How a legal innovation and tech conference increased attendance while reducing ad spend
LawFest is New Zealand’s premier legal innovation and technology one-day conference, held specifically for anyone involved in the intersection of technology and the law to develop their knowledge and immerse themselves in the latest topics and trends in this fast-changing area.
Held in Auckland for the past five years, the event continues to build on the success of the previous conferences, with the 2017 event attracting over 210 participants.
The event continues to be expanded to appeal to a wider audience from the legal profession with an interest in innovating the delivery of their legal services through technology.
In 2017 the conference was promoted and ran under a new name, LawFest, originally known as LawTech. This name change expanded the conversation on how the legal profession can innovate through leveraging technology, rather than just a sole focus on technology in the legal sector.
Our main challenge was to continue the momentum of the conference from the previous four years while it operated, for the first time, under a different brand, build on the number of legal professional attendees and the number of legal industry providers who showcase their products and services as exhibitors, while also reducing the budget spent on advertising.
To achieve this, we steered away from print advertising and undertook a comprehensive social media, email and content creation campaign. This was broken into two phases. The first being a brand awareness campaign to establish familiarity with the LawFest brand and increase the understanding of what LawFest was.
What we did?
- Develop a social media strategy
- Create content and compile a detailed social media content calendar that ensured engagement and interaction with other interested parties
- E-mail marketing content and schedule – a variation of content targeted towards specific groups
- LinkedIn and Twitter sponsored ad campaign, specifically about building on last year’s success of the event.
The next phase was to promote event tickets to legal professionals and build on last years’ delegate and exhibitor numbers.
We not only increased the regularity of our emails, but increased our social media activity. We created content for LinkedIn three days per week, and Tweeted twice daily on legal tech and innovation stories from around the world and in New Zealand. We also regularly promoted ticket sales in amongst this content.
The key here was to ensure we provided value to the audience while also promoting tickets, and not overdo the promotion of the event, but merely spark interest in the conversation, which would ultimately lead to sales.
Of course, not everyone is interacting with online media, especially with this target industry. So, we supplemented our digital media campaign with some traditional PR tactics such as placing articles in industry related magazines that we knew our target audience were reading.
From the survey data, we could determine that:
- Over 40% of delegates found out about LawFest through direct social media and PR activities.
- The other 60% was made up from returning conference attendees and referrals from friends and colleagues.
- Of all the digital media channels, the e-newsletters were the most effective and the industry articles and social media had equal impact on getting delegates to the conference.
Email marketing measures:
- We obtained an average open rate of 41.2% compared to the average open rate for the professional services sector of 20.89%.
- The average click-through rate had a CTR of 11%, where-as the average CTR for the professional services sector is only 2.47%.
To summarise, by spending just 10% of last year’s budget, we were able to increase the number of attendees by 40%, even though the event operated under a new brand for the first time, increase our Twitter followers by 83%, and increase the survey response rate by 410%, which provided us with valuable insights on how to promote the event in the following year.