By Samantha Stallard, Director of Marketing & Business Development
We've said it before and we'll say it again; your event is only as successful as your guests say it is. One of the most difficult parts of event planning, especially if you are hosting a brand new experience, is getting the word out and generating excitement among your ideal attendees. After all, if you fail to fill seats, it doesn't matter how incredible the other elements of your event are, because no one was there to experience them!
Attendance and promotion is a phase one strategy of any successful event. Getting the word out early ensures your potential guests can plan for, and save for, attending as well as encourage others to join them. Here are three of the most successful strategies we've seen to increase event attendance:
1. partner with MICRO-INFLUENCERs
Effective influencer marketing captures the influencer's voice and promotes an authentic message to their followers. Micro-influencers have smaller, more niche followings, and have likely participated in fewer sponsored posts in the past, making their relationship with your event feel more authentic than their more well-known counterparts. Micro-influencers are also more likely to have a following in their geographic area, rather than a celebrity with fans all over the world.
Your strategy should start with figuring out what type of person is best for your event. Typically, they'd represent your ideal attendee. Next, define how much the attendance of a micro-influencer and subsequent social media posts are worth to you. Its important not to approach this as, "How much do we pay them to hype and attend our event?" Instead, it's a marketing cost designed to drive brand awareness, event engagement, and guest attendance.
2. Promote early and often
If your event has more to offer than a standard general admission ticket, make sure you promote your varying packages, with a heavy focus on the most VIP experiences. When you first kick off event planning, promote a landing page on social media where your followers (and, of course, the guest personas you're targeting through paid promotion) can sign up to receive the latest information.
Email your recipients monthly until you're about 12 to eight weeks out — then move to weekly or biweekly. Hype the event by slowly revealing performers, experiences, packages, and even notable attendees. By not overloading each email, you are ensuring that your recipients are digesting all the valuable information you're providing and exciting them to open the next one.
3. Design a beautiful event website
First and foremost, create a strong CTA. It is crucial for an event website to include a clear, concise, and visibly obvious call to action (CTA). Do you want guests to RSVP to your event? Are you looking for them to purchase tickets? Perhaps you just want them to sign up for your newsletter. Whatever action you want potential attendees to take, make it clear on each page — don’t keep them guessing! And remember, it only takes 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website and decide whether they want to leave your page or stay and engage. With this insanely short decision-making timeframe, keep copy tight.
A whopping 59% of consumers register for events on their mobile devices. With more than half of your attendees viewing and interacting with your event website via their phones, it’s extremely important that the experience on mobile is just as good (if not better) than the experience on desktop. Design CTAs to be finger-friendly and make text legible.