Let's be honest: if you can’t attract a decent number of attendees at your events, people will think that you are a lousy planner. It sounds harsh, yet if you want to become an industry leader, you have to master the art of persuading people to attend your events.
Let's suppose you have everything a good event needs: a user-friendly site, a killer topic, amazing speakers, an engaging program, powerful networking opportunities, a nice venue, good catering, etc. So why do people still ignore your event? There are multiple reasons:
- They have no time
- It’s too far away (especially international events)
- The fees are too high
- They have no idea about your event
- It takes too much time to register or registration is too complicated
- The event won’t tackle their burning needs
- They have better things to do
That’s why you need to stop obsessing over event logistics (temporarily), sit down, grab a pen, and start designing your strategy for a higher attendance rate. Let me show you what I'm talking about.
Technique 1: Build a strong digital identity
"But my event already has a site, a blog, and some social media accounts!" Congratulations! And what are you doing with all these tools? Online presence is not enough. To achieve a higher event attendance rate, you have to build meaningful online connections with potential attendees. Your event needs a strong digital identity, meaning you have to design a powerful online communication plan with the following steps:
- Active listening through social media
- Online interaction with potential attendees
- Mapping the burning pains
- Content curation
- Strategical event promotion
- Visual identity promotion
- Metrics analysis
A strong digital identity is about listening and identifying the needs of your potential attendees. If you know their burning pains, you’ll be able to craft personalized event messages that will resonate with their core needs.
You’ll also establish a higher authority and heightened credibility, making people recognize your brand more and feel comfortable attending your events.
Technique 2: Map the needs of your potential attendees
As an event manager, you have to know everything about your attendees, such as:
- Their demographic and professional profile
- The problems they deal with on a regular basis
- Their burning pains and core needs
- Which digital platforms they use
- Their content preferences
- How to engage with them more efficiently
- The type of solutions they need
- Why they would want to attend your event
- What special thing your event can offer them
All of this information is crucial to build a strong online communication strategy. For example, different demographic groups prefer different social media platforms. If your target audience is professionals with 15 years of experience, chances are you won’t find them on Snapchat.
By identifying your audience’s burning pains, you’ll know how to craft messages that will resonate with their core needs. You’ll be able to get their attention by offering a helpful approach.
Finally, you’ll be able to know how to differentiate your event by providing your attendees with different solutions and fresh content.
You can’t start planning an event without knowing for whom it is. Do your homework first. Know your attendees.
Technique 3: Show (don’t tell) the benefits of attending your event
Why should people come to your event? Don’t publish a big chunk of lengthy text explaining all the extraordinary benefits of attending your event. There are better ways of doing it. Show, don’t tell! If you want to convince people that your event is worth attending, use data to persuade them.
- “X % of people who attended last year obtained a higher position in their company.”
- “After attending our event, you’ll have X% chances of being approached by new clients.”
- “By attending our event, your professional circle will increase by X%.”
- “X % of people who attended last year built a successful online business.”
Make your potential attendees understand why they can’t miss a thing. Show them how special and valuable your event is!
Technique 4: Offer an attractive social program
As an event manager, it is your responsibility to design a powerful event program. Yet, you can’t ignore the social part of the event. Consider offering the following attractions:
- Cocktail dinners
- City tours
- Cultural or gastronomical tours
- Museum visits
- Concert tickets
- Boat tours
- Historical town tours
- Treasure hunts
Never underestimate the power of fun. These incentives (included in the event fee structure) resonate with people’s desire to have an authentic experience, and not just a serious and rigid event.
Technique 5: Design an appealing call to action
Take a long, hard look at your event site. Is it engaging and interesting, or is it ordinary and generic? Do you think people are motivated enough to register? Not if you copy and paste the standard text that appears everywhere, such as:
- “Register now”
- “Early bird registration”
- “Registration form”
- “Complete the Registration form”
If you want people to take action and register, you have to appeal to their emotions or burning pains.
- “Attend the event and increase your revenue”
- “Be an early bird and save 35% on your registration fee”
- “Come and join our awesome community of successful people”
- “Attend the event and become an industry leader”
- “[Limited time offer] Book your ticket now”
Experiment with different calls to action and take note of what’s more appealing to your target group.
If people don’t come to your events, congratulations! You have the amazing opportunity to experiment and apply different techniques that will boost up your attendance rate:
- Build a strong digital identity and communication strategy, and establish your online authority.
- Map the burning pains of your potential attendees and create messages that will resonate with their core needs.
- Use data and statistics to show (not tell) the benefits of attending your event.
- Don’t forget about the incentives and spend some time designing an appealing social program.
- Experiment with different call-to-action messages and nudge your potential attendees to register.
Start implementing these techniques today and before you know it, your event tickets will be all sold out!