Personalisation is a hot topic for event organisers. A 2016 survey revealed 82% of senior event planners cite personalisation as a key priority. However, only 27% stated that they used personalisation effectively. Lack of time (60%), lack of internal resources (60%), cost (49%), lack of technology (38%) and inaccurate data (31%) were the key barriers they picked out.
These barriers aren’t all they’re feared to be. Event personalisation doesn’t need to be expensive, time-consuming or complicated. Even the smallest of things can make a big difference – as these five tips show.
1. Get your data in order
Data is important. Accurate data is vital. At the very least, your visitor database should include first name, last name and email address. Better still, details of industry and location for each record will aid personalisation even further.
Ensure these details – as a minimum – are included when new additions to the database are made, and make it policy for your team to keep records updated as and when contact is made.
With GDPR looming, you have the perfect opportunity to check up on your contacts, since you’re now obliged to ensure database members, both new and old, have given explicit consent for you to use their data in the ways you’ve planned. Ask for the opt-in – and check the details you have on record while you’re there.
2. Personalise your communications
A database of named contacts rather than simply generic info@ or sales@ email addresses makes personalised communication possible.
At the most basic level, this means beginning email communications with the recipient’s first name, making them more likely to read than if they were to receive a generic, unaddressed email.
As your knowledge of your mailing list grows, and your CRM is updated, it will be possible to test out a variety of personalisation techniques – such as confirmation of menus for special dietary requirements or referring back to profile information given at registration – to see which bring the best results.
Even simple things like taking time zones into account can result in more positive responses. BustedTees’ decision to send emails to different time zones at different times showed a serious uplift in clickthrough rate and revenue; a similar approach could see more takeup for your event communications.
3. Create dynamic content
Getting your data in order isn’t just about addressing your emails to the right person, however – it means tailoring the content you send as well.
This means segmenting your email communications to send separate mailouts to different job titles or different sectors, sharing content relevant to their specific role or industry. It could mean highlighting a talk from a prominent blockchain specialist to those with a keen business interest in the field, or sending comms from key sponsors to those in relevant industries.
4. Focus on entry passes
75% of event attendees cite networking as an important motive for their presence, so event organisers need to focus on facilitating networking, smoothing introductions and bringing people to each other’s attention. Every attendee has an entry pass, yet entry passes are distinctly underutilised.
Personalising delegate entry passes is an easy, cost-effective improvement to your event. Every pass should include the delegate’s photo, first name, last name, country and the name of the business they are representing. These basic details can be more than enough for delegates to initiate conversations with other attendees, increasing their perceived value of your event.
Those looking to take things a step further can even opt for “smart badges” from companies like Celadin. Smart badges allow you to track attendees’ arrivals and session attendance, find them on-site, provide them with personalised information and guide them to the people they need to meet.
5. Be social
Social media can add another level of personalisation to any event, from plugins that show delegates which of their social connections are attending, to social logins to your website that can pull in permission-based data about your attendees, giving you more data with which to personalise your comms. Such widgets include the likes of InGo, which is simple to implement, and prices start from $1,500 – small change, considering the value that can be gleaned from its use.
Focusing social media in advance – by creating a hashtag and introducing it to your attendees so it catches on before the event – can connect delegates, speakers and exhibitors and generate conversation. Dedicating people to social media engagement on the day also means you can reply directly to comments about the event and make attendees feel their views are being heard. Tracking hashtags and mentions after the event gives you the same ability to respond, and allows you to collect and acknowledge feedback.
With a bigger budget and more time, there’s plenty more that can be done: recommendation engines to share event highlights, personalised itineraries, tailored event apps, NFC wristbands to highlight areas visited and more. Even without such additions, simple acts of personalisation like those detailed above can engage your delegates, make them feel special and improve the potential for post-event follow-up. While personalisation may seem like a big job, remember that even the smallest of efforts can make a big difference.
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