Taking the time to plan and promote an event only for nobody to sign up is a kick in the gut. It’s like that 11th birthday party when your parents invited your whole class to Dave & Busters but the only person to show up was your depressed Aunt Carol who spent the whole time telling you how hard it is to get divorced in your forties. (That happened to you guys too, right?)
If you’re driving traffic to your event signup page but not getting any registrations, there are a few areas where things may be missing the mark. Let’s look at the most likely candidates.
Your Event Isn’t Compelling Enough
Whatever industry you’re in, you should assume that your target audience is busy. Even if they’re not busy, they probably think they are. Holding their attention long enough to even consider your event to begin with is a small win itself. Getting them to commit their time to attending your business’s event is worthy of an enthusiastic pat on the back. (You’ve earned it!)
So, put yourself in your audience’s shoes and consider the following:
Is the subject of the event interesting and valuable enough to make your audience willingly give up their precious time to not only learn about it – but actually register and attend?
Will your audience get enough in return for their attendance to justify the commitment?
Is the topic and information unique, or can they find it anywhere?
If there are presenters, are they recognized experts in their field?
If it’s a B2B event, is this something that attendees’ bosses will be happy to let them take time out of their day (or days) for?
Set the bar high here and answer these questions honestly. If the answer to any of them is no, the problem is likely the event itself.
Additionally, try describing the event to colleagues or friends and gauge their interest. These people are in a position to provide you with more objective feedback than you might give an event you’re already invested in, and those conversations could lead to different or better ideas for this or future events.
You’re Not Demonstrating Enough Credibility
Is the target audience for your event already familiar with your business and presenter? Are you leveraging testimonials from past attendees that your audience would identify with?
While it’s easier for organizations with existing brand equity and/or high-profile clients to attract attendees, the commitment is harder to stomach if the potential attendee has never heard of you/your organization/your presenters/who’s providing your testimonials.
If this is the case, consider whether there are any partners who might host or co-present for your event and add some needed name recognition. You’ll be giving up some of the dividends of the event, but you also stand to build awareness through your partner’s promotion efforts.
Your Price is Wrong
Your pricing strategy is obviously an important consideration. Price your event too high and could scare everyone away; price it too low – or make it free – and you risk giving the impression that your event is just a desperate, thinly veiled attempt to get them in a room where you can badger them into buying whatever you’re selling while plying them with deep fried appetizers and well drinks.
So how much should you charge? Start answering this question by considering the value offered by your event. The bigger the challenge you’re addressing, the more prestigious the people you’re giving attendees access to and the more unique the value that you’re offering, the more of a premium you can charge.
Again, if your brand and/or presenter is known as a leader on the subject matter covered in your event, it makes it easier to command higher premiums. For example, if you wanted to learn improv comedy, you’d probably be okay paying $350 for a class at Second City, but you’re not going to fork over even $50 for classes at cnadler’s School for People Who Like to Make The Funnies. (If I’m wrong here, please go ahead and send the $50 and we’ll make this thing happen.)
If you’re using paid channels like LinkedIn or Facebook, start as targeted as possible rather than casting a wide net. In my experience, the budget will almost always get spent one way or another – so spend it on the people who most closely fit your demographic, job title, location, specific industry or whatever qualifiers makes them a strong candidate.
Also, consider speaking directly to who the event is for on your event’s landing page (more on this in a second). Telling your potential attendees that this event is designed for people just like them is a good way to assure them they’re in the right place.
Your Event Landing Page is Bad
A weak landing page can sabatoge even the best event promotion campaign. Pull yours up and make sure you’ve included the following key elements:
Easy-to-find event details. Don’t make visitors dig to find the who, what, why, when, where and how much. Include any pertinent information on things like parking and logistics, but keep it to the must-know information – this isn’t the place to include a bunch of info about your company.
Clear value proposition. Communicate the primary benefits of this event – what experience, knowledge or access does this afford them? What expertise do the presenters have? As a secondary value, if the location, venue or giveaways are a draw, quickly highlight these as well.
Strong call to action and signup form. Make the call to action and corresponding signup form prominent, clear and concise. What do you want the visitor to do and why should they do it?
This is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re asking for too much information, requiring several registration steps or allowing any unneeded friction in the signup process, there will be some fall-off in registrations. While using an automated marketing tool to send follow-ups to people who filled out an initial form but didn’t pay or complete registration can help your conversion rates, an easy, seamless process is critical.
Of course, different types of events and different industries come with their own unique challenges and pitfalls that may not be covered here. But, by reviewing these factors and making adjustments as needed, you’re ensuring that your most important bases are covered.
Charlie is the Chief Strategy Officer at Simple Machines Marketing. When he's not doing the marketing, he likes playing guitar, hanging with his family in Chicago and lots of other stuff too but this seems like a good amount for a blog bio.