When effectively executed, business events can be invaluable - helping companies grow their client base and spread the word about their services. But when it comes to drawing in the crowds, it’s not always as easy as simply sending out the invites.
Today, we’re breaking down some key ways to attract the right sorts of attendees - looking at everything from the importance of an appropriate venue to best-practice marketing communications, helping you ensure your next business event delivers worthwhile rewards.
From budgets and guestlists to the date and time of your event, there are a number of things that contribute to a successful event - so it’s worth considering how many team members you’ll need to help you effectively plan and prepare. In terms of the time of your event, consider work schedules and rush hour, as these things will contribute to whether or not a person will be willing to work your event into their busy day - and if you choose a particularly busy time, you might find yourself disappointed by the turnout.
While the aspects mentioned above are important, there’s no denying the significance of the venue - with everything from parking to local accommodation likely to sway potential attendees. A city centre location will give attendees ample accommodation options and provide you with an exciting array of venues to choose from - but there can be drawbacks, too. Both parking and accommodation are likely to be expensive and highly sought-after. For events outside the city, it’s worth doing some research on local accommodation for guests who are travelling from further afield. Whether it’s a cottage in Northumberland or a hotel on the outskirts of Leeds, your guests will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to - which can only improve the likelihood of a great turnout on the day of the event.
While there’s still a lot to be said for the power of word-of-mouth, these days, it’s all about social media - allowing users to connect and engage around the clock. With almost 2 billion users, it’ll come as no surprise that Facebook is among our recommended social media platforms to use to promote your event. From creating an event and inviting your followers to posting regular reminders, Facebook is a great way to spread the word about upcoming events - as well as keeping followers up-to-speed on your business.
With an array of channels available, social media allows you to put your business in front of a vast amount of users, promoting your brand before, during and after the event. Whether you’re still handing out business cards or you’re using posters to display your contact details, during the event, make sure your social media details are accessible and encourage attendees to connect with you online. This will make the post-event follow-up that much easier, and will help you to maintain and nurture relationships long after the event is over.
Provide free food (and drinks!)
From mid-week brunches to post-work drinks, when it comes to encouraging people to attend an event, food will always be an incentive - but the planning will take some serious thought. In terms of catering, it’s best to have too much food than too little, so make sure you accurately estimate how many guests you expect to attend. You’ll want to factor in food allergies and preferences, too, as some attendees may be unimpressed if there are no vegetarian options on the menu, for example.
For evening events, if your budget permits, a glass of bubbly on arrival will help to set the tone of your event - but you’ll want to make sure there are also soft drinks available. If you’re hosting a brunch, provide tea, coffee and a range of juices, ensuring there’s something for everyone. By keeping attendees fed and watered, they’re much more likely to stick around - giving you an opportunity to work the room and speak to as many people as possible.
When it comes to planning a business event, it can be easy to become distracted by the finer details - but it’s worth keeping in mind that, without attendees, your event will fail. With this in mind, make sure your number one priority is drawing in the crowds and ensuring you’re reaching your target audience. With our top tips above, you can do just that.