Using event technology to personalize the pre-event attendee experience

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In the run up to your conference there are opportunities to create lasting first impressions on the attendee experience. After all, the conference attendee’s journey begins long before the venue doors open on day one of your big show.

Personalization plays an important role in shaping the early experiences for your attendees. Thanks to daily interactions with brands like Netflix, Google, and Amazon, today’s event attendees expect personalization in all areas of life — including corporate conferences and events. 

As well as delighting attendees, personalization at the pre-event stage helps you gather richer data points to elevate your onsite personalization efforts later on. Attendees are far more likely to engage and share data if they experience a personal touch. Every piece of personal information you can gather — from job title to dietary requirements — is an opportunity to make an attendee feel unique and well cared for at your event.

“People experience personalization in their daily lives. Everyone understands Amazon—we all want that experience, everywhere we go.” Heather Henderson Thomas, Cisco

The role of event technology in pre-event personalization

Event technology plays an important role in creating personal touchpoints in the run up to your event. From the way attendees find out about the event, to the registration process, to travel planning, the pre-event attendee journey can be completely personalized with a little help from technology.

Let’s look at four ways technology can help you personalize the pre-event attendee journey:

1. Social media to build awareness

For previous attendees, stored preferences and behavior should allow you to make meaningful initial contact via email. However, attracting a new audience requires a different approach.

Social media targeting is an efficient way to personalize at scale. Studies show that over half of social media users research new brands and events on social. If you take the time to craft the right message, it’s relatively easy to find the right people. Use your own target persona demographics to create lookalike audiences and point ads to a landing page that communicates why someone like them should attend your event. 

Make it easy to register interest, but also take the opportunity to collect useful pieces of information like industry and title. This can be used for greater targeting and personalization efforts further down the line.

2. Marketing automation to personalize communications

With a database full of both new and returning attendees, personalized email invitations are easy to distribute. According to research by Marketo, personalizing an email increases open rates by 26 percent — especially when personalization continues from the subject line into the body of the email.

Optimizing your emails also means highlighting the event content most relevant to each attendee. Sixty-nine percent of people will only decide to attend an event once they know about sessions and speakers, so make that decision an easy one by tailoring the content you feature.

Marketing automation tools can help you build compliant email nurture streams. Some event management platforms also enable personalized email communications. Drag and drop workflow builder by RainFocus makes it easy to build personalized invitations with recommendations (either by bot or personal curation). These provide clear reasons why people should attend your event and can help motivate those who are on the fence. 

3. An event management platform to personalize the registration process

Event management platforms like RainFocus help to streamline the registration process with progressive profiling that prefills answers already known from previous years’ attendance or from your CRM. Based on preferences and behaviors, RainFocus can then route the attendee to the right package to maximize the value they get from the event. By leveraging knowledge about attendees, RainFocus supports a personalized attendee experience throughout the event lifecycle to drive satisfaction and engagement.

“Personalization is a huge part of what we do at RainFocus — all our solutions are built with the individual in mind — so event organizers can deliver an amazing experience to their attendees while benefiting from a single source of truth and a host of intelligence data to help inform their decision making.” Brian Gates, RainFocus

4. Event app to personalize pre-event agenda building and networking 

In your registration confirmation email, include a clear call to download the event app. Three out of four attendees will typically do so when prompted. 

This is your chance to maintain engagement with the attendee until the day of the event. Use the app to send out news and updates as the agenda is finalized and encourage attendees to build their own schedule of sessions, booth visits, and networking appointments.

To learn more about the conference attendee journey, download our ebook: The Attendee Journey: Creating Personalized Experiences for Conference Attendees.