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5 Ways to Drive Attendance to In-Person Events

At GovDelivery, we strive to provide meaningful and actionable content for our clients to best connect with their audiences. As a part of this effort, we host a series of in-person events such as webinars, breakfast meetings, and one large annual event that gathers hundreds of thought-leaders together around a common goal: to help government work smarter.

With so many events on the calendar, we’re often asked how we drive our audience to attend and participate.

Here are five tips we’ve learned along the way:

Provide a Hook with Valuable Details – Like most content, event content needs a hook. What is the theme of the event and why should one come? Often, this is done in the subject line and first paragraph in the email. As the hook draws clicks, answers to valuable detail questions should be provided on event registration page: What time is the event? Who is speaking? Where is it located? How do guests register?

Personalize the Campaign – When we announce our events, we start with a general email with marketing copy in our organization’s voice and in a professional template. As the event gets closer, we send targeted emails from the people who know our clients the most. These often are more personalized with an individual’s first name, but generally have more plain copy. We’ve found these emails have the best results in driving registrations.

Segment Audiences – It is important for us to segment our audience when sending an event campaign. If the event is local, we don’t want to send information to those who could not attend outside of our location. After our initial “hook” email, we segment out those who have already registered to make sure they don’t receive unnecessary emails. For the final emails, we target a very narrow list – those who have opened or clicked previous emails but haven’t registered yet. By focusing on the segment of those who have shown interest but haven’t completed, we are able to increase registration rates.

Multi-Touch Reminders – Email reminders are a great way to provide more reasons for why attending your event will be worthwhile. Starting about one week away from an event, we’ll send email reminders with more information on what guests will expect to hear or learn. With only a few days away from an event, we’ll send an additional reminder with more focused logistical information (parking, construction updates, etc.).

SMS (text messaging) is also a highly effective way to connect with event goers leading up to an event. Early in the registration process, we allow for registrants to opt-in to receive mobile reminders. For this audience, sending a day-of text on the morning of the event will help ultimately drive them to the event.

Host a Great Event – The best way to attract attendees to future events is to host a great experience that involves an educational component, meaningful connections, and actionable takeaways. If an event has all three, it’s more likely that attendees will want to participate in future event options.