6 tips for record-breaking attendance at your next meeting
“If you build it, they will come.” If only that were true, right? You may have the best program, world-renowned speakers and an amazing host city, but if you want to add a little rocket fuel to those registration numbers, here are a few attendance-building tips to make your next meeting a record-breaking success.
Start early on social
It’s never too early to start promoting your next event on your social media platforms. As soon as you start to wrap up the current meeting, you should start posting teasers and reminders about next year’s dates and location. If you have a conference hashtag, get it out there early. Post updates regularly as speakers and sessions are confirmed. For more tips on making your event go viral, read this.
Get smart about the inbox
Email is the workhorse of the marketing mix and a well-thought out email marketing campaign will definitely boost those registration numbers. Make an annual calendar so that you don’t bombard your list with one-off, unplanned emails. Include key dates, special offers and sponsored content in your plan. Create a special section in your monthly newsletter with the latest updates on your next meeting. If it makes sense for your event and you can divide your list into segments, target specialized content to specific groups, like exhibitors or potential first-time attendees.
All hail the snail mail!
Our inboxes may be running over, but we get surprisingly little (interesting) mail – as in, letters with stamps – anymore. A smart, well-designed direct mail piece lets you showcase program highlights, key dates, special offers, prestigious speakers and the “wow” factor of the destination. Think beautiful, high-impact images, bold calls-to-action and, of course, your hashtag so folks can follow you online.
Sell the destination: before, during and after
If you’ve got it, flaunt it! Meeting location is the one of the top attendance-drivers. According to a recent study by The Experience Institute, 71 percent of respondents said that their anticipated experience in the destination was a deciding factor for whether to attend a meeting. When you’ve got a destination with tons of curb appeal (like, ahem, Montréal), place it front-and-centre in your marketing messages. Work closely with your host city to put together tempting packages to encourage folks to come early or stay on after the meeting, and organize unique free-time activities for attendees and their families to make the most of their time in the city.
Try a little influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is all the rage these days, but few meeting professionals have taken the plunge. The idea is simple enough: an organization partners with an “influencer” (someone with a large number of followers on social media) to promote their brand or services. The influencer can be a journalist, blogger, industry expert, celebrity or just a regular person with a huge following. This person will leverage their networks and influence by posting content about your organization and event in the lead-up to your meeting. The process is different from a traditional celebrity endorsement: you will want to do your homework and manage your expectations. A successful influencer campaign, when well-executed, can be a cost-effective way to generate authentic, credible buzz about your event. If you’re a non-profit, Meltwater has a great beginners’ guide to influencer marketing.
Partner with your CVB
Never underestimate the power of your host city’s CVB to help you get the word out about your event, connect you with local leaders in your sector of activity and propose one-of-a-kind activities that will get those registration numbers booming. Partner early with them to maximize the tools they have at your disposal. Tourisme Montréal’s convention services team has a whole suite of free tools and great ideas to make your meeting in Montréal a recording-breaking success that attendees will be talking about for years to come.
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