5 Ways to Increase Event Attendance

Sell, sell, sell — that’s all we think about when wanting to increase event presence as much as possible. Not only is it a top goal, but it also creates a lot of pressure and can be a huge stressor for most event companies and marketers.

Let’s relieve some of that stress with these five tips on how you can increase event attendance right away.

1. Leverage your email list.

Email marketing is critical when promoting an upcoming event. Let’s start with personal invites. This is a great way to increase awareness, while also providing a human-centric touch. People want personalization in their emails; they want to feel special and to be seen as individuals. Personal invites also stand out in someone’s inbox as highly relevant, as they are tailored specifically to them. Use this tactic with your email list and encourage your sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, etc., to do the same.

Share your event in creative ways such as in a newsletter or through a video invite. Video can facilitate a more personal connection than written content and can be an emotional driver that helps increase sales and generate long-term customers.

Also, drive your content through list segmentation, which allows you to get granular with your content and the audience you are speaking to. Audience segmenting is a key driver for personalization as well. By dividing your audience into segments and tailoring your message to each one, you have a better chance of connecting with each customer, hitting them with information that’s specific to them.

2. Use ad retargeting and geofencing.

Retargeting can be used to reengage (or “retarget”) people who came to your website to buy a ticket or register for your event, but they never completed the transaction. This technique displays relevant ads to past website visitors while they’re browsing other sites online. Your ad should encourage them to revisit your site and finish their purchase. Don’t be afraid to generate a sense of urgency in your creative and messaging.

Geofencing is another great way to market your event to a particular group or audience around a specific targeted area. Geofencing allows you to set virtual boundaries around a geographic area. When someone enters that area, their mobile device sets off an action, such as a push notification, etc.

You can use geofencing in a few ways, but for building attendance, target competitor events. You can do this through the location, date, and time of the competitor’s event and then creating a value proposition to entice the person to click the ad.

3. Offer discounts.

Discounts are a great way to reward people for registering for an event. A small discount strategy can incentivize ticket purchases and drive sales. So, whether it’s early-bird rates, discount codes, or referral codes, you want to get inventive when applying discounts.

Discounts can be essential in developing your marketing strategy; however, if you don’t use discounts correctly, you risk losing your brand’s value.

Pros for Using Discounts Cons for Using Discounts
Drives more sales volume

Brings in new customers

Builds relationships with loyal patrons

Creates buyer urgency

Helps people choose your event over competitors’

Can decrease profit margins

Can lower perceived worth of event

Showcasing to people who only value discounts

Shifts focus from event value to price

Competitive price war

Before you decide on a discount strategy, make sure you set your goals. Your objectives will define the type of discount you can offer. There are many ways to use discounts, and to avoid any uncertainty, map out a transparent approach. Having these options outlined gives you flexibility when it comes to ticketing, which will make it easier to sell at all stages of event promotion.

4. Develop lookalike audiences.

You have people who previously purchased tickets to your event, and now you want to find more just like them. A great way to do this is by creating lookalike audiences through mail lists and social channels.

A lookalike audience lets your ads reach new people who may be interested in your event because of their similarities to your current customers. Most social channels have the technology you need to find lookalike audiences.

5. Gather and analyze digital analytics from your event to learn from activity.

The more you know about how visitors found you, the more educated you are in making decisions to advocate in the right places online. Without this knowledge, you won’t know the potential problems your event’s online presence is facing or be able to make any important changes.

Web analytics is defined as “the measurement and analysis of data to inform an understanding of user behavior across web pages.” Analytics data shows whether your marketing is working and areas where you can improve. This type of insight can benefit your events.

Here are six ways to get started measuring digital analytics:

  • Choose an analytics platform that works for you and your current software. Google Analytics is a good and free place to start.
  • Set up tracking by placing pixels and integrating API on all pages of your website.
  • Create segments of your overall audience by collecting data from your pixels. As previously mentioned, segmenting your audience is a huge marketing benefit.
  • Track your progress. This is established by your analytics tool once it is configured and set up.
  • Report and analyze the data being provided by the analytics tool and grow your event.
  • Define and measure your goals by different variables.

Attendance marketing can be difficult; however, by implementing these five tips into your everyday marketing strategy, you are sure to be off to a great start. Remember, having a plan is key, and creating opportunities for personalization is a must.

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Jenn Karsner, senior marketing manager, Strategic Events, Meetings, and Incentives, comes to MCI USA with an entrepreneurial mindset that was sharpened by owning her own business. This spirit is coupled with the event experience she gained from more than 10 years of running and managing events and marketing. Jenn loves to travel and spend time with her son.