Tips for Improving Your Audience Acquisition Through Better Emails


By Nicole Bojic, Group Executive, Strategic Solutions Group

We all know that email marketing and your event website are two of the primary workhorses in any audience acquisition strategy. But in a world where people receive hundreds of emails a day, how can you ensure anyone is even noticing your email, let alone opening and reading it? In this article we will cover 8 tips for improving the performance of your audience acquisition email marketing.

8 Tips for Better Email Marketing of Your Event

1. Only Send to Opt-In Emails. Never buy a list!
This isn’t just a best practice, it’s the law in many places. With the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies who do business in and market to individuals in the EU must obtain explicit opt-in consent before collecting personal data. But there’s an even better reason for utilizing an opt-in email list. By limiting your outreach to only those individuals who are actually interested in your event, your engagement rates are likely to be higher (due to inherent relevancy) as will efficiency. That means you should never buy a list of emails, which are unqualified at best and completely irrelevant and inaccurate at worst.

2. Personalize, personalize, personalize.
Segment your audience (and your lists) and then map key messages to each audience. For example, if you’re announcing a new product, your email messaging around that product announcement might be more technically oriented for a developer audience and more business objective-oriented for an executive-level audience. Same product announcement, different messaging. On top of that, you can add true personalization, such as the recipient’s name in the greeting and/or the subject line. By targeting and personalizing the content of your emails, you’re more likely to grab the attention of your reader. In fact, according to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

3. Plan messaging by attendee status.
Just because a prospect registers for your event doesn’t mean you should stop communicating with them. You’ll want to keep them excited about the event (especially if the event is free) to ensure they attend, but this outreach should happen at a different cadence and with different messages than what you would use with prospects. Create a dual-path email plan and use nurture messaging to drive registrations and engagement messaging to drive excitement and attendance as shown below.

4. Be emotional. And specific.
If you want to capture the attention of your reader, you’ve got to resonate. To resonate, you’ve got to appeal on an emotional level. Segmenting your audience will make it easier to pinpoint what they care about, and then you can leave a curiosity gap or appeal to their emotional triggers (e.g., fear of missing out) to hook them. But you also need to balance all of this with a level of specificity that gets to the point as quickly as possible. This is especially important with your subject lines as that is the first engagement barrier you’ve got to cross. Consider these examples: 1) Hurry! Only 15 Seats Left for ExpCon with Michelle Obama Speaking; or 2) Join Us at ExpCon – Register Now! Which of these two subject lines would capture your attention?

5. Follow the rule of 7.
It’s going to take a lot more than a few emails to convert your prospects to attendees. In fact, multiple marketing research studies have shown that, on average, it takes seven touches before someone will take action on something. And, when messaging doesn’t resonate with a lead, they’re less likely to move along the funnel, which means more touches may be needed. Some research says that it takes 8, 13 or even 20 touches to convert a prospect.

Building a comprehensive communications outreach that incorporates the rule of 7 is a key factor in your success. But the emails must be unique, relevant and compelling. Your customers don’t want to get two save-the-date emails and five registration reminder emails. Your email campaign should tell a story that aligns with your event narrative. The effect on the prospective attendee should be one of an experience that builds and becomes richer with each communication.

6. Invest in design.
The emails you send should have an attractive design that is consistent with your event branding and website to ensure a cohesive experience. They should also be designed to render flawlessly on desktop and mobile, including the range of mobile devices, email clients and their various versions. The best way to achieve this is through responsive email design, but if you’re unable to deliver on this, we recommend focusing on perfecting the default preview widths (about 600 pixels) to ensure the most important content is viewable as desired.

7. Use images.
It’s probably no huge surprise that people prefer pictures over words. And in fact, research shows that images can actually significantly boost your click through rate—as much as 42% higher than emails without images. So, it’s worth it to take time to select relevant, compelling images and integrate them into your email designs. These could be images from last year’s event (to show the overall experience), an infographic (to show a concept), portraits of speakers (to put a face with a name), location and venue shots (to illustrate the environment and create a mood), and so much more.

8. A/B test your subject lines for better open rates.
I introduced A/B testing in my last article on audience acquisition strategy because it’s a great way to optimize your efforts. When A/B testing with email subject lines, you compare two different versions of a subject line within one email campaign to determine which version produces better open rates.

