Dynamically Marketing Your Live Events with ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign’s event marketing just got a lot stronger with the release of the Goals and Date Conditions features. Together this combo pack a powerful punch in helping you market any event in your business.

I’ll admit, I didn’t initially see the power in these two features combined until I watched our very own Megan Curth breakdown a practical use case of them with webinars as an example (a recording of that free training can be found here).

Nonetheless, after I saw it, thought about its application for a while, then tested it out myself that I became a true believer. These features are going to change the way you market your events. Let’s briefly cover how they work…

Date Conditions

After many requests and suggestions, we launched the Date Conditions feature this summer. There was a lot of praise and confusion about the added functionality (you can read the official blog post announcement here). Hopefully after you read this post you will have a full understanding of exactly how to leverage this new feature within ActiveCampaign.

The biggest thing you need to understand is that in order to implement date conditions you need to have a custom field created as a date field. This step is critical. See the image below.

Now that you have the custom date field created you’re ready to implement it using date conditions within your automation. You will be able to use them the following ways:

  1. To trigger automations on the date of the custom field, before it, or after it.
  2. Use inside of an automation to wait until the date of the custom filed, before it, or after it.
  3. Use inside of an automation combined with a goal to progress contacts (or allow contacts to “jump”) to specific actions based on the date of the custom field, before it, or after it.

Goals Revisited

There are two primary functions of goals in ActiveCampaign:

  1. Measure the effectiveness of your automations
  2. Allow contacts to skip steps if they satisfy predetermined conditions

We will be using the latter for these automations and ignoring the measuring feature of goals. I’ll explain why later in this article.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the two features and how they work let’s explore an ideal use case where these two simplify your marketing efforts for maximum results.

Live Event Marketing in ActiveCampaign

Live event marketing is the process of creating a themed marketing campaign that promotes a product or service usually delivered by way of in-person engagement at a specific date and time. These events can take place online or offline.

Before marketing any event you will need to have the following defined:

  • A date. All communication will be based off of this date.
  • Venue. Whether the event takes place online or offline.
  • Pricing. Paid or free registration/attendance.
  • Title of Event.
  • Event access. How will people get into your event? (tickets, pass, url, etc.)

If you create these as custom fields within your ActiveCampaign account you will be able to use Personalization Tags to make your email communication more personalized and effective.

How it used to work…

I’ll just be honest here…it used to be a pain to pull off this type of marketing in ActiveCampaign. Since there was no way to wait until a specific date using custom fields all of your automations had to be static and manually updated.

This means you had to “hard code” the date and time in either your emails or custom fields. Whenever the event changed or passed you had to go through all of your automations and emails and update them accordingly. That is NOT automation at its finest.

How it works now…

Thankfully that is all fixed.

I’d like to introduce you to… Dynamic Date Based Marketing Using Custom Date Field Conditions and Goals (try saying that 5 times in a row). What that fancy term means is that you can now create a single automation that handles multiple events for multiple contacts without having to manually update anything within your automations.

This is what I call “automated personalization”. This IS automation at its finest.

Let me breakdown how this works in ActiveCampaign…

  1. Understand how the new date conditions work. Depending on your previous usage of marketing automation platforms this could take some getting used to. In ActiveCampaign we consider a “plus” condition to be any days before the specific date, and a “minus” condition as any day after the specific date. See the diagram below:
  2. Determine how you will set the date field. The two ways I recommend setting the date field is passing it in via the registration page (as a hidden field that is pre-populated) or within the automation itself.Choosing which way depends on how you would like to update the field. Keep in mind this field will need to be updated as soon as the event passes. If you choose to pass it in with your registration page you will need to update the field on your registration page. If you choose the set it within an automation in ActiveCampaign, you will need to update the field in ActiveCampaign.The choice is yours for whatever works best in your business for whomever is responsible for keeping things updated and accurate.
  3. Map out your communication. Determine what communications you will send before and after your event. Your final map should look like something similar to this…

With your communication all mapped out you have the hardest part out of the way. Now it’s time for the easy and fun part… building it!

How to build it in ActiveCampaign

This entire sequence consists of 4 automations. Here’s a top level diagram of how they are connected:

First thing you need to do is build your webform. This is the only entry into your funnel since the rest of the automations will be started from within each one. Make sure you at least include the custom date field you created and mark it as not required. This way if you change your mind on how you want to populate this field you do not need to rebuild the form.

Also, if you’re populating this field on a registration page be sure to make it a hidden field (the complexity of setting this up as a hidden field will depend on your landing page provider if you are using one). The form I used for testing purposes looked like this:

Here’s a breakdown of what each automation does…

Registration

Responsible for sending the confirmation email and setting the communication schedule for future emails

Note: The wait state at the end of the automation is very important. It will determine what time all of your pre event follow up emails will go out. It also prevents contacts from receiving two emails immediately upon registration.

Pre Event Follow Up

Responsible for sending out timed reminders for your event.

Note: You can observe I used one if/else statement to check for a single tag “EVENT – Attended”. In the event that tag is not present I will add the “EVENT – No Show” tag to the contact record. Doing it this way helps minimize any errors you may incur with 3rd party software that is adding tags based on attendance. It’s far easier, and stronger, to have one tag be applied via API than both.

Post Event Follow Up

Responsible for sending out emails for both attendees and no shows once the event has ended. These two automations look identical, it is the content of the emails that will change.

Note: You can see that I have changed from date conditions using goals to date conditions using wait states. The reason for this is because all of the contacts are in sync because they have been added to the automation at the same time (from our pre event follow up automation). With their time of entry synced up I no longer need to rely on goals to progress them. Wait states work much better.

Also, you will see the goal for becoming a customer is placed at the end of the post follow up automations. This is to allow customers to still attend my webinars but never send them follow up emails since they have already purchased. Adding a purchase goal to any automations prior will prohibit customers from receiving any pre event marketing.

Below is a video walkthrough of each automation:

Testing Your Automation

As always, you should test your automations before you set them live for the world to interact with. In the video below I’ll walk through exactly how to test each goal to ensure it’s sending out the proper communication.

Remember, the beauty of creating this automation is that you can have multiple contacts with different event dates all in the same automation without any conflicting communication. Each contact will receive the right email with respect to their individual event date.

Closing Remarks

If your business uses events as a primary means of attracting and closing leads these automations will help tremendously. Import them all into your account today and start using them in your marketing.

If you’re not an ActiveCampaign customer and would like to start using these automations for marketing an upcoming event you can sign up for a free trial to get started today.

A trial is worth a thousand words.

Get started today, no credit card required.