Friday, 10 August 2012

How to Market a Conference

Here’s a common type of question that marketing coaches hear: “As part of organizing and marketing a conference, I’m planning to do a big mail-out. Time is running short so I only have one shot at reaching prospective registrants, many of whom will not have heard about the conference yet. Please help me create a sales letter that will get people to open the email, read the contents, and click on the link go to the website, and register for the conference?”
Open. Read. Click. Register. Wow, that’s asking a lot from one email, especially if this is the first time the prospective registrant has heard about the event. But given that “time is running out” for this conference organizer, let’s see what I can suggest that will help.
First things first: you can not have one email do all those tasks! It’s just impossible. People rarely buy things “cold” from an email before they have had a chance to “warm up” to the person or product.
A better strategy would be to use the email to offer something that is free and too good to pass over. That might be a free report on a topic related to the conference, or a preview webinar with a really interesting speaker (maybe a panel of some of your conference speakers).
Include a link that they can click on for the free content in your email. Before they can get the freebie they must give their email address. Do not make it complicated and the less information you ask, the better. Do not even ask for their name because asking too much may make them balk before signing up.
Once they have signed up the next thing they should see is the thank you page. The thank you page is useful as the next step in the sales process. Here you can place the sales letter for the conference and give them some sort of special offer to get them to register for the conference. An excellent example might be a discount, or even a “two for one” registration offer.
Of course, in the freebie (the special report or preview call) you will take some time at the end to mention the conference and make the special offer to get them to register. You can also enable registrants to get the downloads of previous and upcoming preview calls. Remember to always offer them a way to register. People often need to see the sales promotion multiple times before deciding to buy.
Remember, selling is a multi-step process. If you try to sell the conference directly from an email you likely won’t get very good results. People need to be “warmed up” by learning more about you and what you are offering. One of the best ways to do that is through giving them a sample. Hey, it works with Baskin Robbins ice cream so why not for event registrations!
Learn more about how to market a conference. Stop by Barbra Sundquist’s site where you can find out all about conference marketing tips.

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