Part I

Before the Event

In the beginning stages of your event, personalization requires patience.

You don’t start with much information about attendees. You may have information about attendees who attended the event before, but in most cases, you’re starting from scratch. In this stage, when you have the smallest amount of information about your potential attendees, it’s all about personalizing your marketing and registration experience.

You want to use personalization as a tool to convert site visitors to attendees.

The Experience

Gaining information requires giving information.

In this stage, you want to excite and increase demand. It comes down to the event marketing message, which is shared on the event website, in email marketing, and throughout ads. Homing in on the reason attendees should attend your event, from an individual perspective, will make your event appeal to a wider range.

If you only have one reason for attendees to come to your event, no matter how good, they won’t feel as obligated to attend. But if they have many reasons to attend that are connected to their own needs, the chances that they’ll register are much higher. 

The Information You’ll Gather

You’ll gain some critical pieces of information before the event. How much you want to gather depends on the systems you have in place and your strategy for collecting the information. Even if you only manage to gather basic contact information, you’ll be able to personalize the experience of each of your attendees.
Contact Information
Contact Information
  • Full Name
  • Title
  • Email Address
  • Company Address
  • Phone Number
Session Registration
Session Registration
  • Product-focused
  • Educational
  • Networking
  • Training
  • General
  • Breakout
  • Industry
  • Number of employees
  • Annual revenue
  • Location (geographic)
Event Interests
Event Interests
Event Interests
  • Topics
  • Types of sessions
  • Networking
  • Goals for attending
Info from previous year
Info from previous year
  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Comments
  • Concerns

Where You Get It

Your pre-event tools provide endless ways to gather information. From your event website to registration forms, there are few limitations on gathering information. The key is to start small. Don’t ask for an attendee’s entire life history on a registration form – if your form takes more than a few minutes to fill out, your potential attendee will abandon the form without a second thought. Build gradually. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Use the following tools to gather information to use later on.

Registration Forms

Use forms to gather basic information. 

At this point, your future attendee is all-in. They know they want to attend your event, but if your form is too complicated they might change their mind. Get only the information you need and make the form as easy to fill out as possible. You don’t want a high registration abandon rate!

Pre-Event Survey

This is your first chance to ask some more in-depth questions that are specific to your event.

Keep the survey short or offer an incentive to attendees for filling it out. The pre-event survey can provide insights into attendee expectations.

Agenda Build

Your agenda will go live before the event – giving attendees an opportunity to build their schedules early is a great opportunity to get attendees to download your mobile event app and engage with content early.

The great new is, when your attendees build out their agenda, you find out what they’re interested in and can adjust sessions to fit their needs. Did one session fill up immediately? Offer the same session again at a different time or suggest similar sessions.
Personalization is about putting yourself in the attendee’s shoes.
What would convince you to attend an event? What will give your event that extra sparkle to make it stand out, making it a must-attend event?

How To Do It

Targeted Ads

A highly strategic but very simple way to hook your attendees. Don’t create one ad. Think “ads.” Break down the main reasons to attend your event and create personalized ads for each. Then, target based on social platform and view interest. In most cases, attendees won’t realize that their experience is personalized, just that your event sounds like the perfect fit. You can choose to use paid ads, unpaid ads, or a combination of both, depending on your budget.

Email Marketing

Trying to decide whether or not to include a contact name in the greeting or subject line? Do it. Open rates and click-through rates increase when emails are personalized. Use email as a platform to send information to attendees based on what you know about them. If they’re most excited about networking at your event, send email updates about happy hours and appointment scheduling.

Mobile Event App

Your attendee’s phone is their lifeline. Before, during, and after the event, they know where it is at all times. Mobile event apps give you the chance to engage attendees and gather more information. To personalize their experience, allow them to create their own agenda view or send them targeted and segmented push notifications.

Social Media

Pay attention to activity on social media! Your attendees will tweet about the great things going on at your event. A retweet (attendees love this) or comment can go a long way. Reach out to attendees and create brand ambassadors.

Agenda Planning

Use the information you get during registration and agenda-building. If an event or session sells out, offer alternate options or offer the session again at a different time. Is one topic not performing well? Get rid of it.

Registration Pathing

Personalize the registration experience by offering different tracks. You could separate paths by job title, industry, role, and more. Based on what attendees choose, you can ask for more targeted information. It streamlines the registration process and lowers form abandon rate.

Feedback from the Previous Year

Your repeat attendees will stop attending your event if it never changes. Listen to their feedback – more importantly, show them that you heard them. Email past attendees about changes to show their feedback matters. Did the grab-and-go buffet result in an hour-long line to get lunch? Send an email, post on twitter, let those carrier pigeons fly, make sure past attendees know that it won’t happen again this year.


Before the Event



During the Event



After the Event

After the


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