Rally teamed up with Community Boost to use texting to boost attendance at their 2023 Nonprofit Marketing Summit.
What is it: The Nonprofit Marketing Summit is a three-day virtual conference featuring more than 80 nonprofit professionals sharing practical strategies. The February 2023 event focused on innovation.
Goal: Increase registrants who actually attend.
- “We wanted to bump that attendee number up without sending way too many emails.” - Maria Sadusky, Associate Marketing Specialist with Community Boost
- Added an opt-in checkbox to the registration form to receive updates via text.
- Those who opted in received a welcome text with more details and a chance to upgrade to become a VIP member.
- A series of text reminders, upgrade offers, and updates went out before and during the event.
6.2% boost in attendance rate
28% of registrants opted in to receive text updates.
“We had 6,500 people out of the 24,000 registrants opt in to text, which is huge,” Sadusky said. “So people definitely want to receive text messages and want that kind of interaction and updates.”
Upgrades: While the Nonprofit Marketing Summit is free, they offer a VIP package with extra features, access, and more. They sent a text pitching a discount on the VIP package.
- The upgrade text had a 20.8% click through rate.
Bonus: Community Boost also used texting to reach out to more than 3,400 of their existing contacts. They were able to get 167 to sign up for a 4.9% conversion rate.
What They Texted
- Upsell: An initial text welcomed people to the event and invited them to upgrade to the VIP package.
- Updates: A week before the event they sent an update encouraging people to check out the schedule and add sessions they were interested in to their calendar.
- Ringless voicemail: Their digital events manager recorded a ringless voicemail to send out the day before the event. “It was cool to think that people were going to actually receive a voicemail from us,” Sadusky said.
- Day-of reminders: Each day of the event, reminders and updates about the day’s schedule went out.
Most effective: “The initial follow-up text worked the best,” Sadusky said. “Offering some sort of value is key. Or the schedule or any of the big announcements definitely worked well—giving people practical, useful information.”
“It was pretty amazing—they were definitely excited to receive a text,” Sadusky said. “I like it because people opt in specifically to receive these updates. They want the updates. As opposed to email where there’s just so many emails, they’re just overwhelmed. They definitely responded well to getting these follow-up texts.”
Email vs. Text
“I think they’re really different,” Sadusky said. “It’s hard to compare them because email is a broader list and is super flooded, while with texting people are looking for that quick, fast interaction. If you’re trying to get attendees to an event or a more personal interaction, that’s more difficult using email as opposed to text. Email is great for getting people to sign up for things and sending out newsletters and things like that. But texts are a bit more personal and people are really looking for it because they specifically opted in.”
Community Boost learned a lot with this approach and hopes to improve in the future:
- Replies: They didn’t do a lot with responses and next time around would like to engage more with replies and maybe even do a survey after the event.
- Follow up: “I did send out a thank you text at the end of the event,” Sadusky said. “I felt like that was enough, but there could have been a text inviting them to register for the next event.”
- Add images: In the future, Community Boost wants to send more images and potentially explore video.
- Doing it again: “We’re going to use it again for an event in June to boost attendance rates,” Sadusky said. “I’m actually really excited to try it out again.”
Download: How Texting Increased Event Attendance
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