21 Aug 2014

Don’t let your event start at the door.

It’s time to get honest about pre-event communication.

Is your pre-com more than a “save-the-date” or “register here” email? Does it break through the day-to-day clutter attendees are subjected to? Does it plant the seeds of your important messaging and put attendees in the right mindset for your event?  Does it get your people excited and wanting to attend?

Be honest. Is your teaser more than an afterthought?

It’s time to turn the missed opportunity of pre-event communication into an exciting opportunity to reinforce brand messages while enticing your target audience.

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Attendance is just one of the results of a well thought out pre-communication plan. Other benefits include increased interest and enthusiasm, a more dynamic means of communicating that sets you apart, putting attendees in the right frame of mind even before they arrive at your event.

To reap these benefits, think about pre-communication as an opportunity to plant the seeds of your messages with your target audience. How do you want them to approach this event? What do want them to do? How do you want them to participate? What do you want them to think about in advance? What story do you want to draw them into?

By communicating in well-planned, cost effective and creative ways those seeds will grow. Anticipation and interest will grow. Recognition of your event, brand and messages will grow. Potential attendees become engrossed in your story and anticipation grows as well. These are the seeds you then build on at your event and in post-communication that maximize your return on investment and overall results.

So how do you get started?

1. Start by identifying pre-communication touch-points:

  • What is the message that you want to get across?
  • What are the opportunities for frequency of communication?  One shot or a progressive campaign?
  • How does your target audience get their information?

 

2. Consider the different types of pre-communication:

  • Save-the-Date – peak curiosity
  • Teasers – create anticipation and interest; start to plant the seeds of your messaging; promote a location/venue; reveal a keynote speaker; start a chat, or solicit information
  • Building Buzz- getting people talking about your event
  • Invitation – provide details; continue messaging; create a consistent look promoting instant recognition for your brand/event
  • Drive Registration – increase the desire to attend

 

3. Ensure that all pre-communication links to the bigger picture.

All pre-com should be on brand, in line with brand values, and supportive of what’s happening at the event and in post-com.

 

4. Be open to Brave Ideas™ and innovative thinking.

Formats like video and electronic media were once deemed too elaborate or expensive for pre-com. This is no longer the case. In fact, the use of video and various electronic and even social media pre-event is now affordable, accessible and so mainstream that there’s no excuse for not employing these tactics to boost your campaigns.

 

5. Consider bringing in an agency partner to do the creative thinking for you.

You have enough on your plate and agencies specialize in creating breakthrough communication that delivers results while staying in line with the overall objectives, messaging and branding of your event.

For a client who was launching a sales incentive program, Debut created a 2-year long video teaser campaign called “Live the Life.” The campaign was designed to allow the viewer to put themselves into the shoes of a couple on a cruise. We crafted a carefully designed story that did so much more than any destination video could. It motivated and inspired the sales rep to want to achieve their targets and quality for this program by constantly reinforcing that they too could ‘Live the life’.

For another client’s annual meeting, we used electronic teasers that focused on quotes from people of all walks of life from around the globe. All quotes served to start the attendees thinking about the specific messages related to the event objectives and the brand.  As part of the registration process,  participants then had the opportunity to submit their own quotes in response to questions that linked back to the event messaging. These quotes were used strategically at the event, immersing the attendees further into the message.

These kinds of campaigns literally start your event months, weeks and occasionally even years before the actual date. They engage attendees in ways that can’t be ignored – they don’t want to! Attendees become invested in your story, messages and brand and arrive ready to participate and in the frame of mind you put them in.

That’s powerful…for your brand and for your event results.

The bottom line is this: If your event starts at the door you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to increase awareness, excitement, attendance and return on your event.

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