Nine easy ways to boost conference attendance
You’ve nailed down a great idea for your next conference or corporate event, planning is well and truly underway but now you just need to get attendee registration numbers up so you have a full house.
The bright side is, there are nine easy ways to boost conference attendance, and we’ve laid them all out for your below.
Ask Audiences What They Want
Using pre-event polling, you’re easily able to ask your audience what they want out of the event well before it’s due to begin. This means you’ll be able to tailor your conference content to their interests, making it much more likely they’ll come along, and maybe bring a colleague or two.
Invite Early and Follow-Up Regularly
When it comes to boosting your event attendance, there’s few things that can help out as much as giving your invitees plenty of notice. Whether you’re inviting over e-mail, on the phone or in person, be sure to give the person on the other end of the line as much time as possible. This reduces the chance of conflicts and also gives them something to be excited about in the future. Early-bird specials also go a long way to securing attendees long before an event.
Do remember to follow-up with a phone call as the date approaches: the one negative of an early invitation is that people do tend to be forgetful. It’s up to you to make sure your event stays front of mind for your potential attendees.
Build a Simple, Clear Agenda
When it comes to providing your invitees with an event programme, the easiest way to quickly capture their attention is to build a clear and simple agenda that adheres to the major themes of your event. By keeping the ideas broad and schedule easy to understand, you make it much easier to build expectations and anticipation in your invitees.
Once you have this basic framework put together, it’s just as important to communicate it early. This will give your attendees a clear picture of what they’ll be getting up to well ahead of time, which is all the more time for them to recommend your captivating event programme to a colleague or friend.
Attendees Can Promote Your Event Too!
Speaking of having attendees bring colleagues along, once you’ve crafted your enticing agenda, special group offers or “buy two for the price of one” deals are great for encouraging prospective event-goers to invite their friends and colleagues, which goes a long way to increasing event attendance.
Having a strong social media presence prior to the event can also encourage potential attendees to get a buzz going on those platforms, especially if you have an engaging hashtag to go along with your great content.
Event Day And Time Is Critical
The right time for a conference will vary based on your type of event and audience. You can find a full breakdown here, but as a general rule, it’s best to host events on either Tuesdays or Thursdays.
Mondays and Fridays are usually overshadowed by the weekend and Wednesday earns its moniker of hump day. It’s ideal to begin either at 10 AM, as this gives time for attendees to organise their work days, or in the afternoon, as they’ll be more alert with post-lunch energy.
It’s also very important to avoid timeslots of similar events. If you’re hosting a tech conference, there’s no use running it at the same time as a larger event like SXSW.
Location, Location, Location
That old adage has been hanging around business schools for generations, but it is just as relevant now as when it was first coined.
One of the simplest ways to increase attendance at events is to make sure the venue is located in a central location that’s relatively near to your intended audience. It’s also a good idea to choose a place that is both experienced in hosting similar events and that attendees would be excited to visit.
And, once an invitation has been accepted or ticket bought, be sure to supply detailed directions for various modes of transport.
Don’t Forget Event Partners
Attendees aren’t the only ones you can leverage for cross-promotion. Make sure that both your speakers and your venue are integrated into your promotional efforts. Whether on social media or their respective websites, reaching out to their audiences can only help in getting the word out to as many people as possible.
Make it easy for your partners to get the word out by sharing ready-to-go copy for social media posts, newsletters and websites. If you’ve prepared imagery to promote your event, pass it along so anyone involved in the event can easily promote out to their communities.
Provide Networking Opportunities
Whether it’s as a chance to discuss the topics of the event or purely career-motivated, most attendees will want an opportunity to network during an event or a conference. By including a time in your agenda for something like a meet and greet and post-event drinks and refreshments, you’re much more likely to see an exciting turnout.
Though this obviously won’t help you prior to an event, sending an e-mail thanking attendees for their attendance and participation can go a long way to making them feel appreciated. And this means they’ll be a lot more likely to go again next time you come calling.
Using these nine steps, you should be able to start seeing an upwards trend in your average event attendance rate, making your business all the better for it. And knowing you’ll have a full house will allow you to focus on making your event as good as it can be. We teamed up with with Eventbrite and put together an ideas handbook that might give you a headstart in planning a memorable event – check it out below.