Conference Marketing Strategy

by Lanae Carr; Updated September 26, 2017

Successful conference marketing takes time and an effective strategy. Understanding your market needs and the factors that motivate them are key. However, it usually takes time to familiarize yourself with audience patterns, especially if you are new to the meeting industry. Employ a variety of tactics to test which methods work best for your target audience.

Segmenting

Market segmentation is the process of defining groups within your target audience. For conferences that attract guests from a diverse range of backgrounds and industries, segmentation can prove a useful tool. Start by using a spreadsheet to divide your database into groups before launching ads or promotional campaigns. You want to ensure you can project where your customers are most likely to find your conference information the easiest.

Emails

A common way to market conferences is using email campaigns. An email campaign is a series of emails related to one marketing campaign. If you have a large email database, campaigns can prove to be an effective tool if you can provide enough incentive for recipients to forward the information to colleagues. When a recipient receives an email and forwards it to multiple friends, it can exponentially increase the outreach of your email campaign. This process is called viral marketing. Use trial and error to find the most effective methods in persuading your audience to forward your email information.

Early Bird Specials

One method of prompting customers to register for the conference is to offer an early bird special. An early bird special is a discount or promotional registration offering given to customers who sign up for the conference early. The difference between the early bird special and the standard event registration package should be substantial. “Gifts/premiums of highly perceived value may work just as well as the early bird and cost you a lot less” than deeply discounting the registration fee, explains Ralph Elliott of Clemson University. A successful early bird special helps to market your conference by providing an incentive that creates a sense of urgency in registering.

Strong Promotional Language

On your marketing materials, always use strong promotional language. “Use "topdown" selling whereby you give your strongest benefits first (in the form of your title, major headings, and subheadings) to capture prospects' attention, creates interest, and creates desire,” suggests Clemson University. Use a conversational but professional tone in all materials. Bullet points are effective in helping to break up long chunks of information making your materials easier to read.

About the Author

Lanae Carr has been an entertainment and lifestyle writer since 2002. She began as a staff writer for the entertainment section of the "Emory Wheel" and she writes for various magazines and e-newsletters related to marketing and entertainment. Carr graduated from Emory University with a bachelor's degree in film studies and English.