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Tips to get more attendees.....practical ideas you can use right away ....

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  1. 1. 33 Effective Seminar Marketing/Email Marketing Tips... By Ralph Elliott, Ph.D. 1. Have the participant’s boss award the certificate for seminar - Explain this process at your program and ask the participant to supply the name and contact details of his/her immediate superior or approving manager. You should add the approving manager to your data base. Mail the certificate to the Boss. 2. On an undecided caller, use the tentative “no obligation registration technique” to convert the person into a sale - Essentially, you allow the person to register without paying but note payment is due a week or so prior to the start of the program. Alternatively, you may offer to accept a purchase order or a letter of intent. 3. The most important sale you will ever make to the customer is the second seminar -Why? Because a two-time buyer is twice as likely to buy again as a one-time buyer. Recognize Ralph Elliott, first-time customers so they will come back for a second seminar/program. world-renowned event marketing expert and 4. The higher the duplication between your customer list and a rented list, the higher the creator of the “Effective likelihood the rented list will work - If there is a 25 percent duplication rate (same names) Seminar/Conference between List “A” and your customer list, then List “A” would have an 86 percent chance of Marketing” workshop. success. If the duplication between your customer list and List “A” is under 10 percent, List “A” would have only a 3 percent chance of success. 5. Merge-purged names…those that appear on two or more lists…will out-pull any single list from which these names have been extracted - Called multi-buyers, these names are great candidates for second or third promotions. Some providers do the merge and purge and use only the duplicates. 6. List the names of your Advisory Board at your website and on your promotional brochure to build credibility for your programs - Board members will also send attendees. When building your Board, invite the top or best-known leaders in the field, community or industry. A prestigious Board will help brand your program. A prestigious Board will also “create a barrier to entry” by discouraging others from entering the market since you have all of the key players on your Board. Consider creating a “virtual” Advisory Board where there will be no physical meetings…all contact by phone, Email or meeting software. Start with a well-known person such as the chairperson and then others will be more willing to join. 7. Some key marketing information you might collect on the evaluation form includes: • Would you recommend this program to others? • May we use you as a reference for future attendees who want to speak to a past attendee? • What key words did you use on your search engine to find this program? • May we use your comments on future programs? • Would you like an on-site session of this program? • Which publication do you read and to which associations do you belong? 8. Build trust among those who have never attended your programs by offering a unique money back guarantee (MBG)....such as quot;we will refund your registration fee and give you a 100% credit for another program.”- By bringing the person back to another program, you turn a potentially unhappy advocate into someone who sings your praises. 9. Send a “sorry you cannot attend” link to an online questionnaire in your last Email blast leading up to your event (sometimes called a Regret Survey) - Ask the non-responding person why he/she is not attending. List several possible objections on the survey and then
  2. 2. leave some open end space for the person to list the reasons for not attending. On your web and on your future promotions, address these objections. 10. Build trust in your programs by listing your programs in various clearinghouses - The seminar/conference clearinghouse will promote your program to clearinghouse clients. Having your program listed alongside other major providers will help build trust and build registrations. Some clearinghouses include: http://www.findaseminar.com/, http://www.firstseminar.com/, http://www.trainingforum.com/, http://www.tregistry.com/, http://www.tasl.com/ and http://www.seminarinformation.com/ 11. Increase your bid on your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) program for your most profitable courses or product lines - MarketingSherpa reports that bidding on the top three positions in search- result listings generates the highest ROI for search engine marketing. 12. Create special landing pages to go along with your search engine marketing campaign - Have a landing page for each product line. Provide incentives for the visitor or prospect to complete a name and Email address form. Provide automatic follow once the person has clicked submit. 13. Use a BIG RED BUTTON to get people to stay on your landing page or on your website - Put quot;e-inquiryquot; inside the large red button. When people click on the big red button, capture their name and Email address while they post an inquiry about your programs. 14. Emails should be top-heavy with best offers quot;above the foldquot; to capture the reader's attention instantly - That doesn't mean the Email must be short. Support points can continue below the fold…the details that clinch the sale but include at least 3 links to your landing page and/or registration screen/in-house screen in the first two sentences. 15. Use Word-of-Mouse...at your website, in your Emails, in your newsletter, and on your confirmations...ask the reader to forward his/her copy - Create a quot;forward toquot; form that can be used to forward information. Have a strong privacy statement noting you will not be harvesting Email addresses. 16. Tell people who book onto your programs you need their Email address because you plan to: • Send an immediate confirmation • Email a roster of fellow delegates as the seminar date approaches • Send a link to a questionnaire that can be used to send the speaker questions • Send information on how to access a password-protected section of your website where the delegate can download white papers and handouts 17. Some Email collection tips include: • When asking for the Email address, include your contact person’s name and phone number…to make questions possible and, most importantly, to build trust • Offer a “live chat” option on the Email - collection page to answer any questions visitors may have; however, use only if you can avoid saying, “Sorry. We are not here right now,” or • Include a “call me now button” on your Email - collection page and let the visitor provide the number and best time to call. 18. When do you unsubscribe to Email? - Unsubscribe hard bounces (quot;No user at this addressquot;) and soft bounces (quot;Mailbox full,quot;) as they are a sign of an abandoned Email address while not deleting temporary bounces (quot;Out of the officequot; and quot;On vacationquot;). If your list contains a significant number of bouncing Email addresses, the major ISPs will stop delivering your Emails once you’re bouncing Email count reaches their (unpublished) bounce threshold. Keep your list clean. Also, you should unsubscribe inquiries that, after six months of Email promotion, have never opened your Email. Use direct mail and telephone marketing to reach market segments that are unresponsive to Email.
