Outbound marketing is a key area for an event marketing strategy – driving key messages directly to potential delegates to get important, time sensitive messages in front of the right people at the right time. The most important direct marketing channel for promoting events is still email marketing, as this channel needs to be used all the way down the marketing funnel. Another important direct marketing channel is delegate sales, which needs to be fully synced with email campaigns. Here is a ‘how-to guide’ to get the best results: #1 Create an email plan, and sync telesales with this plan It is essential to have a clear plan around outcomes you are looking for, and what is needed to achieve these outcomes. Email is an essential channel for creating event awareness and driving event registrations, so an important first step when promoting any event is to map out well-timed email activity in the weeks leading up to an event, considering event programme development milestones (e.g. speaker announcements and agenda releases) and other significant dates (e.g. public holidays etc). All stakeholders in your events team should have full visibility of this schedule of planned emails and the key messaging planned for each email, as this schedule should set the pace for programme development and all integrated marketing activity. It is particularly important to sync your delegate sales with your email campaign schedule, as sales people should be reinforcing the most current marketing messages going out via email. For best results, it is important to concentrate on delegate sales efforts, to ramp up just after an email has gone out, and in the week or two leading up to an ‘earlybird’. #2 Driving online registrations, generating and converting leads Email marketing should both directly drive online registrations and generate leads that can then be converted to registrations via further lead nurturing emails, and also by delegate sales. Your delegate team should only be contacting past delegates, as well as the people who have become qualified leads via marketing, e.g. have downloaded an event brochure or registered their interest in attending an event. Calling ‘cold’ people who have shown no interest or have only clicked on one email won’t get a very strong ROI on delegate sales (an expensive channel!). #3 Use delegate sales in the right way for the best ROI Here are some tips on how get best results from delegate sales: Timing and approach: align delegate sales efforts with important milestones (programme announcement, pricing deadlines, 3 weeks before the event starts) within the marketing channel plan to achieve the best engagement and messaging in calls. Create clear telesales briefs: this document should include key event information from event dates, venue, prominent speakers, audience profile, sales targets, how a sale is attributed, and reporting processes. Sales collateral: Scripts: provide short scripts for delegate sales to reference when talking to a prospect. This script should be updated as messaging develops and changes throughout the campaign, and should also be based on the profile of the prospect they’re speaking to. Additional consideration should be given to their level of engagement and stage in the buying process. Email templates: marketers should provide salespeople with email templates containing the most relevant messages. This will ensure messaging consistency and enable salespeople to be more efficient. Feedback: it is very important for delegate sales to give marketers and other event team members, particularly conference producers, regular feedback on what they’re hearing directly from customers about what they find valuable (and not valuable) about the event, how it is relevant (and not relevant) to them, and what will make them book – or why they don’t want to register or buy a ticket. This important customer insight should be fed into the product development process so that the producer can continue developing the programme to be as valuable as possible, and so that marketers can ensure the messaging they’re using in all channels is relevant and resonates well. KPIs: as delegate sales is the most expensive marketing (highest cost per person contacted), and because it can be an incredibly effective driver of delegate revenue and growth, it is very important for the salespeople to have clear KPIs to work towards and be measured on. KPI reporting to evaluate delegate sales productivity and ROI should focus on two areas: Outcomes – including number of sales made, conversion rate, and average order value. Activity – including number of effective calls per day, and average call length. Within the next few weeks we will be sharing more guidance on how to use email marketing in the best way as a marketing channel for conferences, and also the role that advocacy is now playing as a highly efficient channel – especially when using automation tools. So please subscribe to MPG Insights if you have not done so already. Subscribers are notified as soon as a new article or resource is published. Do you need help developing a conference marketing strategy to grow your flagship event? Team MPG has a wealth of experience in developing marketing strategies for B2B conferences. Our deep analysis and rigorous approach gives business leaders peace of mind when making strategic investments in their marketing. Please get in touch with Team MPG to see how we could help you.