Event Management

How To Win In 2018: Make It Personal

Skift Take

If you’re struggling with attendance and ticket buying for your event, the problem may lie in a lack of personalization. Here are some ideas that can help you reach your intended audience and ensure they hear you over all the noise.

Attendance can be a major challenge for most event planners. One of the main causes of that is an event déjà vu – ”been there, done that” – feeling that most events elicit. Instead, you need to offer something unique; offer an unparalleled experience. But how do you do that? If you just claim to do so people won’t believe you. They have to feel it for themselves or hear it from others. But how do you make that happen?

Personalization gets your event attention. It also appeals to attendees and increases ticket sales. At the event, a personalized approach to offerings and sessions can help you keep butts in seats. Here’s what you need to know to do that:


Using Your Event Data To Find the Sweet Spot

The first step in personalization is to use your data to ensure you’re targeting the right audience and you’re bringing them what they want. Data can also help you understand where these people are so that you can locate them with less effort and expense.

Analyze your past event data by isolating those who returned. Create a second group of those who came once and never came back. What do members of each set have in common? What similarities are there between people who came back? How old are they? What track did they follow? When did they register? How did they find you? What special events did they participate in?

Do the same analysis for those who didn’t return. Now compare the two groups. Can you isolate attributes or activities that make people more likely to return? If so, use those to find out where your ideal attendees are on the Internet and what concerns they may have. Is there a problem you can help solve?

On the other hand, are there things you’ve noticed in your analysis of the data that tell you those people won’t come back to your event? For example, maybe 90% of last-minute registrants don’t come back the next year. If that’s the case, instead of spending money to get people to make last-minute decisions, you should be concentrating your marketing efforts on selling more tickets earlier on.

Communicate the Way They Want To

It can be incredibly irritating when a business or person does not respect your communication wishes. If your attendee notes (on a registration form) that their favorite way to receive information is via email, a call may be a very large irritation to them. Ask your attendees, registrants, and prospects how they would like to be contacted. Then respect their request. Keep in mind that phone calls and emails aren’t the only method of communication these days. Some people really enjoy text message communications and remember, unlike email, about 98% of text notifications are read.

Personalize the Communication

Every interaction you have with attendees or potential attendees is a chance to learn something about them and what they expect from you and your event. Just as you should personalize the type of communication you use, you should also personalize the content and the details. For instance, never send out a blanket communication to all past attendees reminding them to register. This will panic those who have already done so. Instead, use your data to pull out anyone who’s already registered. Don’t send the reminder email to them. If you want, send them a ‘get excited’ about the event email that features things to do, restaurants to check out, and best ways to get from the airport to the venue. You could even personalize that last part to only include airport information for those who live more than 200 miles away.

Watch What They Click On

If you have the budget, implement marketing software that can help you track what people are clicking on. You can then use this information to place them on a drip campaign that only includes information they’d be interested in or is suited for the stage they’re in in the decision-making process. For instance, if a potential attendee is on your event website clicking on local hotels, you can assume they are fairly interested, even if they haven’t registered yet. Few people are so bored that they will click on hotels for an event they never plan on attending. Personalize the content you send someone like this to pieces that are tied in with making a decision such as cost-saving ways to attend your event, making your case to management (if your event might be paid for by an employer), and things to consider before making a final decision.  

Personalizing the Content and Tracks

Two other things which will attract people to your event are your speakers and offerings. They must be personalized to what your attendees want most. Some event planners have used crowdsourcing to accomplish this, while others use attendee-sourced content in the form of mini programs where attendees present.

If you want a little more say in programming, go back to that list of what makes attendees more likely to come back. Examine that demographic’s needs and tailor your offerings accordingly. Make sure you market to those needs and push the specific content to that demographic through personalized and targeted ads.

After the Event

At this point, you’ve spent a lot of time engaging with prospects and attendees. Don’t let that falter or be wasted just because your event is over. If you plan on doing it again next year, personalize a thank you email or text based on what they did at the event or send a “sorry you couldn’t join us” to those who didn’t register and attach a highlight video of what they missed.

The key here is to build a connection through personalization. You want to make them feel like their presence made your event better. If they didn’t attend, you want to make them feel like they were missed.

After this, use what you know about the attendee or potential attendee to send them emails containing information they may find helpful. For instance, if your event was a marketing-centric conference and the attendee was in the social media track, and Facebook just announced a new feature, send a blog post about it to them. They obviously have an interest in social media and you ‘remembered’ that. These type of connections and feel-good opportunities really stand out to the attendee, or the potential one.

In Conclusion

If you’re trying to improve ticket sales or retention at your event, personalization is an ideal way to do that. There are many ways in which you can offer your attendees and potential attendees exactly what they are looking for. From pre-registration all the way to the end of the event and beyond, making them feel important and valued is the best way to make an impression.

Additional Resources to Help You Improve Attendance

10 Tips to Sell More Tickets with Social Media [Webinar]
How to Get Attendees to Sell Tickets for You
3 Effective Ways to Sell More Tickets, Backed By Data
5 Easy Steps to Sell More Event Tickets
4 Ways to Sell More Tickets with Zero Budget