Event planners and sponsors have embraced all manner of digital tools to promote and to execute successful events. Facebook and Meetup invites complement email marketing. Mobile websites and apps provide up to the minute content updates onsite at conferences. For important events, however, direct-mail marketing can be an valuable tool, especially for events involving life decisions - like “planning for retirement” seminars or senior housing presentations. Attendance at these life-decision events benefit from the prestige and the value presented by a suitable direct-mail campaign. Here are some ways you can convert prospects into attendees.
Mailing list vendors can be extremely helpful in helping you build your list. One capability they have is to take your current prospect list, and build a persona around it. They can take your attendees data - like zip code, age, hobbies, interests, etc. - and create a new list based on those criteria. Your current list helps build the template for new prospects; it’s likely people with similar data to your current attendees will be intrigued by your offering.
Once the invitation is opened, it has to present the relevant information clearly. Some meeting planners get into the routine of “doing it the same way we did it last year,” which can lead to event atrophy. Some fail to even clearly state the reason for the event, like showing what charity a benefit concert is for. Remember you only have seven seconds to get their attention! Another error can be changing too much! Volunteer meeting planners can sometimes get bored doing the same style invite every year, and want to change for change’s sake. Make sure the direct-mail piece reflects the calibre of the event in tone and in style. If the event is a high-end charity auction, for example, a personally addressed invitation in a nice envelope will make a better impact than a simple postcard addressed to “Resident.” If your event has entertainment or a keynote speaker, make sure a clear photo is visible, along with their topic.
Site selection is a key component to successful meetings and events. Once the best location is secured, don’t just assume your attendees will know where it is. Yes, most people have smartphones and can “Google it”, but why not do them the courtesy of providing a nice clear map?
Three quarters of mail recipients will read a letter or package that is personally addressed.
The RSVP is the most important outcome of an invitation. Do you make it easy to respond by offering email, a postage-paid return card and a dedicated phone number with tracking (to identify how prospects found the event)? Also, if appropriate, include a personalized admission ticket to the event. This reinforces the legitimacy and value of the event. By Mark Pageau, vice president, sales and marketing email: email@example.com Twitter: mpageau