It might seem like events are no longer necessary in this era of digital marketing, but live events are still a powerful tool for building relationships, rewarding past customers, and showcasing your team and your products. But, your event is only as good as your turnout. A poor turnout isn’t only a missed opportunity to connect with potential customers, but it can send the wrong message to those who do attend.
Why do events matter?
Events are still a time-tested way to make new contacts, find new suppliers, and shorten the sales cycle. Consider these statistics about events from exponents.com:
- 92% of trade show attendees are on the lookout for new products.
- 99% found unique value in this B2B marketing strategy that they did not get from other channels.
- 77% of business decision-makers found at least one new supplier at the last trade show they attended.
Events are also important for networking, increasing your brand awareness, and getting valuable feedback from the people who know and use your products or services.
How to motivate people to attend your event
The good news is that you don’t need to hire an A-lister to be the keynote speaker at your event. There are many effective ways to entice people to attend your event without spending a fortune to hire a celebrity. Just a few of these include:
Reward past attendees
One effective event promotion technique is to use your past attendee list and offer an incentive for those people to attend your new event. These people are already inclined to support your business and are open to the idea of attending an event. You might offer them an early booking discount or preferred seating.
Build an event landing page
One of the easiest and most effective ways you can promote your event is to build an event landing page. This allows Google to include your event in its Google event rich search results. To do this, use Schema mark up in your page along with good search engine optimization practices to let the search engine know what your event is all about. You can read more about how to do this using the link below.
Offer early bird incentives
Increase your early bookings (and reduce your anxiety that your turnout will be sparse) by offering an incentive for those who RSVP by a certain date. This might be a discount, preferred seating, or a small gift, such as a T-shirt.
Early booking incentives play to people’s fear of missing out. By setting a “book by” date, you’ll encourage interested parties to make their reservations early and not miss out on the incentive — or the event altogether, if it books up.
Promote the location
If you’re planning an event that will (hopefully) attract attendees from out of town, make sure to promote the advantages of the city and the area surrounding the meeting venue. After all, attendees aren’t going to spend all day every day at your event. They will want to see the city’s attractions, dine in area restaurants, and go shopping while they are at the event.
Work with industry organizations
Industry associations and business groups can also help you get the word out about your event. If your event is focused on a local audience, your chamber of commerce can help you contact potential attendees (generally only if you’re a member). In addition, industry associations can mention your event on their social media pages or in their publications.
Targeted ads on LinkedIn
LinkedIn, the social media networking platform, can also be a big help with marketing for events. Using LinkedIn targeted ads, you can reach an audience with greater likelihood of interest in your event than the general population. You can create an event page on LinkedIn, where interested parties can ask questions and learn about the details of your event.
Leverage event sponsors with promotion
Do you have sponsors for your event? If your event is large enough, you should be able to get other noncompeting companies to help pay for and promote your event. This gives you a new customer base that will see your event posting. The more event sponsors, the greater your reach.
Give group discounts
Getting groups of people from the same company or the same trade organization to attend your event is an easy way to increase your attendance without a lot of extra work. Make it appealing for groups to attend by offering an admission price discount to groups.
Start contests within the company
One of your best promotion vehicles is right in your own organization. Get your workforce excited about your event, and they can spread the word to their business contacts, friends and family. Encourage them by offering an incentive for the most RSVPs or for every employee who gets at least a dozen people to attend (or whatever number is reasonable for your function).
Paid social media ads
Using paid ads on Facebook and other social media channels can also be effective. The beauty of this type of advertising is that the platform only shows the ad to users likely to be interested in your event.
Promote the fun stuff
Your event isn’t going to be 100% business, is it? We hope not. Motivate people to attend by promoting the nonbusiness elements of the event. Are you going to have food, entertainment and/or cocktail parties? Make sure that you talk about these fun aspects of the event.
Issues different types of passes
Make it easy for people to attend just the parts of your event that interest them by offering different types of passes. In addition to an all-access pass, you might consider a trade-show-only pass, a student pass, a keynote pass and/or a premium pass that gives the attendee access to something exclusive, like a premium lounge, a members-only cocktail party, or a gift.
Promoting your event so you have a large turnout doesn’t have to be difficult. Just choose a few of our suggestions on marketing for events, and watch the RSVPs come rolling in. For more information on how to promote an event, contact ER Marketing. We’ve helped companies like yours get the most for their marketing dollars for more than 20 years.