Jeff Hurt recently posted something on Velvet Chainsaw’s Midcourse Correction blog that caught our attention. Basically, he points out how past attendees and prospective attendees employ different criteria when deciding whether to attend your conference and recommends unique marketing strategies for the two groups.
Past attendees are already biased in your favor (assuming they found your event valuable). They know what your conference is all about. You just need to remind them of the experience and demonstrate how the next conference can build on it.
Prospective attendees, on the other hand, are typically biased against you. They need to know why your event is different from other conferences competing for their time and money. Your challenge with them is trust. And who better to build trust than past attendees? Make your previous attendees your “salespeople” by giving them the tools they need to promote your event and ways for prospective attendees to connect with them.
Something similar could be said of presenters. You have two audiences—past presenters and prospective presenters—with distinct sets of needs. Your communications strategy should reflect those needs.
Past presenters already understand the value of presenting at your conference. You don’t need to sell them on the benefits. They are more concerned with the process. Make it clear to them that the process will be as easy—or easier—than the last time.
Prospective presenters don’t care so much about the process. They don’t have a point of reference, so it’s all new to them. For them, your focus should be on the benefits of presenting.
You already understand that attendees and presenters have different needs and tailor your marketing and communications strategies accordingly. So why not do the same for loyal and prospective participants? Their needs may overlap, but they are not identical. As Jeff puts it, “Segmented marketing strategies work.”