achieve the event success you’re looking for, based on our experience managing over 5,000 advisor events:
1. Building an Effective List
A successful event email campaign begins with building a quality recipient list. You want to find out where your contacts are based, what they invest in and why they would be interested in your roadshow. With this information, you can create customised messages that zero in on location and markets.
Remember, even when your contact list is heavily curated, expect an open rate of around 15% and click rate of under 5%. So, don’t be afraid to send your invitation to a large pool of people, even if your venue has a tight capacity. There will usually be more registrants than attendees; be mindful and don’t turn away potential registrants by putting a precise max capacity. It’s important to give the event some leeway by overbooking or having a standby list if registrants cancel early.
2. First Email: Save the Date
According to our Digital Marketing Survey, 96% of IFAs choose events they attend based on the topic being covered, so make sure that messaging is front and center. Once you hook your invitees with a topic that appeals to them, quickly get to the benefits of your event. What will they gain that will warrant missing work or spending time away from their families?
It’s recommended that you list out all of the benefits in bullet form so clients and prospects can easily skim your email and decide whether or not they’re interested. From there, guide them down to your call to action, which will lead to your sign up form. It’s important that you make this process as simple as possible.
Always keep in mind that even registrants aren’t guaranteed to show up, but don’t stop including them in your messaging. From our experience, about 46% of IFAs who register for UK roadshows fail to attend. A handy tip to avoid registrants forgetting about your event is to include a calendar widget in your emails that will add the event to their calendars.
3. Second Email: Reminder
The key to keeping people interested, including registrants, is to provide them with useful information, such as the event’s agenda and speakers, in the weeks leading up to your event. Be wary, sending the same information over and over again won’t work. You must introduce new information in each email and customize the message for the specific event/location it pertains to. Video integration, animated GIFs, and dynamic countdown timers are some techniques you can use to spice up your messages.
Remember that your invitees are busy people who might not remember even signing up for your event. To make sure your event stays at the top of their minds send a reminder of your event a week before and a final reminder the day before. This will give them enough time to plan to make it to your event and a confirmation that they won’t forget at the last minute.
4. Third Email: Follow Up
As soon as your event concludes, send a follow-up email thanking everyone for coming. Include any collateral and/or certificates (CE credits) your attendees earned. This is the final bow that will wrap up a successful event and increase the chances of your attendees coming back for your future events.
Maintaining your audience’s interest is as important as cultivating that audience in the first place. Be prompt in your email follow-ups so advisers are not waiting around for any accreditation they’re owed. Also, politely ask how you can improve future events to keep your planning process continuously improving.
Continue to collect audience participation data with every event you put on and use that feedback to choose future locations and dates that work best for your invitees. Look for information such as: which venue was the most convenient, which city had the most attendees, what time (morning or afternoon) was most popular, etc.
As long as you consistently learn from your experiences and apply attendee’s feedback, your roadshows will improve and your audience will grow.
If you’d like to talk about how StoneShot’s technology and events services and insight can make your events more successful, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.