Sometimes people create a fabulous event, the kind that has people talking long after it’s over.  But despite all the careful planning for the day-of, there’s one big problem…nobody shows up!

Poor attendance is usually the result of the mistaken belief that once you’ve arranged a good event, attendance is something that just sort of happens.  In reality, if people don’t know about it, they will not come!  Unfortunately, this is a lesson that too many people learn the hard way.

The solution: Marketing is a vital component of any event.  If your event is small your task will be simpler.  For small events, invitations should take care of most of the work.  But for big events, your marketing goes beyond a simple Evite or mailed invitation.  A webpage or website specifically for the event is a must.  Provide a link to the event page or site on your regular site’s home page.  It sounds obvious, but be sure to include specifics (date, time, place, etc.) on the page or site, as well as a prominent registration button that people will be itching to click!  Try EventBrite if you can’t easily create another page on your site for the event.  Don’t forget to also include images of people having a blast at similar past events on your site.

The demographics of your attendees will determine the rest your promotional strategy for larger events (I’m assuming here that you’ve already determined who needs to be invited).  Here are a few ideas you might try:

*Put registered attendees on an email list and send weekly updates and reminders for the event right up until the day of.

*Send press releases to appropriate industry bloggers and calendar editors of relevant online publications.  If all your invitees are local, send one to the local paper, as well.

*Tweet, tweet, tweet…like, all the time, right up until the event.  The more Tweets you send, the more likely it is that people will see them and start creating some buzz around the event.

*Okay, this should go without saying, but post and promote the event on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.  Never thought of using Instagram to promote your event?  Check out this EventBrite blog with some tips for doing just that

*Get a local radio station to sponsor the event and have public service announcements run daily during the two weeks leading up to it.

*Consider promoting incentives for attending (e.g., Tweet about prize drawings for attendees at the end of the event, Tweet or email a simple scavenger hunt attendees can do in exchange for a prize, etc.).  If they know free stuff is involved, they may be more apt to attend.

Again, your attendees’ demographics will help determine the promotional steps that are right for your event.  If it’s strictly millennials you’re wishing to attract, skip the sponsorship idea from the Golden Oldies Radio Station.  On the other hand, if you want lots of gray-haired individuals in attendance, haunt that oldies station until they agree to sponsor your event!

No matter what, remember this: if you build it and they don’t know about it, they won’t come!

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