Increasing event attendance is always a goal, but sometimes it can be tricky to achieve. That's why we’ve put together a list of actionable steps you can take to boost event attendance and reach your target registration numbers. The first step: look at your event through the eyes of an attendee.
Why does your audience want to attend?
Before outlining your program, conduct research and consider sending out pre-event surveys to your targeted audience to pin down the specifics that they’re looking for. You must understand why they want to attend in the first place.
Run through your agenda with a fine-tooth comb. How will it read to your audience? Are networking opportunities abundant? Perhaps your keynote speaker is known to enlighten similar crowds on similar topics. What content will you cover and how will that benefit your audience? A few examples of ways to increase event attendance by focusing on attendee goals:
Networking opportunities drive event attendance. Whether it be social mixers, casual mingling over a tea break or structured meet-and-greets, be sure to consider how you plan to connect like-minded people to one another.
Education is another highly valued factor when it comes to attending events and conferences. People want to increase their expertise and skills; getting an idea of how that might happen is incentive for them and their supervisors who may have to give the “ok” to attend. What will you help your audience learn that they can’t find elsewhere?
Convenience and thrill
People want to go somewhere fun. Keep in mind that if your selected city offers engaging tourist activities, unique cuisine and a new setting, that could enable guests to say “yes!” However, do consider location, date, time and cost in regard to your demographic. If your event is too far away or too expensive, you won’t get the turnout you’re aiming for.
Promote content & value (and do it early)
Now that you understand why your audience wants to attend, it’s important to be able to communicate those reasons effectively. Both your agenda and promotional materials should offer a clear snapshot of programming and value, i.e. networking and educational opportunities. What are some ways you can promote this information?
Send engaging invitations and/or infographics via email and be sure to link directly back to your website or registration page. Sending reminders to invitees and committed attendees is also critical.
Youtube is the second biggest search engine, and there’s a reason — people respond to visual and audio content. You can create a sneak-peek video to generate excitement around your event or post a high-energy recap video from your last event. Consider revealing guest speakers and some of the learnings that you plan to cover. A Youtube video is also a great place to announce incentives for early registration and/or arrival.
A recent survey conducted by the Event Manager Blog found that 73% of event planners believe social media to the most effective tool for marketing events. Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to run ads for your event. According to a survey conducted by HubSpot, 53% of people want to see more video from marketers. Social media sites make it easy to post video. Facebook gets over 8 billion average daily video view so if you aren't posting video, you are missing out.
Allocate some of your advertising budget toward retargeting. Retargeting ads are very effective, as they reach people who have already visited or shown interest in your website.
Event discovery sites
Event goers often look to specific sites to learn about relevant happenings. Utilize sites like Goldstar, Facebook Events and Eventful to increase your reach. Be sure to simplify registration by allowing them to purchase the tickets without leaving the site.
Collaborate with sponsors
Ask your sponsors to participate in promotional efforts by encouraging them to post infographics and marketing materials on their social media. You can also supply them marketing materials to share with their database and followers.
Word of mouth
The best marketing still happens organically. When people are excited about an event or activity, they want to share it with their friends and families. Make it easy for confirmed and potential attendees to share event information on their personal social media platforms.
Your Event Site
Your event site contains all the information your attendees need to know about the event. Surprisingly, this page is often overlooked from a design standpoint which results in a big miss in how to increase event registration. This site is the first impression attendees might have about your event - so make it a great one! Your design and layout shouldn't be dull or boring, but inspire excitement. The power of visual elements is well documented. Consider these stats: Viewers process images and video 60,000 times faster than text and visual content represents 74% of all internet traffic.
Use these tips as ways to increase conference attendance and be sure to measure your efforts and results so you can grow your audiences for future events. Want to discuss your event and audience in more detail? Schedule a free demo and talk it through with a MeetingPlay expert.