3 Expert Marketing Strategies to Increase Event Attendance

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Mike Snusz

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Picture this: your association is gearing up to host a conference on industry insights. You promote the event at the bottom of your email newsletter a few times, but when the event day comes, your attendees numbers are minimal. 

To navigate around this issue, you need a solid marketing strategy to get the word out about your event and create hype around attending. After all, a big part of making your events a success is having enough people there. But, if people don’t know it’s happening or don’t find it interesting enough, your attendance numbers will reflect this. 

With multichannel marketing, you can create multiple touchpoints with members, allowing you to keep engagement levels high and prove the value in belonging to your association. Then, once you’ve hooked your audience and grabbed their attention, you can direct them to register for your event. Plus, quality event marketing can put your organization on prospective members’ radar and lead to more applications. 

Use these expert marketing strategies to promote your upcoming association event and increase member buzz:  

  1. Leverage Text Message Marketing
  2. Create Compelling Blog Content
  3. Harness the Power of Social Media

Creating a winning marketing plan is easy when you have the right tools. Make sure you’re working with a full tech stack, from a comprehensive text messaging platform to an email software solution, to streamline your communications and reach members with ease. 

1 Leverage Text Message Marketing 

Text messaging is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to building your communication and marketing strategy. With an astounding 99% open rate and 90% read rate within just three minutes of being sent, text messages offer a direct channel to reach your association members and capture their attention. 

To create compelling text messages that spur excitement around your event, use these top tips:

  • Highlight your event’s logistical details and purpose: Dive into what exactly your event is, when it’ll take place, and the benefits of attendance. Pique your members’ interest with a strong hook or subject line, like “Network with esteemed industry professionals next Friday at our annual conference!” Then, you might explain how every member will receive a unique conference badge and get the opportunity to meet other individuals in their professional field. 

  • Add valuable visuals: If you’ve hosted an event like this (or this same event) in the past, include visuals from the event to grab your members’ attention. For example, you might include photos of your association members networking or listening to speeches. Or, you might send a video highlight reel that shows all the fun and impactful learning moments from your last event. 

  • Include your registration link: Include a mobile-friendly link to your registration page so members know exactly where to go to sign up. Best of all, they’ll be able to register quickly from anywhere at any time. This will help contribute to a positive user experience and increase your registration numbers. 

You could also use text messaging to spotlight other details of your event, such as by: 

  • Sharing the event agenda 
  • Highlighting key speakers
  • Sending updates and reminders throughout the event
  • Sending a poll asking for feedback to make future events a success

To send your messages off with ease, you’ll need the right technology. Leverage a text messaging platform that prioritizes user-experience and fast messaging speeds so you can quickly send off your communications and feel confident that they’ll reach your members. Consider creating a video walkthrough that shows the process of opting in to your text messaging campaign. 

Plus, a text messaging platform that offers segmentation and automation capabilities will help you power off personalized thank-you messages after the event. eCardWidget’s guide to member appreciation ideas recommends including a custom greeting in your event follow-up messages and expressing heartfelt gratitude for attending. This will help members feel valued by your organization, boost satisfaction rates, and contribute to greater retention

2 Create Compelling Blog Content 

Your association’s members look to your blog to learn more about your events and ways they can continue to derive value from your organization. It’s therefore imperative that you generate high-quality blog content that highlights your upcoming event so members can learn more and register on the spot.

Consider creating the following blog content to drive member engagement and spark interest around your event:

  • Recap the highlights from your last event: Include photos and videos, an overview of the presentations that took place, and testimonials as social proof from members who were in attendance. For example, you might feature quotes from members about how they were able to develop their professional skills or network with their peers. 

  • Ask an event speaker to provide a sneak peek of their presentation: If you have a speaker coming to your event, ask them to author a blog post where they hint at some of their talking points and explain why it’s worth your members’ time to come and hear it. 

  • Highlight your fundraising needs and how this event will help: You might be hosting an association event to build sponsor and attendee revenues for your organization. Explain how this revenue will make a difference and continue to provide members with an exemplary experience. If your association is a 501(c)(3), include ways members can donate, such as by signing up for text-to-give. Tatango’s guide to text-to-give explains that text donations are an easy and effective way to raise money for your association quickly, all while catering to the convenience of your members. 

You can also include a call to action in your blog posts to sign up for more updates and information about your upcoming event. Offer clear guidance on how to opt-in. Consider creating a video walkthrough that shows the process of opting in to your text messaging campaign and share this on your blog. 

3 Harness the Power of Social Media 

Social media is another effective tool to promote your event among current members and even inspire prospective members to apply or sign up for events if they’re available to the public. Here are some ideas of compelling content you could create and share: 

  • Video of a member explaining why they’re attending your event: Member-driven marketing can help sway people who are on the fence about attending by giving your marketing strategy a more personal touch. If you’re an association made up of higher education professionals hosting a conference, you could ask one of your loyal members to post a video about why they’re excited to attend. Ask members to create videos and include a catchy hashtag, a link to your event registration page in the caption or bio, and a tag that points back to your social media account so people can follow along for more event updates. 

  • Photos and brief biographies of speakers who will be in attendance: If your event will have speakers, make sure to spotlight these individuals and create short bio snippets that prove their credibility. 

  • Graphics that highlight your event agenda: Bring attention to your event programming with a captivating graphic that lists out everything members can expect, from networking time to professional development workshops.

A seamless integration of social media with text messaging and blog content will make your marketing strategy more cohesive, engaging, and help boost your registration numbers. For example, in your social media captions, don’t forget to provide brief instructions for joining your text messaging campaign for additional event updates. Include links to digital resources like your blog for deeper event insights.

Wrapping Up

By leveraging digital marketing options like text messaging, your blog, and social media, your association will be in great shape to create excitement around your upcoming event and watch your registration numbers skyrocket. Then, you can effectively increase your retention rates with enriching, educational events that help members realize the full benefits of their membership.

Mike Snusz Author Profile Pic
Mike Snusz
Director of Nonprofit Customer Experience at Tatango

Mike Snuszbrings 19 years of digital fundraising experience to his role as Director of Nonprofit Customer Experience at Tatango, a text messaging platform for nonprofits and political campaigns. Prior to Tatango, Mike spent 15 years at Blackbaud leading a team of digital consultants that helped nonprofits improve their online fundraising, monthly giving, email marketing and peer-to-peer fundraising programs. Mike started his nonprofit career managing the Ride For Roswell from 2003 to 2005 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. 

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