Promoting an event can be tricky. Even if you create a large buzz around it on Facebook and many people become interested, you can never be sure how many will actually participate. How to get more attendees? How to prevent them from forgetting about your event? Here is the best strategy for you, step-by-step!
1. Show off the value of your event
The agenda and the speakers
People will come if they see a value in the event that you’re offering them. It happens both with paid and free events. Even though money doesn’t equal this value, paid events are often considered better, more exclusive. But don’t worry. Yes, people are more likely to come if they spent money on the ticket, but that’s not a rule, especially if the price wasn’t accurate. In that case, chances are most of the time the same whether you organize a free or paid event. Either way you need to show off all of your assets so your possible attendees simply couldn’t miss the opportunity.
What are those values, you ask? First of all: the agenda. One of the best ways to convince somebody to come to your conference is preparing interesting, up-to-date topics. What happened recently that people would like to hear a lecture about? What’s important for your target group? If the topic is close to the hearts of the attendees – even better. Once you’ve mastered this issue you can start looking for speakers. Some people wait years to hear their favorite influencers. You should conduct a very good research here – who, where, why? Was this person in your city/country before?
2. Communicate with your group
Once you find the right person – again, show off your value. Keep reminding people in a clear message that your event is an amazing opportunity to meet him/her. Clearly stress out all of the advantages coming from listening to the lectures and meeting people. It doesn’t always require a sizeable budget. Some of the speakers agree to make a lecture for free or for a cheaper price if you offer them something valuable in return.
3. Show the value of business contacts
I’d like to speak about business contacts. They’re an invaluable benefit that is often somehow omitted. They’re quite easy to arrange during the event and are a profit to everyone. Just make sure that your attendees are a diverse group (while still having the same fields of interests), for example: CEOs, startups, industry influencers and many more. Different people have different purposes while looking for business contacts. The question is: how can you guarantee that your attendees will be able to recognize the entrepreneurs or marketers with whom they talked online? Well, for example you can use QR codes. If every guest obtains their own personal QR code – they will be able to exchange them exactly the same as business cards, just without all the problems that come with them.
The only trick? QR codes are just a tool. You need to first provide all of your attendees with the right tags and, then, the right technology to scan those codes. Basically, it’s good to stress out the importance of business contacts and make sure people know about different possibilities around your event. Then you can use QR codes as a perfect support.
After the first event where you implement technology, you can provide your prospect attendees with statistics – ,,This is how many people exchanged QR codes on my event.” ,,This is how many business contacts were made.” You could also ask some people for testimonials to further prove how useful your event became for those people. Data and happy previous customers are the best proof of your event’s value.
Basically, give all your possible attendees a very clear message: You need to come to this event because this person will be there talking about an important thing for you.
4. Take care of the registration
More than one click
In the internet, making more than one-two clicks is a truly demanding task. I’ve mentioned Facebook Events in the article about social media – if you look at the attendees there you’ll see incredible and far from the truth numbers. Usually not that many people who signed up on Facebook end up actually participating in the event. Why? Well, there are many reasons to this sort of thing. I’d like to focus one especially important to me: it’s just too easy. All you have to do is click one button and you’re all signed up.
There is no need for you to give your personal data, click on another buttons and read privacy statements. While this maybe a bit daunting for users, it is actually a very lucky thing for all the organizers. Not only does it weed out people who don’t really care about your event but also, again, creates a special feeling of exclusivity among those registered. It’s good to have your own registration website with certain rules. Pretty much the same thing works when you send an email to all the declared people and ask them to confirm their attendance. It’s more for you than for them, but it definitely gives you a more truthful image of how many attendees you can expect.
Do you know what else makes people eager and interested? Being the Chosen one. The VIP. The exclusive member of a privileged group. A proof that they’re special. A simple way of raising the value of your event is to make attending it a bit more difficult. Limit the number of possible attendees, decide that only those who receive “special message invitation” on Facebook can come. It’s all up to you. But people tend to appreciate something more if they had to somehow earn it.
It’s just a very simple trick, that allows you to create a feeling of “being special” among possible attendees – and often that’s more than enough to make them come to your event. You probably know already that it’s important to keep some balance here: if you limit your tickets too much you’ll end up with not many attendees. It’s the art of finding the perfect middle, the balance. After all, people need to be able to get tickets and so on – you can just make getting a bit more interesting for them.
5. Remind them why you’re here
So, I think we all know that nowadays there are so too many things to remember. How many times did you freeze mid-step remembering about something important you were supposed to do? We make notes, set alarms on our phones, keep thinking about important tasks and yet, we often forget about something. The same thing happens with events – if you buy a ticket months prior to the date, it’s really hard to remember about it.
Of course, this also has a lot to do with the value of the event – if your attendee cares about your event deeply it’s less inclined to forget about it. If you did the first steps written in the article well (creating an interesting agenda, inviting exciting speakers) you should be good to go. Otherwise, the best we can hope for is that many people will be “very interested” and that’s it. That means that the date and venue can easily slip off their minds. It’s your job to remind them.
I’ll write more about keeping everyone engaged later, but now I’ll just mention the most important, simplest thing: send them a message. First, at least a couple of weeks before the event – so that your attendees would have time to plan everything. Then – as you prefer it. A week before. A day before. It’s up to you how often and how many times you want to let them know your event is coming. However, in the whole process it is vital to observe the limits and don’t send spam – you want to gently remind people about the event not irritate them. The best way to avoid creating meaningless messages that make people delete them even before opening?
There are so many marketing automation tools available that I don’t think I have to explain this a lot. Personalization is one of the greatest marketing tool of our era. Inbound marketing is something essential if you want to promote your product. Just use it to create better content for your clients.
Write this in their calendars
There is another feature that proved to be incredibly helpful in situations like that. Most people have their calendars online now – it’s easier and more accessible. There are tons of widgets and apps allowing you to add the event to their calendar. Of course, everything depends on what sort of person your attendee is. If he or she keeps a traditional paper planner then there is nothing you can do besides, again, making sure the value of your event is stressed out.
6. Teasers – Keep them interested
When it comes to promoting events, marketers often forget to upload new content regularly. That is a mistake. You shouldn’t just announce the event and then hope for the best. You have actual power that you can use to advertise your event. Write about how great your speakers are, how interesting this year’s themes are, prepare surprises and just keep your community alive, especially if you plan on creating another event. You should keep posting new stuff throughout the whole time: from announcing the first event till you’re done.
Let them prepare for your event with you
A very good way to keep people interested is to present them an event toolkit. Just think of it as a list of things the attendees should know before the lectures/panels. It’s both useful and informative so people won’t get irritated after being sent a message with things like that. We got this idea recently when we noticed how many people ask questions to the speakers prior to the events on Eventory app. People want to get engaged. So give them the possibility and enjoy the effects.
One of the best ways of getting someone interested in your event? Give them something. We all love short, smart quizzes that are fun to take part in. They can be easily used as a promotion tool when you say: “Do you know everything about…? Fill this quiz and check your knowledge.” If they fail just tell them about the right lecture that inspired certain quiz.
The thing with contests is quite similar but there is another factor in there: the prize. It’s pretty much the same mechanism as with special registration – by letting people win you make them feel special. The simplest thing is to announce that three people who signed up for the event will be chosen to receive a gift at the venue.
7. Wrap up
The difference between the internet and the reality sometimes makes our lives difficult. That’s why it’s so important to understand the mechanisms that work in the internet. These mechanisms give you certain power and self-confidence which is always helpful. Good luck with promoting your events!