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An Audience Acquisition Plan Without Strategy Is Just A Wish

audience_acquistion_strategyAudience acquisition continually holds the title of “most frustrating” philosophical marketing conundrums. As event marketers, we know we need to be more strategic but it’s easy to slip into a promotional rut when faced with the realities of tight timelines, limited resources and a million responsibilities. Pair that with the fact the average person receives 90 business emails per day and marketing your event can feel like an uphill battle.

Luckily, we’re here to help so you don’t have to face this battle alone. The following audience acquisition framework will help you strategically execute thoughtful, measurable tactics while operating with the awareness and agility to recognize when things aren’t going well so you can adjust, optimize and reevaluate.

The first step is to identify your target audience (refer to my previous post, if you missed it) and begin drafting targeted messaging points based on your specific audience segments. For example, if your target audience is comprised of event planners, consider messaging that will resonate well with specific career levels:

  • Entry-Level: “Watch, learn and network with the industry’s hottest thought leaders!”
  • Mid-Level: “Register to learn the latest trends. Attend to earn 15 CMP clock hours”
  • Experienced: “Attend for crash courses on the newest event technology trends”

Next, determine your event goals and begin crafting your audience acquisition strategy with budget and resource considerations in mind. Answering the following questions will help flush out your strategic marketing framework:

  • Where am I most likely to grab the attention of my target audience e.g., social media, email, weekly newsletters? It’s true you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink; however, you can optimize the timing of the trip when he’s the thirstiest. Promoting your message when and where your target audience is will increase the likelihood they will be receptive to your messaging.
  • How am I going to reach a larger, qualified audience e.g., Google Display Network, AdWords, list retargeting? Remember, quantity will NEVER trump quality when it comes to increasing brand awareness and facilitating lead generation opportunities. Besides, would you rather have 20,000 attendees with no decision-making power, or 10,000 attendees that do?
  • Of all the available promotional strategies, which ones are particularly applicable for my marketing goals? I’m no ancient Chinese military strategist, but Sun Tsu had it right when he said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Don’t attempt to do everything, focus on a few tactics and execute them well so you can closely monitor performance, optimize campaign parameters/spend and focus on promotional quality over vague quantity.
  • What meaningful metrics will help me determine event success e.g., cost-per-acquisition, registration conversions, % of returning attendees etc.? Your event goals should directly tie back to your business objectives and event goals. Here are a few examples:
    • Increase Lead Quality: survey data, attendee behavior, poll results
    • Lead Generation: # of attendees, conversion % (registrations vs. the final number of attendees)
    • Member Engagement: # of repeat attendees (YOY), average session duration, # of gamification badges earned/rewarded
  • How am I going to measure campaign success e.g., social media management tools, tracking via Google Analytics or Marketo? Make things easier on yourself by centralizing measures and ensure you are comfortable interpreting the analytics from your selected source because you can measure what you don’t understand.

Hopefully these simple strategies will equip you with the foundational elements for creating a strategic audience acquisition plan that is fueled by strategy, not “wishes.”

Stay tuned for my next post “Measure Metrics, Like You Mean It.”

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