Increase attendance at your events without spending more money. It's every meeting planner's dream, but really more of an oxymoron, right? Not necessarily.
You can roll out an expensive marketing campaign or turn to discounted event prices to encourage registration, but you don't always have to do so. Here are three great ways to reach more attendees without having to spend more money:
• Use social media. The importance of social media in event promotion is undeniable. By jumping on Twitter, blogging, creating a Facebook group and more, you can access an entire network of potential event attendees who are interesting in learning more about your organization and its conference.
Using social media you can provide real-time updates about the goings-on of your event, give people a behind-the-scenes look at how it's coming together, share testimonials and happenings from last year's event, etc. The various social media platforms allow you to illustrate the value your event can bring to attendees, all at no cost to you other than time.
Just remember: it's important to whole-heartedly enter the social media sphere—any other approach will appear contrived or spammy, which is a surefire way to actually lose interest.
• Encourage guests to tell a friend. Your meeting attendees are an easy connection to a host of qualified contacts. Encourage them to invite these friends and colleagues along to your event.
Using Cvent's Tell-a-Friend feature, meeting planners can easily allow attendees to enter the names and email addresses of those who may want to attend the event. Not only do you gain access to a whole new set of potential invitees, but you also get the benefit of word-of-mouth marketing about your event from a trusted source.
• Leverage partnerships for promotions. As you plan your event, you're likely working with a number of people outside of your organization: speakers, restaurants, entertainment, etc. Why not use these outside sources to help promote your events? Professional speakers, for example, generally have their own website or blog—ask them to post something about your event, and in turn include their bio and contact information on your event website.
You might even be able to secure discounts and promotions to offer to your attendees in return for promoting certain partners. For instance, if you are hosting a cocktail reception after your event at a local restaurant, see if you can work out a deal with the manager in which you promote his/her venue in exchange for a meal discount you can give to attendees. It's a little extra incentive for encouraging registration, and it won't cost you a thing.