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Key Steps to Acquiring the Right Audience for Your Event

So you're planning an event to help market your brand; great choice!

One of the first big questions facing any event marketer is: how do I feel these seats with people? And even more importantly, how do I make sure they're the right people?

In this e-book, we'll give you the tools to bolster the size and guarantee the quality of your audience with a straightforward, three-pronged approach.

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Key Steps to Acquiring the Right Audience for Your Event

  1. 1. Dana Larson VP, Content Strategy | Opus Agency
  2. 2. WHAT TO EXPECT IN THIS EBOOK » Introduction: Mastering Audience Acquisition » Audience Acquisition in Three-Part Harmony 1. Strategy 2. Design & Implementation 3. Tracking, Measurement & Optimization » Conclusion
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION: MASTERING AUDIENCE ACQUISITION If you’re planning an event, you’re probably already thinking about how you will get prospective attendees to register. In fact, the number of registrants and attendees is probably one of your primary key performance indicators (KPIs). This book outlines best practices around the three main phases of audience acquisition: 1) Strategy, 2) Design and Implementation, and 3) Tracking, Measurement & Optimization. It provides thoughtful considerations for ensuring you’re not just acquiring an audience, but acquiring the right audience.
  4. 4. PHASE 1: STRATEGY The foundation for successful audience acquisition 4OPUS AGENCY
  5. 5. STRATEGY DISCOVERY As you begin your audience acquisition planning, you’ll want to give yourself a good foundation of information before you dig into the strategic recommendations. Gather and review all information that can be used to inform your strategy, including: » Past event surveys and polls: Discover how attendees learned of the event, what content resonates, and how attendees feel about the event » Registration run rates YOY: Identify patterns and trends in registration timing; overlay past acquisition efforts to identify promising channels/tactics » Event/session attendance data: Learn what % of registrants actually attend; gain insights for areas of focus » Mobile app: Identify highly engaged event alumni for potential audience segmentation 5OPUS AGENCY
  6. 6. STRATEGY KPIs Know How You’ll Measure Success Now you’ll want to identify your KPIs, so you can measure the success of your efforts. As mentioned previously, tracking the number of people who register/attend is an important KPI. But you’ll want to make sure you have a well-rounded set of KPIs for audience acquisition that map to your event goals. Here are some examples of other audience acquisition KPIs: » Total # of registrants/attendees » # of alumni registrants/attendees » # of new registrants/attendees » # of registrants/attendees in specific target » # of registrants paying full price 6OPUS AGENCY
  7. 7. Here are some ways you might segment: » By experience level (e.g., C-suite, management, contributor) » By event attendance status (e.g., alumni, first-time attendee) » By relationship (e.g., customer, prospect, partner) » By product interest or usage STRATEGY AUDIENCE SEGMENTATION Know Who You’re Targeting Next, you need to identify who you’re targeting. Not all attendees have the same interests and goals. Take the time to segment your audience and then identify what makes each segment unique. You’ll be able to better craft your messaging to ensure it resonates and find the most qualified attendees for your event. 7OPUS AGENCY
  8. 8. For example: » Technical audience: “Register now for free certification training worth $200.” » Director audience: “Register now to hear the latest trends in retail technology.” » C-level audience: “Register now to join our VIP roundtable on cybersecurity issues.” STRATEGY MESSAGING MATRIX Plan What to Say to Each Audience Now you need to develop those messages. One of the keys to audience acquisition is finding unique ways of connecting with each of your target audiences. Increase relevancy and drive conversion by creating a messaging matrix that maps relevant topics and messages to target audiences. 8OPUS AGENCY
  9. 9. of ticket purchasers say the Internet is the main source for live event information. 64% QUICK FACT Source: http://blog.bizzabo.com/five-statistics-that-point-to-the-future-of-the-events-industry
  10. 10. Most comprehensive audience acquisition plans will include elements from a range of channels. Keep reading to learn about common channels and their most effective use. STRATEGY MESSAGING CHANNELS Decide Where You Will Market Your Event And then you’ll need to decide what channels to leverage for marketing. If this is not the first year for your event, look into your past data for insights on channels that performed well. Typically, email is a primary channel because it is direct, customizable, and close to the registration call to action/event website. You can start with your last email list and build from there. Your sales team and your partners also represent a gold mine of possibilities worth prospecting. 10OPUS AGENCY
  11. 11. There are nearly as many people talking about an event on social media before the event as during it (40% and 42% of total posts, respectively). QUICK FACT https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-event-marketing
