12 tips to optimally support your event using marketing automation

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes (Too long? Email me this article)
3, May 2018

Your event is fast approaching and marketing automation can help speed up things. Automation of your (e-mail) marketing processes will provide optimum support for attracting the right number of quality visitors. And the event itself will run more smoothly. Did you know that lead scoring can be relevant for an event, and that marketing automation also creates added value for operators and exhibitors? I will show you how this works, but first let me give you 12 inspiration tips.

Tips for event organizers

1. Send a personal invitation by e-mail to the various (customer) groups

It is a known fact that a personal approach via e-mail will increase the open ratio – and, therefore, the number of registrations. Segment your database and send suitable, personal e-mail invitations (or a save-the-date) to the various groups. Increase the open ratio of your personal invitations by using a conditional subject line (a personal and relevant subject line in a single e-mail message) and conditional content. Make your invitation even more personal by sending your mail on behalf of, for example, the account manager (the account manager’s name will show up in the inbox) and have a personal message from the account manager added automatically at the end.

2. Adding the event to an agenda with 1 click

People often open an e-mail, but then immediately close it. You can enable your guests to add the event to their IOS, Outlook or Gmail agenda. You can do so at the top of the e-mail, or by using an Add Event to Agenda button.

3. Full information with the registration procedure

You can easily and automatically manage registrations by setting up a simple registration process via a landing page that contains a registration form. Immediately request all required information (but, because of the AVGB rules, do not request more data than necessary) and prevent having to deal with an incomplete list. Enriched profile data, such as mobile number, experience level, dietary needs, and interests, can be used to personalize the follow-up communications.

4. Give away VIP tickets

Suppose you want to give away 10 free VIP tickets to the first people who register. This can be done perfectly via marketing automation. The first 10 people who register will automatically be sent a VIP ticket, or if the first 100 people are offered a 10% discount, they will automatically be sent a discount voucher.

5. Managing registrations automatically

With marketing automation, you can also easily and automatically manage the number of registrations. When the maximum number of registrations has been reached, the registration option is automatically disabled, and a different version of your landing page is shown.

6. Maximize attendance by using automatic e-mails

Send an enthusiastic confirmation mail when a person has registered for the event, and (automatically) send a reminder mail to anybody who has not yet registered. You can also have an e-mail sent automatically when only a limited number of tickets remain. Add an RSS feed to easily generate the latest news in the e-mail, and/or create a sense of urgency in the days prior to the event by adding a countdown timer. Do not forget to send an automatic thank-you mail after the event. You can also add presentations or a survey about the event to this e-mail. Also send an e-mail to people who did not attend the event and let them know what they missed.

7. Try to persuade people who have not yet registered

In addition to the standard confirmation, reminder, and thank-you mails, you can also send an e-mail to anybody who has opened the mail, but has not clicked the button. Additionally, you can send personalized follow-up mails to visitors of your registration page who did not register.

Did people start their registration without completing it? In that case you can use the abandoned shopping cart principle to persuade visitors to complete their registration. How does this work? The process is the same as when you place an order in an online shop. You have entered your e-mail address and placed your order, but then abandoned your shopping cart. These people will automatically be sent an e-mail containing a special offer or a reminder. This way you can try again to persuade people to register for your event.

event marketing automation

8. Shortly before the start of the event: Teasers

Develop a flow for people who have registered and people who have not. Make sure that visitors are kept informed about the event by gradually revealing the programme and sending them other relevant information. This ensures that visitors remain involved in the event.

9. A personal QR code for the correct, personalized follow-up communication

Shortly before the event, send people a personal admission ticket by e-mail, which they can show on their mobile at the entrance. Include a personal QR code and set automatic messages, for example, a welcome e-mail or text message, an e-mail with reference material or a feedback form.

The day of the event has come…

Finally, the event you have been preparing for so long is about to start.

10. Ensure the organization is aligned to the number of visitors

Scan the QR code on the ticket. Visitors who scan their ticket immediately receive a follow-up mail (or text message), for example a presentation, reminder or a discount for other events. Because you know exactly who is attending the event, the organization ‘on the floor’ can be aligned to the actual number of visitors present.

