Pre-event engagement guarantees a successful event. Just remember, good event marketing begins long before the first guest arrives.
Attracting attendees to register for your event is just the beginning. Registrants need to be nurtured. From the day they sign-up to the day of attendance, there is a chasm. And to ensure your event goes well, you need to keep people motivated during that gap between registration and arrival. In other words, you need to create engagement!
Here are five different tips for engaging registrants and keeping them excited about your event. Deploy these strategies, and you’ll seamlessly create pre-event hype and anticipation.
And if you’d like other articles like this one, read our massive guide to event marketing for small business.
Tip 1: Have A Pre-event Ask
In marketing, call-to-actions, or CTAs, are crucial. A CTA is when you ask your audience to do something, like visit your website or follow you on Instagram. Not only does it make your intention clear, but it gives your audience direction – and gives you what you need.
Maybe there’s something you could ask them to do? It’s exciting to gather responses, send surveys, and make attendees feel like they’re part of the pre-event engagement process. Their opinions matter!
Here are some examples of pre-event asks that can make your event even better:
- Post about the event on social media
- Advertise an event #hashtag that people can begin using
- Refer their friends by sharing a sign-up link or discount code
- Submit questions so a speaker can answer them live
- Ask people to sign up for a raffle or prize giveaway
Tip 2: Pre-Event Engagement Happens On Social Media
The power of social media is unparalleled. These platforms create the perfect place to encourage conversation. They’re called social networking sites for a reason!
These online discussions generate excitement for your event as attendees can interact with one another – and network – before the event even begins.
Reach out via social media and post questions, ask for opinions, and get the chatting started. Ask attendees to introduce themselves in a comment. Invite people to share a link to their business. Take a poll and ask what people are most excited about.
Plus, social network algorithms prioritize meaningful conversations. That means you’ll get your event in front of more people and expand your organic reach online. That could mean extra sign-ups!
Tip 3: Email automation
If you use Mad Mimi, MailChimp, or another email newsletter tool, consider connecting it to your event software, like Eventbrite. That way, attendee emails automatically roll in and get added to your lists.
Set up a few newsletters in an automated email campaign. You should always welcome new sign-ups. Then, ask them to share the event with their friends. After, send a few emails reminding them about the cool things they’ll experience at your event.
After registering for an event, excitement can easily dwindle. These messages keep the excitement going! The beauty of automation is that after some pre-planning, you can set and forget. Sit back and let the magic happen.
Tip 4: Share last year’s memories
Another way to stir up some pre-event engagement is to give a shout out to last year’s event. Share testimonials, photo galleries, or videos from a past (or related) event. You may even encourage repeat attendees to come again.
If this is a first-time event, you don’t have the option of sharing past memories. But, you can fabricate hype with teasers. If you’re handy with video production, film a short teaser trailer showing off the venue, entertainment, or other aspects of your event. The Fyre Festival is infamous for selling out because of one epic video trailer (granted, it’s the greatest party that never happened, so don’t overpromise anything!).
Another more straightforward teaser option is creating a photo collage of fun things attendees can expect. A few scattered visuals can drum up anticipation and ramp up the excitement. Don’t forget to tag your partners, sponsors, speakers, etc. This content is also shared on their networks!
Tip 5: Send Reminders
If you don’t use any other pre-event engagement strategy, at least follow this one: send out reminders! The success of an event is contingent on communication. You need to keep attendees (plus vendors and other stakeholders) in the loop to avoid last-minute confusion.
Send out reminders to registered attendees via email and social media. Consider a runway of communication to address a month, a week, a day before, and the day-of. For example, the month before, you might need to gather t-shirt sizes. The day before, you might want to share parking and arrival information. Different times demand different reminders.
And if you need a reminder yourself, add it as a task in your own event planning software. It’s worth making it a part of the event planning process.
Pre-Event Engagement Is Easy
It sounds like a lot right now, but it’s not too bad. Trust me. Reminders don’t need to be annoying or boring. Share the excitement! An excited and informed crowd is the best crowd.
Amanda Larson, CED, is a Certified Event Designer, marketer, and content creator. With a degree in journalism and special events management, Amanda has worked in marketing and events for both international startups and Fortune500 companies. She specializes in digital branding, copywriting, and graphic design freelancing for clients globally.
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