Let’s say you’re offering a special registration rate but are not sure the best way to message the promotional offer. You could offer the lower rate to the first X number of people to register, or you could provide a specific window of time. Testing both options could not only give you valuable information about which option people respond to better in email, but also which promotional offer they prefer. Other things you could test are various types of personalization. You could even compare one subject line that uses emojis and one that doesn’t.

Improve Your Email to Drive Audience Acquisition

Think of your email campaign as a rich story you’re telling prospective attendees as a prelude to your event. You’re providing a peek into what the experience will be with the goal of creating desire. Need help in pulling it all together? InVision has the full-service team to deliver. Read our press release or contact us to learn all about our comprehensive audience acquisition offering.

 

 

Improve Your Audience Acquisition Strategy with Actionable Insights from Event Data

By Nicole Bojic, Group Executive, Strategic Solutions Group

Your audience acquisition strategy is just begging to be improved with data-driven insights. If you’re looking to attract a new or expanded audience, this article is for you. And, if you’ve been doing the same old thing (ahem, email), expecting to get different results with no success, then this article is especially for you. It outlines 10 data sources you can tap into to gain new understanding of your audience and their preferences, along with the trends, channels, timing, and more that will improve your audience acquisition strategy.

10 Data Sources to Use in Your Audience Acquisition Planning

1. Attendee surveys: It’s time to look beyond catering.
Attendee surveys are probably the one bit of data that most event planners and strategists pay attention to on a regular basis. But are you mining the data and insights that can best shape your audience acquisition plan? If you’re not looking for trends in content and messaging preferences, then you’re missing crucial input that can help take your audience acquisition strategy to the next level.

Even simple questions like, “What content are/were you most looking forward to at XYZ event?” will help focus your messaging when reaching out to various audience types to register for your event. In an ideal world, you’ll field a pre-event survey as well as a post-event survey. This means you’ll not only have fresh, actionable input from prospective attendees, but you’ll also be able to gauge how well you delivered on those audience desires after the event. You can further fine-tune your plan by using the survey to collect audience information and media preferences.

2. Attendee polls: Sometimes the best way to find out what people care about is to ask them.
People love to share their opinions…usually, all you have to do is ask. And digital makes it relatively easy to ask your prospective attendees what they’d like to see and experience at your next event. Use your event and corporate websites, email and social media to field an informal “What matters to you?” type poll. Or get specific and ask your event community to provide more direct input, such as voting on potential speakers. Ask your influencers, partners and sponsors to help you promote the ask, and maybe even offer an incentive (such as a drawing for free event tickets or an airline voucher) to garner more interest and incent people to participate. You’ll gain valuable insights while creating interesting content that you can use to promote the event—for example, “Check out the results of our guest speaker poll.”

3. Registration data: It’s more than just numbers.
What you can gather from registration data will depend on what registration platform you use and how it is set up. There’s no doubt that multichannel attribution (which tracks all the channels that might influence conversion to registration) is challenging at best, and most events use last-click attribution for measurement. This means the last channel a prospect visited before converting gets 100% of the attribution (provided it’s being tracked). That might seem “unfair” (especially say, if an inspirational video on social media is what compelled a user to attend but they didn’t click from the post to register), but it also tells us something valuable about which channels we might want to invest more of our budget on.

Past registration data can also provide useful information about when prospects are most likely to register. If, year after year, we’ve seen that most people tend register in the last six weeks leading up to the event, we can focus our efforts and budget during that timeframe.

4. Mobile app data: More is more.
What you can get out of your mobile app will depend greatly on what you put into it. If the mobile app is not very engaging and attendees are using it as merely a “schedule in their pocket/purse” then you’re not likely to get much useful information out of it. On the other hand, if you’re using your mobile app to encourage social interaction, crowdsource information, drive live Q&A and polling, or collect surveys and evaluation input, then there’s a wealth of information you can draw from before you ever build your audience acquisition strategy.

Mine conversations to find topics that matter to your attendees. Discover what gets them excited, confused, inspired, or scared by reading through the Q&As, and use that content to build compelling messaging. Your mobile app is yet another place where you can draw a larger pool of data from which to draw insights related to content, messaging and audience.

5. Email opens and click-through rate (CTR): Learn what resonates.
While registration and mobile app data is something you’ll want to review before you ever begin your audience acquisition strategy, you’ll want to continually track your email opens and click-through rates during your campaign execution.

