By Samantha Stallard, Director of Marketing & Business Development
Event organizers have incredible responsibilities that often seem disjointed. Planners spend their days bouncing between tech vendors, caterers, endless budget spreadsheets, and a list of duties that never seems to end. But of all these responsibilities, the most important once is ensuring your event is well attended.
Without attendees, it's almost impossible to write your event off as a success. Low registration rates impact everything from the satisfaction of event sponsors to revenue and positive publicity. While attracting guests and improving event registration rates can be a challenge, it's definitely not impossible. But, as consumers get savvier and increasingly bored with repeat experiences, event marketers need to respond with increased personality and creativity in their event promotion. Here are three new and interesting strategies to increase event registrations for your next experience:
1. Experiment with longform social content
While tweets and Instagram posts should be apart of your promotion campaign, you can't just rely on 140 characters and a heavily filtered photo to attract registrations. Try YouTube Live or Instagram Live to take advantage of the current craze for live video, broadcasting to your audience in real-time, filming anything from sneak peeks, interviews with presenting speakers or artists, insider tips for event day from your team, or a contest to win tickets or VIP perks. This might be as simple as your basic enter-to-win sweepstakes or a tag-a-friend contest (“Who would you bring?”). People love to share chances to win with their friends, but make sure to study up on the rules and regulations each social media platform upholds around contests.
Another creative event promotion idea that people don’t always think of is podcasting. An impressive 67 million Americans listen to podcasts every month. Launch your own podcast, with a theme that’s relevant to your event or, for less effort, become a sponsor or guest speaker for an existing podcast that draws a similar target audience.
2. Don't settle for one registration type
People like having choices, so give potential attendees multiple options. Aside from a basic registration, try adding:
- Early bird tickets: Award those who reserve their registration early by giving them a discounted rate. Whatever date you begin selling registrations, create a window of opportunity for early bird pricing. If you begin selling registrations two months out from the event, for example, then consider a discount price for the first two weeks. Heavily advertise this to get people to take advantage of the offer. Aside from the cheaper price, early bird sales also ensure that those who buy first are guaranteed a spot. This also prevents you from having too many registrations that have to be sold last minute.
- Half day tickets: If your event spans the course of a weekend or a whole day, then provide partial day access for those that cannot attend the whole event. Keep in mind that there are those who would like to attend but are unable to spare a weekend or even a full day. Provide people in this situation with the option to attend for just the afternoon or evening portion of the event.
- VIP tickets: Give your guests the option to upgrade their experience with top-shelf access and experiences. Your VIP packages should offer conveniences such as VIP restrooms or check-in lanes, shuttles from a central location to the event, or partner with a rideshare company like Lyft to provide a free coupon code. VIPs are willing to pay up for exclusive access with the artists or performers. Complimentary drinks and VIP viewing areas are also popular, all of which come together to build a unique community area for VIPs to relax and enjoy.
3. Partner with industry outlets and influencers
One of the best ways to reach a qualified audience is to partner with relevant outlets. Partnerships with high traffic blogs, niche websites, and industry leaders who have a strong following on social media are all options for generating event buzz. In order to do so, however, you have to provide potential partners with something of value in return.
Provide partners with tickets that they can use in a giveaway or contest. Keeping the excitement surrounding your event going is one of the most difficult things that an organizer has to do. If you can get industry leaders to run contests in which they promote just how great your event is, this can accomplish the goals of building excitement, filling your event, and developing further intrigue Or give them free tickets in exchange for promotion. This is a fairly common practice that allows the industry leader to do what they want with the tickets that you give them, as they're generally more intrigued by networking opportunities than anything else.