As exciting as launching a first-time event can be, it can be equally terrifying. The fear of wondering if people will actually show up can debilitate a person. But have no fear! With a little extra effort and intentionality, you can take your event from a shaky first-timer to a smashing success.
Here are 5 tips to help increase the number of participants at your first event.
1. Partner With a Local Nonprofit
Identify a non-profit in your area who has great rapport and credibility with the community. This type of partnership can help bring visibility and transfer trust to your new event. Simultaneously the non-profit can use your event as a promotional platform, as well as encourage their followers to participate in the event, which would bring mutual benefit. As participants register for your event, you can use the GroupRev integration to automatically create a fundraising page for each registrant in real-time. This is an effective way to bring additional value to your partnered non-profit as well as help increase revenue which helps to make this partnership a win-win.
2. Build Suspense With a Waiting List
The moment you know your event is a ‘go,’ start promoting it. Yes, even if registration isn’t open yet. This might sound strange, but we promise you, it is an effective strategy and it will save you from missing out on many interested participants during the many months of planning. Add a countdown clock and email capture to your registration form. This will build anticipation for that countdown to hit zero which will incentivize interested participants to enter their email address to be among the first to be notified the moment registration opens. Try adding the email addresses you collect into an email drip campaign so you can begin building your brand and relationship with these interested participants.
3. Turn Your Registrants into Promoters
Equip your registrants with the tools they need to reach the hundreds or thousands of people in their social networks you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Features like Tag Your Friends will invite your registrants to tag their friends in a post upon registering. This feature will actually send their friend a notification about this post to help assure it doesn’t get lost in the newsfeed. People are much more likely to participate in an event they are personally invited to by a friend or family member. Additionally, the Ambassador Program will allow you to track and pay your registrants for each person they personally get to register for your event.
4. Identify a ‘Sister’ Event
Find an event that takes place in an opposite season as yours. Offer to promote their event to your registrants in return for them promoting your event to theirs. You can sweeten the deal by offering their registrants an exclusive discount, or by giving the event a free booth at your event, and even allow them to put flyers in your swag bags.
5. Promote Coupon Codes
Everyone loves a great deal. Use this natural instinct to your advantage by offering discounts to your event. Rather than pricing your event at dirt cheap pricing, promote some financial incentives. Increase onlookers’ desire by making promotions time sensitive. Promote a discount to the first 100 to register or for limited time flash sales. You also can provide discounts to specific organizations. These are just a few tips we’ve seen used effectively to increase first-time event participation. Give them a whirl and let us know how they work for you. Or, comment below with other ideas and tactics you’d like to share with first-time event promoters.