There are two major contributing factors to the success of your event. Sign-up's pre-event and the actual turnout on the day of your event.
Now it's expected for any event, no matter how big or small, that your sign-up numbers will be higher than your attendees. However, there are ways to mitigate this drop-off. As an event organiser, your aim should be to have these numbers as close to each other as possible.
Building up a rapport with your attendees before the big day via your communication and marketing platforms is crucial for event success. In fact, you can incorporate this into your registration process if you source the right solution. Build yourself a bespoke registration page that allows you to send through personalised reminder/countdown emails that inform attendees of relevant speakers, sessions and exhibits based on their registered interests.
The greater the interaction between you and your attendees the greater the encouragement they will feel to attend. It’s worth remembering that your attendees will most likely have registered for a host of events that may event conflict with each other. It's down to you to make them feel more emotionally invested in your event than any other that may draw them away from you.
Don’t forget to keep the conversation going during and after the event to pique their interest in future offerings.
Free isn't always better
Offering free attendance to your event is a great way to increase engagement and sign-ups pre-event. However, there is a fundamental flaw with the concept of free; there has been no investment, emotionally or financially on the part of the attendee. This makes the decision to not attend your event easier than going.
Now we wouldn’t tell you to completely take away a free tier ticket as this does help hugely with pre-event buzz and will provide a large portion of your attendees. What we would encourage is introducing a premium ticket of some sort, whether this includes a post-event add-on, such as a follow-up Q&A session, or a premium experience at the event itself, like a meet and greet with speakers. By offering a paid option you can increase the value of your event in people’s minds and therefore increase the likelihood they turn up on the day.
Offer your attendees something in return
Another great way to close the gap between the number of sign-ups and your actual attendance numbers is to offer something to those who turn up. By including this in your pre-event marketing you can make those who were going to attend anyway feel more appreciated all whilst encouraging those on the fence sign-ups to turn up on the day.
For example, if you’re hosting an educational event then offering your attendees a ‘continuing professional development’ (CPD) certificate can be a great reward and incentive for managers to send their employees. Or an easier solution could be in the form of a goodie bag with relevant takeaways or even entry into a prize draw announced during your event.
No shows happen
It’s important to remember that no matter how you market your event or what you offer attendees there are always going to be no shows. However, using the strategies above you should be able to close the gap between sign-ups and attendees and this will help increase your overall ROI helping you to have a successful event.
If you're interested, then check out our blogs on strategies and technologies that can help you with your event success.
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