Here are some examples of what I consider to be idiot marketing messages:
- Last chance to sign up is Friday!
- Hours left to save – register today!
- Early bird pricing extended!
- High-level content at ABC Conference!
- Elite Expertise at XYZ Summit!
- Breaking News: XYZ to keynote Acme Conference
You may ask why I characterize them as idiotic. Perhaps you’re thinking “I use that approach in my email subject lines all the time!” However, I’d argue that these messages are for situations where you know that people are interested in attending your event. In those circumstances a price reduction, some kind of promotion, or additional information on an event’s content may be what’s going to get them to register. But otherwise this kind of marketing is clueless.
The thing that always gets me about poor marketing tactics is when the presumed ‘buyer path’ is based on faulty assumptions, the biggest of which is that the recipient of your messaging actually cares about what you’re writing or already is a raving fan.
Given that most events are not considered to be indispensable, to assume a prior year’s attendee is predisposed to return, if given the right incentive or information, could be a mistake. Was the event valuable for them or memorable in some way? Or was it just an interruption of their daily business and a waste of time and money? How do you know?
If someone hasn’t been convinced of the value of your event – or worse, doesn’t pay attention to your marketing and therefore doesn’t know what you are talking about – do you think they’ll care that the early bird discount ends on Friday or some other marketing offer or further meaningless information? If you are not segmenting your lists and tailoring your message for your key personas, then I’d argue you are guilty of lazy marketing. You haven’t put in the time to know whether a price incentive is the right offer to the right person at the right time then you’re just guessing. I am also suggesting that an early bird deadline be based on the time that you have found to be the right time for the prospect, not necessarily the date you’ve arbitrarily picked.
You should be able to segment your past attendees into 4-5 main categories. Then you should ensure you have a buyer path for each category, a path that is not based on assumptions but rather is grounded in data, like past history, surveys, conversations with prospects, etc..
Assuming you have the metrics to indicate that the members of a segment are at a point in the buyer path when they’re ready to sign up, the messages I referenced as idiotic might have an impact. If you are crafting the same message for everyone- get ready for the marketing panic I referenced in my last article though……
Prospects are getting smarter. They’ll avoid you and your messages unless you also are smart about them and know how to build value and trust so they covert into attendees.