Driving Event Attendance Drives Business

Many people view events as a cost center, and if not done properly, they are. However, a successful event will drive enough business to more than offset the costs. To succeed in driving business, you must first drive attendance.

The challenge to driving attendance can be overcome by properly communicating the value of the benefits so that the attendee can weigh them against the costs of participating or the inverse: how to estimate the “opportunity cost” of NOT participating against the savings of NOT participating. To meet this challenge, it is important that you implement an effective event-marketing plan. Keys to a successful plan include:

List Building: Typically, if your messaging and branding are on target, on average you should be able to register 10% of your prospect list to attend the event. We recommend that you construct a well-balanced database of direct mail and email addresses before you start your marketing campaign.

Surveys:  Identify the issues facing your potential attendees with an electronic survey. Don’t assume that you know what your customers and prospects are thinking. Ask them. Gathering customer intelligence is vital to the success of a conference because it will directly impact messaging, branding, and the agenda, as well as supply a pool of potential speakers.

Messaging & Branding:  Once you have identified the key issues facing your attendees, you can define, create and shape the proper messaging and branding to draw attendees to your event. 

Media Relations:  Contact press early and arrange for media sponsorships of your event.  Typically, you can work with members of the press community to arrange mutually beneficial barter agreements. Send regularly scheduled press releases updating them on the issues, keynote speakers, and other important details surrounding your event.

Exhibitor and Partner Participation:  To get the right exhibitors and partners to buy into your event, you must create a top-notch conference that delivers a predictable business benefit in relation to the size of their investment. Call on exhibitors and partners to help you market the conference via reciprocal links, mention on their web site and newsletters, and access to their prospect database.

Direct Mail:  In today’s times, most correspondence is done electronically. However, be sure to mail promotional materials as they can get the attention of potential attendees more easily. We recommend that you send three direct mail pieces to your targeted audience. 

IT & New Media Solutions:  This component is obviously a key factor, as everyone uses the internet as a resource to access information. Your campaign should include a conference web site with online registration, an email broadcast campaign, and conference blog.

Post-Event Survey:  After the event or each session, whichever is appropriate, be sure to survey attendees on the pros and cons of the event. Find out what they liked most, and what areas need improvement.  Be sure to incorporate suggestions into your next event.

The above is a short summary of key items needed to successfully drive attendance at your next event, and ultimately your business. 

Please feel free to contact us to assist you with your next event or if you have any questions.

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