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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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6 Ways to Boost Event Attendance

Posted by Callie Walker


Fact: There’s nothing more frustrating than spending countless hours planning an event only to have a poor turnout. In fact, for event planners, the sight of empty chairs can often be downright painful. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tactics to help your association boost upcoming event attendance. Take a look!

1. Select a date that works well for your audience

Selecting an event date can be tricky business. When reviewing your options, be mindful of secular and religious holidays, as well as possible competing events.  

2. Choose a location that's local and convenient

When it comes to selecting a venue, you’ll want to pick a location that’s local, convenient, and within your budget. Consider locations you’ve used before as well as locations used by others. If you’re at a total loss for ideas, try asking your board or close members for suggestions.

3. Send out save-the-dates early

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you want a good turnout, you MUST get on people’s calendars ASAP.

4. Simplify the registration process

Your registration process should be as seamless and all-encompassing as possible. Keep your registration forms short and don’t ask for information you don’t truly need. If you really want to simplify the registration process, try utilizing an association management system, which can integrate with your member database and pre-populate form fields.

5. Offer incentives for early registrations

Early-bird discounts are a great way encourage early registrations. They don’t have to be super pricey – $10 or $15 off can sometimes be incentive enough. Other early-bird options include providing coupon codes for discounts in the future or providing a free promotional item, such as a t-shirt. 

6. Send out reminder emails

Over time, people forget – it’s human nature! That’s why it’s crucial to send out reminder emails prior to your event. With an AMS, you can actually send out automated reminder emails, making this one less step you have to worry about.

For more event planning tips, download our free event guide below!

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Topics: association management, event planning, member engagement, Small Staff Chatter

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