6 ways to increase conference attendance
Whether you issue tickets, send email reminders, or hand deliver a golden countdown clock, attendees will drop out of your event for uncontrollable reasons.
However, some guests will skip events because of reasons in your control. They might have forgotten it was coming up and planned too much work. Or perhaps they didn’t realise how long the commute would be.
Our Director of Community, Paul Donovan-Hart, has been managing events for the previous 20 years. Here are his 6 top ways to increase attendance at your next conference or mixer.
6 ways to reduce event dropout and increase your chances of a full house:
1: Choose a convenient location and time
Your final turn out begins from the moment you start planning your event. Research your audience's location and schedules to choose a time and venue that works for attendees. Consider the likelihood of your target market being able to leave the office or get child care.
Constraints such as seasonality of work, weather, and transport challenges also come into play when choosing your location. It may seem obvious not to plan a winter event in an outdoor venue on a derby day. But poor planning makes event mishaps more likely than you'd think.
2: Communicate the exclusive and valuable content at your event
Often attendees drop out because they don't feel strongly drawn to the event. They don't see the value they will receive beyond a day out.
To get attendees excited, you can tease and drip-feed the type of content they'll receive on the day. With the promise of something tangible in value, attendees will develop a fear of missing out and be more likely to attend.
3: Ask for attendee engagement pre-event
When you contribute to something, you develop a sense of pride. You can build a sense of pride and responsibility in your guests by asking attendees for their input.
Ways to get your guests involved pre-event include:
- Let guests vote on the agenda and topics
- Ask for feedback on suggested talks and speaker
- Poll your sign-ups on why they registered
- Requests guests to click attending on a LinkedIn or Facebook event
These tiny actions build up to make individuals feel part of the event and, therefore, obliged to attend.
4: Send timely reminders to your guests
Who are your users, and how do they use their email and calendar? Depending if your audience is office workers, field contractors, or even stay-at-home parents, each audience will respond differently to reminders.
A good rule of thumb is to send calendar invites in your ticket confirmation email. You can also send a reminder two weeks before, one week before, and the day before an event. You might even remind them on the day if it's a city centre event.
Remember to include all logistics in your reminder emails to remove any barriers to attendance.
5: Recruit respected event advocates
Event advocates are individuals who are not involved in running the event but will promote attendance. Your advocates can organically drum up noise about your conference on social media and in networking circles.
Choose people who are genuinely interested in your event, well-connected, and liked. Ask them to tell people they are attending and encourage others to look forward to the event. In doing so, you'll solidify your event in attendees' minds as they see their peers planning ahead.
6: Add a wow factor
Finally, to add the cherry on top and get guests excited about your event; you need a dash of wow factor. Something to make guests show their colleagues or raise their eyebrows approvingly.
Your wow factor can be expensive or cheap as chips. It only needs to be something your target audience will be desperate to see.
Ideas for event wow factors:
- A well-known key speaker
- An exclusive reveal
- A luxury experience
- A piece of information guests can't access elsewhere
- An uncommon or fun experience
Good luck! Use these tips to help as many attendees come to your event as possible. But when the day of your event arrives, remember to have fun and not take dropouts to heart, life happens.
If you'd like help organising your next conference, company mixer, or cocktail evening in Manchester, please don't hesitate to contact Paul. using email@example.com.
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