Whatever your reason for holding a conference, you will want it to be the best experience possible for your attendees. Whether the aim is to build your brand, achieve more sales, or to sell more space at next year’s conference, you want your event to take off and succeed.
Nothing spreads the word like happy delegates, so in order for your first conference to have the best possible chance of success, you need delegates — and lots of them. But how do you go about getting high numbers of attendees if this your first event? Here are seven quick tips to help you on your way:
Do they want it?
If you want to hold a conference, you’ll need to consider what the people actually want. Survey the industry, check out forums, read the trade press and even ask people outright if they will attend. This will help you select speakers and present the conference in a way that will entice people instead of turn them away.
Access all areas
If your attendees are likely to come from a certain area, pick a venue that is equidistant. It should be accessible and easy to park, or have great public transport links. If your attendees know that getting to your venue will be hassle-free they will be more likely to sign up.
The room counts
Pick a room that allows you to be flexible in your layout, and is well-maintained with good facilities. If technology is going to be an important part of your conference, make sure the venue can offer what you need. If you are also offering catering, choose a company that can offer good-quality options at an affordable price.
Nothing attracts a crowd like a celebrity! You may not be able to afford One Direction, but booking at least one well-known speaker in your industry will increase your attendance. It may be costly, but it could be worth the expense if it ups your numbers.
If you can create a buzz about your conference before the tickets go on sale, you will have delegates queuing to sign up. Do you have specific answers to a common problem in your industry? Are you launching a new product or service that will transform your industry? Are you announcing a new president or other newsworthy information? Use these facts to pique interest and stir up a buzz.
What else can you offer as part of the package? Could you give away an early-bird bonus, such as reduced price on overnight rooms, or a free consultation to the first 100 tickets booked? On top of deals like this, emphasise all the extras your delegate will get, such as a detailed transcript of all material, a chance to confer with the top professional in the industry etc. Make your conference show its value.
You can (and should!) use your internal marketing team to help get the word out about your event, but as you are a newcomer in the conference arena, it’s wise to enlist some external help from professionals as well. Look for PR agencies or marketing groups that have worked with other successful conference and see if you can get them on board.
By creating an event that your attendees look forward to coming to, your bookings will soar. By using a premier meeting venue, making it relevant and offering value, whilst getting your delegates excited about the content, you will have a sure fire winner on your hands.
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