  3. 3. 19. According to a study by Jupiter Research, marketers say that by a 3-to-1 margin, optimizing a website to attract search engines is a better bet for solid returns than paid search listings -Your website rank is affected by the “importance” of your website as measured by the number of other sites linking to yours. Create mutual links with other sites. Ask existing customers which sites/search engines they most often use and put links at those sites. Put a message on your site that says you are willing to exchange links. 20. Use Telephone Calls To Wake Up Dormant Customers...People Who: • Never open your Email • Open but never click through • Click through but never convert • A 12-month non-purchasing inquiry • A 24-36-month plus non-buying customer • A 24-36-month non-buying organization 21. Some Email Action Steps to Wake-Up Dormant Customers Are: • Communicate with a new subject line • Send a special “we’ve missed you” offer • Send best of “white papers” to lift CTR • Send a link to an on-line survey to capture interest areas 22. Use your Email service provider to track which links in your Emails promotions are most successful in driving traffic to particular web pages on your site (such as the registration screen) - Configure links in your Email messages for use with your analytic application to see which links are generating worthwhile visits to your website, visits that involve views of more than just a single page, etc…find links that create registrations. 23. Use Early-Bird Expiration Deadline in an Email Blast - Early-Bird Expiration is a good justification for sending additional Email. Be specific on the early bird expiration date and time...for example Early-Bird Expires at 5:00 PM on Friday. Promote the early-bird to smaller non-profit sectors that will be more price sensitive…Segment your file into other segments such small businesses, recent graduates, self employed segments that price sensitive and personalize the early bird message appeal. 24. You will receive over 90% of your clicks from your Email campaign within the first three days - Click rates increase at an increasing rate during the first day or two and then increase at a decreasing rate for the remaining days. 25. Elliott uses a blanket rule to dictate Email frequency - According to this rule, 24 are about the right number of Emails to send customers per year. Relevancy, customer relationships, customer preferences, and equitable dialogues are important determinants. 26. Email copy writing recommendation - Avoid the word this at the start of a sentence and always follow the word this with a noun. Don't write, “This is the most comprehensive effort we've ever taken to help students select courses.” It would be better to write, “Interactive and fun, the new Website helps students select courses.” 27. The “Welcome to Your Organization” will be the most important Email you will send to a prospect added to the data base - The open rate is 2X regular open rates. Use this quot;special opportunityquot; to convince the prospect that he/she should book on your classes now. 28. Segment your email list when people sign up- The best time to collect information for segmenting purposes is right when your prospect or customer joins your email list. You should create segmented lists by offering options with checkboxes on your sign-up form. For example, a University might create a list for each type of seminar product line they sell, so they can send only information relevant to the people who are interested in a particular topic.
  4. 4. 29. Send out a welcome survey- For those who just joined, include a link to a short survey in your welcome email. Use the survey questions to ask for non-critical information that helps you add your people to the appropriate segmented lists so you don't have to ask on your signup form. Once you have the survey results, you can create new lists or add to existing ones based on how respondents answered questions. Ask one or two questions, and make sure you explain how the answers to your questions will help you send more relevant information. Then continue to send short surveys every now and then to gather more information. 30. Segment your email database by those who opened your email- Create an quot;Aquot; list of people who have opened one or more of your emails within the last six months. Customized your promotions to letting them know you appreciate their interest. Create quot;Bquot; list of people who have not opened your emails from you in the last six months. Think of ways to communicate with this group using other methods of communication. Also, test new and different subject lines, offers, and creative looks to get this group to respond. Last, create a quot;Cquot; list of people who have not opened your email in the last year. Email marketing is not working for this segment of your data base. Consider, sending a direct mail letter to quot;re- activatequot; this potential quot;deadwood. 31. Follow up on those who clicked but did not register- After you send out an email promotion, do a special follow up to those people who clicked through to your web site, but did not book. These are some of your best potential customers. Follow up with another email, direct mail, or phone call. Make sure your Email Service Provider (ESP) can provide you with this kind of data. 32. Use link tracking reports to segment your data base- Let the links that people click on help you understand them better. Your tracking reports make it easy for you to save anyone who clicks on a link to an existing list or a new list. For this to work well, you want to make sure the words you use for your links are very specific. For example instead of providing a single quot;register nowquot; link in an email promotion, offer other choices to learn about your audience like, quot;venue informationquot; or quot;team discounts.quot; Put these links inside the body of a paragraph and then save all who clicked on a given link to a list, and then follow up with an email that focuses the link topic. 33. Create an email lead scoring system to drive telephone marketing- The ultimate goal of a lead scoring system is finding those prospects ready to talk to a sales person about attending an upcoming event. Use a system that assigns a scoring or rank to each prospect in your database. You can use any labeling convention that works for your team, such labeling people cold, warm, or hot; another option is to use numbers or letters that quot;gradequot; people as 1-5 or A-F. Then determine the criteria to assign a designation to each person. Criteria can include: (a) Number of marketing touches and prospect activity level, such as email open and click rates, white paper downloads or past event attendance (b) Customer profile, such as industry or company size and (c) Qualifying information, such as having a budget in place, set time frame and decision-making authority. With a scoring system in place, track which segments in your database are moving closer to sales-ready status. Monitor each prospect's email activity to look for increased open rates and clicks, which could indicate a prospect is closer to making a buying decision and actively searching for more information. Then, close the loop with your telephone marketing team. Ralph Elliott, world-renowned event marketing expert and creator of the “Effective Seminar/Conference Marketing” workshop. Contact him at elliot@clemson.edu, call 864.710.2815 or to view upcoming seminar dates, go to http://www.clemson.edu/esm/ © Ralph Elliott, 2009 JOIN Elliott's Seminar/Conference Marketing List Serv