There is always a demand for reliable, accredited CME activities from healthcare professionals seeking to maintain and advance their medical careers. However, that does not necessarily mean interested HCPs will find their way to your available and upcoming conferences on their own.
With HCPs’ ability to continue practicing medicine hinging on the CME they select, you must employ effective and judicious marketing tactics to not only expand your audience but to convince them to invest their time and money into your educational content.
The following tactics will help you bolster your company’s reputation and overall customer satisfaction, which will increase the number of registered attendees at your conferences.
1. Divide your audience into segments & personalize your advertising efforts
Within your existing database of healthcare contacts, you possess a wealth of information about each one that can help you direct your CME events to the professionals who would benefit the most.
By grouping your audience into categories based on shared traits, you can expedite the process of tailoring your promotional materials.
There are demographics within the greater HCP community that require special attention; these professionals can have various reasons for attending a specific CME conference, but it is important to account for their tendency to react differently to marketing methods that might prove effective for other HCPs.
To help you get started on segmentation, here are some key subgroups within the healthcare industry that necessitate more personalized, if not completely different, CME marketing tactics:
Examples of Complementary Segments
Fellows and senior residents
Physicians who have been in practice for over five years
Past attendees to your events
Examples of Conflicting Segments
Private practice physicians versus institutional practitioners
Medical researchers versus medical doctors
2. Prepare responsive, user-friendly landing pages for each conference
To amplify your marketing efforts and increase user satisfaction with your content, you need dedicated pages on your website for each CME conference that you are offering. Convincing a healthcare professional to check your site is only half the battle; to now convince them to register, you must implement clear, informative language with a design and format that display nicely on both mobile devices and computers.
Each CME conference landing page should detail the primary ways in which your targeted healthcare professionals will benefit from attending. Here are some examples of what your content highlights should include:
Conference type (online versus live) & location, if applicable
Interesting snippets of choice topics that your CME conference will cover
New research that will be unveiled
Testimonials from past attendees who registered for similar conferences
Collaborative events with other CME organizers
Include calls to action on your landing pages in places where they make sense, and use language that will best motivate your target audience. A good call to action will always begin with a verb and consist of a concise, impactful phrase that instructs users on what they should do next.
“Browse the conference itinerary.”
“Explore related CME conferences.”
3. Offer limited-time rewards and incentives for registration
This is one of the most effective marketing tactics to employ when your goal is to sell out your event. CME content can be expensive; through the application of limited-time offers, you can persuade your audience to choose you over a competitor. Combined with a clean, professional landing page, rewards and incentives can quickly establish your company as a go-to resource for CME.
Here are some popular ways to implement limited-time incentives:
Early-Bird Rewards – Upon posting and announcing a new conference, you can run this promotion for a set period of time or end it after an established number of tickets have been sold. In return for participating in this promotion, you can provide registrants with discounted ticket prices or grant them a meet-and-greet opportunity with one of the conference’s prominent speakers.
Flash Sales – If you notice a significant decrease in ticket sales at any point during the registration period, you can offer a discounted price for a limited time.
Rainy Day Discounts – In the event that you notice a particular pattern where ticket sales are significantly lower on certain days of the week, you can offer a special discount on those days to boost sales.
4. Promote conference content before the event
Most CME activities are planned months in advance, and the last thing you want is to lose out on potential attendees due to scheduling conflicts or prior engagements. Therefore, it is important that you begin advertising your conference as soon as possible.
You don’t want to reveal key details regarding the topics and talking points that will be covered in your conference, but your audience will be far more likely to consider your event if you can convey the premise of your education material to them in the form of nondescript teasers.
You may want to consider conducting an interview with your speakers, allowing you to include choice quotes and responses in your promotions. If your conference references one or more research studies, you can look to their abstracts for inspiration on how to attract interest without giving away too much information.
Once you have gathered a suitable number of unique advertisements, you can disseminate them via email lists, the conference’s landing page, your company’s social media accounts, and whatever other marketing channels available to you.
5. Utilize social media’s free marketing opportunities
Even if your business has a modest social media following, advertising your CME content on popular sites is always a worthwhile endeavor; the majority of social media platforms are free or low-cost, and they facilitate precise audience targeting with a comparatively small amount of legwork required. Healthcare professionals, like the majority of people around the globe, use social media regularly, which means there is never a wrong time for you to begin cultivating your professional online presence.
Regardless of which social media sites you choose to market your conferences, there are a few universal tips to keep in mind when composing your posts.
