This article appears as part of the four-part series: The 4 Stages to Successful Event Marketing: Mini-Seminar. Previous post: The 4 Stages to Successful Event Marketing: Mini-Seminar Planning.
So, there you are, Mr. Marketing Manager/Director/VP. You've booked a beautiful five-star steakhouse to serve as the venue for your event. You've printed out the materials and have just the right presenter from your company lined up.
What now? There have to be bums in seats for this thing to work. I have seen other event marketing teams where the sole focus is bums in seats, with little regard to qualifying the prospective attendees. The fact is that there exist specific ways to get the RIGHT audience to attend your event. And by the RIGHT audience, I mean those that are most likely to become sales funnel opportunities.
Let's face it. The other three phases of the event marketing continuum (above) are all for nought if the promotion of the mini-seminar is absent. Then you would have salespeople scratching their head saying, "I just gave a dynamite presentation. Too bad only six people heard it." So, here I give you a quick step-by-step guide with tips to event promoting that will get you more QUALITY bums in those seats.
Step 1: The List
As with any campaign, you must start with a sufficient list of prospects. Depending on how large your own database is, you can use that as a starting point. If not, use one of the popular list resources like Jigsaw or otherwise to get names and preferrably e-mail addresses. (Vendere Partners also maintains a large database for your B2B list needs, and lists are free with our Event-in-a-Box solution.)
The key to increase event attendance is to get as targeted as you can. Start with a list within a 20-mile radius, not 100. Go top-down and start with a list of CIOs and not network administrators - as they are more likely be decision-makers. I say all of this with two caveats: (1) you may have to expand your parameters if it turns out to be TOO small of a prospect base, and (2) when you work in a top-down fashion, you have to be sure that the information you present would appeal to that top-level position. The sweet spot for a starter list would be 300 or so, or at least 20 contacts per expected attendee. So, if you want 20 attendees, 300-400 should be sufficient.
Step 2: E-mail Marketing
Set up a registration page and then send an e-mail invite to your prospect list a few weeks prior to the event. Make sure your e-mail has a clear, succinct call-to-action button. Amplify it if possible, don't hide it in the e-mail.
You'll get some quick hits in the form of online registrations, but more importantly you get a "first touch" and a reference point for the next step... telemarketing.
Step 3: Telemarketing
This is where the magic happens. You deploy your lead generation team to drive attendance to your event. Your team should call for the entire two week period prior to the event. Anything more than two weeks is marginally useful because it's a bit too far out for a prospect to coordinate their schedule. Anything less won't give you enough time to call.
Vendere Partners' event audience acquisition team makes over 150 dials per day per person and you should base your metrics around the same ratio. The script should be short and sweet while planting a seed of value. Leverage the fact that you are following through on the e-mail that was sent.
For more information on how better to telemarket your event, read our blog entry, Top 10 Lead Generation Tips for Driving Attendees to your Sales Event.
Step 4: Registration
Ah, here is where you issue the golden tickets. Upon registering attendees, make sure that they are clearly aware of the next steps: "Mr. Prospect, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with location, time, etc. Then we will call you a day before to confirm."
And to increase event registration, now is a good time to extend an invitation to others within the organization that may wish to attend. Our data suggests that companies that send more than one attendee are twice as likely to become viable funnel opportunities.
Step 5: Confirmation
Call a day before to "get a head count" and confirm approximately how many attendees there will be. Confirm that they got the e-mail confirmation and mention the name of the venue and date and time again for posterity.
One can expect up to 50% of registered attendees to bail. But the lead generation doesn't have to stop there. Use the Confirmation Step to capitalize on attendees that can't make it. The confirmation caller now converts to an appointment setting rep that will suggest that your company can meet with the prospect individually. Then, set that appointment!
We wish you all the success in the world in using the mini-seminar event model to increase your pipeline. Consider also the possibility of using an outside lead generation firm like Vendere Partners for your event. We can handle all of the steps of the Event Marketing continuum with our Event-in-a-Box solution, or if you prefer to book the event and handle the logistics, our Event Audience Acquisition team can help fill the event for you!
Go to the next article in the series: The 4 Stages to Successful Event Marketing: Sales Presentation