Promoting Your Event
If you’re new to the process of planning an event, don’t worry. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. Start simple. Create an email campaign, post the event on your chapter website and LinkedIn group, and reach out to national for additional help.
If you’re a seasoned event planner you might be looking to increase attendance when planning your next event. Perhaps you’ve fallen short of your attendance goals in the past, and you’re looking at alternative options. 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)
Talk to your volunteers and members. Find out what your target audience wants, and think about what they don’t want too! It’s well worth sending a survey out before and after the event to gauge reaction and verify whether or not your event was a success.
2 Location, Location, Location
A convenient, affordable location is worth its weight in gold. Make sure your venue is easy for members to get to, and cost efficient for your event budget.
3 Speak to members about the event date
Ask yourself and members if your chosen time of year, day of week and time of day is preferable. Avoid making the date on a holiday or during the week. Remember, most of your members have full-time jobs outside of their membership in the organization.
One of the simplest and best way of finding a great date that suits all is Doodle Poll. This tool allows you to circulate a list of dates to your members, asking them to vote on their preferred options. You’ll soon see which date will ensure the best possible attendance.
4 Think about the competition
If there’s already a similar or national event planned for the date and time you want to plan yours, consider other dates. You don’t want to be in competition, you’ll only lose potential registrations. If possible, see if there are ways to collaborate!
5 No two members are ever the same
The members attending your event may differ widely in age and interest. Bear this in mind when planning activities, social hours, speakers, and more. Members want to feel as though entertainment has been planned with them in mind, so make it personal if you can. Understanding what members want to get out of the event and why they decided to sign up can help you plan your programming to be most effective.
6 Incentivize early registrations
Try implementing an early-bird discount for registrations and/or arrivals to the event. Consider offering discounts on the registration or other membership benefits for those who sign up early.
7 Go big on your event marketing
Show the event’s value by highlighting the event entertainment, agenda, location and speakers with past testimonials or other relevant benefits.
8 Ask members and speakers to help promote
Empower your members and speakers to spread the word. Ask them to reach out via phone, email and social media to boost attendance.
After Your Event
To get the most from your event, it’s well worth producing an event summary report in the weeks following. It’s crucial that you take on board both negative and positive event feedback. Make sure you collect the feedback from both registered members and sponsors, and distribute them to your board and contact at national. That way, any feedback you collect can be used productively to improve events in the future.
According to MemberClicks , these are the nine questions that you should ask your members in a post-event survey. This works best as a sliding scale Matrix, like the below example. Feel free to use this framework and alter for your chapter, or simply copy and paste if it works for you.
Pro Tip: Have your survey created and scheduled to go out at the end of your conference.
Using an Event Management Solution to Collect Feedback
If you have an event management solution already in place, collecting your feedback will be no trouble at all. You’ll be able to easily create a report that includes member registrations, a financial review of expenses and revenue, as well as volunteers and sponsors. If you do not have an event management solution, make use of our event summary template.