Getting people to your event is one of the most essential parts of event planning. Attendance is where you either win or lose - there isn’t much of an in between. A well-attended event is usually an indicator of a good event and a badly attended event is...well, you get the picture. Since the process of creating a well-attended event begins pretty much Day 1, we’ve put together these tips to draw a crowd.
Relationships are the key to success.
Let’s be honest, it’s hard to get people to come to your event if you don’t know anybody. But simply knowing people is only half the battle. You have to know the right people and you have to develop relationships with them. Building quality relationships with taste makers can positively affect how people think about your event’s brand, and the more people are thinking and talking about you the more people are likely to show up. Remember, relationships shouldn’t be viewed as simply transactional; you gotta give before you receive. Simply put, only a handful of people will have a hand in delivering the majority of your audience, so focus on who these people are and develop a plan for them to easily attract their network to your event. This will make it easier to attract the larger audience possible with the least amount of effort.
Print is not dead.
This may seem weird coming from a software company, but your local newspaper and regional magazine are still operating and people still read them. Radio stations reach millions every day and the television is still on in every household. These traditional outlets are often overlooked in favor of new technology but, once combined, they can make for one hell of an attention cocktail. Radio can help you capture a new audience and social media is great for keeping you connected to this new audience. Don’t be afraid to reach out to these outlets or use your personal network to get introduced to this world. Loads of information is still passed outside of the Internet, so keep an open mind and enjoy the wave of analog nostalgia.
Get off the Internet.
Unless you're holding a Twitter chat, you must get off the Internet. Word of mouth is still the most powerful tool in your marketing toolbox. Social media is certainly attractive, but smart event planners know that it's so much easier to say you're attending an event than actually attending it. You must go to your local meetups, print and place posters near the event grounds, find the locations with a lot of foot traffic and set up an info session, sponsor another event, etc. Don’t get consumed with the glamor and ease of social media – it is not the end all, be all. It will lead you down a lonely path, filled with nothingness, empty rooms, and gallons of uneaten shrimp, if not combined with a great real world presence.
Getting people to your event is a more of an art than a science but if you can bring together these tips in a qualitative way there will be flocks of people beating down the door to attend your event.