Use Social Proof to Increase Conference Registrations

Chicago Bears Family Fest Night - 2014 by Jim Larrison, on FlickrMost of us don’t read emails from people we don’t recognize.

We may skim the contents, but most of the time we just do the quick delete.

Unless there’s something that makes us look twice.

So imagine you’re catching up on email, you see one from an unknown conference trying to convince you to purchase. The organizer states, ABC Conference is a must attend for industry professionals. We’re providing 70 education sessions and networking experiences.

Does this make you want to attend? Do you trust this unknown entity?

Now, imagine that you received that same email, but instead it included a photo of an influential person that you respect with a testimonial?  “The ABC Conference has been instrumental in progressing my career. Sessions are advanced and timely for solving my pressing problems. I’ve significantly expanded my professional network in the past two years because of ABC.”

Your conference may be the best in your field, but shouting that out to the world on your own, does not make it so.

As Andy Crestodina says – “When you say it, it’s marketing…When they say it, it’s social proof.”

What is Social Proof?

The principle of Social Proof states that we determine what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct (Lun et al., 2007).

You’ve probably experienced social proof the last time you relied on a movie review; or during a purchase on Groupon.  With Groupon, a box, noting the number of others purchasing, (“Over 240 bought”) will appear next to the product offering. Reviews and purchases by others reinforce the notion that the product is good. You, as a potential buyer, feel safer knowing it must be a good deal if so many others bought or if a trusted source gave a positive review.

You can use this tendency to imitate and help encourage prospect attendees to register for your conference.

3 Way to Add Social Proof to Your Conference Marketing

1. Leverage Word of Mouth

Reviews, testimonials and endorsements from attendees similar to your target market increases the power of social proof.

Ensure your emails are targeted and change the testimonials to match the level of the prospect – CEO’s to CEO’s, Directors to Directors, etc.

Make certain to place testimonials, reviews and endorsements strategically throughout your website. Do not place them all on one page.

Be sure to include a photo, full name, company and title of your endorser. This type of full information disclosure adds authenticity to your communications and strengthens social proof.

2. Tout the Number of Happy Attendees: Join 2,700… Over 2,100 Purchased…

Instead of a call to action – this type of social proof is a call to conform.

In place of a simple register button, take a page from Groupon by adding a button that boasts the number of others who purchased.

Wendy Register Image_03 25 15

3. Highlight Your Best

Using “best seller” and “most popular” in your marketing is another call to conform strategy.

Highlight pre-conference workshops or other registration packages as your “most popular” or your “best seller”. This approach allows you to communicate and encourage action, without the need to discount.

Social Proof helps your buyers make decisions with peace of mind. It amplifies the most powerful of all marketing strategies…word of mouth and the power of referrals.


How will you use social proof to encourage more conference registrations?  Which of your attendees will be the most influential for your testimonials?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
1 comment
  1. Love it! great way to do your own case study

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *