As we reflect on 2018, here are 12 valuable strategies (with the link to where they appeared), one from each month of SIPAlert Daily articles:
Review your welcome letters, said Bill Haight, president, Magna Publications, Inc. "Your confirmation letters, instruction letters, and have your very best copywriter go through them and personalize and brush them up. A typical letter might say: 'Thank you. We have received your registration for the conference. Here's the date, blah, blah, blah. See you in Orlando.' A really good copywriter might say, 'You should be looking forward to a life-changing experience coming up. We're so happy you took advantage of this. You're going to meet some great people..."
Dig for historic value. Your institutional memory doesn't deserve to be forgotten. There's a good chance you have old publications with significant value, just sitting on shelves—print or digital—somewhere in a makeshift morgue. (I know I do. Who remembers Hotline?) Republish old ads and photos occasionally. We love nostalgia. "On this day 10 years ago..."
Create a place for people to brainstorm, said Elizabeth Petersen of Simplify Compliance. "Every person has ideas but they need to be coaxed... I have introverts and they need to be encouraged—having a structured agenda is a great way to get people talking." Events and experience expert Robyn Duda concurs—it could also be a bank of ideas and suggestions that staff can contribute to anonymously, she said.
Offer behind-the-scenes access. "Subscribers tell us all the time that they love getting behind the scenes of our journalism," said Ben Cotton, New York Times executive director of retention and customer experience. "So [when we can] connect our subscribers with [our journalists], either in person or via a conference call or some other form of digital connection, we get really fantastic feedback. We've seen in testing that those kinds of things help with our retention."
Sell it first and create it second. "Get that firm commitment that there is a market for the product," said Greg Hart, director of marketing for PSMJ Resources. "Writing marketing copy for it could be a great exercise to flush out. You might realize that there are no benefits here."
Experiment. "We have a monthly meeting that involves myself, the social media manager, content manager and art director," said Lani Harac, director of content for School Family Media. They'll look at what content—and graphics—has performed really well. "We'll keep an eye on long-term trends and if we have any dips, we know that we have to do something [different]. If someone is feeling resistant, we say just give it a try. There's no point of no return for us."
"Educate rather than sell," advised Hyon-Young Kim, webinar producer, Education Week, told us. "Product pitches often fall short. Think about how you want to frame it. Don't let your webinars leave your audience disappointed or feeling duped. We want our customers to come back."
Involve sales people from the beginning. "Sales people really need to be involved in the process [of putting together your media kits] because you're creating tool sets for them to use," Ryan Dohrn advised. "If they don't like the tool sets, they won't use them, and it just frustrates the marketer. So as much as it is a pain in the rear to deal with the salesman to create the tool kits, we've got to do that because sales people are very linear."
Try an audience response system. "Conferences.io has a great web-based survey and audience response tool that easily integrates with any App," wrote Kevin Novak of 2040 Digital. "Our client, American Thoracic Society, used them this year for their annual conference and significantly increased the year-over-year response rate."
"Never overlook your customers' desire for outcomes," said Barb Kaplowitz of Big Huge Ideas. "There are going to be milestones in their outcome, whether that's a data manager who successfully downloaded data three weeks in a row, or somebody in regulatory compliance who successfully passed an audit. Tie that kind of language into the way you communicate with them."
Get diversity in the room. "Collaboration is always better than non-collaboration, and diverse collaboration is better than having the same 10 guys in a room, said Brian Crotty, CEO and president of OPIS by IHS Market.
Get your webinar title right. We may be satisfied with a great speaker, valuable content and knowledge that the audience will really benefit from this. But Matthew Cibellis, director of programming, live and virtual events, Education Week, would say that one thing missing from that formula is a strong title. "It's the content that matters," he said. "And the title is the most important aspect of that content. We recommend to our advertisers to come up with a really good 5-8 word title. 'Think search, keywords.'"