Here at Webideation, our Orange County web design business, our clients often want our expert opinions on a variety of marketing issues. Today, let’s talk about how to improve attendance at your next event.
You interviewed and scheduled intriguing speakers. You secured the perfect venue and arranged for refreshments. You made sure every detail was perfect. Wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to make sure your event is well-attended? Of course you would, especially since a poorly-attended event can do more harm than good for your business image.
With these tips, you can spread the word online without spending a fortune promoting your event. Using online methods to promote your event can also help improve your website’s SEO by creating mentions in searches and social media, not to mention increased exposure to a targeted audience.
1. YOUR WEBSITE – Make room on your home page for upcoming events, and include a clickable call-to-action button for RSVPs. Minimize the number of clicks needed to RSVP to inhibit abandonment. Event listings have the added benefit of making your website appear active and engaging. Hint: Make sure your website has a subscribe button on every page to grow your email list.
2. EVENTBRITE – Using Eventbrite to manage RSVPs not only streamlines the process, it can also enhance your attendance simply by being searchable on their website, potentially reaching audiences well outside of your normal contact channels.
3. MAILCHIMP – Using your email list, send out invitations: 45-60 days before the event, send out a Save-the-date; A month out, begin sending an Invitation weekly, then again 2 days before. Thank them for attending afterward, including an online survey to learn about ways in which you might improve. Note: Always allow readers to unsubscribe. Failing to do so will tarnish your business reputation.
4. MEETUP – Used for finding groups of like-minded individuals, your event can be broadcast to a huge network of people actively wanting to connect with others. Because they searched for your topic, attendees from MeetUp will already be interested in your product or service. No hard-sell needed to pique their interest. Not that you would do that anyway, right?
5. NEXTDOOR – A neighborhood email group that lets users choose either a local area of communication or a larger geographic area surrounding their neighborhood, centered from their home address. Keep in mind that users are required to use actual names and addresses. NextDoor can be very useful for businesses that serve consumers in specific areas.
6. SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – Talk about your speakers, what their specialties are, and how their topics can enhance your attendees’ businesses. Ask speakers and attendees to promote the event on social networks. Send them an event-specific image, icon or badge to display on their websites and social media.
Facebook Events – events that sell tickets directly on Facebook drive 2X more sales and free registrations on average than events that redirect to a ticketing page.
LinkedIn Event – create a Showcase Page, which is a subsection attached to your Company Page. Using LinkedIn to market directly to business contacts already familiar with your business is a great way to include people already motivated to network with you.
Twitter – With younger audiences moving to Twitter and away from Facebook, failing to promote your event on Twitter might mean missing an entire demographic. Create a clever hashtag and ask your friends and colleagues to retweet.
7. SURVEY – Survey before and after your event to keep your business top-of-mind and to determine areas for improvement.
PollDaddy – From the makers of WordPress, one of the most powerful, tech-forward companies in the world, it gives users more tools and analytics that anyone could ask for.
TwtPoll – An innovative social media survey tool that is very much tech-forward.
8. ONLINE VIDEO – Create sneak peeks and introductions to speakers. Detail what attendees will learn, and provide engaging snippets about your event. One video that stands out in my mind – a venue whose parking wasn’t easy to find made a short, funny video of someone in their car doing a turn-by-turn guide on their iPhone. No special equipment needed.
YouTube – YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world (after Google, which actually owns YouTube).
Vimeo – Similar to YouTube and rapidly gaining viewers, it offers high-quality video that is easy to use.
There are some excellent paid livestreaming services, but I recommend trying YouTube first.
I recommend using a memorable image with your logo prominently displayed in the corner for each event and use it across all platforms. I cannot emphasize enough the value of visual imprinting when it comes to promoting your business and event. If you have ever met me, you know I wear a badge on my lapel with my company logo. Geeky, yes. But effective visual imprinting? You bet. People always remember my business name. Secondly, you don’t have to use all these methods at once. You can try each one separately, measure the results, and then decide which ones work best for you.
Please get in touch if you need help getting started on any of these suggestions, and to let me know how well these methods work for you. I also welcome your ideas and suggestions.
Janice Grace is a web developer and digital marketing specialist with Webideation.