If we have to be honest and real about event marketing, we have to admit that the email newsletter is still the King. You will get more traction from an email newsletter than you will any social campaign hands down; no shit.
Emails are marketing gold and getting your attendees or potential attendees to part with their email address, that little slice of “butts in the seats”, is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Let’s talk turkey and admit that simply sticking an email newsletter sign-up in the sidebar of your website is just not gonna cut it, you have to do more. You have to give your attendees a reason to want to trust that signing up for yet one more email newsletter is the right thing to do.
What special sauce is needed to get people opting in? Well, it is different for every event or conference but here are 9 simple things that you can try. One or more will work, you just have to hit on the right combination. Don’t be afraid to try more than one.
One thing that you have to be is regular, give your marketing team fiber if you have to or even ex-lax on occasion. You must inform people how often you will be reaching out and then stick to it. If you say monthly, send your newsletter monthly. Do not change to weekly, every six months or daily. Choose a day of the month and target that day consistently.
Create great content
Honestly, this one is a no-brainer. If you create an awesome email newsletter that has amazing content, people wil share it with their peers and that will lead to more sign ups.
When you use an email newsletter service like MailChimp, social is baked right in. When you have amazing content, your attendees and other subscibers will share the newsletter.
The Give Away
Give something away. One of the best ways to get people to subscribe to your email newsletter is to offer something in return. Quid Pro Quo. In the case of a large conference, you could put together an industry buyers guide made up of your exhibitors and package this in a PDF that people receive when they sign up.
Now, take this to the next level and create an entire social campaign based around this give-away.
Can’t think of something to give away? Ask your sponsors, speakers, or exhibitors if they would be willing to provide an e-book or other item and they can be the “sponsor” of that item.
Add an email sign up form to your Facebook page. Bet you did not know that you can do that did you. This does not work with all email services so you may consider changing. If you use MailChimp, here are instructions.
Host a Webinar
Host an informational webinar. Attendees can be prompted to sign up for your email newsletter on registration.
Co-Brand a Webinar
Co-Host an informational webinar with with exhibitors, sponsors, or speakers and ask them to promote the webinar to their audience or customers.
One reason that people may not subscribe is that the information is too broad. Offer more options by sending different emails to different segments of your audience. Let people know that they can subscribe to only the information that is relevant to them.
Have a Contest
Contests are not my cup of tea, they always seem cheesy to me but others SWEAR by them and they do work. Offer to give away two free registrations to your event or perhaps give away an iPad or other cool item. This does work for some events.
These are all examples of things you can start doing today to kick start your email list. Get to it because having a strong email marketing program is one of the most important things you can do to keep your event or conference strong and growing into the future.
Once you have the names on your list, don’t be a schmuck. Respect your audience by not spamming, sticking to your schedule and keeping the content awesome. If you do this, you will find your email marketing programs thriving and driving new traffic to your event website which will lead to more butts in the seats.
Image: Cast a Line