Have you been getting the expected turnouts at your last seminar or conference? Or did you have to face some deceiving empty seats? It can be indeed very disappointing especially after spending the many hours and resources in the planning and getting the outstanding speakers to travel all the way and deliver a great presentation. What could you have possibly missed out? Could it be the registration cost or is there more to it?
Assuming you have covered the obvious with the fundamental planning and promotion, here are some additional ways you can look into to make sure you hit those attendees number at your next seminar or conference.
1. Convenient and reasonable location/venue
Choose a suitable venue that is both well situated and not too expensive, so that it is easily accessed by majority of your attendees. The venue has to be distinct enough to provide something special to your conference but not to the point that it brings the cost per attendee up, therefore the increasing the cost of registration.
2. Timing of your seminar/conference
Scan the calendars, review past and successful seminars and conference dates and timings, speak to your venue to find out which time of the year, the day of the week and even the time of the day during which your event would work best for your targeted audience. This is could totally make a huge difference with the attendance.
This will help you to be aware and avoid competing with similar events happening in the same city or even worldwide. Not unless, your event can potentially compliment another event, then you would want to join forces or leverage on each other’s strength to attract more prospective attendees in town.
3. Book your audience’s agenda at the right time
This can be a tricky one and can vary with the type of event but the rule of thumb is said to be: the shorter the duration of the seminar, the shorter should be the lead-time for the event announcement. As an example, for a 2-hr seminar, allow 3-4 weeks for the announcements. So, try as much as possible to get on people’s calendar with a sensibly right amount of lead-time and have your event details as clear as possible to encourage decisiveness on your attendees’ part.
However, you can always start communicating and promoting the next seminar/conference at your last one to engage with your attendees and have them anticipate the next event. This will not only give them an idea of what to expect as a follow-up but also show that you are thinking ahead and have their best interest in mind in the organizing of your events. It will demonstrates how much you value their growth as an attendee, as well as their presence at the next seminar/conference.
4. Reminders and follow-up calls
Send reminders but at a reasonable rate and make sure all your invitations as well as you reminders carries the necessary links to the event and registration pages. Also, don’t forget the good old phone calls. Calls are simple, direct and hold a human touch, so, it is always a good idea to call your prospective attendees and catch up with them on their plans to attend the seminar/conference.
5. Simplify your registration process and offer incentives
Look into ways to simplify your online registration by minimizing the number of fields and making it easier to process multiple or group registrations. Also, consider offering early bird and group discounts, inviting early registrations from the many interested and targeted businesses. You can also look into rewarding your early bird registrations with free gifts such as discount coupons, food & beverage coupons or any other incentives for signing up or arriving early – providing multiple value propositions.
6. Optimized your event pages and messages for mobile devices
It is an absolute must to have all communications optimized for mobile devices since a fairly good percentage of your attendees are viewing what you have to offer on the go. It is also found that a good number of registrations are being made from mobile devices, so, be sure that your website and emails can optimally be viewed and read on smart phones and tablets. Sending emails has never been so effective and easy to craft with email marketing tools such as MailChimp. You can also use an event management software with integrated email marketing tools.
7. Cross-promote with other industry partners, your speakers and even through your attendees
Get in touch with other organizations that may have an interest to connect with your target audience and offer them some incentives or mutually benefited reasons to cross-promote your event to their relevant groups in their contact list.
Empowering your attendees themselves to promote the event they are attending is also probably one of the best ways to get the words out. This is can be facilitated through emails and an effective use of social media, offering them the necessary motivation of a discount or otherwise, to urge their friends and peers. And don’t forget your speakers, they are likely to have their own following through their own networks and their reputation in the field.
While the above can be valuable add-ons to your existing marketing strategy, it is important to keep constantly delivering the best and grow into a position of offering quality seminar and conference, month after month and year after year.
Are there any useful ways we can certainly add to above?