Let’s imagine that you just ran a successful conference – the guests were happy, the speakers didn’t mumble, the cocktails were sold out – so now what? What’s planned for next year? How do you make sure to get the great attendance another year in a row?
Conferences can be tricky. When you are dealing with a crowd of people anything can change – schedules, availability, jobs. So how do you guarantee that those same people will come again next year? Obviously, you can’t do that. You just have to promote your event all over again the next year.
Luckily we compiled a list of the best tips to boost conference attendance. So get a cup of coffee, sit on your favorite couch, and read on.
1. Audience surveys
Ask your audience what they would like. People like to give their opinion and feel like they are a part of something. You can do a pre-conference survey to see what activities people would like to do. Or you can ask people to rate your conference as it’s coming to an end. That way you will have a better idea of what people want.
2. Invite early and remind often
It’s super important to invite everyone really early. So make sure to confirm all the necessary details of the event months before it starts. You can even pop it on your site a year in advance and start selling tickets, before confirming the location. Pick a location that will have a lot of easy access, will be central or close enough to your target audience and will have some fun activities available around it.
3. Personalize invitations
We’ve all heard of email personalization. It’s so important to address your customers by name and mention something that is personal to them, that connects to them. There are plenty ways to do this:
- Mention the region they live in
- Comment on the recent sports game
- Wish them a good holiday
- Send them a birthday greeting
4. Don’t compete with similar events
Never schedule your conference to conflict with a similar event in your industry. You should look for other dates that would work better. The only exception to this is if you want to schedule your event immediately before or after that other conference. Then you will have a better chance of getting the same attendees to come next year. With a strong base of repeat customers your conference attendance will see a dramatic increase year-to-year.
5. Make the registration super simple
Take away the hassle of your registration process. Have as little fields as possible to fill out, and make the checkout/paying process super quick. This will increase your conversions and bring more reservations.
6. Have the speakers promote your event
In the marketing world, we call this influencers or influencer marketing. If you have invited some well-known people to speak at your conference/event, chances are that they have medium to large social media followings. Ask them to promote your event, to post it on all of their various social media channels., early and often.
7. Provide networking opportunities
Aside from all the hands-on learning, conferences are the best place to network and meet people. The best conferences out there schedule time for people to meet together in a smaller setting. Whether it’s small workshops with investors, or meet and greets, this is a super important part of your conference strategy.
8. The magic is in the follow-up
As great as your conference might be people are going to forget about it. That’s why you need to email and follow up with all of your attendees regularly throughout the year. Here are some good ideas for what to send:
- Send some recordings and videos of the speakers’ events
- Send an invitation to an exclusive Facebook group to continue the conversation
- Send a post-conference survey
- Send some pr, guest blog, or an article that covers the conference
- Send an online course that you developed as a result of the conference
9. Use a referral app
Last but not least, you can use an awesome app that lets your attendees refer a select group of friends to next year’s conference. You guessed it, the ShareSomeFriends app does just that. It allows your attendees to access their phone lists and pick those friends that they think would be interested. So you can get access to thousands of qualified referral leads within minutes.
ShareSomeFriends takes seconds to install, is super easy to use, and has a powerful CRM on the back end that allows you to easily export all of your leads.
Ben Kazinik is a marketing manager for ShareSomeFriends, the #1 app to get referral leads for your business. I enjoy hiking, cooking, soccer, and visiting his family around the world. Email me at – firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on my LinkedIn.