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Why Strong Email Campaigns Increase Conference and Trade Show Sales


increase conference and trade show salesAfter launching a trade show or conference, your next goal becomes increasing registrations and sales. Here’s a secret: To maximize your success, you need the right mix of event management technology. For starters, both a user-friendly online registration platform and a trade show exhibitor management tool ensure your show starts on the right foot.

But beyond that, there’s one tool that’s missing from the event technology mix – an email marketing solution.

Email is one of the most popular marketing channels in the U.S. – used by more than 42% of marketers, according to data from Statista. That means there’s a good chance you’re already using email to increase sales to your show or event. Or if not, it means your competitors are.

If you’re not using email, though, you are missing out on a powerful marketing tool. When successfully leverage, email can significantly increase revenue for conferences and trade shows. How? Event technology helps promoters interact with potential attendees in two specific ways:   

  • Through Optimized Campaigns: Email makes it possible to fine-tune your campaigns, so you’re sending the right messages, to the right person, at the right time. This allows you to develop email campaigns weeks or months in advance and devise an email strategy that will grow attendance year-over-year.  

  • With Personalized Messages: Email enables promoters to personalize each message, so that individual emails are tailored to a potential attendee’s needs. For example, you can personalize messages to an individual’s name, their needs, or relationship to your event.

If you nail those two areas, you’ll be rewarded, because email works. According to stats from DMA, a UK-based marketing industry news organization, email provides a return of up to $42 for every $1 invested, according to a recent survey. That’s one of the strongest ROIs of any marketing channel, but to maximize your return, you need the right event management platform.

How Event Technology Helps You Optimize Campaigns

Here’s one rule of email marketing for events: One-size-fits-all campaigns don’t work. You can’t blanket message your email list and expect the best results. Instead, you must personalize your email campaigns. The more tailored your campaigns are to a potential attendee’s needs, the greater success you will have.

How can an event marketing platform help you do this vital task? There are six ways event management tech can help:

  • Targeted Campaigns: Email tools make it possible to target who receives your email messages. That’s really helpful for event organizers, as one-size-fits-all campaigns tend to annoy customers. For example, you wouldn’t want to annoy those who’ve already registered with pre-registration content. Your email marketing tool should make it possible to easily exclude people who have already signed up, so your message is sent to the most targeted audience.

  • Scheduled Campaigns: Great event management software empowers you to plan campaigns out in advance. You can create campaigns targeted by date, time and create campaigns months in advance. Timing is really important in email marketing. Ill-timed messages are less effective. Therefore, by building out your campaigns, you can send messages at exactly the right time prior to your event.

    • Pro Tip: Nearly 9 in 10 U.S. workers check their email at work. That makes Tuesday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. the perfect time for reaching your audience.

  • Building Group Lists: Your event management tool makes it easy to organize and manage your customer lists. For example, you might use historical data, and develop a campaign that appeals to past attendees. Or you can develop personalized campaigns for exhibitors and attendees. The right tool will make it easier to organize and manage your lists, allowing you to personalize to each audience segment.

  • Tracking: An event management platform makes it easy to track your performance. This function is essential for optimizing your campaigns, as it provides insights into what works and what doesn’t. For example, you should find a tool that tracks key metrics like open rates, click rates, bounce-backs and registrations that were converted via email. You can use this data to improve your campaigns in real-time or year-over-year.

  • Make It Mobile: Mobile users check email three times more frequently than desktop users. That makes mobile users one of the most valuable audiences to target. But the key is making the message look great. If your message isn’t designed for mobile, customers are much more likely to tune out and delete. Great email marketing tools allow you to develop mobile-optimized messages, so that no matter the device your message looks great.
  • Spam Free. It is mandated by law (the federal CAN-SPAM act) that people can opt out of your email lists. All blast messages should have an easy to find and use “Unsubscribe” link. If this isn’t an option in your event marketing tool, that’s a big problem.

Using Event Marketing Tools to Personalize Messages

In today’s marketplace, the most effective messages are targeted and tailored to your customers. Batch emails – e.g. sending a blanketed message to your entire audience – makes your message seem impersonal.

Personalization works. According to Statista data, personalized messages have some of the highest open rates (18.9%) and click rates (2.1%) of any type of personalized message.

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And another study found that personalizing email subject lines led to 50% higher open rates.    

How do event management tools help you achieve personalization? There are a few ways. For example, the best tools empower you to target past visitors. According to data from DMA, more than 60% of B2B and B2C marketers say email is the most effective tool for customer retention. Therefore, a great event marketing tool will help you increase attendee retention year-over-year.

Similarly, effective email tools allow you to personalize your messages with an attendee’s name, provide offers targeted to a specific attendee segment, or send personalized follow-up emails after your event. These are some specific ways event management software can help you personalize each email:

  • Cater to Past Attendees: The best event management software puts crucial data at your fingertips, like a list of your past attendees. Your past registration data are a goldmine for developing personalized email marketing messages. In particular, you can mine past registration data and identify key attendee segments. This will empower you to develop messages that will appeal to each segment.

Pro Tip: Segment your audience by registration types. For example, you might target single-day attendees (if you host a multi-day conference) and encourage them to pre-register for the full conference experience the next year.

  • Auto Re-Duping: This is an absolutely essential function for personalization. If you’ve uploaded many lists into your software, there’s a good chance an email appears more than once. With auto re-duping, your system automatically notes who has received a message, and therefore, the duplicate address isn’t sent the same message over and over.

  • Try Triggered Emails: Triggered email refers to messages that are sent based on a customer action. For example, after a customer registers for your event, you might send an email helping them to plan their conference stay or that offers upgrades like a VIP experience. Triggered emails account for more than 75% of all revenue generated by email, according to DMA.

Pro Tip: Create personalized welcome messages for all of your audience segments. For example, you could create welcome notes for exhibitors, sponsors and attendees that provide personalized offers/content for each of these audience segment. This can help you maximize sales.  

  • Ask for Feedback: Gathering feedback after your event is easier with the right email tool. A great platform will allow you to send personalize messages to various segments asking about their festival or conference experience. This can help you fine-tune your lists and identify your biggest fans, which is the perfect segment to target with pre-show promotions.

Successful Email Campaigns Start with User-Friendly Registration

Email is a powerful marketing tool, but it’s most effective when coupled with an easy-to-use registration system. If your attendees find it difficult to register for your event or conference, your emails will convert at lower rates and attendance will lag.

Think of your registration process as the tip of a funnel. The wider the tip of that funnel is, the more you will convert customers that were sent there via email. The easier the process is, the wider the tip of the funnel.

You might be wondering: How can online registration software help improve your email campaigns? There are a few specific ways that email and online registration work hand-in-hand. Choose a registration platform that offers:  

  • Easy Payment Options: A seamless registration experience helps increase conversion rates by email. Easy payment solutions help prevent registration abandonment and increase the volume of users converted via email.
  • Itinerary Customization: Great registration software allows attendees to build and customize their conference schedules. This makes email upsells and cross-sells easier.
  • Membership Validation: The best registration software allows you to quickly validate membership (if your event caters to members). This can help you boost membership sales during an email campaign.

EventRebels provides a complete suite of software for conference, trade show and event planners. Our integrated platform includes a user-friendly registration platform, as well as event marketing tools for conferences and shows of all sizes. Learn more about our event technology solutions today.

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