Community, belonging, camaraderie, and connection—these are all elements that people crave (and key elements in how to increase event attendance). However, in our fast-paced world of information overload, it can be difficult for people to sift through the opportunities bombarding them and know when to make time for events that would deliver on these needs.

Event marketing requires more than just offering event details. Your marketing should provide your audience with a chance to discover a sense of excitement and purpose. Make your upcoming events break through the noise with a clear call to action and a growing sense of belonging for participants.

Want to know how to increase event attendance? We’ve got you covered with strategies that have been proven to increase the numbers.

Why Your Event Attendance Might Be Low

You know that you’ve created an event worth attending. You’ve put in the time and effort to arrange meaningful speakers, high-quality event content, or a unique experience.

But when attendance is low after all the effort that goes into event planning, it can be a real blow to morale and make future events harder to justify.

It’s important to understand the barriers to a successful event and make sure you’ve considered them ahead of time. This is an essential prerequisite to learning how to increase event attendance.

1. Lack of Awareness and Visibility

If people don’t know that your event is happening, then they can’t come. That might sound overly simplistic, but a lack of awareness is a huge barrier to pulling off a successful event.

People are unlikely to find an event website without consistent and attention-grabbing invitations to explore it.

Even if you have a marketing strategy based on email marketing and social media blasts, you can make the mistake of targeting the wrong audience or utilizing ineffective marketing channels.

Your marketing campaign is only as strong as its visibility. So, if you don’t get the message in front of the right audience, your event can suffer from low attendance and engagement.

2. Registration and Cost Barriers

Once people are aware of your event and understand the value of attending, they’ll have to cross the barrier to register and pay for their participation. Crossing from a potentially interested participant to a registered one is a huge threshold, so you want to make this step as smooth as possible.

When the registration process is complex, lengthy, or confusing, it’s going to act as a leaky pipeline that loses you engaged and interested participants at every turn. Ensure that registration and payment are streamlined to minimize frustration.

You also need to make sure that your event fee and associated expenses match the expectations of your target audience. If registration comes with a high cost, then you’ll need to ensure that the value is clear, often in the form of popular keynote addresses, perks, and exclusive networking opportunities.

A mismatch between the target audience’s expectations and the cost of your event can cause a rift that’s too wide to bridge, no matter what else you know about how to increase event attendance.

3. Content and Value Proposition

There are a plethora of webinars, virtual events, and in-person opportunities. People have to make choices that align with their budget and schedule. If your event doesn’t provide high-quality, engaging content, then people will not sign up.

If the topic seems unappealing or uninteresting, then even a long list of perks and robust marketing efforts will likely fall short.

As Lisa Bennett writes for Forbes, showcasing the value of virtual events is especially important, as people “…attend virtual events to get inspired and actually learn something. So, make your sessions clearly and visibly valuable.”

Attendees need to see a clear benefit from attending the event. The more they’re expected to invest (in time and money), the more value they’ll need to see to commit to attending.

4. Logistical Challenges

People have busy lives, and even the most engaging and interesting event has to fit in with their other commitments and personal schedules.

As people choose which events to attend, they’ll consider schedule conflicts, the time commitment required, and the transportation commitment.

If the venue is far away from the target audience or has inconvenient features like limited parking and crowded navigation, it might deter participants from signing up in the first place.

How to Increase Event Attendance

Are you wondering how to increase event attendance? Following these fourteen proven strategies is a great way to make sure your potential event attendees see the value in your event and provide you with the added benefits of referrals and word-of-mouth engagement.

1. Optimize event discovery with a central event calendar

Your audience shouldn’t have to work hard to see your next event’s details or wonder when registration begins. You can optimize discovery with a central event calendar that gives your target audience the information they need in one standardized location.

A centralized event calendar provides an at-a-glance understanding of upcoming events, pre-event engagement opportunities, registration deadlines, early bird pricing, and sneak peek materials.

Using a centralized event calendar offers many benefits:

  • Streamline the registration process.
  • Capture attention for upcoming events.
  • Get real-time data on engagement and interest.
  • Utilize templates for easier event entry and cohesion.

2. Provide robust search functionality

If people have a question, then you want to be the one to provide the answer. Robust search functionality embedded directly on your event website allows a seamless interaction between your audience’s curiosity and your expertise.

Make sure that each event has a search functionality so potential and registered attendees feel informed every step of the way.

3. Include landing pages in your calendar

Landing pages allow you to target your audiences more fully. Create targeted pages for different demographics to highlight the perks and opportunities unique to each segment or region.

Landing pages are also a great place to showcase:

  • Testimonials from past attendees
  • Teasers for the content your participants can expect from the event
  • An overview of the event experience that can boost event attendance

4. Promote your event on social media

Don’t expect your potential attendees to seek you out. Go to where they are. Promote your event across a variety of social media platforms that ensure your content marketing will reach the audience who needs to see it.

