Harnessing Text for Event Promotion: 4 Tips for Associations

NOTE:  SMS marketing messages must comply with anti-spam laws, such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. These laws govern commercial electronic messages and require businesses to obtain consent, provide opt-out options, and include accurate sender information.

Your members look forward to your events all year. Whether they’re intended for skill-building or networking, events help to connect members to your community and allow them to actualize the benefits of belonging to your organization. However, if you don’t have a strong marketing plan in place to promote your events, you’ll likely struggle with garnering registration numbers and sparking engagement. 

Text marketing is one of the best ways to reach members directly with promotional messaging and increase excitement around your events. In fact, text has a 99% open rate and 90% read rate, so you can feel confident that members will see and read your marketing communications. 

In this blog post, you will learn specific tips you can use to harness the power of text to promote your next association event. 

Highlight unique selling points

The first question members will ask when they see you’re hosting a new event is: “Why is it important for me to attend?” If your texts don’t highlight the specific benefits of registering and taking the time out of their schedule to come, you’ll likely miss out on earning large attendance numbers. 

Start by sharing the name of your event, its purpose, and unique selling points that show what sets your event apart from others and why members should attend. Make sure to highlight any perks like:

Different segments of your audience may be drawn to different aspects of your event. Tailor your messaging to highlight selling points that resonate most with each audience segment. For example, professionals may be interested in networking opportunities, while beginners may be attracted to educational workshops. 

The right text messaging platform will make it simple to segment your messages by a variety of factors, including length of membership, membership tiers, demographics, interests, and more. This way, you can simulate one-on-one conversation experiences that are relevant to different member types. 

You’ll also want to cover all the essential event information members need to know to attend, including:

  • Time
  • Date
  • Location or virtual event login instructions
  • Attire
  • Registration instructions

Keep in mind that you can always send your members a link to your event landing page on your website that goes over all the logistical information in greater detail. 

Create clear calls to action (CTAs)

Direct your members to register for your event by creating strong calls to action. Use these best practices to create a compelling CTA:

  • Be straightforward: Use strong action verbs that clearly indicate what you want your members to do, like “Register now,” “Get tickets,” or “RSVP today!” 
  • Provide a link to your registration page: Provide a mobile-friendly link to your website’s registration page so your members can easily sign up right from their phones.
  • Use time-sensitive language: Encourage immediate action by incorporating phrases like “limited seats available,” “early bird discounts ending soon,” or “register now to secure your spot.” This can help you create a sense of urgency and encourage members to register now rather than later. 

Refrain from putting too many requests in a single message, as this can overwhelm your audience and cause them to ignore your message altogether. One call to action helps to simplify what you’re asking members to do and increases the likelihood that they’ll take action. 

For instance, if you’d like to ask members to register and request volunteers help out with event set-up in exchange for free admission, you should separate these asks into two different messages. 

Incorporate multimedia elements

Multimedia elements help to grab the eye and further show the value in participating in your event, enhancing your communications. For example, you might share via text:

  • Photos from the last time you hosted an event to help members, especially those who are new to your organization, visualize what attending will look like.
  • Videos from your association’s leaders explaining the purpose of your event and why it’s worth members’ time to come. 
  • Behind-the-scenes footage or interviews with event organizers, sponsors, or speakers to provide a glimpse into the planning process and highlight the dedication and effort invested in making the event a success.
  • Visually appealing infographics that highlight key information about the event, such as agenda highlights, speaker lineup, or attendee benefits.

With the right text messaging software, you’ll be able to easily send off thousands of MMS messages within seconds, ensuring you can reliably reach your entire member base with engaging texts. 

Encourage early giving

If your association’s event purpose is focused on fundraising for your organization, you can strategically leverage text to raise donations ahead of time. With text-to-give, your members can conveniently submit a donation from anywhere at any time, making the entire process simpler and more rewarding. 

Tatango’s guide to text-to-give recommends these tips to inspire generosity: 

  • Ask for a specific amount: Ask for a donation of $10 or $15 instead of just asking your members to give. This takes the guesswork out of how much they should donate and increases the likelihood of members quickly acting on your request. You can always segment your members based on their average donation amount and tailor your text-to-donate requests to different donor types. 
  • Explain the impact of donations: Explain how your organization will be using their donations, such as towards developing digital workshops to support professional advancement or hosting more networking events. This will help illuminate the tangible connection between giving and the impact it will have on the overall member experience. 
  • Gamify your fundraising: To take your fundraising a step further, incorporate some friendly competition. This will help to keep motivation high and inspire larger and more frequent donations. For example, you might share a leaderboard with the top donors and award the top 5 contributors with free branded merchandise. 

Remember to thank your members for their support to show that they’re truly appreciated. eCardWidget’s guide to member appreciation recommends following up immediately after members give or attend your events with a note of gratitude. Personalize the note to the recipient to maximize impact. 

Wrapping Up

A well-designed event can help you create a strong, more engaged member community. However, your event’s success depends on how many members attend! Use these tips to effectively promote your event and take your attendance rate to the next level. Remember to build up your contact list by advertising your keyword and SMS short code so you can encourage opt-ins to your text messaging campaign and engage members year-round. 

Guest author: Mike Snusz, Tatango