Saturday, July 29, 2017

6 Last-Ditch Ways to Sell Out Your Event

If you're not gonna go all the way, why go at all?

― Joe Namath
When events fail to sell out, resourceful producers pull out all the stops.

EventMB recommends these six last-ditch efforts:

Social media buy. Take out ads on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook that target locals (drive-ins) with an interest in your topics. Cull your database for locals to help you target the buy, and be sure to keep using free social media to chat up your event. Take advantage of past attendees' testimonials. You'll motivate fence-sitters.

Personalized email. Cull from your database locals who haven’t registered and conduct a drip-marketing campaign. Focus on locals who click through and send them additional emails that concentrate on justifying the cost of the event.

Special offer. Email registrants an offer of a referral incentive, such as "Buy two, get one free." Registrants will feel appreciated and help you. Send sponsors and exhibitors the same offer, to pass along to their customers. Sister organizations may also help you spread the word. You can also promote a contest on social media with free tickets as the prizes. Create a hashtag and ask people to vote on line. Contests, well done, are buzz-worthy.

Streamlined registration. Identify any causes of friction in your registration process and eliminate them―even if it means slaying sacred cows. Last-minute registrations are impulsive, and you don't want to deter prospects in any way. And add prominent copy like "Last chance to pre-register and save" or "Only a few seats left."

Telemarketing. The best way to spur last-minute registrations is to call locals, particularly alumni of past events who haven't registered. They know the value you deliver. (If yours is a first-time event, concentrate on locals who have some relationship with you.)

Retargeting. Retargeted ads can influence sales-resistant locals by making your event top of mind. By becoming ubiquitous, you'll sell out.

Last-ditch don'ts. EventMB warns:
  • Don't offer last-minute discounts rashly; you only signal panic, cheapen your event, and train registrants to wait for deep discounts the next time round. ("Loyal attendee" discounts are okay.)

  • Don't go all-serious. Play up the entertainment value of your event (remember, last-minute registrations are impulse buys).

  • Don't go into hard-sell mode across all marketing channels. Concentrate on the ones above.
  • Don't bury your calls to action in your last-ditch promotions. Big, colorful buttons work.

  • Don't refrain from giving free registrations away, if the recipients are influencers who'll add to the prestige of your event.
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