Social media is a powerful tool that helps you gain RSVPs, build your email list, and otherwise capture the attention of potential attendees who might otherwise get missed.

Tips for Promoting Events on Social Media

When it comes to social media posts, not all marketing campaigns are created equal. Here are some tips to make sure your efforts are effective:

  • Leverage partnerships
  • Offer live-streaming teasers
  • Segment to different demographics
  • Showcase event value
  • Make a clear call to action

5. Add venue details

Make it easy for your participants to imagine how they’ll fit your event into their lives. Give key details about the venue beyond its address. These include the following

  • Parking details (location, cost, etc.)
  • Accessibility (wheelchair access, interpreters, etc.)
  • Public transit proximity
  • Nearby accommodations (restaurants, hotels, landmarks, etc.)

6. Centralize and socialize event registration

While there are a variety of third-party applications that might allow you to manage event registration through them, they’re collecting all your valuable data instead of you.

Centralize your event registration (whether the event is in-person or virtual, free or paid) so that you can get your data and can use it for future events and more effective event planning.

In addition, managing your own event registration allows you to capitalize on the social aspects of a group event. Let users connect in pre-event activities and forums and build a sense of community and networking opportunities before the event begins.

7. Integrate your ticketing system

Integrating seamlessly with existing, trusted ticketing platforms removes one of the main barriers for potential attendees and makes it more likely they’ll sign up.

Make sure that ticketing for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events is centralized. This will make it easy and cohesive for your attendees to sign up directly on your calendar.

8. Personalize communication with potential attendees

Event manager learning more about how to increase event attendance

People come to your events for different reasons and with a variety of goals. Segment out your communication with participants based on demographics and other data points to ensure your messaging connects with their specific interests.

Personalized communication highlights your value across segments of your audience and provides more excitement for future events.

How to personalize your event promotion strategy

What does it look like to personalize your event promotion strategy? Here are some key methods of how to increase event attendance via personalized ads:

  • Target different segments of your audience with unique details in your email campaigns.
  • Send different teasers based on the content most likely to resonate with each segment.
  • Offer segmented pre-event engagement opportunities such as forums or social media spaces based on specific interests or regional locations.

9. Leverage retargeting ads

If someone has taken the time to explore your marketing content in detail, they have interest. But if they haven’t yet taken the step to register, they also have a barrier.

Retargeting ads help build on that interest while eroding those barriers. Use platforms like Facebook, Google Ads, and LinkedIn to target potential attendees with customized messages and offers, including coupon codes and information about future events that might better fit within their schedule or budget.

These personalized engagement methods can increase conversion rates by reminding these interested individuals about what they’ll miss if they skip your event.

10. Keep the conversation going after the event

Just because the event is over doesn’t mean the marketing campaign should end. There’s no greater pool of potential attendees for future events than the satisfied attendees from your past events.

Keep the conversation going with email campaigns and invitations to private social media groups. Also, provide ongoing content marketing that engages the topics they most enjoyed from your event.

11. Integrate SEO best practices

People need to be able to find your event. That means your SEO practices need to be focused and streamlined.

Quick SEO Tips

  • Pick a keyword or phrase and make sure it shows up in titles and event descriptions.
  • Conduct keyword research to optimize your focus.
  • Make sure your site is optimized for mobile users.
  • Add events to third-party websites relevant to your potential attendees.
  • Utilize promotion from sponsorships.

12. Partner with relevant organizations or influencers

Collaboration is a powerful tool for any modern-day event. Not only does partnering with relevant organizations and influencers multiply your audience reach and marketing power, but it also serves as a marker of your event’s value.

Make sure you pick partners who are relevant to your messaging and goals. This will allow you to create an authentic collaboration that will benefit audiences on both sides of the partnership.

13. Offer incentives for early registration

Early registration gives you a clearer sense of your event’s potential, helps you gain momentum for future registrations, and provides valuable data about who is interested and invested enough to sign up.

Incentivize these early enrollments in order to boost your event’s success as a whole. Early bird specials, access to pre-event activities and networking opportunities, and other perks can make early registration a success.

14. Run contests or giveaways

Giveaways and contests can help generate buzz and interest in your event while also building up your email list and providing crucial insight into your potential audience and their interests.

Supercharge Your Event Promotion Strategy With Localist

Knowing how to increase event attendance is crucial to capitalizing on the time, effort, and money you’ve put into event planning. So make sure your event promotion strategy is a success by choosing a platform built to capitalize on multiple best practices.

Localist is a high-quality, streamlined event planning and marketing tool that will give you all the features you need to make your event a success. From streamlined templates to integrated email marketing and beautiful landing pages to integrated registration, Localist makes running high-quality events easier and more rewarding.

See how to increase event attendance with Localist today.