Event planning and event promotion go hand in hand. A successful event is a well-attended one, but with busy schedules and tight travel budgets, it can be challenging to reach your audience and confirm their presence at your next trade show, sales meeting or product launch.
Here are 10 tips to help you entice event participants and enhance turnout:
- Choose an appealing location – while the main purpose of an event may be to promote, engage or educate, an attractive setting and alluring locale can “seal the deal.” When booking, ensure that the venue and locale will draw attendees with its own particular cachet: culture, nightlife, cuisine, sandy beaches or snow-covered ski slopes can make an already-appealing event irresistible.
- Coordinate event calendars – event dates and locales are often set up to a year in advance, making it challenging to avoid conflicts. Whenever possible, ensure maximum separation from competing or comparable events, especially ones in disparate geographies, to minimize event fatigue.
- Collocate with related events – an alternate strategy is to schedule your event in conjunction with a major industry event at a nearby venue. If your industry’s keystone conference or trade show runs Tuesday-Thursday at a convention center, consider holding your own event at a nearby hotel on the preceding or following weekend.
- Promote with social media – events by definition are social gatherings and therefore perfect for social promotion. Build and cultivate groups, hashtags and other channels across the social media platform(s) relevant to your audience. Amplify your and your partners’ presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and use communications over Messenger, WhatsApp and WeeChat to engage directly with event attendees.
- Nurture your mailing list – engaging with confirmed and potential attendees boosts event turnout. Build your mailing from prior registrations, website visits, partners/exhibitors and purchased lists. Curate and nurture your list, reaching out with offers, promotions, social media, registration reminders, highlights and other enticements. Increase the frequency of interaction as the event approaches.
- Highlight event talent – in email campaigns and social media posts, highlight the names and backgrounds of keynote speakers, panelists, entertainers and other event talent. Include quotes and video clips to emphasize that yours is a must-attend meeting, conference or launch.
- Leverage partner marketing – your organization may be the event “owner” or main sponsor, but you should also leverage the brands and marketing resources of partners, exhibitors and other co-sponsors. Include shared marketing responsibilities in agreements and coordinate promotion efforts around mailing lists and social media.
- Travel information and assistance – events large and small benefit from preselecting event lodging, negotiating discounted room rates, reserving blocks of rooms and providing ground transportation to/from venues. To minimize “in-and-out” attendance, facilitate long weekends and extended stays at event locales for attendees with weekend rates, must-see lists and planned excursions.
- Accommodate families and significant others – you can further amplify attendance by making it easy to bring a “plus-one.” Negotiate multiple occupancy room rates at resort venues and schedule companion events and excursions for maximum effect.
- Foster attendee networking – after content, attendees report the most valuable and lasting outcomes are connections made at events. Facilitate these connections with receptions and mixers and by supporting “hallway” meetings with ample seating and café klatches.
Driving event attendance is a multifactored challenge. These ten tips represent proven techniques for boosting turnout and engaging future audiences. In planning your next event, look to Temple Rock Productions to help you design an effective promotional mix and create a memorable event experience