The first rule of email marketing is, “It’s not about you.” Even though you have metrics to meet, any email campaign that puts your company first will get derailed before it gets to your customer’s inbox. Whether you’re building one email or a campaign, you must focus on the needs of your audience.
Start by humanizing your emails. When you share your personality with your audience, they are more likely to view you as a friend. And that is the key to getting them to open your emails. Assuming that you are offering something of value and that your emails are respectful, authentic, well designed, succinct, and relevant, you should expect positive outcomes.
A proven tactic to boost your investment in conferences is to design an email campaign that creates interaction with your company’s brand during the conference. Begin with the conference registration list if you can. Not all conference organizers make their list available to exhibitors, however. If the list is not available, many companies have success using purchased lists with zipcode selects to drive local educators to a conference event. Inviting an educator to a specific event can be an effective strategy whether or not they plan to attend the conference.
Most attendees at education conferences plan to spend all or most of their time in sessions. In fact, it’s not unusual to find attendees that skip the exhibits altogether. Some conferences are very good about scheduling events in the exhibit hall to attract attendees. But for most conferences, you must rely on your own marketing efforts to create face time with your target audience.
Try this sample campaign plan:
Email #1 – 5 weeks out. Email a quick three-question survey. The questions are designed to surface needs in the area that your product addresses. The real purpose of this survey is to confirm they are still planning to attend the conference and to embed the idea that a visit with your company should be part of their conference experience. An autoresponder email thanks them for their survey responses.
Email #2 – 4 weeks out. Send an invitation to the same group inviting them to an event: a social gathering; a booth meeting; a celebrity visit; or to test their skill to win prizes. They must RSVP to the email for it to be a validated ticket/entry to whatever event you’ve created. And the event has to be meaningful enough to justify their choosing your event over others to which they’re being invited.
Email #3 – 3 weeks out. Send a thank you email with confirmation of the event and directions for attending to all those who RSVP’d.
Email #4 – 1 week before the conference, email this group reiterating your excitement about seeing them in person.
The conference event. You have qualified these attendees and hopefully established that they are potential buyers of your products. But sales is not the purpose of this event. It’s relationship building. The actual sales process won’t begin until after the conference.
Email #5 – This post-conference email is a heart-felt thank you with a link to a special content package just for those who attended your event. It’s valuable content that they can use or share immediately.
This email strategy will boost the number of people you meet and interact with at the conference maximizing your investment. You’ve also invested in your audience and many will identify themselves as prospective buyers through this process. After your final email, you move these folks from your lead generation program into your lead nurturing program, and a new email cycle begins.