When should our association send our event registration brochure?

The correct timing for sending your association’s event registration brochure depends on the answers to these questions:

1) How far in advance does your target audience tend to schedule meetings, vacations, etc.?

2) How much information has been made available to your target audience prior to the registration brochure?

The question of how your association’s target audience schedules their own activities is critical.  If your attendees tend to be busy professionals with lots of travel and meetings scheduled months in advance, then it is important that you provide meaningful information about your event many months in advance as well.

Note the words “meaningful information.”  Just because your association posts a “save the date” announcement or sends a postcard to prospects with the dates, don’t expect it to have much impact beyond your most loyal attendees.  Those who love your event will reserve the event dates on their calendar based on that information, but most other prospects will not.  That is because the association has not yet persuaded them to attend.

That is the basis for the second question:  how much information have you given to prospects?  If prior to sending the registration brochure you have not been able to provide a compelling reason for attendance (“You can’t afford to miss this” does not count), along with at least an outline of what can be expected, then the registration brochure needs to be sent far in advance.  On the other hand, if your association’s target audience has received ample information prior to the registration brochure, then you may send the registration brochure as late as 6 weeks prior to the start of the event.

That said, it is generally better to send the registration brochure much further in advance, and follow up with other marketing communication in the weeks leading up to the event. The follow up communications can offer the opportunity to download the registration brochure from your web site if it has been misplaced.

How early does your association send its registration brochure?  Is it possible to move up that timing given your current systems and planning process?

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