By tracking email opens, you can see which messages are resonating and moving prospects to take action—e.g., to open the email—and which are not. You may find that certain audience segments respond better to certain messages. For example, a technical audience is more likely to open an email offering free certification courses in the subject line than an executive-level audience would be. Be sure to overlay your open rates with your audience segments to find actionable insights.

Use CTRs in a similar fashion. If you see that a certain email is driving a much higher click-through rate, compare it to those that are not performing as well to determine the differences. It could be that the high-performing email has more images or reveals a secret or provides a special offer. Once you know what is sparking your readers curiosity, you can optimize your future emails accordingly.

6. A/B testing: May the best content win!
Use A/B testing to further refine your content and messaging. Again, this sort of data is typically used during the execution phase of your audience acquisition effort, so you can optimize your efforts. There are many things you can A/B test, including your emails, online ads, website, registration forms. What you should test depends on what your goals are.

For example, you may want to test two different subject lines for an email because you’re not sure which message will work best. Or, you may find people are abandoning registration midway through the process and suspect the form is too lengthy, so you want to try a streamlined form. Whatever you decide to test, it’s important to have clear goals in mind first, and then test using controlled variables.

7. Social analytics: Best of both worlds.
Most social analytics platforms provide information that will be useful to you before and during your audience acquisition plan implementation. Before you start, you can understand the general sentiment and engagement of your prospective audience (based on the previous year’s data). You can also gather useful demographic information about those people who engaged with your event last year. Together, this information helps to paint a richer picture of your target audience, so you can better connect with them through content.

Leading up to and during the event, you can track and engage with influencers and market to your audience in real time. Not only can you learn what messages appeal to your target audiences, you can also see the impact your efforts are having.

8. Google Analytics: A wealth of digital data.
Your event website is likely the workhorse in your audience acquisition plan. It’s the place where everyone will go for more information. It’s often the last stop before registration. And it’s likely going to be visited a few times before a prospective attendee makes the final decision to attend. With Google Analytics (GA), you can learn a lot about how your site visitors are interacting with your content, including:

  • Number of unique visitors to your site (which you can compare to total registrations)
  • How they arrived on your site (e.g., traffic sources broken down by direct, organic search, paid search, and referred traffic)
  • How much time they spent on your site
  • How many times they visit your site
  • What content (pages) they visited
  • What content is most popular
  • What paths they take through your site (e.g., what pages they visit and in what order)
  • What social platforms visitors are coming from
  • What other websites visitors are coming from

All of this information can help you determine what content is most valuable to your audience and how you can best present that on your event website. It can also help you understand what other media channels prospective attendees are using, and how many touchpoints you might need to drive a conversion.

9. Heatmaps: The hotter the better!
Heatmaps are another great tool for optimizing your event website as they show exactly where visitors are spending their time on the site…not just page by page, but pixel by pixel. If you implement heatmap software (which is as simple as inserting a line of code), you can discover the digital body language of your website’s visitors. With tools like Clicktale and Hotjar you can gain insight from every mouse move, hover, scroll, tap and pinch. Find out how, and if, users are scrolling to see content on your pages. Learn if they’re even seeing your call to action. Discover what content and images are attracting attention. With this level of insight, you can turn your event website into a magic weapon.

10. Ad performance data: It’s about content and timing.
Reviewing your ad performance data from last year’s event can give you some clues as to what type of content and messaging might appeal to what audience segments, and when in the time horizon leading up to your event you should run your ads. Tracking and measuring ad performance during campaign execution will enable you to optimize your content and timing to better meet the needs of your audience.

Recap of Discovery Data and How it Can Help You
*Dependent on how reporting is tracked. If universal tracking is available, it may also be possible to track some content and messaging with registration data. For example, if we find that a certain social post is driving a disproportionately high number of registrations, it may be because of the content or messaging.

You may not have all of these discovery and data sources for every event, but if you do, now you know how you can put that data to work for you. Still not quite sure how to make sense of it all or don’t have the time? InVision can help. Read our press release or contact us to learn all about our comprehensive audience acquisition offering.

Nice Bot!

 

Photo Source: http://www.neatorama.com/

(Download PDF Version: Nice Bot!)

