A successful conference requires a lot of planning. You have to pick a venue, create an agenda for the day, and find keynote speakers. After nailing down all the details, you need to figure out how to fill up the empty seats. While many people who attended your previous event will likely participate in the upcoming conference, things may change; their schedules and budgets may make them unavailable. Since you cannot guarantee attendance, you need to promote your event annually. Old event marketing methods will not scratch the surface in the digital age. Here are tips and tricks that will boost your conference attendance.
Conduct an audience survey
People attend conferences for various reasons. Some want to network with other professionals in their field, while others are interested in the speeches. Knowing the top driver for attending events will help you create a customised experience for the attendees.
RELATED: Keeping attendance levels at your event
Instead of assuming what the attendees want, you can do pre-conference surveys to collect views. The poll answers will give you an insight of what the attendees hope to achieve by attending the conference. It also makes them feel part of the event and increases their chances of attending.
Send invitations early
Most of your target audience are professionals who work with tight schedules planned months prior. Therefore, if you want to increase their chance of attending your conference, you need to send the invitations early. Making phone calls and sending emails gives your potential attendees adequate time to fit the event in their schedules. Besides, you will have given them something exciting to look forward to attending.
The downside to sending invitations months before the event is that people tend to forget. However, you can send reminders via email or call them to refresh their memory. To ensure you do not lose potential attendees, you can secure them with early bird event deals.
Customise your marketing efforts to increase conference attendance
When dealing with attendees, classify them accordingly and ensure you tailor your marketing to suit the audience. For instance, someone who has been attending your events needs a different approach compared to first-time attendees. Therefore, you should target the guests based on the value they get from your conference. Promoting learning and networking opportunities is crucial to boosting your event attendance. Irrespective of the marketing method you use, ensure it is custom-made. Email personalisation will make your invitation stand out from the various promotional emails people get every day.
RELATED: A Complete Guide To Conference Social Media Marketing
Use social media to boost event attendance
If you host a conference annually, you need an online community to engage the attendees and encourage in-depth discussions. The online forums increase conference attendance by building on the relationships formed in the previous events. Social media pages and websites also create awareness and encourage people to attend. However, you should use thoughtful social media posts like pictures of the previous event and encourage people to share their opinions. You should also create an event landing page on your website dedicated to driving the audience to register for the conference.
Location still matters
The venue of your conference will make or break the event. For example, attendees may shy away from distant locations. The site should be exciting and accessible for your audience. Therefore, stick to a place that hosts similar conferences and advise guests on the logistical preparations. If attendees have to stay the night, recommend convenient accommodation. You should also attach detailed directions to the venue.
Encourage the attendees and speakers to promote the event
The easiest way to increase your conference attendance is by encouraging attendees to spread the word and invite other experts in their field. Have an engaging hashtag for potential event-goers to use on social media. Multiple shares and mentions of the event will get a buzz going and pique interest in people you could not reach. Besides, you can use special offers to boost conference attendance. Keynote speakers can also promote the event on their social media pages and websites.
Related: 7 Tips for Finding Conference Speakers
Make sure you follow-up after the conference
If you want to keep event attendance high, ensure your follow-up with your attendees. Sending a thank-you note and inviting them to join your online community makes it easy to win them every time you are hosting an event.
Having a full house requires detailed event planning techniques and creating a memorable experience for your guests.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings, including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations. Get in touch with us.