11 Ways to Increase Attendance at Your Event

Increase Attendace

The NHS Confederation's annual conference and exhibition in 2011.

You have worked hard to put together a wonderful event. You have chosen a great location that is easily accessible, chosen a fantastic lineup of speakers and activities, taken charge of the food, sound systems and other details. Now you are hoping that the attendance at your event will be fantastic.

However, attendance does not happen just by magical thinking. There are certain things you can do to increase attendance to your event. Here are some pointers to consider during planning:

  1. Generate excitement. Even before you send out the invitations, mention the event to people who comprise your target market. These may be people in your mailing list and on your social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, among others.
  2. Send a Calendar Date. It that will tell a little about the event you are planning. This can be sent even while you're still planning the event. It can be a brief note, whether sent electronically or on paper, to inform people of the scheduled day, and talk a bit about what the general agenda will be, etc.
  3. Credibility is important. Attendees want to join events where people whom they admire and respect will be featured, so choose your guest speakers well, and pick your sponsors carefully.
  4. Show your track record. Include background data, testimonials and the names of previous attendees who may be well known in any flyers or electronic announcements that you send out.
  5. When naming your event, include its main benefit in the name. That way, right off, people will know what they are getting, and this will generate interest in those who are looking out for an event like yours. Also, for enhanced credibility, be selective with your publicity materials and your methods of advertising.
  6. Now you can send out a detailed invitation. This can be done electronically. Include a personalized note along with the invitation so the receiver will feel more special.
  7. Make phone calls to those who were sent invitations. However, distribute the job of calling people who were sent invitations. Let those in your team who know specific guests personally, be assigned to call these guests by phone.
  8. Highlight the event on your website. This is your home. You can present every detail, every benefit, the name of every speaker, and the complete agenda on your website. You can also highlight past events that have had great success.
  9. Make sure your website has a URL. This is a personalized URL. It provides a way for customers to speak directly to you on your website. A survey by the Direct Marketing Association stated that about 50% of people who receive direct mail invitations prefer responding through URLs. The benefits include instant responses which facilitate registration, real-time tracking, and information about callers that can be useful for future contact.
  10. Visit blogs and websites that may have readers interested in your event, and, ideally, those with high traffic. Post an enticing comment, and then add a link back to your website. This will bring them to your URL, too.
  11. Mention your event on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Do this regularly and lead them to your website. Also, ask friends, peers and top clients to comment and tweet about your event.
Photo courtesy of NHS Confederation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Mona Sabalones Gonzalez is a veteran writer, editor and columnist in her country, the Philippines. She has also contributed articles to regional and some international publications. She and her husband Ed do publicity and advertising writing for select clients and media coverage for events. Mona has written for several online publications and she and Ed have a personal blog, The Euthymic Dog, which is about their shared passion for animals and the environment.


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