March 23, 2011 by Jeff Hurt
Is there a difference in the way your market your event to prospects and past attendees?
You betcha! There’s a huge difference.
Past attendees have already built a relationship with you. Assuming that they had a great conference experience, they are biased in favor of your event. After attending your last event, they returned to the office and justified why they attended.
Now they are looking for additional information to defend their decision to attend again. They want specific information that can help them validate their purchase to the boss.
They want to know how many of their online and industry friends are attending the event. They want to know if they will have the opportunity for informal meetups with those friends.
They want to know if they will create new experiences that connect with them emotionally. They want to know if they will be part of a bigger story.
They also want information about the experience that they can share with their friends. They want succinct stories, photos, videos and testimonials that showcase the unique experience you provide. They want images that remind them of the fun they had, the learnings they gained and the people they met. The more you can show the human side of your event, the better.
Your potential event attendees are skeptical about your conference. They don’t understand why your conference is so different from thousands of other conferences. They need to be persuaded that registering and attending your event is the right choice for them.
The best way to persuade prospects is to surround them with your past attendees and loyal fans.
Let’s say you are thinking about attending a specific conference. You meet a dozen people (online or face-to-face) who have attended that event in the past and they are raving fans of the event. Then you are more likely to attend too.
It doesn’t matter what the conference organizers say about the event. What matters is that you were surrounded by people who are really happy about their experience.
As a conference organizer, you should take advantage of those loyal, influential fans. Give them the opportunity to share their great experience with others. Encourage them to use their social media bull horns to amplify their message and evangelize others to attend their event.
Make a big deal about those loyal fans. Equip them with some facts. Give them a special registration discount code to share with their friends and followers.
If you spend your time telling them they are great, and they are busy sharing why you are great, it makes them feel good. The prospects trust their friends and colleagues.
Think about Apple Stores. If you go to an Apple Store, other customers are actually making the sales, not the staff. The loyal customers are the marketing.
Make sure your marketing distinguishes between loyal participants and potential attendees. Segmented marketing strategies work.
How can you recreate an experience similar to Apple Store that allows loyal customers to persuade prospects about attending your conference? What are some tactical ways you can empower loyal fans to act as your marketing?
Filed Under: Attendance Marketing
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