By Allison Saget
Plain and simple, most event programs should include pre-event direct marketing. Considering many fail to do so, you could enjoy a competitive advantage by taking action.
One method I have found to be highly targeted and efficient is through direct mailers. Whether eblasts or snail mail, this type of activity allows you to focus your message and reach your audience prior to meeting onsite.
Pre-event direct mailers can be especially effective if leveraged correctly:
Hot List — Spend the time on the front end to put your “list” together and get complete profile information. Use lists from past events.
Simplicity — Keep your copy to one message. You can inform and educate the attendee about the details of your product and services when you meet one-on-one.
Appeal — Make sure you integrate the visuals to your message and corporate identity. The pre-event mailer sets the tone and spirit for your event and does a double-duty when branding. The more impressions, the better.
TMI (too much information) — Focus on the benefits — not the features — and the call-to-action: Register today or meet with us. (Stay away from information overload.)
Creative — Be clever and clean. The goal is to meet with you. It’s not about winning a design award.
Humility — Be friendly, not arrogant. Focus on the why they should want to learn more about your product and services. Focus on things that mean something to them. Save the bragging rights for later. Use awards and customer testimonials to reinforce your key benefits.
Timing — Establish a schedule to release mailers:
“Save the dates” should be released three months to a year in advance.
“Looking forward to seeing you” notes should drop about 15 days before the actual event date.
Match the timeline to the budget and gang together print runs.
If you are using a list from the show organizer, make sure you understand their guidelines and limitations.
Action — The mailer should have a purpose. “Bring the mailer with you to redeem a free gift or for VIP access to special events; have it stamped, fill out a form, visit four product stations, etc.” Make it easy for your recipient. Giving them specific instructions as to what you want them to do works in certain markets and for certain audiences.
Allison Saget is an event marketing consultant and the author of “The Event Marketing Handbook: Beyond Logistics & Planning.” Her website is http://www.eventblt.com She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org