by Michelle Schweitz
Whether you’re running in-person, virtual, or hybrid events, you need to get people to them for them to be successful.
Use these proven techniques for driving more attendees to your next big event.
In today’s changing world, your association might be hosting a mix of events – virtual, in-person, and/or hybrid. But no matter what type of events you’re running, one thing always stays the same: For your events to succeed, you need to drive people to them.
Here are four effective ways to market your association’s upcoming events:
1. Use clear messaging.
With so many different types of events being offered these days – virtual-only, in-person, and hybrid – it’s important that your promotions detail exactly what attendance options are available. For example, for hybrid events, make it clear that the event will have both digital and in-person elements and audiences. This allows prospective attendees to select the option that best fits their budget, schedule, and comfort level.
Also, remember that it’s always helpful to prepare attendees for what will take place at an event, whether the gathering is face-to-face or online. It’s especially important when combining the two. For example:
- Virtual attendees need to know how to log in.
- In-person attendees need to know that there is a virtual audience.
- Both audiences need to know how the experiences will work together.
TIP: Learn tips on how to plan and execute a successful event with in-person and online audiences. Read the guide, The Small Association’s Ultimate Guide to Hybrid Events.
2. Put multiple communications channels to work.
Consider the various marketing channels that you use to communicate with your members, non-members, and potential sponsors. Then, think about how you can optimize your use of each channel to promote your event. For example:
- Website – Create a web page or microsite to share details about your event, including the differences between in-person and virtual experiences. Explain what attendees can expect, including what health-related precautions you are taking for in-person attendees.
- Email marketing – Segment your list for different target groups, including potential members, current members, and potential sponsors/exhibitors. Plan an email series with messages for each group. Some email communications to consider:
- Registration now open
- Call for speakers
- Session descriptions now available
Also, plan an email series for registered attendees (one set of emails for in-person and one for virtual attendees) to keep them informed of event details. And plan an email series for sponsors and exhibitors to give them the instructions and deadlines they need to participate.
TIP: Learn about the top emails your association should be sending to promote your next big event. View the infographic, Email Marketing Timeline for Your Association’s Events.
- Online member community – Promote your event by posting announcements about it in your online community. You can also create discussion forums in your online community to allow registrants to engage with each other before, during, and after the event.
- Social media – Schedule social media posts in advance so you can save valuable time before and during the conference. Create an event hashtag and share it in your attendee communications, on your website, and in your online community to encourage attendees to post about the event.
TIP: Ask your presenters for short promotional videos that you can post on your website, online member community, and social media accounts to help promote your event.
3. Recruit sponsors.
Sponsors and exhibitors are a vital part of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Incorporating them in your events gives you the opportunity to generate additional revenue and gives sponsors the opportunity to reach a targeted audience.
Here are two key steps to recruiting sponsors:
- Build a sales kit. This should include details about all sponsor and exhibitor opportunities, pricing, anticipated attendee demographics and counts, who to contact with questions, and how to sign up.
- Share your sales kit. Post the sales kit on your event page. Also, send it via email to past sponsors of your events and conferences. And be sure to share it on your social media accounts and in your online community.