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Is Your Meeting Marketing Program Getting Too Personal?

27 August 2012 No Comment

By: David McMillin

People like to hear their names called. It’s a natural assumption, right? We don’t want to be another face in the crowd.

Wrong.

When it comes to email inboxes, recipients do not like seeing their own names in a subject line. According to a July 2012 study from email marketing provider MailerMailer, organizations that sent personalized subject lines saw dramatically lower open rates compared with non-personalized newsletter programs: 5.2% versus 11.5%.

The Spam Subject Line

Your organization may be using personalized subject lines to demonstrate that you know each of your prospective attendees, but those attempts can make your message go straight to the trash folder. MailerMailer credits the failure of personalized subject lines to the fact that many spam programs use the same tactic to entice readers.

Segmentation vs. Personalization

While your prospective attendees may be turned off by an attempt to hook their attention with their own name, the body of the message should still be tailored to their specific needs.

“Your meeting appeals to different groups for very different reasons,” Carolyn Clark, vice president, marketing and communications, PCMA, says. “Email segmentation is one of the most effective methods for ensuring that you can educate people on the personal benefits of attending. It’s the most efficient way to answer the key question: ‘what’s in it for me?’”

Missing Out On Segmented Marketing

The results from a survey conducted by The Relevancy Group show that more than half of all email marketers are not taking advantage of opportunities to segment their lists based on key demographic data and recipient behavioral patterns.

Segmentation is more than separating attendees and exhibitors. If you’re still sending the same message to all of your prospective attendees, here are three questions that can help you begin to divide that list into key categories.

1)      How do current issues impact different member segments? Promoting that your meeting “covers the latest trends and pressing issues” isn’t enough. Consider how those trends uniquely impact different types of members. For example, let’s consider medical meetings. The Affordable Care Act may have drastically different implications for doctors at independent medical labs than for doctors at big hospitals. Show each segment how your meeting can address their specific pain points.

2)      What’s relevant to their career advancement? Your meeting may be three days long with a schedule full of opportunities, but those opportunities are not created equal for everyone. Identify what carries weight with different segments. For example, your senior-level attendees are probably looking for advanced-level education while your young members may be looking to lay a solid foundation of knowledge. Analyze your course offerings to effectively demonstrate tangible takeaways for different segments.

3)      What’s their history with your organization? Based on levels of engagement, you can craft messaging that honors their continued participation and dedication or aims to reactivate their loyalty. For example, consider attendees who haven’t attended in the past three years. How has your programming changed to better meet their needs? For long-time attendees, can you offer them an invite-only opportunity to connect with their posse of passionates or perhaps be a mentor and make an impact on your organization’s emerging leaders?

What recent trends have you noticed in your own email marketing program? Have you found certain strategies to be particularly effective with your audience?

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