Attracting new attendees to professional conferences is hard work. Throwing more money at ads in trade publications, retargeting, and paying for social listings will usually result in increased traffic and impressions, but low- to no-conversion rates.
Several years ago, we did consulting for one of the largest trade shows in the country. They had a very small education program. After examining their marketing strategy and effectiveness, we learned that the most-opened and acted-upon emails were the ones about the education offerings. While these emails didn’t result in high conversion for the education program, they significantly moved the needle for participation in the expo.
The moral of the story is that attendees tune out promotional noise. They are attracted to content with high relevance. When you provide previews of educational sessions or tracks that align with the problems or aspirations of your target market, that audience takes notice … and action.
If you want to improve marketing effectiveness and conversion, the number one thing you can do is embrace content marketing to communicate your conference narrative.