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How to increase attendance at your conference in 2014
With event and conference attendance down it’s important to keep up to date with modern techniques that can help boost awareness and attendance for your conference.If it’s an annual event and attendance was down in 2013 then it’s important to mix it up in 2014 in order for your conference to meet its maximum potential.
Here are a few methods to help improve attendance:
Social Media Promotion…
We’re not just talking about telling your friends on Facebook about your up and coming event here. Facebook can be perfect for an event that your personal friends may be interested in, but there are other more effective platforms for conferences. Social media marketing needs a strategic and targeted approach in order for your conference to fully reach out to a relevant audience.
Twitter is ideal for interacting with industry influencers and gaining awareness through these kinds of profiles for your conference. Assuming you already have some sort of Twitter account set up, be it personal or professional you can get going with developing a targeted persona list straight away – Followerwonk is a great tool for this kind of activity. You can then begin to reach out to these influencers, publicize the mutual benefit of your conference and build an online community around your subject. When it comes to the conference itself it’s always worth developing an event-specific hashtag so people tweeting live insights can be grouped together.
There is no other platform quite like LinkedIn in a professional sense; you can directly target people by job type which can be the most effective way of getting a certain persona to attend events. More recently LinkedIn have allowed for targeted advertisements and for those of you on a tight budget, there is always the option of creating trial ads. Getting speakers and influential profiles to publicize that they are attending your conference will also spread the word via timeline updates. If you are a member of any industry groups you can also post your event to these groups that are full of potentially interested people. These methods combined can greatly help with the increase of sign ups.
Make the sign up process as simple as possible
50% of tickets are purchased by someone other than the attendee – that means that bulky and complicated sign-up forms are often shrugged off whilst more information is obtained from the attendee. Only ask for the necessary information. If you’re not planning on mailing the attendees then you don’t need their addresses. Tickets for conferences are also often bought in bulk which means that attendees should be able to buy multiple tickets in the same transaction. It’s practical thinking, but having the perfect registration form will help increase the number of sign ups.
Utilise your speakers…
Just like you would with any influencer, make use of the value your speakers can provide. The speakers at your conference will have their own following on social networks which is likely to be extremely relevant to the conference’s subject. Encouraging them to share the conference sign-up form socially and plug the event from their blog are both suitable ways to increase attendance. After all, the speakers want people there to actually see them speak, don’t they? As far as developing an online community goes this is a great starting point.
…and your sponsors
Your conference sponsors are obviously going to want the conference to be packed full of relevant people, so they will do their best to encourage attendance. Interact with them on social media and add their most relevant e-mail database to yours to increase exposure when sending out mailshots. Much like with your speakers these sponsors are likely to have their own social following who are all potential attendees.
Most importantly, conference organizers shouldn’t be scared of change and should always look to adapt to fresh methods. The most effective method at this moment in time is building a community buzz around your conference during the months up to its launch; this hype will have a knock-on effect on social media platforms and increase interactions as well as signups.