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Winning Strategies to Convert Waverers to Registrants

Retargeting your event messaging and creating specific, focused landing pages are two very effective tactics for turning potential attendees into active registrants.

When people visit your website and don’t register for your event or fail to complete their registration, what do you do?

One effective tactic is to retarget them with ads when they go to other sites. Everyone has experienced this, said Glenn L. Laudenslager IV, MBA, president of Charge Ahead Marketing, during a MeetingsNet webinar. “Let’s say you look at a blue shirt then leave the website without buying it. For the next month or so as you browse through other websites, you see ads for that blue shirt.”

Does this really work? “Yes. The decision to attend the conference is a highly considered purchase, especially in healthcare, where it may entail scheduling changes, and shifting coverage, in addition to travel plans. That decision process often isn’t made right on the spot,” he said. In the time between when they start thinking about it and when they complete the registration, ads that remind people about your deadlines and your content can go a long way towards converting those people into attendees.

How You Can Retarget Throughout the Registration Process
Here are a few specific ideas he provided on how you can use retargeting throughout your registration process.

• The event page. “Let’s be honest—we have all abandoned purchases online. You click out of there because you need more time to think about it.” Retarget with ads that tell non-converters to “Come back and learn more about our event.” For those who start but don’t get past the first page on the registration form, the message could be, “Hey, you started registering, don’t forget to finish.” For those who get all the way to the “enter payment” section before clicking out, the message could be, “We have almost all your information. Here’s a discount if you finish right now.”

This keeps your event in a reconsideration process in ways that feel more relevant than the one-size-fits-all messaging most send, he said.

RelatedHow to Make Your Marketing Remarkable, Part 1: Content Marketing

Create Targeted Campaign Landing Pages
While most event marketing email campaigns take people to the main event website, Laudenslager suggested analyzing their behavioral data so you can present them with only the information that’s most relevant to them. “You don’t need to distract them with a bunch of other information or risk them clicking off into a tangent,” he said. You should keep your campaign pages focused on conversions. This is particularly true for retargeting and content marketing, where you want to drive those users to specific campaign pages that have a singular focus on conversion. 

These landing pages are going to look a lot different from your regular website, he said. “The branding should be more subtle and secondary, forms should be embedded in the page so at a minimum first-level contact information can be exchanged without the user having to take any additional steps.” To minimize distraction and create a sense of urgency, the copy should be succinct and focus on the specific benefits you’re offering. It should contain a singular, loud-and-clear call to action button with imagery that also focuses on getting potential attendees to download that whitepaper or whatever other action you want them to take. “That’s also why you don’t want to include your standard global website navigation,” he said. “You can take users back to your bigger event website for more information after they take the action you want them to take. Because the majority of emails are read on mobile devices, keep your landing pages responsive.

And A/B test your buttons, offers, calls-to-action, copy, and images to ensure you’re getting an optimal response. Among the services you can use for A/B testing are VWO, Optimizely, Unbounce, and Instapage. “With landing pages, you must test, record the data, and see what works,” said Laudenslager.

Conversions Are Just the Beginning
While landing pages and conversions are usually thought to be the end of the marketing process, they are also the starting point of a whole new process, he said. Now that they took that one action, what’s the next thing you want them to do?

“That’s where automation comes in,” he said. “You have to think in advance about what those next steps are. If someone downloads your content marketing tool, what’s the optimal way for you to upsell them on your live event.” Consider how to best convert specific groups of users, such as people who click on your email but don’t convert or register. What you say to them should be different from what you say to those who didn’t open the email, said Laudenslager.

Automating the process enables you to provide a consistent, optimal experience with your messaging—again, turning your event from being a one-off experience to one that brings people back year-round by providing just-in-time, relevant experience.

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