Planning a successful event takes a LOT of work. We won’t even downplay the process and say it’s easy. There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes to ensure that your event is as impressive and profitable as it can be. It’s a challenge to mount, yes; but, fortunately, very much doable and possible — even if you’re not a seasoned pro. After planning for weeks or months, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing all the efforts turn out into a beautiful event where everything goes according to the plan.
Perhaps the most painful thing about an event is low turnout. Seeing a lot of seats empty at your venue destroys a planner’s confidence and morale, not to mention the client-planner relationship. Thus, it is important that you and your team place as much time and effort into marketing the event as mounting it. Luckily for everyone, if you get the basics of event marketing down pat, you can expect a high number of happy attendees. Here are 8 ways to ensure that people actually show up at your event.
- Give people what they want.
Your event will not have any attendees if nobody or only a few people will be interested in coming. The goal is to get as much traffic as possible so you have to think of a theme or an act that will be attractive. The biggest mistake an event planner can make it organizing an event according to what he or she wants, without first finding out what the audience is looking for. Conduct surveys, ask questions, do your research. In short, find out exactly what people will be willing to set aside time and money for and hit that mark.
- Highlight the event’s objective.
Your event’s Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is the one big reason why people will want to attend your event. Whether it’s a seminar, a brand activation, a concert or a fundraising activity, it is important that you specific the UVP to your market early on. Why would people want to attend your event? Gather the top two or three reasons and then use these in your marketing strategy in a cogent and concise manner.
- Pick a place and date that’s convenient for the majority.
So, you already have your theme and ready to book a venue. If you want more people to come, you have to pick a place that’s easily accessible for everyone. Is it reachable via public transport? Does it have ample parking space? The date also matters. You will likely have bigger traffic if you hold it on a weekend, when most people are free from work. Holding it during a season break also guarantees higher foot traffic. Take note that most events are mounted during these peak times so you should book your date and place as early as you can to get ahead of possible competition.
- Promote as early as possible.
Calendars fill up very fast especially for peak seasons and popular venues and dates. For instance, June is popular for weddings while December is Christmas party gold. The moment you confirm the existence of an event, book the venue right away and start sending out save-the-dates for attendees to alert them of an incoming happening. Don’t leave your invites to the last minute and give at least three months of lead time for people to fix their schedules. Save-the-dates and teasers are effective at informing people of your event before the full-scope promotional strategy begins.
- Maximize the power of social media to market your event.
Everybody’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and more. Ensure that you are reaching a wide market by utilizing social media as part of your promotional campaign.
- Offer incentives and similar attractions.
You are more likely to generate interest for your event if you incorporate promos, raffles and early registration incentives to your marketing strategy. These efforts also allow to connect on a more personal level with your would-be audience and, thus, increases the chances of a full attendance.
- Tap into your existing connections.
When it comes to promoting an event, you can already set up a good number of potential attendees by starting with people you already know. Tap into your existing database of contacts or get in touch with previous sponsors, partners and attendees to see if they would again be interested in another run. These connections can also help you promote your event using their own channels.
- Simplify the RSVP and ticketing process.
Make it easy for people to get information and purchase tickets to your event. If it requires a pre-registration, don’t make it difficult for them to key in their details. Make sure your online form loads fast and does not turn up error pages. Provide numbers where they can call and make inquiries. Set up a Facebook page. Tap into as many partners as you can so that tickets are more widely distributed and are easy to access.