It seems everywhere you look there are free events to attend. Open bars, movie nights and so much more. As a consumer, I love free events. I’m a bargain hunter by nature. I love to find something I really love and then shop until I find it for 70% off somewhere else. That’s the part of me that loves a free event. But, as an event planner, I know that it’s not always smart to give away the farm for free. Sometimes, charging for your events is exactly what you need to do to get the right crowd at your event. But how can you engage people and get them to pay for your event on a Thursday night when there are 1,000 other free events they could choose from? Here are some ideas:
Connect with Your Audience
People will choose to put their money where their emotions are. If you are a random brand offering an event, they aren’t likely to pay. However, if they know and like the planning team, they are more likely to choose your event over others. This means actually caring about your attendees – getting to know them and learning about their businesses and lives between events. If you want people to invest (financially) in you, you’ve got to be willing to invest something in them as well
Content is, and always will be, king. Sure – you can use fancy marketing schemes to attract people to your event. The question is whether you can get them to come back a second time using those same schemes. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! Rich, deep, thought-provoking content is what drives people to events. They want to learn. They also want to connect. So having a well-rounded, targeted and focused audience to network with helps keep your events fresh and attractive. If you can get a crowd of really targeted people together, you’ll watch your attendees walk away with new business relationships and friends. And you’ll see them come back to you for your next event. Hint: Making people pay for an event is a great way to weed out the freeloaders and focus in on your target audience.
Engage Between Events
This is what social media is great for – connecting with people throughout the days, weeks or months between your events. Share articles, shout out members, or simply be present by commenting on their posts. These are all great ways to stay fresh in people’s minds so that they will still have an attachment to you when you host your next event.