The bots are taking over and if that concerns you, well, there’s a chatbot to help with that—and just about everything else.

Customized, timely and relevant information at your fingertips and at your command is becoming the norm, while waiting in line at an information kiosk is becoming increasingly archaic.

What can chatbots do for us in the brand engagement space? Take a look at this quick video on the basics of a bot from Gizmodo to get your bot knowledge up to speed, then continue reading to learn about how bots can take your event to the next level in technology and strategy.

Attendees overwhelmingly use their mobile device for event information, and we are entering a time where the event app is starting to be replaced by a chatbot. Chatbots in all their forms (textual, visual and auditory) are flooding into the event/experiential space. Brands that have harnessed some of the power of these digital tools are clearly seeing the benefits of bot engagement and data collection, and how that data can be used to refine the attendee experience.

Chatbot Communication Channels


“By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per annum on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development.”

Contributor, Kasey Panetta. “Gartner Top Strategic Predictions for 2018 and Beyond.” Smarter With Gartner, October 3, 2017

What Bots Offer in Brand Engagement

Personalized Real-Time Conversations

  • Always on
  • Multilingual
  • Build pre-event and early engagement
  • Update event information on the fly
  • Subsets of communications for attendees based on role, skills, interests, etc.
  • Unique brand/event voice
  • Increase post-event engagement with information resources and customized follow-up
  • Seamlessly switch to human assistance

Analytics and Learning

  • View real-time insights and act on them––”read the crowd”
  • Get live accurate/current attendee data
  • Build on the knowledge of each event/brand experience

Budget-Friendly

  • Bots don’t need to have any physical or digital identity
  • They can be audio or just text
  • They are infinitely scalable
  • They limit the need for expensive human assistance

Continued Engagement

  • Encourages agency/vendor loyalty through continuous data collection event to event and year over year
  • Extend and amplify the engagement and content post-event

Event Bot Platforms

Chatbird: https//chatbirds.io/
Concierge Eventbot: https://conciergeeventbot.com/

The New Wave of Visual Bots (The Future of Bots)

Brands are going to want to bring their brand bots and event themes to life  through avatars, brand characters and virtual humans in the event/experiential space. Augmented Reality/Extended Reality (AR/XR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play important roles in bot development.

93% of face-to-face communication is nonverbal (visual and vocal), so it’s logical for bots to follow this progression. We are seeing advancements from companies in the following spaces:

Virtual
AR Humans (and Standees): http://www.prsonas.com/
V
irtual Human: https://www.soulmachines.com/

Physical
Hybrid Media Robots: https://www.event-bots.com/
Humanoid Robot: http://www.hansonrobotics.com/robot/sophia/

Bot Interaction and Engagement


Summary
Chatbots are useful technology that anyone can easily embrace. They’ve been around for ages and, as AI and mobile converge, and NPL (Nature Language Processing) gets better, they will become a seamless part of our lives. They will provide a familiar chronological user experience that keeps a simple swipe-able history at your fingertips. When developed properly, brand/event engagement will be made stronger with each brand/product/experience. These bots will become brand and event ambassadors, and remember you from event to event—and all the time in between.

Bots will fill a prominent spot in an AI-enabled, post-app era and continue to rapidly grow across markets, complementing the increased use of XR through voice, gesture and gaze input that will start to rival texting in the 2020s.

For more information on how we can help integrate chatbot technology into your communication strategies, please email info@iv.com.

DISCOVERED! Photo Magic

Hello everyone! I spent the last two weeks touring college campuses with my daughter. We traveled from New York to Georgia on the east coast and from San Francisco to San Diego in California. Needless to say, this is some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

We had countless opportunities to take pictures against beautiful scenic backdrops. But we forgot our DSLR and only had iPhones to shoot with. The problem when taking those kinds of pictures with an iPhone is that the subject is always underexposed against the backdrop. Those beautiful images you imagine never quite live up to the reality.

Rod, our CEO, suggested a new app.  It is called Pro HDR and it works miracles. What it does is that it takes two photos. One photo exposes the subject and the other one for the backdrop. It then combines them into one beautifully exposed photo. The only challenge is that it takes a few seconds to complete the process. The subject and photographer must stay very still to make it work. It takes a bit of practice but it’s worth it!

Renee Miller, General Manager, NY, InVision