Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 20 2015

3 Crucial Questions You Need To Answer For Your Meeting Marketing Strategy

By David McMillin

Before the exhibitors move in, before the AV team arrives and before the lights go up on your meeting, you and your team have to worry about one big word: marketing. Sure, there may be some loyal year-after-year attendees who will fall into the paid category as soon as registration opens, but it’s going to take some convincing to inspire the bulk of your audience to decide to attend your meeting. Here are three key questions that can help make the process of convincing less challenging.

1) Does your online presence offer a preview of the on-site experience?

Contrary to popular belief, you can judge a book by its cover — at least when that cover is an annual meeting website. Plenty of meetings make the mistake of failing to invest in contemporary web design. While the language on the home page highlights “game-changing innovations” and “interactive, never-been-seen-before learning formats”, the design lacks any sort of excitement. How can a boring website inspire a prospective attendee? How will standard font and outdated graphics motivate anyone to enter credit card information for a registration fee?

Visit your annual meeting website, and ask yourself if the user experience feels smooth and seamless. Compare it with your competitors, and take a look around the web to see how other sites make you feel. If you find that your meeting website is stuck in the dial-up era, it’s time to set aside a portion of your budget to make sure that front of your “book” looks like it’s worth reading.

SEE ALSO: 5 Tips To Enhance Your Annual Meeting Website

2) Do you have a schedule?

Every organization knows that content is king in today’s digital world. Luckily, your meeting has plenty of it. The educational tracks, the individual sessions, the expert speakers, the exhibitor booths — the list goes on. However, your audience isn’t going to discover all of this valuable material without some guidance. That’s where your editorial calendar enters the equation. Before you ramp up your registration efforts, know when and where you’ll be working to engage your audience. From blog posts on featured speakers to Instagram images of featured exhibitor products to LinkedIn moderated discussions on some of the biggest trends that will be covered at the meeting, your editorial calendar is the map for a five-month campaign that will showcase the lessons, perspectives and insights that will shape the meeting.

SEE ALSO: 4 Lessons Every Meeting Planner Should Take From TED’s Content Strategy

3) What is your voice?

You’re going to be hearing a lot about authenticity over the next year as election season swings into high gear. However, authenticity isn’t confined to the political arena. It’s equally essential in your efforts to engage the members of your audience. As social media continues to play a pivotal role in everything you do, your organization must define its voice. Is it friendly? Is it authoritative? Is it fun?

Remember that you aren’t looking to be a brand on social media. People don’t want to listen to brands. They want to be part of conversations. They’re looking to join a community. Your voice and tone are the ingredients that can help make prospective attendees feel less like fans or followers and more like friends.

SEE ALSO: 4 Reasons Why Meetings Fail At Social Media

Looking for more help with the marketing plan at your upcoming meeting? Click here to check out the PCMA Business School’s webinar, “Marketing in the New World of Trust.”

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