  12. 12. STRATEGY MARKETING CHANNELS The Marketing Channel Consideration Set » Email: Nurture your database of existing prospects; obtain purchased list for new contacts » Direct mail: Reinforce with tangible invitation, especially for high-end and VIP events » Online: Broaden your reach with the target audience by using banner ads on your own websites as well as on other paid sites that offer relevancy » Sales team: Tap into strong existing relationships and use the power of persuasion through one-on-one communications » Internal communications: Amplify your reach with employee advocacy initiatives and PR » Social media: Increase awareness and nurture relationships with consistent, engaging content » Search engines: Optimize for SEO for increased findability and consider buying search ads » Telemarketing: Increase attendance at the event with last-minute phone reminders » Mobile: Utilize SMS and mobile apps for updates and reminders 12OPUS AGENCY
  13. 13. 25% of ticket purchasers who view an online video as part of their research find that it affects consideration. QUICK FACT Source: http://blog.bizzabo.com/five-statistics-that-point-to-the-future-of-the-events-industry
  14. 14. STRATEGY ACQUISITION CONTENT TACTICS Plan Your Marketing Content Now that you know who you’re targeting, where you’ll reach them and what you want to say, it’s time to determine how you’ll do it by identifying marketing topics. These may end up being emails, social media posts, blog posts, etc.—it just depends on your overall plan. The more specific you can be to your audience and your event, the more successful you will be. There are a number of standard topics to consider: » Save the date » Register now » Registration incentive (e.g. early bird) » Agenda announced » Speakers announced » Speaker Q&A » Inside the event (video is ideal) » Top X reasons to attend 14OPUS AGENCY
  15. 15. STRATEGY ENGAGEMENT CONTENT TACTICS Plan Your Engagement Content Once you’ve planned how you’re going to reach your audience and what you’re going to say, you should consider adding another layer of content—engagement content. Engagement content—whitepapers, webinars, videos, case studies, blogs, infographics—showcases your thought leadership and provides additional information around key ideas to drive conversion. Integrate this content into your overall plan to create a comprehensive approach. 15OPUS AGENCY
  16. 16. 61% of B2B marketers say white papers are the most effective digital content tactic for generating leads. QUICK FACT White Papers Webinars Case Studies Blogs Videos Infographics Not Sure Mobile Apps 61%58% 44% 32% 29% 25% 16% 5% Source: http://createyournextcustomer.com/2016/03/21/24982/
  17. 17. STRATEGY CALENDAR & TIMING Put It All Together Now it’s time to document all your great planning into a calendar. This is an important step as it will be the unifying roadmap for all team members across various groups. Include the topic, audience, channel and timing for each outreach. Ensure all teams have input into the roadmap timing, including creative services, social, technology, etc. Careful up-front planning leads to more efficient audience acquisition efforts. 17OPUS AGENCY
  18. 18. STRATEGY NUTS & BOLTS Don’t Forget the Details It would be easy to jump right into design once you have your content calendar complete, but you’d be missing some key details that will need to be addressed. Be sure to address these before moving forward. » Media buy(s): If your plan includes paid media, you’ll need to determine who is making the buy and begin the negotiations. » List management: You may have an email list from previous years, but want to augment it with new prospects. Or this might be your first year for this event. Or maybe you’re planning to leverage sales and partner contacts. Whatever your situation, you’ll need to determine the source(s) for your contacts. » Marketing automation: Determine what level of integration will be needed with marketing automation/CRM systems (e.g., Marketo, Eloqua, Salesforce). 18OPUS AGENCY
  19. 19. PHASE 2: DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION The emotional connection that drives conversion 19OPUS AGENCY
  20. 20. DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION THEME Determine the Personality of Your Event You want your event to be unique and memorable—and your event brand will play a key role in achieving that goal. In fact, your event brand should be synonymous with the way you want people to think of you. That’s why it’s critical to carefully craft an event theme that is authentic, meaningful and exclusive. Start by developing an event brand promise that builds on the face-to-face connection that live events offer. From there, create an event theme that is true to your goals but also makes an emotional connection with customers. Research from Harvard Business Review has shown that emotionally engaged customers are more loyal, satisfied and ready to proceed with a new purchase. Source: http://createyournextcustomer.com/2016/03/21/24982/ 20OPUS AGENCY
  21. 21. Emotionally engaged customers are: QUICK FACT At least three times more likely to recommend your product or service Less likely to shop around (44% said they rarely or never shop around) Three times more likely to re-purchase Much less price sensitive (33% said they would need a discount of over 20% before they would defect) Source: https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/09/19/nine-ways-brands-can-improve-emotional-connections-with-customers/
