Three ways to boost attendance - without boosting your budget

It’s every event planner’s worst nightmare - you plough time and resources into an event you think delegates will really love, and then nobody shows up. You’ll usually have a number of attendees in mind that will generate enough revenue to cover your costs, and failing to meet it could be a disaster. But you don’t have to throw money at your marketing strategy to get delegates through the door - here are a couple of great ideas to help you keep a handle on those margins while boosting your attendance figures.

1. It’s all in the timing

Obviously it’s a good idea to get the word out early, so delegates have time to plan their journeys and before other events get in the way. Crucially, this could well mean that you catch them before they've run down their budgets too far to afford a place at your event. But there is also such a thing as advertising too early. Many attendees will avoid booking too far ahead, whether because of budget and staffing pressures among corporate guests or because they simply don’t know whether they’ll be faced with conflicting engagements.

There’s no hard and fast rule for when you need to start inviting visitors to your event, but generally the shorter the event, the shorter the lead-in time. Of course, make sure you send out reminders as the date approaches and make a point of drawing attention to any discounts on offer.

2. Make registration easy

A complicated registration process can foil even the best event marketing campaign, since delegates are easily put off by bad booking systems. Asking potential attendees to email their details or to send them in by post or telephone takes time and allows participants to forget to book a place. Instead, the best option is to use a single booking system which links directly through to payment. If you are willing to invest, consider using online event registration software - by speeding up the booking process, it’s likely to save you money in the long run.

When it comes to designing your booking form, only ask for the information you need. The trick is to make keep the number of steps between finding out about the event and paying for a ticket to a minimum.

3. Make it count

Contrary to popular belief, most delegates actually enjoy going to corporate events and if you’re organising a social or recreational event, you have an audience who want to have fun. So make it worth their while - it sounds like a cliché, but you should have as much booked as possible before you start marketing the event so there’s an incentive to be there. Then make sure that you actually tell prospective delegates about everything you have - it’s easy to be too vague, but your audience want to know they’ll be getting something for their money.

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