Your Attendees Don’t Want to Hear From You

Talk to Your Attendees

Yep, you heard me right, your attendees do not want to hear from you, they are not waiting with bated breath for your next correspondence, your next tome or your next pronouncement. They do not care, they are busy and they have things to do.

That is why I have been an advocate for your conference having a blog, being on at least the big 3 social media sites and in general, going to where your attendees congregate online….

Because your attendees don’t want to hear from you, it is your job to be heard by putting out a continual stream of good, quality information that has varied, interesting content. They will hear what they want to hear and nothing more.

Your conference or event communication is fighting a raging river of news and information that is hitting your attendee audience like an avalanche. They are inundated daily with tweets, wall posts, news feeds, RSS feeds and a million other sources of information all vying for their attention and their limited brain capacity.

Think about this, since I started writing this post, I have received 100 tweets, 3 FaceBook messages, 22 emails and 2 LinkedIn requests…. all in about 23 minutes and I have not even calculated the personal stuff that came in or the fact the phone has been ringing non stop.

What is a hot button for me today may not be a hot button to me tomorrow. What is important to Bob may not even register on Sally’s radar. What you think is important your attendee is something that they might not give a rat’s ass about.

You must stay on message, but the message must always vary. Make sense? Probably not, so let me give you an example.

Say you are promoting the annual Sheep Shearing Association event on FaceBook, you do not want a steady message that sounds like this:

Monday –

  • Sign up Today, Early Bird Rates Ending


  • Sign Up Today, Early Bird Rates Ending


  • Early Birds! Sign Up Today


  • Early Bird Rate ends tomorrow!


  • Don’t miss out! The Early Bird Rate ends today!

This is insane and is actually how many organizations communicate with their members and attendees on FaceBook.This is the fastest way to get moved off of my wall and into the realm of “Keith no longer cares about you”.

Can you can see it? Can you think of examples where this is the case? Is this you? It seems obvious that this is a grade A plan for freaking disaster , yet this is how many smart people spend their marketing dollars even though this is exactly what will get you unfriended, untweeted, unsubscribed and unfullfilled.

Instead, stay on message but make sure that the message is always different:


  • Sheep Shearers! Did you know that our sponsor SheepShear-O-Rama has just won the award for best new product! Check it out here and sign up today to meet them and get the early bird rate.


  • New speaker announced that will tackle the sheep shearing industries declining revenue and how you can survive the recession. Come and hear Becky Baa as she discusses how to be profitable as an added bonus, you get today’s early bird conference rate


  • Sheep Shearers, did you know that our industry has the best and the brightest! Meet them at Tuesday Night’s opening reception where you can mingle, network and gain new insight into the industry. We have an amazing event planned at the Sheep Shearing Hall of Fame! The Early Bird Rate is available through Friday.


  • A new speaker was announced today! Come and meet Bob “The Scissor” Jones as he shows you the best way to shear a herd. Register today.


  • Today the early bird rate ends.

What is different? I am promoting the early bird rate in every message, I am hammering home the “register now” message. What is different is that my message is buried in the information that people really want.

Some want to know about the sponsors so I talk about the sponsors, some want to know about the speakers or the economy so I talk about that, some want to party like it’s 1999 so I give the partiers their due and some just want to know how to shear a sheep so they get their props too and on the last day of the early bird, I talk to only that.

This process and style holds true for your email newsletter, twitter and where ever else you are reaching your audience. Talk to each different segment of your audience, in their language, with information that they want to hear knowing that to you, the message is always the same…. register for the early bird rate.

You do not have to worry about the different segments getting ticked off and unsubscribing, unfriending or untwitterizing you because you are speaking to the many…they won’t, people do not unsubscribe when the next message may be the one that speaks to them and they know their message is coming. They will hang with you.

A good example is the Jimmy Buffet marketing machine on FaceBook, in 60% of their interaction with me,  I could care less, but, I am OK with that because the next one will be the one that announces a concert stop, product or song that speaks to me…. I read all of the messages with a smile on my face waiting for MY Message.

People unsubscribe when the message is bullshit, repetitive and worthless, not when it is not exactly what they want to hear.

Being heard is not rocket science, being heard is not about shouting from the roof tops, being heard is not about being a bully and forcing your way into peoples in-boxes…. being heard is about telling your event attendee what they need to know about and in turn, getting me the information that you want me to know.

If you communicate with me on my level I will listen and I will respond.. if you don’t I will tune you out forever.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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