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.

 

 

Top 8 Audience Acquisition Tactics for 2019

By Nicole Bojic, Group Executive, Strategic Solutions Group

For decades organizations marketed their events in print advertising—mostly in trade journals—or through word of mouth, processing the resulting registrations by fax or business reply card. Then email and the Web came along and revolutionized the way events were marketed, but new technologies and changing behaviors are again driving new methods of acquiring audiences. This article, which is a first in a series of audience acquisition resources, explores the top 8 ways the most savvy marketers will be getting high-value attendees to their events in 2019 and beyond.

Influencers
It is not likely that email is going away anytime soon, especially given its direct link to online registration. However, you are likely to see it employed in ways that go beyond the traditional save-the-date or early-bird promotional offer to include new marketing channels. The most impactful of these channels will be influencers, especially as target audiences skew toward millennials who value authenticity over hype. In fact, according to recent research, 90% of millennials say authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands to support.[i] So, it makes sense to invest in ways of engaging and tapping into the built-in trust of your influencers. Creating the ability for influencers to share email or social content with their network greatly expands your reach through authentic word of mouth.

Speakers and Partners
Working with speakers and partners is another way you can amplify your message to get the word out about your event while enhancing the value of what you’re offering. Think about how popular Adidas shoes are and how much more popular—coveted even—Adidas Yeezy’s are because they’re a collaboration with rap artist, producer and fashion designer Kanye West. Negotiate co-marketing activities with luminary speakers upfront in the contract phase and then drive the messaging throughout the audience acquisition phase. Approach your partnership relationships in a similar fashion, focusing more on what you can offer together than how much revenue the sponsorship might bring you. A well-considered, co-branded approach will elevate the overall attendee experience while creating a more strategic and rewarding relationship with your partners. Elevate the partnership from branded water bottles to co-presented demos that show off the full capabilities of your joint offering, and preview that in your acquisition efforts.

Internal Communications
Don’t forget the influencers and enthusiasts in your own backyard—your employees. Creating a comprehensive internal communications plan should be an essential part of any audience acquisition strategy. After all, who knows your products and your clients better than your employees? It’s also an excellent way of including employees who may not be directly involved with the event. Use everything from internal messaging toolkits and sales contests to social sharing tools in order to help amplify your message.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Borrowing from the cool factor of popular events like SXSW and TED, an increasing number of B2B companies are getting in on the experiential action. In fact, a recent study from Bizzabo showed that B2B events account for $512 billion in annual spend! That means there’s more competition than ever for your prospective attendees’ time and money. So, when prospective attendees perform a Google search on “best B2B conference of 2019,” or “best cybersecurity conference of 2019,” or “best [insert keyword here] of 2019” you want to be sure your event appears within the first 10 organic results. Why? Research shows that 70–80% of search engine users only focus on the organic results.[ii] But it’s not just your event website that you want people to find. Ultimately, you also want to be included on the wide variety of articles that list must-attend events, which means you’ll need to identify those lists and follow-up with the authors about including your event.

There’s another reason that SEO is important—customer experience. If your event website is your primary conversion platform for registration (and it likely is), then you want to make it as easy possible for prospective attendees to find your site. Studies have shown that even if people know the URL and can access it directly, they often perform a google search to navigate to a site instead. For example, reviewing the site traffic data during the six months leading up to the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, organic search traffic is by far the leading source of traffic (47%) to the site, followed by direct traffic (34%). This is a trend that we see regularly, and a behavior you likely partake in as well.

Retargeting
Retargeting is a form of marketing where advertisers target consumers based on their previous internet actions. There are various types of retargeting available today, but the most effective for events are email retargeting and event retargeting ads. Email retargeting can be especially useful in converting prospective attendees who have begun the registration process but not completed it. There can be many reasons a prospect abandons their registration, including a distraction such as a phone call or meeting, or a barrier such as a costly registration fee. Depending on where and when the registration was abandoned, you can email the prospect with personalized messaging that will help convert them to becoming a registrant. With event retargeting ads, you can capitalize on the prospect’s interest by displaying a Twitter ad featuring a luminary speaker after they visit your event website. Or you might want to display an ad with a discounted registration fee or other promotional offer to help drive conversions.

Creating FOMO
With more and more events to choose from, how do you make your event stand out from the crowd? One way is to create a fear of missing out (FOMO), and the surest way to do that is to generate a feeling of exclusivity. Whenever there’s a chance that one might not be able to participate in something that is happening, it creates FOMO. This can be achieved through clever messaging that employs language such as “invite-only,” “limited-space,” “apply to attend,” or “only 20 seats remain” that creates a level of exclusiveness to make people feel special when they secure their spot. The trick to being successful with the FOMO approach is that your event absolutely must deliver on the promise it makes of being extraordinary. You can also combine this approach with segmenting and attracting VIPs or C-level audiences. By creating exclusive perks and content for a smaller subset of your audience, you can test to see what works and then build upon that.

Destination
According to the Decision to Attend Phase 2 (DTA2) Study from IAEE, in 2017 the top three drivers for attending an event were education (92%), destination (78%) and networking (76%) and have consistently been the top three drivers since 2014. For shorter (half day or less) events, proximity and ease of accessing the destination are likely to be the most important factors to highlight. However, for multi-day events, it can be beneficial to play up the destination. You may even consider partnering with local businesses to offer discounts or special tours that entice attendees to extend their trip. The advantage is twofold: It creates a richer, more memorable attendee experience, but it also creates a deeper investment in the trip for the attendee, making it less likely that they will cancel at the last minute.

Content and Experience
At the end of the day, attendees are looking to come away from your event feeling like they’ve learned something, experienced something completely different, and made valuable, new contacts. Not only must you deliver on all of this, you also have to articulate and share the feeling before it ever happens so you can get the right audience there in the first place. It’s important to work closely with event strategists to ensure cohesive messaging and attendee journey. Each point in the journey should feel like it is building on the last, making it richer and more engaging. This requires a keen understanding of your target audiences, the event strategies, the content and messaging, and your overall business goals.

Our experienced InVision team can help you incorporate these tactics into a comprehensive audience acquisition and engagement strategy that will meet your business goals. In fact, we’ll even help you define the KPIs that will ensure long-term success.

Email us at info@iv.com for more information or visit our website at www.iv.com.


[i] Source: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/survey-finds-consumers-crave-authenticity-and-user-generated-content-deli/511360/
[ii] Source: https://martech.zone/seo-statistics/