October 18, 2016

Boost the Attendance of Your Smaller Events

Boost the Attendance of Your Smaller Events

If your association is like any other local society for association executives, you love your events. very year, your staff and members alike can’t wait to convene at ASAE’s Annual Meeting & Exposition to share ideas, learn something new and network with like-minds. For many of you, your staff spends countless months preparing for your own annual event, meeting or exposition. This event is the mother-load of them all for your association. Not only does this event keep your members engaged, it brings a little revenue into the equation as well. Win-win, right?

What about the seasonal events that your association conducts? Often times, the attendance rates for these events falter in comparison to the big kahunas. You may be wondering how your association can get all of your association-loving members to these smaller events.

Whether it’s a bi-monthly luncheon, business meeting or lecture series: these events matter. Your seasonal events deserve just as much attention, planning and organization as your heavy hitters. At the end of the day, your members value obtaining knowledge about association management. It’s important that you give them as many opportunities to learn, grow and connect as possible.

Promote Seasonal Events as If They Are Annual

We all know that "the" event of the year is usually your annul meeting, but that doesn't mean your members need to know that. It's important to promote your seasonal events as wholeheartedly as your annual.

Value Social Media

If there is one thing that association professionals love, it's social media. You can find them all over Twitter, diving into relevant, industry-related conversations. Why not start there?

  • An excellent way to get your members excited about seasonal events is to show highlights from the last time one was conducted. By sharing images of former events, your members will get a glimpse into the event. If your association is hosting a round-table, create a Facebook album that highlights features from the last time one was conducted. Tweet an image that best exemplifies the event for your followers to see. Additionally, posting testimonials regarding the event will give it some validity.
  • Association professionals love a good hashtag. #assnchat and #assnprofs are some personal favorites. Creating a hashtag for your specific event is a great way to get members interested. This creates a sense of belonging and community surround the event. It’s important to use this universal hashtag within all of your social media channels.
  • To effectively promote your seasonal events, you will need to create and implement a posting schedule. By utilizing an automation tool, your staff will seamlessly be able to post about your upcoming event without having to think twice. It’s important to record your findings to ensure that you are posting at the optimal time. This will allow you to tweak your schedule to reach the highest level of engagement.

Utilize E-Marketing Efforts

E-Marketing is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to reach a large audience. Why not utilize this method to promote your association's events?

  • A standard e-marketing practice is to segment your recipients. It’s important to tailor your email copy so that it’s relevant to the recipient at hand. An easy way to do this is to segment by role, and then explain how the event will benefit them. Members will want to learn more and could increase attendance.
  • Another valuable e-marketing tool to use is to attach information regarding your upcoming event in your email signature. This will make it difficult for your members to miss it. Again, if your association created an event hashtag - add it to your signature as well! Members will constantly be reminded of the happening coming up.

Make Registration a Breeze

One of the largest deterrents that make members opt out of an event is an outdated, rigorous registration process. Think about it: who wants to fight to attend something that is meant to be beneficial? To increase your seasonal event attendance, you will need to make the registration process a breeze.

Chances are, your members are very accustomed to the event registration process, as their association has its own method. Impress your members with a streamlined registration process within your AMS.

  • Luckily for you, technology wants to do the grunt work for you. The right AMS will provide members with a self-service portal that will allow them to register for an event on their own. This not only empowers your members, but alleviates your staff of any extra work.
  • To keep the registration process simple, the modern AMS will eliminate the need for logging into multiple systems due to the member portal. Additionally, members can register for an event with their saved payment method. This will save members time and frustration.

Pro Tip: To give members a distinct experience, allow them to customize their event details in your AMS. Whether it’s inputting a discount code, or a specific dietary restriction, members will have a voice to create a personal experience. This can all be completed in their member portal, it’s that easy!

One of the major objectives of the Society of Association Executives is to have members convene and connect. Your members love learning about association management and connecting with like-minds. Don’t do them a disservice, it’s time to make sure that they attend all of your events.