We've all been to those conferences and events where we're overwhelmed by countless reminder emails, text messages and phone calls. On the other extreme, we've also registered for events where it's impossible to figure out the details because we never received a good confirmation email. So - what is the science (or is it an art) behind event reminders? Here are a few pointers.
ONE TIMELY & EXHAUSTIVE REMINDER
It's important that your attendees get a confirmation email when they register that outlines the day and time of the event and directions to the location. This is often what people save for future reference so make sure that you customize your confirmation so that it contains helpful information.
Then, closer to the event, send one timely and exhaustive reminder. This usually comes 48 hours before your event (and sent as needed to those we register afterwards). Make sure this includes ALL the info people will need. Start with the basic event info (date, time, location, directions). However, don't stop there. Include information on what to expect, how to dress and how to make the most of the event. Of course, if it's too long, your attendees won't read it. But - you can keep it short and still provide a lot of information by linking to external sites. For example "Want to make the most of the event? Read our BLOG POST on making connections!"
Want to make sure people read your emails? Make them fun!!
SEGMENT YOUR AUDIENCE
- If you want to do a second reminder, do it closer to the event and only send to those who did not open your first blast. That way, you have a better chance of the email being helpful.
- If you have specific information to share, share only with those who NEED to know the information. To segment well, you need to anticipate your email needs from the beginning and make sure you ask your attendees all the qualifying questions you need from the beginning. For example, if there is a change to an evening reception, I want to make sure that only those attending the reception are notified. No need to block inboxes for something irrelevant.
TEXT MESSAGES AND PHONE CALLS
I recommend using text messages and phone calls sparingly. If you really need to make sure that people attend, a phone call is always a nice reminder. However, I believe that adults should be responsible on their own. The only time I've ever done this was for youth events where we sent the parents a text message reminder of the time/location in case they had not received it from their child.