4 Ways to Collect Feedback Online

December 1, 2009

One thing that most of your members, conference attendees and website visitors have in common is that they want to have their say. They want to give their opinion and know they’ve been heard. And, if you don’t respond, the world is full of organizations or businesses who will.

Here are four tools that can help you gather info that will be helpful in making future decisions about event planning, marketing, and publications.

1. SuggestionBox.com

Suggestion Box is an easy-to-use, web-based service that can allow you to ask for ideas from your audience. It is a great tool for implementing some of the tips we shared in our newsletter about crowdsourcing. (Link to November newsletter.)

It starts with a widget that can be added to your organization’s website that directs website visitors to your suggestion box. Once in your “suggestion box” visitors can post ideas and rate the ideas of others.

Association staff can be given access to rate the suggestions internally and send messages to each other about the suggestions privately. You can also automatically notify consumers when one of their ideas has been implemented.

2. YackTrack.com

YackTrack is a free-to-use search engine. Focused on online conversations, YackTrack searches Twitter, Technorati, Google Blog Search, Flickr, Mixx, delicious, Identica and more. After completing a search, you can subscribe to an RSS feed to read new chatter about your search topic as it is posted.

3. GetSatisfaction.com

GetSatisfaction is more tailored for businesses, but it can still be useful to organizations. The website allows individuals to report problems or complaints with a product or service. Setting up a free account could provide a great space for conference attendees to be honest about their experience at your most recent conference. Association staff members can then respond over the site.

4. SurveyMonkey.com

SurveyMonkey is an online survey tool, that allows you to plug in your own set of questions, pick your industry, set your parameters and then get instant results. The service is free for up to 100 survey responses.


Video Killed the Radio Star, And Traditional Online Marketing

November 4, 2009

Online marketers have seen their sales skyrocket when they start to incorporate video into their marketing. At the beginning of the year, eMarketer projected that online video ad spending would increase by 50% this year, and that it would reach $4.5 billion in 2013. That’s a lot of money!

Fueled by the fact that it’s getting easier and cheaper to produce quality videos, and that consumers like watching videos. We recently read that in July of 2008, 134 million Americans watched 11.4 billion videos. That’s two videos per user, per day.

Even with today’s economic situation and shrinking budgets, online marketing campaigns still include video, because it’s working.

A video is the closest that we can get to actually touching and holding a product, or experiencing a service.

The same is true for conference marketing. Using videos in your marketing efforts is the closest you will get to letting potential attendees experience your event before registering.

And, the stats show that they enjoy watching and sharing videos. About 75% of the US internet population watches videos online daily, or every other day. And, 98% of all connected desktops have Flash Player installed, meaning they are equipped and ready to watch videos online.

2010 Video Usage Stats

Video usage is only going to increase in 2010. Here are some stats we discovered projecting usage in the next year:

  1. In 2010, there will be 176 million online video viewers.
  2. In 2010, 86% of internet users will watch videos online daily.
  3. Video is expected to continue to grow at a 40% year-over-year increase.

Just as online marketers are using video to boost sales, you can use video in conference marketing. Videos reviewing last year’s break out sessions, interviews with previous attendees, or short talk from the main speaker can help interested attendees get a feel for the conference.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Keep your videos simple with short talking points – no more than 2 minutes.
  2. Test out the theory by creating videos for one or two products, or offers and see how they perform to other registration offers.
  3. Look for user generated content. It could be that some of your previous attendees or members have created videos about their experience, or would be open to creating their own videos about the event.

A video gives people something that direct mail and e-marketing can not. If done right, you can connect with people in a more personal way and increase your chances of eliciting an emotional response. A video allows you to speak to potential attendees with a “human voice”, instead of the marketing speak that is on most collateral pieces. That is a powerful tool that you can use to increase conference registration.

References for stats:

Adobe Scene 7


Universal McCann

Rottman Creative Group

What Personal Touches Are You Doing To Increase Attendance At Your Conference or Events?

October 14, 2009

There are many ways to communicate with your potential conference attendees that it’s very easy for the information being communicated to be lost or forgotten because of the use of traditional communication methods. To separate your communications from the traditional ways, personalize the information. Incorporating personalized information into your communication efforts will help with increasing attendance at your conference. Encourage potential attendees to engage with the information they are receiving by using pURL’s, twitter, and facebook.

Personal URLs are perfect for potential attendees to interact with the marketing materials. For example, as you send out your save the date postcard, you can send along with it a PURL for the recipient to log on to. On their personal page, you can have them register early, fill out a questionnaire, or have them choose or suggest topics that they would like to have covered during the conference. By allowing the attendee to participate during the pre-conference stage, the conference value and attendance will increase.

During the pre-conference stage, you can begin to setup #hashtags for your conference on Twitter. Invite possible attendees to follow your conference twitter account to receive instant updates about the conference and to begin conversations about what they would like to see at the conference and to start networking with other attendees.

Twitter can be used during the conference as well to let attendees provide their own personal views on subjects and to strike up hot topics throughout the conference. Have the speakers setup their own accounts so they can get involved with conversations through twitter.

For more information, check out our newsletter on Twittering your Annual Conference.

Setting up a group on Facebook for your conference is a great tool. As you add friends to the group, you can gauge the potential for attendees at your conference. Utilizing the upcoming events tool, the group will be notified about key dates for the conference.

Check out this blog post about using Facebook for your organization.

