Hit Your Next Event’s Attendance and ROI Targets

5 Tested – and Proven - Strategies

If you’re dead serious about selling out your next event, perhaps the most effective way of doing it is to offer a ton of free stuff, or have a celebrity like Tom Cruise mingle with the attendees.

But those aren’t realistic options, are they?  

What is real though is the need to hit attendance targets to ensure you get the most out of your investment. But that’s a lot easier said than done, especially if you have an audience that isn’t exactly eager to join another one of those boring trade shows they get nothing out of. 

The following 5 techniques should help you maximize your next event’s ability to hit your attendance and ROI goals. 

1.    Offer Special Privileges to the Previous Event’s Attendees

If you’re organizing events on an annual basis or even just at regular intervals, you can incentivize attendance by offering special privileges to the previous event’s participants. Doing so is a great way of building brand loyalty, and the people who attended last year’s event may be more likely to be supporters and buy tickets once more.

Even if you’ve yet to iron out all the details of your upcoming event, simply showing your appreciation can go a long way when it comes to building brand loyalty. As for privileges to offer, here are a few ideas:

•    Discounted tickets
•    Exclusive loyalty kit with freebies
•    Meet and greet with keynote speakers
•    Discounts with select exhibitors

2.    Offer Early Bird Discounts

Generally, the earlier you can start marketing your event, the more hype you can generate. When creating a pricing strategy for your event, its’ a good idea to present two options: early bird and regular pricing. Early bird ticket prices incentivize early purchases, creating a sense of urgency with your audience that they need to buy ticket before prices increase. 

3.    Incentivize Blogging and Mentions through Special Privileges and Discounts

Someone else’s word can carry a lot more weight with your potential attendee.

If you want to generate publicity and hype without directly paying for it, you can also offer special event privileges to bloggers and relevant influencers who can write about or help promote your event. You get to leverage an influencer for a small price, and that person gets something in exchange for helping to promote your conference or trade show—it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Having a third party talk about your event is also a more organic approach to event marketing. And oftentimes, someone else’s word can carry a lot more weight with your potential attendees—this is especially true if we’re talking about an influencer or opinion leader. 

4.    Promote the Location and Venue 

One way of squeezing more promotional juice for free is to encourage your event’s host venue to promote the event. If the venue is an established hotel or conference center, you may be able to strike an arrangement that encourages them to promote the event across their own channels.

Likewise, if you’re hosting the event in a city that’s a popular tourist destination, be sure to include it in your promotions. Attendees don’t just want to know about your event; if your host city is a big draw, then be sure to push it as much as you can. A trip to a cool and beautiful city is hard to turn down.

Include suggested attractions in your promotional materials, making it more compelling for people to join your event. 

5.    Use Facebook and Linkedin’s Targeted Ads to Promote Your Event to Specific Groups

Using Facebook and LinkedIn’s ad platform allows you to create ads targeted towards a specific demographic or location, ensuring that you’re only spending what you need to. Your ads can direct users to your registration page, or a signup page for a newsletter.


All of the strategies have one thing in common—demonstrating value in your event. In addition, incentivizing attendance and promotions of your event helps spread awareness without really taking too much out of your marketing budget. After your event, be sure to evaluate how these efforts contributed to your attendance, checking which strategies generated the most activity.

Written by Tabitha Naylor

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