How to Retarget Existing Attendees for Future CME Events
How to Retarget Existing Attendees for Future CME Events
July 22, 2022 by eMedEvents

Retargeting is an online marketing strategy that revolves around drawing previous visitors back to your site—and your content. It is one of the best digital tools available for converting your existing visitors into event attendees.

When it comes to CME attendees, they are notorious for taking it slow when it comes to registration, with high rates of last-minute ticket sales for nearly every event. The percentage of first-time site visitors who leave without signing up or registering for an event is at a staggering 97%; this means that it is crucial for you to have other strategies in place to draw them back and keep your CME content at the forefront of their thoughts.

However, not only is retargeting effective at prompting first-time attendees, it can also help you attract previous attendees to your newest events. You’ve already sparked their interest in your content once before; all it takes is a good followup to reel them back in for a second time.

What is Retargeting?

For our purposes, retargeting is an online advertising method that enables you to display and redisplay your marketing offers to previous conference attendees. The concept is that potential customers are tagged when they attend your website, resulting in their browser picking up a cookie. Then, as the user continues to surf the web, relevant advertisements are triggered by your browser cookie. The entire procedure is meant to be seamless and unobtrusive.

Mitigate Registration Abandonment

The majority of potential attendees won't sign up on their first visit, thus leaving the site with their “shopping cart” empty. Cart abandonment campaigns are a tried-and-true way to increase conversions, regardless of your event’s price tag. These potential attendees visited your event landing page, which means you know they are interested in your event. There are a myriad of reasons why people do not complete their registrations  the first time around, which is not necessarily important for your purposes, as long as you can pull them back with a gentle reminder or two.

Through retargeting, you can deliver ads to attendees who visited the registration page but didn’t complete it, gently reminding them of your event. You can also combine this with your event timeline and create distinct advertisements announcing registration openings, speaker reveals, early-bird discounts, or last-chance registrations.

4 Benefits of Retargeting Campaigns

While you can only make a first impression once, it is not necessarily the most important impression you can make. Here are some ways effective retargeting can benefit you and your business overall.

1. Better Brand Recognition

Once healthcare professionals have engaged with your brand and received your cookie, you can begin retargeting them. They'll now begin to notice your content wherever they go online, and that will boost your brand awareness across the board. When the time comes for them to seek out CME events to meet their credit requirements, your brand will spring to mind.

2. Higher Advertisement Engagement

For those who have already expressed interest in your event, your personalized reminder ads will generally see a higher percent of engagement overall, with a potential click through rate up to 10 times higher than the industry average.

3. Significant Increase in ROI

By reminding potential attendees to register for events that they have browsed before, you greatly increase your chances of securing tangible ticket sales. Better brand recognition and higher engagement with ads will inevitably lead to a positive boost in your Return on Investment (or ROI) for both your event and your marketing campaign.

4. More Return Customers

HCPs who have previously attended one of your events are more likely to register for another, now that they have an idea of your CME content and its quality. Through retargeting endeavors, you can cross-sell and up-sell your other, upcoming events to previous attendees and potentially secure them as regular customers.

4 Tips for Improving your Retargeting Advertisements

1. Take Advantage of Hotspots

To identify hotspots in your daily registration activity, use the registration data you already have. The best time for attendee registrations is actually before or after usual work hours, but this can absolutely vary according to profession and specialty. By scheduling your retargeting ads to capitalize on these time windows each day, you will greatly increase your CTR.

2. Accurate Segmentation

Not all website visitors are the same. Your ad might work well for some audiences while it is not strictly relevant for others. Some may be interested in simply attending. Others may be interested in speaking. Different factors motivate HCPs when it comes to event participation. Try to identify the main groups (or segments) that make up your audience, and tailor your advertisements to each one accordingly.

3. Discount Offers

For a large portion of potential attendees, the price tag of an event is more than enough to dissuade them from completing their registration. If you believe this may be the case for your audience, you may want to consider integrating discount offers into your retargeting ads.

4. Impart Urgency

It is entirely possible that potential attendees may wish to register—but at a later date. However, this increases the likelihood that they will forget altogether and miss your event entirely. Here, you may want to implement a retargeting ad that displays a limited number of spots left, thus urging potential attendees to act quickly.

Retargeting your Audience Segments

Pixels – As mentioned above, you can add a short piece of code on your website to keep track of visitors who come and go without registering. The most common method is a JavaScript pixel. Immediately after the visitor leaves your website or landing page, they will start seeing ads for your event wherever else they go online: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and more. Every step of the way, you’ll be there nudging them to give your event another look.

Lists – You can import and use a list of prospective, current, or prior attendees (such as an emailing list) for your retargeting campaign. Facebook and other platforms use the data on these lists to target similar users.

List-based retargeting is an option that enables you to upload your whole member list or past attendee list directly onto the advertising platform for specific ad targeting. Combining email and retargeting advertisements provides a powerful mix that can significantly increase your registrations; after all, it is much simpler to sell to a HCP who has previously attended your event than to a completely new face.

Prevent Event No-Shows

Many conference organizers find no-shows to be a genuine pain in the neck. Some report no-show rates of as much as 50% for free events, while the no-show rate for paid events is around 10%. By re-engaging your registrants and encouraging them to make additional micro-commitments through retargeting, you can lower the number of no-shows.

Retarget Registered Attendees

It may appear that retargeting is only effective insofar as it can net you successful ticket sales, but it can be an extremely potent tool for post-registration interaction, too.

Ensuring registrant qualification – When a significant portion of registrants fails to submit necessary, additional information to complete the registration process, it can result in a significant drop in event attendance. Run a campaign aimed at this specific audience group to encourage them to click through and provide their supporting information. After all, you cannot take advantage of prior attendees if they do not actually make it to the initial event.

Driving foot traffic – Many conferences are free to attend. This may be an effective tactic for boosting overall registrations and having a high attendance rate to promote speakers. But getting registrants who have no financial buy-in to turn up is a big challenge.

In this situation, retargeting can prove useful. Run a campaign for these registrants, highlighting features of the event that are likely to encourage actual attendance – such as giveaways, accommodation discounts, any big-name speakers, and so on.

Retargeting has a positive impact on brand awareness, but it also increases the effectiveness of your paid social media advertising. By targeting attendees who have previously shown interest in your CME events, you are focusing your marketing efforts on HCPs who are already more likely to convert. By taking advantage of this initial interest to nudge potential attendees towards registering, you can—through an effective retargeting strategy—produce a remarkable return on investment.

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