The last few weeks or months have seen you carefully coordinating all the tasks required for pulling off a successful event. The room is perfect, guest speakers have been confirmed, catering is booked and ready to go, and the guest list is bursting at the seams.
Understandably, you’re a little surprised on the day when the number of guests walking through the door is far outweighed by the amount that hasn’t bothered to show. It’s a frustrating and confusing situation in which to find yourself. Plus, when you add in the financial loss, an event with an unacceptable number of no-shows is annoying.
All the event planning in the world can’t guarantee an abundant attendance rate, but your event marketing skills can turn the tables on whether an event turns out to be a roaring success or a dismal failure.
To ensure your next event doesn’t suffer from a high number of last-minute drop-outs, we’ve compiled a list of event tips that can help you get bums on seats and a produce a long line of enthusiastic attendees waiting at the door.
If you ever wonder about how to get people to your next event always keep in mind that your prospective audience is interested in one thing and one thing only, “What’s in it for me?”.
If you’re offering promotions, discounts, or freebies, then you can take advantage of this self-interest by ensuring your offer is heavily publicized. Use your event blog to promote your gifts, or publish printable vouchers online.
Get busy on social media spreading the word and pronounce the offers prominently on every invite you send out. Get your invitees excited about the gifts that await them at the gate. Make it very clear how much value your offers can provide, but the only way to benefit is to show up on the day.
Gift bags are an excellent way to hand out your freebies but don’t think of them as throwaways after the event. Instead, use the opportunity to spread the word about your brand.
Smart Carrier Bags come in a wide range of styles and sizes, and printed gift bags are also available in a variety of materials; from printed tote bags to luxury laminated paper bags, and plastic carrier bags to printed paper food bags with convenient punched handles. Every bag is highly customizable to your exact specifications.
If you make it known that a high-quality gift bag full of useful goodies will be handed out at your event, people will be willing to show up just for the chance to grab one.
Getting the most attendees at your event starts at the very beginning – the planning stage.
Consider the audience who will get the most value out of your event. Start with the time slot; will your audience be more available for an event hosted during the middle of the day, or will a Friday night post-work event with dinner and drinks work better for them?
Why not try asking your target audience directly to find out which time slot would work best? A poll on your event blog is an affordable way to do this. Surveying your audience beforehand will also inspire a high attendance rate, as more people will feel obligated to show up if they think they have contributed to the planning in some small way.
You could also send out surveys by mail. In today’s age of digital communication, the letterbox doesn’t receive as much action as it used to, and it may even be considered unusual or quaint to communicate in this way, so more people are sure to take notice. A personalised invite, with a printed voucher, will also serve as a constant reminder as they notice it on the fridge or noticeboard every morning.
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Always include an RSVP as this will help to improve your response rate, and you will have firmer numbers about how many gifts you will need to have on hand. For events that provide training, or if it’s some other type of paid event, then asking for payment upfront is the wisest choice.
Not only is it a relatively minor thing to issue a refund if needed, but the money the guests have invested in the event will motivate them towards attending.
For a registered event, open the registration when it is reasonably close to the day, especially if the event is a local affair. Allowing too much time to pass between registration and the actual event will mean more people will simply forget. If registrations are not required, make sure the details are clearly stated on your website, put them on all of your social media properties, and include them in all the advertising you publish.
As the opening day rolls closer, gentle reminders sent out at intervals will keep the date fresh in the minds of your attendees. A quick email with news about what they can expect to see at the event will also serve as a reminder for them to keep that date open.
Get the conversation going with testimonials about past events as it will help build enthusiasm for the next one coming up. Share the testimonials on your website, as well as your social media properties.
If it’s not confidential information, you can also list other attendees and businesses who will be present at the event. Business people love to network and knowing there will be others in their industry to connect with will help inspire them to show up on the day.
Other great ways to get the word out are to share videos and images, post informative articles on your event blog, and publish statistics on subjects relevant to the event. All the activity online promotes engagement and helps to build enthusiasm and curiosity for potential attendees to find out more.
Tagging people on social media is an excellent strategy to build momentum for smaller events due to tags being a more personal level of connection. Let them know how much you are looking forward to catching up with them at the event and sharing in the latest industry news.
If you can keep the buzz going from your end, it’s possible that your posts will get shared, and your message could escape from your inner circle to circulate the wider community and build more interest.
If you are looking for more strategies that will show you how to reduce non-attendance at an event, making a personal call to the attendees is one worthy of note. Make the call the day before the event under the guise of verifying numbers. The attendees get a friendly reminder to show up, plus they will also appreciate the personal level of attention.
While you will never get 100% attendance at all your events, following the above procedures will ensure that the numbers never disappoint and more of your events can be checked off as a resounding success.