Last year, 600+ people attended the Denver Biz Tech Expo and most registered during the final two weeks before the event. With two weeks until this year’s expo, more than 700 attendees have already registered online, a 500%+ increase in pre-registrations year-over-year.
There is an incredible amount of work that goes into making a event great; but despite an event organizer’s best efforts, much of the work is often condensed into the last week. If the demands of planning are combined with a desperate last-minute marketing push to ensure attendance, organizers can lose control and fail on the day of the event.
Events, as you can imagine, are a risky sort of product to produce. If I manufacture t-shirts, I can easily — and cheaply — replace any defective items and make my customer happy. If I’m a web designer or a software developer, bugs can be fixed. But when my product is a live event to be consumed simultaneously for hundreds or thousands of attendees; plus, all of my speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, I only have one chance to get it right.
One bad year for an annual event means that sponsors and exhibitors (whose contributions generally fund an event), speakers (who bring an event credibility), and attendees (who expect education and a memorable experience as ROI on their time and admissions fee) are all unlikely to return next year, effectively destroying the event’s potential as a business venture for its organizers.
In 2014, growth was crucial for the Denver Biz Tech Expo and part of that growth was a goal to grow event attendance beyond the 600+ that came in 2013. Yet, expo resources — time, human resources and marketing budget — remained the same as in prior years. The Expo organizers knew that the majority of their attendees in prior years had registered in the final week before the event — the time when organizational stress would be highest and focus should be on running the event rather than pushing last minute registrations.
The key to success for the Expo would be in securing as many pre-registrations for the event as possible, a weakness for them in years past.
Could the Expo organizers optimize finite marketing resources in a way that would push hundreds of pre-registrations?
To meet the attendance goal, the Expo needed 1,000 people to show up at the event with as many as possible registering online prior to the event. What’s the most efficient way to do this? By creating an email campaign using ORBTR.
The Expo had an email list of roughly 5,000 emails, comprised of personal contacts, past sponsors, past attendees and sponsors’ contacts. A list of 5,000 email addresses will not lead to 1,000 registrants directly, so we showed the Expo organizers how to make it as easy as possible for contacts to share their invite and to bring people with them.
We also wanted to make this email campaign as easy as possible for the Denver Biz Tech Expo organizers to manage. After a quick conference call, we had a standardized email template that allowed us to plan all of the emails ahead of time and easily fill in the content.
“Once we created a format for the communications, everything else was seamless. ORBTR has more than exceeded our expectations.”
Amy DeCamillis – Director – Denver Biz Tech Expo
Since July, the Expo has sent 9 emails to specific segments within the larger list. Of the current 700+ registrants, well over 500 have registered as a direct result of the Expo’s email marketing.
“Every one of our digital marketing actions with ORBTR has drawn maximum benefits”
David DeCamillis, President – Denver Biz Tech Expo
What This Means
With a few short hours of work, ORBTR helped the organizers of the Denver Biz Tech Expo exceed 70% of their attendance goal weeks before the actual event. Instead of focusing their efforts on marketing the event during those final crucial days, they will be able to use their time and energy on supporting their sponsors and attendees to make sure this year exceeds everyone’s expectations.
“This year we’ve been able to do everything ourselves and with less work. ORBTR made it all easy for us and the results have been amazing!”
Jim Easterly – VP Marketing – Denver Biz Tech Expo