Rachel Stephan is one part creative, one part entrepreneur, a four-time mom (Sensov event marketing, Charlie, award-winning #eventtech Snöball word-of-mouth marketing platform, and Grayson) and an event industry speaker. Rachel helps event professionals grow their attendance with results-driven marketing strategies.
Let Your Speakers Do the Talking
Most event marketers are facing an uphill battle right now as they try to build momentum for their event registrations. Sure, potential attendees may have seen a social post or email about their event, but did that compel them to drop everything and register for it?
Most likely not. In fact, numerous studies have shown that registrants now need between five to 15 touch points before they commit to an event.
As a marketer, you’re doing your best to reach your audience in all the right places. But what if everything you’re doing on your own just isn’t enough? Consider working with an event marketing company that can help you leverage the power of your event community, including those with the most persuasive voices — your event speakers.
According to a recent study, more than 80% consider trust a deciding factor in their buying decisions. Your speakers are trusted figures in your community. Leveraging their trust and circle of influence will add more social proof to your event.
In his insightful Event Industry News article, Adam Parry outlines numerous reasons why event speakers are positioned perfectly to increase registrations for events, including the “Principle of Authority.” Your audience sees your speakers as figures of authority, through their demonstrated expertise, willingness to help and ability to speak clearly and effectively.
So how exactly can you work with your speakers to increase registrations for your events? Consider the following three points.
1. Strong speakers have loyal audiences
Your speakers have crafted and honed their message to resonate with their own audience. With some planning, you can leverage their influence and relevance to attract their audience to your event. Start by analyzing your speakers’ social media presence.
- Which platforms are they most active on?
- How frequently do they post there?
- What’s their voice?
- Most importantly, does their audience engage with their content?
If so, you’re seeing signs that they’re a trusted and respected voice for their audience.
The next step is to analyze how well your speakers’ audience overlaps with your target event audience.
- What industries are they in?
- What are their job titles?
- What are their interests?
- Who else do they follow?
Thymebase suggests hiring speakers with similar audiences for maximum synergies. You may even find that many followers of one potential speaker follow another speaker. Maybe you should consider hiring both for your event.
2. Help your speakers reach their audience
Your speakers like bringing their audience to their events. It reinforces their importance and popularity. But you have to make it easy for them to do so, especially if your speakers have full-time day jobs in addition to their professional speaking commitments.
One way to make it simple for your speakers to attract their audience is to provide them with their own customized messaging and landing page. Since these sharing widgets are created from your event's marketing assets, they also help keep promotions for your event on-brand. Moreover, if you use a company that can track referrals from each speaker, you can see how well their promotions are performing.
Want to encourage even more sharing of your event’s promotion? Incentivize and gamify event promotions by event speakers. Speaker-based event promotions have been working since before the pandemic. Here’s an example from SURGE 2019 demonstrating how Amanda Kaiser helped encourage more sharing of the event.
3. Let your speakers do the talking
Your speakers spend a lot of time preparing for your event. They create rich content that they hope will engage your attendees before, during and after your event. They’re a trusted member of their community, and their voice is valuable.
Feature your speaker directly on their landing page with a short pre-recorded video. Videos that work well hint at what the speaker’s session is about and more importantly, why this topic is significant and/or impactful for them.
Speakers are essential for raising FOMO (fear of missing out) for your event. Especially with prospects who are on the fence about registering because your speaker’s message and/or landing page validates the importance of your event and hints at which types of attendees will likely be there.
This was the case for PCMA’s Digital Future of Events (“DFE”), a 100% online conference where digital event experts discussed how virtual and hybrid events are evolving. While numerous speakers promoted their role in the event, one stood head and shoulders above the rest: Amilie Parent, president of Showcare and a former board member for PCMA. Her online audience overlaps almost perfectly with PCMA’s member base of association event planners. When Amilie’s team promoted her session, more than 500 visitors came to her landing page. Some registered immediately, others converted later via follow-up emails and posts. Clearly, Amilie brought her peeps to the event.
Consumer products have been leveraging spokespeople and influencers for decades. It's time for event marketers to tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing powered by their event's speakers. You will reach more audiences with greater touchpoints and create more FOMO by letting your speakers do the talking. You might find that they’re pretty good at it!