Meet Christopher Connectus, one of the profiles you might see after you take the Rottman Creative Engagement Assessment. Like the famous explorer who came before him, Christopher seeks new horizons and untold treasures. He knows his purpose. He even set out in the right direction. But this Christopher hasn’t quite reached his destination…yet.
If you’re a Christopher Connectus, you probably have an established brand, clear purpose, and a solid membership list. But you might be falling short when it comes to opens, clicks, event registration, and repeat attendance. It’s time to fine-tune your strategy and your marketing communications to reach the New World of engagement. Come on! We’ve got the map!
What are Triggers and Targets?
To move interested parties through your buying cycle—from being aware or interested to actually taking action—you need compelling triggers and targets in your marketing communications. Triggers might be your products, events, and special offers. Targets include whatever you want your members to do, like register for an event or make a purchase. Mastering triggers and targets drives acquisition, retention, attendance, and ultimately engagement. To get started, follow these five steps:
1. Review your past email or direct mail campaigns.
Make a list of any triggers (or offers) you used in the past.
Your list of triggers might include:
- continuing ed credits or a certification program
- in-person workshops or online webinars
- pre-conference sessions
- networking events
- pricing promotions, like group discounts or early registration specials
- keynotes, lunches, outings, or other conference offerings
2. Ask yourself if your audience really cares about the items on your list.
Are they exclusive to your organization? Are they so compelling people will take action to avoid missing out? Add or subtract items to your list based on where you members are today—in terms of their careers as well as where they are in your buying cycle. For example, do you have a compelling trigger for a new member who is not very familiar with your organization? If not, you might add a new member orientation trigger. Don’t worry if your triggers only apply to some of our audience. You can always segment your list later.
3. Tell people what you want them to do.
Once you’ve established your unique triggers, you need to compel your audience to act on them. For this you need targets. If you don’t tell people what to do, they will do nothing, and your campaign/event/membership/engagement will suffer as a result.
Here are five common targets for event marketing campaigns:
- Tell someone else (word of mouth)
- Visit the website
- Make an inbound inquiry
4. Identify the most effective tactics to deploy your message.
For a lot of Christophers, direct mail and email are proven standby tactics. Consider social media, including video content, to build engagement around your brand. If you master these tactics, move on to next-level ideas like microsites or virtual reality experiences.
5. Consider WHEN people will be most interested in your triggers and targets.
Focus on two types of timing: event related (before, during , and after your conference) and the buying cycle (new member, first-time attendee, brand ambassador, etc). It’s also important to consider the frequency of your communications. Generally, people will need to hear from you regularly over a period of time before they’re moved to act.
What Does This Have to do With Engagement?
If you want a successful event that inspires people to connect and work hard to change lives, you have to get them there in the first place. The only way to do that is to create compelling marketing messages that move and inspire people to act. But that’s only part of the solution. You need people to care. They need to be fully present at your event. You need momentum to carry you through the entire year. You need pilgrims who return year after year to be uplifted.
Effective triggers and targets show your base that you know them and care to serve their specific needs. They prove you have killer event offerings and a community of people who can help them achieve their goals. They also show your brand personality, the human side of your organization, which is what people really connect to. Ultimately, solid marketing convinces people of your value, not just of the “stuff” they can snag at your event. If you can’t prove your value, engagement can’t happen.
Take the Engagement Assessment
Ready to explore the New World of engagement? Find out where you rate on the Engagement Scale. Once you know where you are in terms of engaging members, we can help you craft a plan to increase event attendance and member engagement AND achieve long-term sustainability for your organization.
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