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Timing Is Everything: Making the Most of Pre-Event Telemarketing

Spring will be here before we know it (yes, Winter just arrived, but time flies!), and for marketing departments nationwide, that means that event season is right around the corner too. This creates an environment saturated with options for business professionals – so saturated, in fact, that the barrage of invitations can end up sounding a lot like white noise. So how can you make your event stand out from the others? Many companies look to telemarketing to help generate interest in an event and boost attendance numbers. Several factors will impact the success of your telemarketing effort and your turnout at the event. Knowing when to get started is one key to driving event attendance.

The timeframe for success varies greatly based on the type of event and who you’re hoping to have there. For an in-person event, the rule of thumb is five weeks of calling, beginning seven weeks out from the date of your event. Seven weeks may sound like a long time, but think about what you’re asking people to do: they need to clear their schedule for half the day, potentially find someone else to fill in for them, arrange for transportation/travel, and who knows what else! We find that one of the chief reasons people decline an event invitation is that they just can’t fit it into their schedule. Ensuring that your prospects have adequate time to plan for your event will help boost your numbers and stay ahead of the competition. You also need to show your prospects that you understand that they are busy, you value their time, and you’re planning your event with their needs in mind. By planning ahead, this may also give potential registrants adequate time to get approval from their manager.

Weeks 7 – 6: Plan to have your invitations go out seven weeks prior to the event date, with telemarketing beginning 1 to 2 days after the initial invite drop. The first one to two weeks of telemarketing will be spent cleansing your list, clearing out any outdated data, finding the most appropriate person to invite, and learning their schedule in order to anticipate when they’ll be available to accept a call.

Weeks 5 – 4: Expect to see the greatest number of registrations at 4 to 5 weeks out. This is when your telemarketing agency should be dedicating the most staff resources to your event.  It takes multiple attempts to reach a prospect and ascertain whether or not they’ll be able to attend the event. Your agency should have the resources available to make several attempts into your list during this timeframe.

Weeks 3 – 2: You will likely notice a drop in daily registrations about 2 to 3 weeks prior to your event. Three weeks out is a good time to take a step back and re-evaluate where things stand. If you haven’t reached a comfortable number, you should plan to continue calling at full steam. If you’re feeling good about the registration rate, it okay to slow down or even take a break during this time.

Week 1: Do not expect to see many registrants at all come in during the week prior to the event. By this time, most business professionals will have already booked their schedules for the following week. You might uncover a handful of prospects that happen to be free that day, but by and large the window has closed for this event. Instead, focus your attention on reminder calls to confirm attendance or to those contacts that have said they may possibly attend. Focus your efforts on converting possible or “maybe” registrants.

Using this formula, we’ve had great success driving registration for this type of event over the years. It important to remember, however, that standing out from the crowd sometimes means being willing to take risks and try new things. While we’ve found that this formula works for most companies, we encourage our clients to use the schedule that fits their needs.