Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to Prevent List Attrition yet Drive Event Attendance

This week's blog post was inspired by an idea by Yaro Starak over at Entrepreneurs-journey.com who suggested to look for blog ideas by scanning Facebook groups. I decided to do a quick scan on Linkedin instead and found a great topic on email marketing. Here is the question that was asked:
How does your company email customers about events and web seminars without sending too many emails to the same customer that may share several products within a product line?

How often do you email your customers and do you have a format that eliminates multiple emails to the same contacts within a short time frame?

This is a timely question as I was just reviewing a similar situation last week. While you can answer the question by saying "use a system that restricts how many emails you send within a given time frame", that may not be an acceptable approach for marketers that are measured on the number of event attendees. The best approach that was brought up in the Answers section in Linkedin is to send emails based on a person's specified interests. While the product that a customer has purchased can help you segment them, is that what they are truly interested in and can you go further in your segmentation (say based on their title or geography)?

Let's assume that the marketer may not know all of this information just yet. The bottom line is that the marketing team needs to promote events but the more emails that are sent may lead to list attrition. My recommendation is to use the right messaging based on what you know about the contact.

Using Dynamic Email Content the Right Way

This is a perfect situation for using dynamic content in email. Instead of creating one email for each event, consider creating one email and using dynamic content to display multiple events based on a person's product purchases. For example, if a person has only purchased one product, they will receive an email that promotes the event associated to that product. If a person is associated to two products (I would not promote more then two events in one email), you may want to promote the event that will be occurring next at the top of the email while including the event that is occurring later on underneath it. Another approach is to display both events side by side or to promote one event in the main column and a webinar in the smaller column.

Promoting Events in Your Newsletters

Another issue that you may deal with is the mix of newsletters, promo offers and event invite emails that you need to send. These items really should work together. For example, you can include a column on your newsletter that promotes upcoming events. You could even make this dynamic to only show events that are relevant to the individual based on their product purchases.

One approach I'm seeing more and more is to create an RSS feed of your company events and display this as a featured section in an email newsletter. It doesn't have to be an RSS feed but it does make it easier as you can update this in one spot- see Steve Wood's post called Content for Free on how to do this.

A Few Other Ideas to Cut Down on Event Emails

Here are a few small tips that you can implement:
  • Have a link on your event invite that says "I can't make the event but maybe next time". Surprisingly, there will be times when a person in your database has a conflict because their umm.... working? Instead of sending them a follow up email that invites them again to an event that they can't attend (send enough of these and you can expect an unsubscribe), give the person an out. If they do click on that "I can't male it this time" send them a follow up email after the event with recorded version and see if they download it.
  • Once someone has signed up for an event, do you really need to send 10 emails reminding them of the event (exaggerating here)? Perhaps all that is needed is an autoresponder confirmation email and an email on the day of the event or a day before the event. The way to cut down reminder emails is to get the event registrant to book off the time in their Outlook or Lotus Notes calender using an ICS file link.

Unfortunately, the question on Linked in was closed so I couldn't post my answer but that's why I have my blog. I hope you have found this useful and maybe inspired you on how to generate posts on your blog as well. Let me know if you agree or have other ideas.

Chad H.

PS: I did create a recent group on Facebook during the whole Canadian federal government debacle last week called: "I Prefer Celine as Canada's PM over Stephan Dion any day!". Even if you're Canadian it's not really that funny.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post Chad with some good points. Ensuring those in a marketing list are not hit too many times within a short span is a challenge and its a critical part of responsible marketing.




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