"We are going to Dreamforce and want an easy way to distribute a digital datasheet? What do you recommend?" -a marketing manager
Not everyone can afford to build their own mobile event app ala Dreamforce. Plus, a mobile app is pretty useless for small events, or if you are a sponsor of someone else's event.
Why not use SMS instead? 2-Way SMS is a powerful tool for lead generation and attendee engagement at events, whether they are your own or 3rd party ones.
In this article, we explore how SMS can easily replicate the features of a mobile event app at a fraction of the cost.
Event Reminders & Confirmation
Reminders are critical for driving attendance to your events. However, emails are easily ignored and telemarketers are expensive and often ineffective (who answers their desk phone these days?)
2-Way SMS is a great way to cheaply and effectively remind your registrants about an event, and at the same time get confirmation whether that person will be attending.
An SMS campaign (see left) will drive attendance and give you a more accurate estimate of the numbers - essential if you need to increase seats or catering.
Competitions & Rush Prizes
Competitions are a great way to generate leads & traffic at tradeshows and other 3rd party events.
The traditional approaches, of collecting business cards or scanning badges, are not as effective as SMS, due to the time lag and lack of engagement.
An SMS campaign (see left) is more effective because it is immediate, allows interaction and feeds into your CRM instantly.
Plus, once you've captured the attendees' mobile, you can announce draw times & winners via SMS during the event.
‘Rush prizes’ are where you announce a secondary prize via SMS, at random times during the event. The first person that makes it to your stand (with the given code word) wins the prize.
Rush Prizes are a great way to get attendees back to your stand during the event.
Are you still using printed datasheets/brochures for your product/service at events?
Not only is this expensive & inconvenient, but you’re also failing to capture the contact details of interested attendees.
An SMS program (see left) can be used to provide a digital version of datasheet/ brochure conveniently and quickly; while capturing the details of attendees.
Event Invites & Registration
SMS has a much higher click-through rate than email, so it’s very effective for sending invites to an engaged prospect/customer base.
You can use SMS for large scale events, for example (see below), the University of Western Sydney used SMS invites for their Open Day. SMSoutperformed email by x3 for click-through, with identical calls-to-action.
SMS invites are also great for small format events such as roadshows, user groups, roadshows, seminars, breakfasts/lunches and dinners, because they feel much more intimate than email.
In-Event Agendas, Reminders & Announcements
How are you currently displaying agendas during events? Most likely through print, or if you’re more advanced, via your own mobile event app.
There are obvious limitations with printed agendas; try updating it the night before! However, there are also limitations with mobile apps: you need to download them beforehand and wireless at events is often spotty.
SMS is a great way of delivering agendas. Every attendee can receive SMS (regardless of bad reception) and you can evenpersonalize the agenda to that person if there are multiple sessions or streams.
SMS is also flexible. You can easily send reminders before sessions or ad-hoc messages about parking or last-minute changes in venue or format.
Surveying your attendees is essential in objectively understanding how well received your event was, but more importantly, what you can improve for the next time.
The problem with online surveys delivered by email is that the sight of a survey with 5-6 fields and comment boxes is a very quick way to discourage replies.
SMS programs are effective because you can ask questions one at a time and actually modify the path of the questionsdepending on the replies.
For example (see above), we can ask a different follow-up question depending on the feedback sent by the attendee. If the feedback is negative we can find out why, and if the feedback is positive we might ask the attendee if they wanted to speak to a sales representative.
If you want to experience a 2-way SMS program for yourself, text the word ‘Datasheet’ to +1 (479) 385-7491.
Hopefully, you now have an alternative to a mobile event app for your events and understand where SMS can enhance your events or your presence at 3rd party events.