11. Reduce the number of no-shows by sending a captivating text message

SMS has become highly popular again. Text messages have an average open ration of 99%, and 90% of these messages are read within 3 minutes. Text messages also have a double click frequency of about 19% (The state of SMS, DMA).

You can, for example, send a text message the day before the event, as a reminder. This will reduce the no-show percentage and your visitors receive optimum personalized attention. Send them a text message on the day of the event, for example with a time schedule for the various sessions and the lunch break, or that the special guest has arrived, or surprise them with a fun message. But keep in mind that less is more 🙂

12. Lead scoring

Lead scoring – marketing automation at a higher level – can also be an interesting contribution to your event. With lead scoring, values are assigned to opening a message and clicking, which results in a score for each subscriber. Actions can then be defined and set, based on this score. For example, a subscriber can be automatically added to a newsletter campaign for further qualification of that subscriber.

After qualification, leads can be followed up. Leads not yet ready for making a purchase are maintained via lead nurturing. Lead nurturing ensures that contacts are maintained by sending relevant content. This way, your organization remains on their radar when the customer decides to make a purchase in the future.

lead scoring

Analysis of which website pages your leads have visited provides the sales department with good insight into the products and services your visitors are interested in and the phase of the buyer journey the leads are at. Analysis also provides you with information on which subjects are of interest for your event.

This leads to more efficient conversations during the event, and afterwards the sales department can provide additional information for better follow-up of leads with marketing automation programmes. You can, for example, award 10 extra points to everyone who registers for the event, and 20 points to those who actually attended the event.

Fun idea: Surprise leads that reach 100 points with a nice present.

  • Operators

Marketing automation is also a great support tool for operators. Automation of processes is a good step for operators who want to offer optimum services. As an operator you can, for example, send a standard e-mail to exhibitors in connection with fair-related matters (card payment equipment, electricity, awards, etc.). Marketing automation can also be used to offer additional support services to exhibitors and to draw their attention to specific issues.

An example of an additional service could be a customer environment. Exhibitors can use the customer environment to easily invite their customers by e-mail, using a (largely) pre-filled mailing in their own house style. This ensures uniformity and a professional process.

Additionally, this will generally result in more pre-registrations for fairs and it saves a lot of time, because sales staff do not need to discuss everything on an individual basis.

  • Exhibitors

Not only the organizer, but also the exhibitors benefit from the use of marketing automation. As an exhibitor, you can simply use your tablet to link a form to your marketing automation system that people can fill out after an activation. You can then easily and automatically follow up these people. You can add all arrangements made to your system via a separate form that is linked to your e-mail software or database.

Feel inspired? The following is a brief recap/procedure for organizers:

  • Determine the target group for your event and the maximum number of registrations. With large events, always count on 30 to 35% no show.
  • Generate a list of invited persons, for example via your CRM software.
  • Send suitable invitations to all, using conditional content. Partners may require different content to be persuaded than customers. Use an agenda functionality, to allow people to directly add the event to their agenda
  • Create a landing page with a form, which can be used by all invited persons to enter the required information (e.g. dietary wishes, lunch/no lunch, etc.)
  • Decide well in advance what messages you want to send, and when, and which content will be required. And create the communication flows (one for attendants, and one for invited persons who have not yet registered). This will prevent a lot of ad hoc actions prior to the event.
  • Use enriched data from your form (a database field for each piece of information) to personalize the follow-up communications.
  • Send a personal entrance ticket with, for example, a QR code. Send a welcome message to all attendants (e.g. via SMS) and make sure the organization on the floor is aligned to the number of visitors.
  • Communicate on the basis of the scanned QR codes. After the event, send automatic presentations or a questionnaire on the event. Send relevant content to people who did not attend, to convince then to attend your next event.
  • And, last but not least, do not forget to make your profile scoring part of your strategy. Decide in advance which actions and/or interests are important to you, and assign a score to them!

I am confident that these practical tips will help you benefit even more from your marketing automation software during your event. I wish you lots of success!

Jacco Bouw, founder of Webpower.

Share this article

Questions about this article?