Creating an event is easy. Getting people to show up is hard—right?
But seriously, we get it. The last thing you want after countless hours planning is for nobody to show up on the big day.
But fear not, we won’t let that happen! Today, we’ll look at a few simple ways you can promote your events to attract more attendees. Plus, all of these methods are completely free, so you don’t need to win the lottery to take out an ad during the Super Bowl. You just need a little time and persistence to reach your audience and get more people to your next event.
Share on social, but look beyond your own channels.
Plugging your event across your own social channels is a no-brainer. It’s made even easier with the help of scheduling or automation tools to cue up posts in advance.
But you aren’t limited to your own social media channels when it comes to promoting events. Share your events with relevant Facebook groups (great for local community events), LinkedIn groups (ideal for industry events), or sub-reddits (perfect for those events with super niche audiences). Just be sure to ask permission from the group’s moderators or look for group rules in case event promotion isn’t allowed. You want to play by the rules.
By sharing in groups beyond your own channels, you’ll increase your odds of reaching new people who would love to be at your next event.
Cross promote your events on third-party calendars.
Your website calendar is an invaluable tool, but sometimes it helps to step out of your bubble and reach prospective attendees in the places they’re already hanging out. You know, places like other event calendars on the internet.
There are lots of calendars, from community calendars on your local newspaper’s website to larger ones like BandsInTown, Yelp, Eventbrite, Meetup, or Facebook. (Psst… we also have our own events calendar where users can submit cool events happening in the WordPress community—for free!) The best thing about these sites? They attract users who are actively looking for something to do. That means they’re motivated to show up to an event and yours just might be the one that catches their eye.
Up your email game.
You likely have a robust list full of email addresses if you’re regularly hosting events. Don’t underestimate the power of email. Those past attendees are some of the most likely people to attend your next event. Especially if they had a great time at the last one.
Get organized and schedule your emails in advance, starting with one to announce your event, followed by a series of regular (but not spammy!) emails. These can be reminders about registration deadlines, ticket sales and other info. Here’s a helpful schedule of event emails to get you started:
- First announcement: to the entire list, let them know the deal
- Second announcement: to everyone on the list not yet registered
- First reminder: to everyone that registered; build up some excitement
- Third announcement: to everyone on the list not yet registered at this point
- Second reminder: to everyone that registered; build up even more excitement
- Last chance announcement: to everyone on the list not yet registered at this point
- Final reminder: the day before, the night before, or the hour before – get people pumped up!
- EVENT DAY: to all that registered but have not yet attended, don’t be afraid to remind them
- Post event (to the entire list, share pics and stories of how great the event was)
Show (don’t tell) to motivate attendees to show up.
It’s sometimes hard to talk ourselves off the couch and into attending an IRL event. How do we know it’ll be worth it? Why should I leave my house!? I’ve got this Netflix queue that isn’t going to watch itself.
Entice attendees by showing them exactly what they can expect at your event. If you have photos and videos from your last event, these are great to include in your emails and social posts. This is a good way to show what they could be missing by not attending the event.
If you don’t have any media to share ahead of time, use your upcoming event as a tool to build excitement for the next one. Post photos and videos in real-time on your Facebook or Instagram stories, or wherever your audience will see it. By showing exactly what happens at your events. That might be engaging, non-stuffy networking, great live music, or maybe even a kids’ story time that even parents will enjoy. The people who couldn’t make it will get a healthy dose of FOMO, and they’ll be motivated to make it to your next event.
More attendees = Happy you
You’ve put in the work—now it’s time to reap the rewards as your attendance numbers climb.
You may not go from 10 attendees to 1,000 overnight, but by staying persistent with your outreach, you’ll see a steady uptick. And once you’re selling out ballrooms and attracting gaggles of guests, The Events Calendar has your back with a full suite of plugins to help you streamline everything from event ticketing to crowdsourcing.