What can we do to improve attendance at conference? How many of us have spent countless hours and money planning an event, and then finding that we get a low turnout? Empty chairs at a conference mean lost revenue.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of ideas and tactics to use to help improve turnout.
In order to plan a successful event, you need to have an idea of what your target audience wants. Speak to prospective attendees about the proposed agenda – you can also design a short survey and e-mail to them for their input. This way you can make any changes to reflect their suggestions. Also, don’t forget to follow up with attendees after the event so that you can make improvements for your next event.
Choose a conference venue that is as convenient as possible for attendees. Human nature dictates that if something is easy to get to, then more people will consider attending. Also bear in mind the cost of the venue – it needs to be special enough to make people want to attend, but not so expensive that it deters them, or costs your company too much.
You need to choose a date that works for your audience. Avoid school holidays wherever possible. Seminars seem to work best in the morning for example, whilst networking events work best just after work. Mondays are usually a no-go, as are Fridays, so choose a day mid-week to maximise your attendance. Once a date is decided, send a save the date so that people can set aside the time.
Make your forms as easy as possible to complete and allow for multiple registrations as one person may well be registering multiple attendees.
To maximise early registration, offer incentives to those bookers – an early-bird discount is always a welcome incentive and allows you to build up a picture of how popular your event is proving to be (or not!)
Build your agenda in good time and communicate it to your audience. The more that attendees know about the agenda, the more likely they are to attend. Let people know what the benefits are for attending, ie what they will learn when there, let them know who has attended in the past, perhaps include photos and testimonials from previous events.
Even though you may have done all of your preparations in good time and taken every step to advertise your event to prospective attendees, it is a good idea to send a reminder e-mail 14 days beforehand to keep your event fresh in people’s minds.
Research shows that up to 20% of registrations come from mobiles, so make sure that your website is optimised for smart phones and tablets
There may be other organisatons who share your target audience. Try and identify these and offer an incentive to promote your event to their database too.
Ask attendees to help you promote your event
The best way to promote an event is by word of mouth – ask your attendees to reach out to friends and colleagues via social media. You could also ask your speakers to promote your event to their networks which could help boost attendance.
Event Management Software
Finally, there are a number of event management software options which can help to increase visibility and compliance and help you save costs. Their service will assist with event website design, e-mail marketing and database management. Some even claim to increase attendance by 20%!