Here at Constant Contact, we’re gearing up for one of our favorite events of the year — our OneCon Partner Conference on October 4-6, 2015.
This annual event brings together Constant Contact Solution Providers and Authorized Local Experts, Constant Contact executives, and small business thought leaders from all over the world to network and learn from each other.
Leading up to the event, we’ve been reaching out to members of the Constant Contact team who are hands-on in planning the event to learn more about the work that they’re doing and if they have any advice for other businesses and organizations planning their own events.
This week, I had the chance to sit down with Marketing Program Manager, Coryn Severino.
Coryn had some great tips for figuring out details like pricing and scheduling, and shared her thoughts on successful event promotion.
You can read my full interview with Coryn below:
Tell me a little about yourself and your role on the OneCon planning committee.
I am the Marketing Program Manager for the Solution Provider Program here at Constant Contact.
I’ve been with the company for five years and have been contributing to the OneCon Partner Conference since it began, three years ago.
Currently I am handling all of our communications, promotions and registration, as well as a portion of responsibilities with our mobile app, and other general planning responsibilities.
What are some of the most important event details that you try to nail down first?
Date and price are some of the most important details for our audience. With regard to price, we want to make sure that the cost reflects the value in attending, and in the education that we’re providing. However, we know that our audience is mainly made up of small businesses and that every day that they’re with us, attending our conference, they’re not making money in their business.
In addition to making sure that we go with a reasonable price point, we also offer discounted pricing for early registration. This helps us to get a better idea of how many attendees we’ll end up having and also gives the attendees a break on the cost.
When choosing the date for our event, we take into consideration holidays, school vacations, where we are in the month or quarter, and even the days of the week that we’re asking our audience to attend.
We don’t want to pull our attendees out of their businesses at the end of the month or quarter when they could be working extra hard trying to hit a number. And, we don’t want to take over their entire weekend with travel either, which is why we start our required sessions on a Monday.
Once you figure out the core details, how do you decide when and what to promote?
We know that a lot of our audience is very busy the last week of the month and that registering for our event might not be the most important thing to them during that time.
So, we try to keep to mailing about our event during the first three weeks of months as much as possible.
We also try to avoid sending on Mondays and Fridays as we find that more people are engaged with email toward the middle of the week, versus the very beginning and very end. With that said, we like to begin promoting our event at least six months in advance. This gives us time to create buzz, provide discounted pricing for those that commit to attending early, and provides our attendees time to plan for their travel.
For OneCon, we created a communication plan starting with the date of the event and worked our way backward. Doing it this way, we were able to easily map out each pricing timeframe, schedule the reminders and last chance emails that go with each timeframe, and see a holistic view of the messages that we plan to send all the way through to the date of the event.
Once the event is over, do your communications stop?
We like to follow up with our audience while we’re still top of mind with them. However, it’s important to give your audience time to get back in their offices again, and give them a chance to dig out of the emails that might have built up while they were away.
Once those first few business days after the event have passed, we will email the attendees, thanking them for coming to our event and providing them with any recordings of sessions, materials distributed, or calls-to-action for them to complete.
We also reach out to members of our audience that didn’t attend our event and share photos, videos, and testimonials from the event to show them what they missed. It’s a great way to start marketing next year’s event, even if it’s several months away.
Throughout the year we’ll refer to those videos and testimonials to keep the buzz going until we’re ready to launch registration for the next event.
How can this help you plan an event for your small business?
- As Coryn suggests, start off by establishing important details like the date, location, and price. Make sure you’re tailoring these details to your audience and their interests. You can send out an online survey to get feedback on a few different options.
- Next, get the word out by planning your promotion schedule. You can use email marketing and social media to reach your audience with regular reminders and updates as the event gets closer.
- Lastly, keep the momentum of the event going by following up with a thank you, as well as photos and videos from the event.