As a chapter leader, you understand the value of good communication. Communication is at the very center of event marketing. Gathering feedback before and after your chapter event can ensure you have the best possible attendance and are aligning your programming to your attendees.
In the last post of our Chapter Leader Playbook series, we discussed event logistics like managing your budget, optimizing your venue, streamlining event registration, and leveraging sponsorships.
With event marketing, you can make sure all the hard work your chapter put into planning doesn’t go to waste. Implementing event marketing strategies can boost attendance at your event and help you gather valuable feedback for the future.
PROMOTING YOUR EVENT
It’s no surprise that to get a good turnout, you’ll need to promote your chapter event. Keep it simple by using the social channels you already have available to you. You can create an email campaign or post on your chapter website and social accounts. Beyond social efforts, there are simple strategies to keep in mind while trying to increase attendance at your event. Jeff Kear, the co-founder and head of marketing and sales for Planning Pod, recommends the following ways to boost attendance:
#1 Ask for input upfront (and feedback after)
Get input from your volunteers and members before your event to find what they want to do and what they don’t want to do! Send out a survey after the event to gauge reaction and verify whether or not your event was a success.
#2 Location, location, location
Spending extra time to find a convenient, affordable location is worth the effort. Make sure to get input on your venue from members. Is it easy and affordable for everyone to get to?
#3 Speak to members about the event date
Ask for input from members on if your chosen time of year, day of week and time of day is preferable. Avoid making the date near a holiday or exam week. If necessary, you can use a Doodle Poll to find the best date for everyone. This tool allows you to circulate a list of dates and have members vote on their preferred options. You will be able to see which date will ensure the best attendance possible.
#4 Think about the competition
Review your calendar to ensure there isn’t already a similar or National event planned for around the same date as you want to plan your event. If so, consider alternative dates so that you aren’t competing for potential attendees. Even better, see if there is a way to collaborate!
#5 No two attendees are ever the same
Depending on the event, your attendees may differ widely in age and interest. Keep this in mind when planning activities, speakers, and more. Understanding what your members and attendees want to get out of the event and why they decided to register can help you plan programming so that it feels personal for everyone.
#6 Incentivize early registrations
Implement an early-bird discount for registrations to the event. This will not only get funds flowing sooner, but give you a better idea of attendance.
#7 Go big on your event marketing
Highlight the event entertainment, agenda, location and speakers with past testimonials or other benefits to show the event’s value.
#8 Ask for help
Empower your members and speakers to spread the word via email and social media to boost attendance.
HAVE A PLAN FOR AFTER YOUR EVENT
Once your event is over, it can be easy to check out and move on to other things on your plate. However, it is well worth it to spend some time post-event documenting all of your hard work. Produce an event summary report that covers both the negative and positive event feedback. If necessary, share this feedback with appropriate members of your chapter or sponsors. Encourage others to use the feedback proactively to improve events in the future.
If you didn’t directly collect feedback at the event, use your registration list to send out a post-event survey. If possible, have the survey created and scheduled to go out right after your event so it’s top of mind for attendees.
USE AN EVENT MANAGEMENT SOLUTION TO COLLECT FEEDBACK
Many organizations have an event management solution already in place. Typically these solutions have tools available that make collecting feedback a breeze. Work with your provider to see if you can create a report that includes member registrations, a financial review of expenses and revenue, along with volunteers and sponsors.
By adding a few event marketing strategies before and after you event, you can boost attendance and gain valuable feedback to benefit your chapter in the future. In the final post of our Chapter Leader Playbook series, we summarize all the tools and resources you might need in your role as a chapter leader.