1. Avoid posting solitary links to other sites. Instead, choose three key elements from the page you’d like to direct users to and populate the post’s body accordingly. Images and videos always help promote engagement, and people will be more likely to click your link if they have a good idea of what is awaiting them.
For example – Instead of simply linking to your speaker’s interview on your CME conference’s subject matter, highlight 2-3 main points and transcribe them–along with the requisite registration details for your event. Here, you can forgo the link entirely by embedding a compelling clip of the interview into the post itself; a shorter clip around 1 to 1 ½ minutes in length will generally garner more views than longer videos.
2. Closely proofread your drafts before posting them. Your posts must be easy to read and understand, and it is almost always better to go for short, pithy statements rather than long paragraphs that exhaust the site’s character limit. Because your audience consists of educated healthcare professionals, do not waste time or characters explaining words or phrases that are common in the medical world. If you believe it is necessary to go into detail, give priority to key information and ensure it is always written at the very top of your posts.
3. Do not be afraid to utilize the success of past conferences to market new ones. Following a conference’s conclusion, it is a good idea to post about memorable or meaningful moments and thank your speakers and attendees for their roles in making your event a worthwhile experience. By taking the time to bookend your marketing campaign for a given conference, you are displaying to non-attending healthcare professionals the value of your CME activities, which may prompt them to register for your next conference.
6. Consider paid digital advertisements
Paid advertisement is an excellent way to generate interest; in exchange for the initial fee, the site of your choice will enter your specifications into their advertising algorithm and begin displaying your CME conference ads to members of your target audience. You control how much you would like to spend, who sees your content, and the times in which your ads are displayed.
If you are new to the world of paid digital advertising, consider working with a popular and reputable site such as Google or Facebook. Start with small, simple adverts that encompass one or two highlights, a call to action with some relevant keywords, and a link to your CME conference’s landing page.
7. Optimize conference registration for mobile devices
As mentioned above, it is crucial that you ensure your web content is responsive, attractive, and user-friendly on mobile devices. This extends to the actual online registration process for your CME activities. It is highly unlikely that someone who is accustomed to web browsing on their mobile device will switch over to a computer just to register for your conference; instead, they will opt for a competitor whose site already accommodates their preferences.
Once you have ensured the mobile registration process is easy to navigate, take the time to streamline the process altogether. The quicker a healthcare professional can fill out your form, the happier they will be with your overall service. Lengthy and overly-complicated registration forms can cost you attendees; keep the questions succinct and essential because you can always request additional information from them later.
Additionally, there is a unique method you can use to further expedite the registration process and provide a seamless online experience for your audience. This can be accomplished via an authentication tool called “single sign-on” (SSO).
SSO allows users to log in once with a single ID, and this grants them access to a number of related yet independent websites. For example, think of the many sites that allow you to sign in with your Google account. Through the use of SSO, your conference registrants can bypass the hassle of verifying their credentials for your individual site, allowing them to buy CME activity tickets, browse your listings, and contact your customer support without constant login prompts.
8. Ensure registration compatibility for all browsers
Before opening registration to the public, access your landing page and form through all of the major web browsers, including Safari, to ensure that your content remains user-friendly and navigable on all fronts.
If possible, take the time to review your site’s layout and legibility on different tablets as well: the top brands right now are Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, and Lenovo.
9. Streamline your payment process
Your marketing efforts have paid off, and an interested healthcare professional is ready to buy a ticket to your CME conference. At this juncture, it is imperative that you do not drop the ball; while many HCPs may be sufficiently committed to attending your event that they will wrestle with a poorly-optimized or complicated checkout process, it will definitely decrease the possibility of them returning to your site for more CME material.
Make your online payment procedure as quick and easy as possible. Offer your audience a suitable variety of payment options; you absolutely want to include all major card providers, Paypal, and perhaps even mail-order checks. There are also several popular alternatives to Paypal that you might want to consider, such as Skrill, Stripe, and Square.
The above-stated tactics improve visibility and will get more attendees to your courses. Healthcare professionals have busy schedules and are beholden to a wide variety of professional obligations, which can limit the time they have to shop online for CME content. Consider implementing a shopping cart feature for your site, which will allow your attendees to collect the conferences and courses needed to satisfy their CME requirements and pay for them all together.
When it comes to advertising your activities, a specialized CME event organization tool can be a huge help. eMedEvents.com can assist you with any technical issues while automating and streamlining your marketing efforts so that your registration process runs smoothly.