Unlocking the Potential: Tips for Associations to Market their Annual Conference to Non-Members

Craft a Compelling Value Proposition:

Non-members may be unfamiliar with the benefits of attending your association's conference. Clearly articulate the unique value proposition they can expect, highlighting the valuable content, networking opportunities, educational sessions, and industry insights they stand to gain. Emphasize how attending the conference can enhance their professional growth, network, and access to industry trends.

Provide them with a rewarding experience that encourages long-term engagement and membership

Leverage Social Media Platforms:

Utilize the power of social media to promote your conference to non-members. Create engaging content that showcases the conference highlights, speaker lineup, and attendee testimonials. Encourage non-members to follow your association's social media accounts for updates and use targeted advertising to reach a wider audience. Utilize event-specific hashtags and encourage attendees to share their excitement and experiences.

Partner with Industry Influencers:

Collaborate with influential voices and thought leaders within your industry to promote your conference. Engage them as speakers, panelists, or moderators, and leverage their networks to reach a broader audience. Their endorsement and involvement will lend credibility and attract non-members who respect their insights and opinions.

Implement Referral Programs:

Incentivize current members and conference attendees to refer non-members to the event. Offer rewards, discounts, or exclusive benefits for successful referrals. Word-of-mouth marketing can be incredibly powerful, and leveraging your existing network to reach non-members can yield fruitful results.

Create Tailored Content:

Develop compelling content that specifically targets non-members and showcases the value of attending your conference. This can include blog posts, articles, videos, or podcasts that address industry challenges, highlight conference sessions, or share success stories from past events. Promote this content through your association's website, email newsletters, and social media channels to engage non-members and pique their interest.

Offer Non-Member Pricing Options:

Consider offering special pricing options for non-members to attend the conference. By providing a discounted rate or flexible registration packages, you eliminate potential financial barriers and make the event more accessible and appealing to non-members. Highlight the savings and benefits of joining as a member during the registration process to encourage conversions.

Engage in Strategic Partnerships:

Collaborate with relevant industry organizations, educational institutions, or business associations to promote your conference to their non-member audiences. Explore opportunities for cross-promotion, content sharing, or joint marketing efforts to expand your reach and attract diverse attendees.

Host Pre-Conference Webinars or Workshops:

Organize pre-conference webinars or workshops that provide valuable insights and sneak peeks into the conference content. Invite non-members to participate, showcasing the expertise and thought leadership within your association. These pre-conference sessions can serve as a teaser to generate interest and excitement among non-members, compelling them to register for the full event.

Create Engaging Video Content:

Leverage the power of video to capture attention and promote your conference. Create engaging and informative videos that highlight keynote speakers, showcase past conference highlights, or provide testimonials from satisfied attendees. Share these videos on your website, social media platforms, and through email campaigns to effectively communicate the conference experience and entice non-members to join.

Personalize Email Marketing:

Utilize targeted email campaigns to reach out to potential non-member attendees. Segment your email list to tailor your messaging based on the interests and needs of different groups within your target audience. Highlight the specific benefits of attending your conference, such as networking opportunities, educational sessions, and industry insights. Include personalized invitations and reminders to encourage registration.

Unlocking the potential of attracting non-members to your annual conference requires a strategic and multi-faceted approach. By crafting a compelling value proposition, utilizing social media, partnering with industry influencers, and implementing other marketing strategies, associations can expand their reach and create a valuable conference experience that attracts non-members and fosters industry connections.

Remember that effective marketing is an ongoing process, and it's essential to adapt and refine your strategies based on the evolving needs and preferences of your target audience. With dedication and a well-thought-out marketing plan, your association can successfully draw non-members to your annual conference and provide them with a rewarding experience that encourages long-term engagement and membership.

Julia O’Grady has big vision, fresh ideas and a proven track record in the events industry. She and her team work hard to exceed client expectations and push ITM Events to achieve greater heights. A driven entrepreneur, Julia also manages the business side of ITM Events including human resources, finances, marketing and writing grant and sales proposals. In taking a high level approach to event management, Julia is able to visualize a project from inception to successful execution. She attracts valuable sponsors by offering meaningful opportunities to engage with participants. Julia uses her keen analytical mind to create incredible events that maximize the available budget. When Julia isn’t planning unforgettable events, she loves travelling the world with her family, staying active, and enjoying fine food and martinis.

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