Registration Offers
Who does not like a discount or special offer? Why not offer a discount for early registration using PURL’s? Provide special offers to your Facebook Fans who participate in discussions. Conduct contests through Twitter during the conference where you provide information or clues only seen through your Twitter updates.  Providing more options for early registration and participation in pre and post conference sessions will encourage members to take advantage of the situation and in turn it will help with conference attendance and late registration because we know “it’s not just a trend, it’s a fact.”

By incorporating these personalization tools, you will help with the overall value of the conference, but more importantly it will help increase your attendance.

Rottman Creative Group

Fill Your Empty Seats with RCG’s Exclusive Marketing Planning Package

October 13, 2009

We’ve been giving you guys tons of tips and how-tos about conference marketing, and now its time to help you put it all together and fill those empty seats at your next conference.

“We cannot adjust the wind… but we can adjust the sails.”  Unknown

This marketing plan package equips association and non-profit executives with the tools and knowledge to fill the empty seats. This package is especially designed for:

  • Associations and non-profits with a limited staff
  • Organizations not meeting their attendance goals
  • Organizations with an In-house marketing team that needs a fresh set of eyes to review currents strategies

We are only offering this special package in the first quarter of 2010. If you want to reach your conference attendance goals for next year, then check out the details and special price for the workday sessions and remote guidance provided in our exclusive Marketing Planning Package.

Rottman Creative Group

Adapt or fail. A plan for survival.

October 13, 2009

It’s time to adapt, or your conference will be 6 feet under…..along with your job. History has taught us that the inability to adapt to change, will result in extinction. “Survival of the fittest” is not just a theory for the animal kingdom, it also applies to businesses, organizations and even annual conferences.

For the first time, we are offering a special Marketing Planning Package that is designed to equip organizations fill empty seats at their next conference. Listen in as Gary explains the workday sessions and remote guidance provided in this package, in addition to what types of organizations can benefit from this offer.


Rottman Creative Group

Benefits That Have Helped Associations Meet Conference Attendance Goals

September 29, 2009

Our most recent edition of White Space covered positioning annual conferences for greater attendance. One of the topics we touched on was the importance of identifying your niche market, what they desire and then showing them how you can meet their needs. Association executives have tried various creative ways to promote benefits, some have worked, and others didn’t produce a satisfying ROI.

Here’s a list of pricing tactics that have been working for associations so far this year:

  1. Offering quarterly dues payment
  2. Promoting a “dues relief” program
  3. Discounting registration rates to their annual meeting
  4. “Two for one” dues payments
  5. Local resident discounts to the annual meeting
  6. Increasing travel grants for members to attend conferences
  7. Providing free conference registration when attendees pay travel expenses and stay at HQ hotels
  8. Offering conference attendees a payment plan

Each of these benefits will appeal to a specific group of potential attendees, and of course, when it comes to pricing you are appealing to something that they care about.

Rottman Creative Group

(Podcast) Conference Marketing to Younger Members

September 28, 2009

Conference Marketing Podcast

Conference Marketing to Younger Members
A Field Guide to the Millennials.

How do you market a conference to a generation that has been bombarded with advertising their whole life and grown immune to hyped sales pitches? Millennials are a difficult group to reach with traditional marketing techniques. Follow along with Gary as he walks through some effective tips for personalizing and segmenting your conference marketing campaign to get better results.

Rottman Creative Group

Tag! You’re it, Facebook!

September 15, 2009

For some time now Facebook users have been able to tag each other in photos, videos and notes. Well, now they can tag each other in their “What’s on your mind?” status updates.

“Um, so?” may be what’s on your mind right now, but status tagging is a great feature that can help your fans promote your Facebook Fan page. Facebook users update their status to let friends know all sorts of things about how they are doing, what they are doing, and things they like. Now, with status tagging they can reference who or what they are talking about.

For instance, when a Facebook user says they are going to volunteer with their favorite nonprofit, they can use the “@” symbol to reference that nonprofit’s Fan Page. Or, when a Facebook user just registered for an upcoming conference they can reference the association’s page or event. Those updates will show up in the news feeds of all their friends, and on the pages of the organizations they referenced.

Facebook posted instructions on how to tag friends and fan pages in status updates on their blog:

“Now, when you are writing a status update and want to add a friend’s name to something you are posting, just include the “@” symbol beforehand. As you type the name of what you would like to reference, a drop-down menu will appear that allows you to choose from your list of friends and other connections, including groups, events, applications and Pages. Soon, you’ll be able to tag friends from applications as well. The “@” symbol will not be displayed in the published status update or post after you’ve added your tags.”

Start testing the status tagging and see how it can enhance the connections with your friends and fans. It can be a useful tool for referencing other organizations or businesses you want to help promote on Facebook, as well.

Rottman Creative Group

Whats in a name?

September 4, 2009

Recently, we came across an article about how La Plata, MD, the location of Rottman Creative Group,  got its name. La Plata Maryland is situated in Southern Maryland and is the county seat of Charles County. The name La Plata was derived by Colonel Samuel Chapman through his efforts to find a cure for his son who was battling tuberculosis. In his endeavor to find a cure, he traveled to Central and South America where he became intrigued by the La Plata River in Argentina. The Chapman family owned approximately 6,000 acres of land in Southern Maryland. Colonel Chapman named a segment of his land after the river.

Do you have or know of any interesting stories about how certain names came about?

Rottman Creative Group

Best of Whitespace Volume 2

September 3, 2009

We have just released Volume 2 of our Best of Whitespace Newsletter. Be on the lookout for this issue in the mail. If you have not signed up to receive our newsletters, please do so here.

Rottman Creative Group