How to inspire people to join your event?
You have a dream, it’s to organise an event, a festival, a gathering! Your event is approaching soon, and you have only managed to sell some of your tickets and you ask:
“How do we energise more people to join us?”
This is a question that comes up often. In fact, it was a question that was asked yesterday by a friend who is seeking some advice, and is in synchronicity with another friend organising a separate event. This is a gift for them and to everyone organising events.
Now, I believe in the power of questions rather than answers to solve challenges that we face, so as a response, I’ve spontaneously hacked together some questions for deep reflection covering four areas: What have you done so far? How do you extend your reach? How do you inspire your audience to attend? and how do you leverage your venue?
What have you done so far?
Website? Social media page? Early bird pricing? Teaser video? Social media communications? sharing those online? Promotional tickets discounts? The space holding structure? Speaker profiles? Hosting online and in-person pre-event hangout sessions? With guest speakers and Q&A’s? and I hear you say:
“check, check, …, check, …, did I miss something?
How do you extend your reach?
How can you crowd source your promotional activities? What if people who secured participants through existing relationships are rewarded? How about they receive 20% of the ticket price as a reward for each guest they bring?
How about gamifying your ticket sales? How about a free ticket to whoever tweeted the most about the event?
Who know’s about your event? Who doesn’t? Do you have a clear picture of Who? Do you have access to them? Are they in your direct Network? Where do they hang out and what are their preferred methods of communication? Do you need to leverage connections to get access to your audience? Do you need experts to advocate and vouch for the event, do you have access to them? What about local industry partnerships?
How do you inspire your audience to attend?
So, by now, you probably have a social media page with many followers? Who naturally loves what you do? Well, if so, your audience is already waiting there, watching, before they make the final leap to purchase a ticket.
What do they need to read, hear, see to make the purchase decision? What can you do to help them? What are your unique differentiators? What makes it special? How you do it? Is the event structure self-organising?
Now let’s think about it from their perspective, if you were them, if you were deciding to attending an event, a festival or a gathering, what would you need to know?
“What would attract me? What would put me off? Will it respond to my shifting curiosity? Could I connect with others before the event, to share our why’s and what we want to achieve there?”
Maybe they are thinking who is organising this event? And why are they organising it? What does it mean for you as the organizer? Have the you and co-organising team shared your deepest why? Have you and the team shared your story? Why are the speakers coming? Have they shared their story?
Who is this event for? How does it contribute to the wider ecosystem? Who is coming — who are the paying participants? How does it connect with them? Why are they coming? Have you shared their story?
How are you accommodating diversity? e.g. age; cognitive style; culture; disability (mental, learning, physical); economic background; education; ethnicity; gender identity; geographic background; languages spoken; marital/partnered status; physical appearance; political affiliation; race; religious beliefs; sexual orientation or veteran’s status.
Is the pricing fair? Do people understand how it’s been calculated? How much profit or loss are you making? Are you providing attendance scholarships? Are you facilitating sponsorship opportunities, or payment options?
How do you leverage your venue?
You chose a beautiful venue, right? Well, have you shared about its beauty? What is the accessibility like, can it be accesses by those with disabilities? Is the venue family friendly? Any unique features? Do the venue owners sponsor a community project or charity? Is it eco-friendly? Have you shared about its surrounding beauty? The local neighbourhood and its attractions?
And lastly, most people love an after-party! So, where’s the party? Talk about it!
So, what’s next? What are your reflections?
Sharing answers to all the above questions helps to build trust and confidence. Now it’s over to you to reflect deeply on your answers to the questions above and see what is left for you to do to attract the crowds. Oh, and in case you don’t know all the answers, ask your community, ask those who have already committed to attending, start the dialogue.
Lastly, I see this blog as a first version, and would like to make this an evolutionary blog with further iterations. Hence if you feel there are some additional questions to consider or your would like to share some reflections, feel free to add them as a blog response below.