Staging or even attending in person events is a costly business. If you’re going to invest in a corporate event, exhibitions, conferences, product demonstrations or even face-to-face networking, then making sure you get the right amount of exposure prior to the event itself can be the difference between success and failure to increase event attendance.
It’s not rocket science – it’s all about putting in the time and effort to make sure you communicate your in person event and its purpose to all your contacts who may be interested in attending.
Not just once – the best approach is a drop feed of information and reminders to your target audience over the months and weeks leading up to the event, all the while striking a happy medium so your contacts don’t feel overwhelmed by the detail!
Promote on social media
Social media is an essential part of any business’s marketing strategy. It provides a variety of platforms for you to connect with customers, boost attendance and develop your brand identity in an approachable and effective way to attract more attendees to any event.
So for event planners, one of the most cost-efficient ways to make people more aware of your event and attract attendees is to promote it energetically on social media channels.
You can use interesting posts, striking graphics and video footage to provide event details, showcase your event and share the details and the benefits across all social media networks to build awareness.
Use email marketing
Harness the power of email to improve event attendance! Email marketing is an affordable and effective way to prompt people to put your event on their calendars. Build an email list bringing together all your potential future attendees and keep them informed.
For this to be effective, you need to consider your actions well in advance. Create your list then schedule a range of communications from simple updates to newsletters to provide the right audience with regular information and reminders about the event.
Collaborate with influencers and partners
Influencers and partners can also play an important role in boosting event attendance. Find out who the influencers are in your industry, pick your partners, build relationships and collaborate closely to make sure other people are promoting your event in the right way, on the right social media platforms.
Offer early bird tickets
Offering discounts can work too. Look at incentivisation for event promotion. Offering early bird rates or discounted tickets is a great way to incentivise guests to attend your event. You can offer a discount or special benefits to people who decide to buy their tickets early.
Depending on the nature of the event, it could be complimentary passes, vouchers for free refreshments, reserved seats at seminar sessions or even a percentage off products purchased. Your event and your market will determine what works best in terms of attracting early takers to increase attendance.
Use targeted advertising
Many event organizers use targeted advertising like Google Ads and Facebook ads to attract people to their events, giving them the opportunity to target specific interests and demographics.
You’ll have complete control over your budget, deciding exactly how much or how little you want to spend. Google ads are a great tool to create targeted lead generation, focusing on people searching for your products or services. Facebook ads help boost traffic to your website, with more impressions and click-throughs.
Attend networking events
Networking events for your industry provide a powerful opportunity to connect with potential attendees and also to promote not just event attendance, but your business and your products or services.
Don’t forget to have professionally printed flyers and business cards designed specifically to promote your event and your company. Hand them out generously and make sure your event gets mentioned during the course of the session to make the most of the networking opportunities.
Utilise local media
People still interact with local media like regional newspapers, and local radio and TV stations, and these organisations can provide you with a great way to promote your exhibition event to a relevant audience in the locality, driving attendance.
They’re always open to discussion and to finding out about events of interest to their readership or listener profiles. Create interest, send press releases, talk to them, see if you can do an interview, provide information about your event or even stage a competition around the event if it’s of popular interest to your target audience.
Send personal invites
Remember your existing customers and contacts! Send invitations to everyone you do business with – buying or selling – as well as those you’d like to do business with, to promote your event.
For your existing customers, you might like to consider offering some sort of incentive or bonus to visit the event or exhibition stand and boost your attendance rate.
Promote on event discovery websites
Consider promoting your event on event discovery sites covering upcoming events such as Eventbrite, Facebook Events and Eventful. You’ll get exposure to a larger audience, and have the opportunity to reach new customers. In addition, inclusion on these sites can give your brand additional awareness, legitimacy and success.
Remember that people also look to neighbourhood guides when searching for events – make sure you’re listed there, if this is relevant to you, to fill seats.
Offer different sessions or expert workshops at your event
Consider sharing with complementary businesses to make your event more diverse and interesting. Dependent upon your products, services and markets, you could invite other businesses to provide additional information and create entertainment for your visitors, or maybe even keynote speakers to add value and get people talking.
If your business is foodstuffs, then expand your event portfolio and invite along other manufacturers who have products that sit well alongside your own but don’t compete. They may even be willing to make a contribution to your costs.
The end result will be a more rounded event which provides more valid and varied information for your visitors, fun activities or even encourages additional visitors because of the variety on offer. All powerful stuff for future events!
It’s not over till it’s over – once you’ve done all the leg work, don’t forget to send out timely reminders to increase engagement just before the event, with more information designed to attract people to your event.
People have busy lives and can forget, even if they’ve paid for a ticket. A gentle reminder just a couple of days in advance – on social media too – to remind them of the benefits of your event will help to swell the event attendance figures!
So now you have it – how to increase event attendance and ensure a successful event!