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This post will be covering a few ideas that can be borrowed from loyalty programmes to make your event a success.
Loyalty has been used in marketing for hundreds of years but it is perhaps in the past 40 years that we have really seen the growth of loyalty programmes such as airline frequent flyer programs, credit card points, coffee shop loyalty cards or hotel club memberships.
This type of marketing is all about repeat business and if you run regular or even annual events then you will know that repeat attendees are an incredibly important group of people; both in terms of direct bookings but also because they help you advertise the event to their peers.
Make Previous Attendees Feel Privileged
When announcing a new event think about the ways that you could make previous attendees feel exclusive.
You could leverage principles from airline loyalty schemes such as priority boarding by telling these people that you have reserved them a seat in the front row as long as they confirm before a certain date.
Or perhaps you could offer them a free gift such as a shopping voucher or a free night in a nice local hotel if you know they are travelling from a distance.
Create Balanced Rewards for Early Bookings
With many events there are early bird booking options where attendees get a significant discount for booking early.
However, this practice needs some careful thought, as it is embarrassing when you see extensions to early bird prices.
Also, if a potential attendee misses out on the early bird price then they may feel like they are being done when they pay out the full ticket price.
There should be incentives to book early but they do not have to be financial. They could be things like:
• Access to an exclusive 30-minute discussion with an industry expert.
• Best seating at the event
• A free ticket to an after event dinner
A discount is easily forgotten but a value add such as an over dinner discussion with the speakers and experts from the event is remembered far more profoundly.
Here is a story about how Starbucks faltered with their rewards program through demoting Gold members who did not shop frequently enough.
More is Better
It’s true, we are all greedy and we all like more – aim to give a few additional surprises at your event that the attendees were not expecting.
This could be:
• A bonus speaker that the attendees were not expecting
• Free gift for all
• Surprise drinks reception
The concept is expressed very clearly in this video:
Positive feedback is a mechanism to confirm a good experience in someone’s mind.
By asking all attendees to your event for feedback you will firstly give yourself the opportunity to improve your next event but you will also improve loyalty amongst this group of people as it shows that you care about their opinions, especially if you follow up personally after negative feedback is received.
For the people that give you positive feedback it has the effect of helping them to relive and solidify in their mind the memory of something that they enjoyed.
This positive recognition is very helpful when you contact them about future events as they are more likely to attend and also to share your event information with their peers.
Build Strong Relationships with Your Speakers
If your speakers enjoy being at your event and they have a strong rapport with you this will be visible to all.
Take some tips from this presentation on expectations between speakers and organisers.
When you organise your next event, have a think about how you can build in loyalty marketing initiatives in order to improve attendance and participation.
Events are a great opportunity to build a personal bond with your most loyal customers so make sure that you reward and incentivise them appropriately.
This is a guest post written by Lisa Worland. She is the Head of Marketing for PA Promotions, a supplier of promotional products and event marketing materials. She is a professional chatterbox, mother of 3 and lover of relationship building. You can read her articles on the PA promotions blog.
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