Business / Information Security

Copy For Conferences: Why Sizzle Without Substance Will Never Sell Seats.

Developing communications to drive paid-for delegate registrations for your established conference. Sounds easy? Think again. With competing pressures on time and budget, organisations need to be utterly convinced that funding a one to three-day executive attendance will deliver tangible returns.

Carefully planned messaging coupled with topical, arresting copywriting is your secret weapon for achieving conference sales.

For the last five years I’ve helped the Bora team create and deliver the delegate communications campaign attracting attendees to RSA® Conference Europe, the annual information security conference. It’s a big ask: the audience is diverse, spanning the full gamut of information and technology security roles. With delegates drawn from more than 52 countries, many with English as a second language, copy clarity is paramount. Crucially too, since many are previous attendees, each annual messaging journey needs to be innovative and fresh.

Below I’ve shared five brief observations that (from our experience at least) have helped conference copy attract and retain information security delegates to date.

1. Sell business value, not conference seats: any prospect has to see the relevance of a conference place first. Until they do, nothing – but nothing – else matters. Make sure copy makes the business case from the get-go. What will a delegate leave with? How will attendance benefit their work? What will they learn? Whilst you may be tempted to open with attractive delegate pricing offers, think carefully: a discount is a secondary inducement. First, a prospect needs some darn good reasons to go.

2. Topicality is tantalising: don’t skimp on your homework – devour the latest reports, drill down to surprising or disarming findings, get to grips with your current hot industry topics. Talk to those who work in your sector. What are their issues and concerns? Always look for a relevant copy angle. Faced with some newly released research and an approaching holiday period, for example, I tested the email subject line: ‘Do Cybercriminals take vacations?’ In this traditionally quieter period for registration, interest resurged.


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