Just imagine: your event has been in the works for months. Speakers are booked, entertainment is scheduled, the perfect venue is ready for action…and then the day arrives and less than half of your attendee list shows up.
It’s what nightmares are made of (at least for marketers). The reality is that your target audience is constantly flooded with invitations to all sorts of business events all year round. Why should they pay attention to yours?
You could have star-studded keynotes, top-of-the-line fare and a VIP pub crawl, but if you fail to target and engage the right people – your event will only succeed at being a tremendous waste of your marketing budget.
Here are some simple ways to find and engage high-quality attendees to make your next business event a huge success.
You can make your search for attendees a lot easier on yourself by leveraging the magnetism of influencers. Just as companies use celebrities to endorse their brands to millions of viewers, you can line up a selection of industry influencers to catch the attention of your target audience.
The advantage of using influencers is they end up doing a lot of your work for you. They already have a strong online presence and will spread your message far and wide amongst people who match your ideal attendee profile.
To help you find influencers, there is no shortage of marketing tools you can make use of. One of the most popular platforms is Buzzsumo, a freemium product that shows you what’s popular in your niche and who you should be contacting to promote your event. It even includes an Influencers and Outreach section containing a neat list of the most important influencers on social media.
A word of caution: make sure the influencers you target have active social profiles. If they’re publishing posts once in a blue moon, they won’t make much of a splash when promoting your event.
Filter and find the people that matter
When rolling out effective marketing campaigns there’s nothing more important than narrowing down your audience to those who would be genuinely interested in your offering. The same applies when targeting the right attendees for your business events.
While you’re more than welcome to spend hours scanning your LinkedIn contacts and social media following, a faster and much more cost-effective approach would be to use a prospecting tool like Triggr.
With Triggr, you can filter by a range of metrics (industry, job titles, postcode, state, etc.) and identify the companies, groups or individuals that would benefit from attending your event. Then all that’s left for you to do is contact them using the details provided by the platform. Simple.
Here’s what one marketer had to say about using Triggr to fill up her events,
Triggr has been instrumental in helping us find attendees for our large number of corporate events. The filtering system allows us to find the people who will be most interested and contact them appropriately.
– Nathalie Jones, Marketing and Communications @ Stone & Chalk
If you want to get a better picture of how you can use Triggr to find attendees for your business events, schedule a demo here and we’ll show you the ropes.
Motivate attendees to help you promote the event
Once you start building up a list of attendees, it’s a good idea to offer them incentives so they use their networks to attract even more participants.
Offer them a special discount, a free pass to a VIP lunch or even give them sneak peeks of the event to tweet out and generate excitement (people love feeling like ‘an insider’). Be creative with your methods and they’ll gladly help you spread the word.
Note: Make it irresistibly easy for them to reach out to their friends and peers via email and social media. Provide email templates they can simply tweak and send out. You can also suggest relevant content for them to share that would pique their followers’ interest (and lead them to your event page).
Set up networking opportunities
A recent study by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) showed that 76% of almost 9,000 participants said networking was a top driver when deciding whether or not to attend a business event.
This is a powerful statistic that you can use to your advantage. In the weeks leading up to your business event, tap into your attendees’ desire to connect with like-minded professionals by setting up event apps, Facebook groups, Slack channels, and in-person meetups. This way you can encourage attendee engagement before, during, and even after your event.
You can take it a step further and include a question in your registration form about who they’re looking to network with at the event. You can then use this information to guide your search for new attendees, and also to create specific social groups based on shared interests, job titles, or geography.
Don’t wait until you get everyone in the same room to initiate meaningful connections. By helping your attendees form concrete relationships, you’ll bring the right people together at your business event and set a memorable precedent for future ones.