Events are hard work; we can assure you this. A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into putting together an impressive event. After weeks and months of coordinated hard work, nothing delights an event manager more than seeing the efforts culminate into a beautiful event where everything goes to plan.
Of course, an essential part of the plan is ensuring there is a good turnout. Nothing destroys the event more than seeing empty seats and unfilled space.
Whether you’re inviting only known guests or promoting to a broad market, getting the basics of event marketing right is imperative if you want a good turnout. Here are 10 simple steps you need to follow in order to maximise attendance at your next event:
Ask your audience what they want
Often event organisers plan the event they want, without making an effort to understand whether their audience wants it or not. Result: a lot of meh! and yawn! when they go out to promote it. An easy way to avoid this is by doing some research, asking questions and doing surveys to find out what exactly the bulk of your target audience would be interested in.
Pick a convenient date and location
Once you’ve narrowed down on the type of event required, it is important to pick the right date and location. If you pick a weekday, a weekend where more popular events are scheduled, or perhaps a season break, chances are you might not receive a good audience. Instead, do your research, plan early and pick a date and location that is convenient for your audience.
Invite guests early / Promote early
Diaries and calendars fill up very fast as people prefer to plan ahead. If you’re leaving your event invites and promotions to the last minute, chances are your audience might already have made their plans. Rule of thumb says, depending on the event, promotions must start at least 3 months prior to the event. It’s always advisable to start informing and educating the audience with teasers and save the date messages before starting with full-fledged promotions a month or so before the event.
Activate your connections, partners and existing database
When it comes to promotions, utilising your existing database and contacting past attendees, sponsors and partners first is highly advisable. Whether it’s through utilising their marketing vehicles and contacts or just co-promoting, you’ll be surprised how much mileage your promotions campaign can achieve by activating this option.
Highlight the UVP of the event
Whether your event is a conference, a seminar, an exhibition, or perhaps a concert, a brand activation, or a fundraiser, it is important to clearly bring out the Unique Value Proposition of the event before your audience. To put it simply, why should people care to attend the event? Find out the top 3 reasons why people should attend your event and include them in all your promotions and communications in a concise and cogent manner.
Incentivising user actions, whether it’s early bird registrations, user generated content or online / on the day engagement from attendees, is an important step towards building interest and increasing attendance at events.
Utilise social media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn now have a combined user base of more than 3 billion. These platforms also offer highly effective advertising tools, which means massive potential for brands looking to promote to a highly targeted audience. If you want a flexible and cost-effective option that can easily integrate with your email marketing, traditional advertising, media buying and online PR efforts, it is highly recommended to invest time and effort in social media marketing for your event.
Follow up / Engage
It is important to keep a steady flow of communication through all your promotional channels leading up to the event. If there are huge and irregular gaps in between, whether it’s email marketing, social media promotions or online PR, you may not be able to build the excitement before the event and pique the interest of your target audience. Following up with the target audience or engaging those already signed up is required to keep the event top-of-mind.
Simplify event ticketing and RSVP process
If users have to go through lengthy registration pages, umpteen number of clicks and complicated payment methods to RSVP / buy tickets to your event, then you should expect a high number of dropouts even if you’ve done well enough to get your audience interested. Keep the registration / RSVP / payment methods flexible and simple. Accept calls, emails, website signups and social media signups to make it easy for your audience.
Don’t forget to send out Thank You messages
Once you’ve delighted and impressed the attendees at your event, ensure you keep the communication process going by sharing thank you messages and event highlights, followed by periodic updates. This will ensure you stay fresh in your audience’s mind before inviting them again to another one of your fabulous events.