It can sometimes be difficult to drum up, then retain, interest when it comes to running conferences, especially since so many of us have become used to attending business events online rather than having to get dressed, get out and head to a physical event again.
Here are a few ideas to help you encourage, and create a buzz around, not only attendance but active engagement and involvement…
Early, then consistent, Planning and Promotion:
Start promoting your conference well in advance to build anticipation, using a variety of channels including social media, emails to your list/s, website, blogs and industry forums.
Create and maintain active social media profiles for the conference, using event specific hashtags and encourage attendees to share their excitement and experiences pre, during and post event.
Don’t forget to ask other, non competitor, organisations to promote your event to their audiences or members too.
Ask any sponsors to promote to their audiences using the hashtags.
Use personalised outreach, emailing your own contacts individually and ask your collaborating organisations, sponsors and speakers to do the same.
Remember to contact previous attendees, ideally focussing on anything specific they posted, or otherwise mentioned, about enjoying the last conference.
Consider offering a discount, or incentive (see later in post) to previous delegates.
Make the Value Proposition really clear:
Really go to town on the benefits of attending your conference, be that Continuing Professional Development, brand new ‘first to hear’ content, amazing speakers, networking opportunities with a new group of people, or something completely different.
Ensure your Content is truly engaging:
Make sure your agenda covers diverse topics with inspirational speakers who genuinely cater to your target audience’s interests.
Ask your speakers to include case studies where possible: audiences respond well to this, putting themselves in the speaker’s shoes and starting conversations with other delegates, particularly if some humour is injected. Before the event release teasers of keynote speeches, workshops, or panel discussions to generate excitement and showcase the quality of content.
Know your Target Audience:
It’s so important to ensure you know exactly who your target audience is for a conference.
We are often afraid to niche down for conferences, yet in some cases this can attract new and highly specifically focussed individuals.
Early Bird Discounts and Incentives:
Offer early bird registration discounts to encourage early sign-ups if this fits your goals.
Discounts are not always the way forward, but you might consider giving incentives instead, such as exclusive networking or workshop sessions for early registration.
Make Registration Super Simple
We all spend our lives clicking links and grabbing QR codes and most of us have the attention span of a gnat if something isn’t immediately obvious and exceedingly quick.
Depending upon your audience possibly offer different registration options to accommodate different targets.
Demonstrate your attention to Feedback:
Implement improvements based on feedback from previous conferences to enhance the attendee experience and shout about having done so ….. and, of course, don’t forget to get feedback from your upcoming conference to help you produce even better events going forward.
Image Credits in order:
Luis Quintero via Pexels
Pavel Danilyuk via Pexels
Mateus Bertelli via Pexels