  22. 22. DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION LOOK & FEEL Determine the Visual Personality of Your Event Once you have a verbal representation of your event brand, you will need to translate it into a visual personality. This may include designing an event logo, providing guidelines for the logo/theme lockup, defining a color palette, and creating iconography and supporting graphics. Together, these elements convey the spirit of your event brand in a way that when one sees a piece of event marketing—whether email, social media post, banner ad or signage—they immediately recognize it as yours and feel a connection to it. 22OPUS AGENCY
  23. 23. Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind. –WALTER LANDOR, FOUNDER, LANDOR ASSOCIATES 23OPUS AGENCY 23
  24. 24. DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION CAMPAIGN ELEMENTS Create the Marketing Campaign Now it’s time to package up all that strategic planning, audience messaging and brand design into campaign elements you can use to attract your audience. Begin your campaign development, including: » Design and lay out event website » Create email layouts/templates » Design infographics » Create video » Design web banners » Create supporting elements (e.g., email signatures, PowerPoint templates, social platform headers, etc.) » Prep all digital elements in appropriate format for delivery (e.g., HTML, OFT, text) 24OPUS AGENCY
  25. 25. DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION BEGIN MARKETING Start Your Marketing Push Whew! You’re in the homestretch now. If you’ve documented your strategy and created a content calendar, this step is as easy as following a recipe. Just be sure that you’ve incorporated all of the appropriate tracking needed for reporting and measurement. Then begin pushing out your marketing per your plan. Most likely, you’ll have planned a slow ramp up that builds into a crescendo as the event nears. Use that gradual start to gather insights and adjust accordingly. 25OPUS AGENCY
  26. 26. PHASE 3: TRACK, MEASURE & OPTIMIZE Your opportunity to capitalize on what’s working—and fix what’s not 26OPUS AGENCY
  27. 27. TRACK, MEASURE & OPTIMIZE WHAT TO MONITOR Put Your KPIs to Work Remember back at the beginning of this book, when we mentioned how important it is to determine your KPIs? Here’s where you start to track and measure against those KPIs. Some event metrics you may want to track include: » Track email open and click-through rates: See how many recipients have opened and clicked on your emails » Registration velocity: Track registration numbers to see if they’re on target with past metrics and current goals » Channels driving traffic to registration: Determine which channels are most successful at driving traffic and qualified leads » Registration abandonment points: Identify areas prospects are dropping out of the registration process » Target audience segmentation goals: Discover which audiences may need additional acquisition tactics 27OPUS AGENCY
  28. 28. TRACK, MEASURE & OPTIMIZE MAKE IT BETTER Learn From Your Efforts Once you begin to send emails, post to social media, go live with web banners, and other trackable events, you can begin to see what is and is not working. You’ll also be able to see how you’re performing against goals to determine if any additional efforts are needed. Some ways to make it better include: » Identify areas where content edits/additions may help drive conversion in the registration process » Learn what subject lines are resonating with your audiences and follow those positive clues for future emails » Determine if additional topics and/or tactics may be needed to acquire the desired audience 28OPUS AGENCY
  29. 29. AUDIENCE ACQUISITION THAT DELIVERS As you can see, there’s quite a lot of planning and strategy that goes into acquiring an audience for an event. However, laying that strong strategic foundation and connecting with your audience will be the keys to reaching your audience acquisition goals. Need help? Opus has full-spectrum event content strategy experience—from audience segmentation to audience acquisition, event messaging to keynote design, and so much more—and we’d love to help. If you’re interested in partnering, contact EVP of Global Accounts Kristin Waters. “Learn the key steps to acquiring an audience for your next #event with this @OpusAgency #eBook. bit.ly/eventaudience #EventProfs” If you thought this was a worthwhile read, your network probably will, too. Click here to share:
  30. 30. DANA LARSON Drawing on more than 20 years of content and marketing experience, Dana is responsible for developing digital and content marketing strategies, enabling Opus clients to optimize their conversations with their audiences in and around events. A highly regarded thought leader in the world of content marketing, Dana has written articles on content strategy and marketing that have moved industry players into taking sides and taking action. She has spoken at key industry events, including the Gilbane Conference, and at corporate-wide marketing events for industry leaders such as McKesson. Delivering winning content strategies for clients such as Alaska Airlines, Farmers Insurance, Johnson & Johnson, Stanford Health Care, Verizon Wireless, Symantec, Wells Fargo, Visa, and many others continues to fuel her passion. Contact Dana Larson for more information. Opus Agency is a brand events and marketing agency. We create and manage hundreds of events and campaigns every year, all over the world, including things like strategic executive-level summits, immersive brand experiences, and conferences with 20,000 attendees. We have amazing people that share strong values, and a specific methodology that ties everything we do to Customer Success. We call it TeamCS™. 30OPUS AGENCY