There's one misleading belief you might think is true: The more attendees you attract to your event, the better. The guest count validates the level of success you achieved as a planner ... doesn't it?
It’s no surprise we see things this way; after all, just look at the countless articles out there on how to promote your event to boost attendance. But we tend to forget about something that’s much more important than the attendance percentage: the quality of your guests.
What does the quality of your guests matter?
Well, think about it for a second: The level of your attendance pool will affect the quality of your guests’ networking experiences. Apart from that, it can determine how effective and helpful co-creation and group thinking processes will be, when asked by a speaker, for example, to solve some industry challenges (as an exercise).
Finally, the results you’re expecting from your event will substantially depend on your attendees’ qualification. If your event attracted people who aren’t aligned with your brand values, for example, you’ll run the risk of sabotaging your KPI’s indicators, since these people won’t react positively to the event experiences you’ve designed for them.
So it’s safe to say that the quality of your guests has a significant impact on your event’s overall success. That’s why you shouldn’t overlook its importance.
If you aren’t familiar with this concept, we’ve put together a set of recommendations that will help you qualify your attendees with ease:
Tip #1. Create the profile of your ideal guest
Envision the perfect attendees. What’s their expertise and what problems do they face? What are their job titles and industries? What are they seeking? Are they interested in networking, or maybe participating in group activities? Perhaps they’re looking for insights from valuable speakers? Write down everything you come up with. When you know your audience inside and out, it’s much easier to set up the qualification parameters.
Tip #2. Set up the qualification criteria
First, you have to decide what exactly will qualify your guests to attend the event. If you are planning a networking event between investors and entrepreneurs, you can be very specific.
For example, you could indicate that the entrepreneurs must have companies with a certain amount of annual profit. If you’ll be running a conference for professionals, you can limit the guest list to people who have a certain level of experience or job title.
In this case, you are the only one who decides, considering your event’s nature. However, it’s important to be very clear about the criteria based on which you’ll accept attendees.
Tip #3. Narrow down the invitation list
If there’s one thing we want you to remember, it’s that quality overthrows quantity. Don’t try to reach out to every single person from your previous invitation list (if you have one).
Always analyze, person by person, who is more qualified to attend your event. Seek out who has more value to offer and who will be truly interested in taking good advantage of attending your conference, workshop, or convention.
Tip #4. Build a smart registration form
Let’s say you considered the above tips and defined the ideal guest profile, set up the qualification criteria, and narrowed down the invitation list. What’s next? How do you ensure you’re accepting only qualified attendees?
Building a smart registration form is the answer. Once you have the qualification parameters, you can introduce question fields, asking applicants for details about their situation. Returning to the previous example, you can ask the entrepreneurs to include their company’s annual revenue on the registration form, and then decide from there if they are suited for the event or not.
Tip #5. Use the veto option
Don’t automatically accept everyone who tries to register. Send them a notification email explaining that you’re reviewing their form.
Once you’ve reviewed their information, if the applicant is qualified, send an acceptation email. If the applicant is not qualified, gently explain why via email and encourage him or her to reapply for future events.
The numbers aren’t so important
The thought of attracting as many attendees as possible to your event is very appealing. However, the numbers aren’t so important if your guests are not qualified to attend. Depending on the nature of your event, make sure to accept those people who can provide value to other attendees, while staying aligned with your event’s values.