What Else Can WE Do to Drive Attendance to an Event?


This is an exciting topic. Events change lives and have been a springboard for business opportunities. Events introduce you to another company that offers a new revenue stream. Events are where you can get a sample of peoples' character and skill with a low investment.

Keeping in mind there are many unknowns and variables, here are thoughts and tasks "we" can do to ensure interest and attendance. What you choose, what makes sense, will depend on your talent, skills, and resources. (and willingness to invest time and effort)

  • SPECIFIC MESSAGE – Help the attendees' potential takeaway to be something specific (and memorable). Going generic with event promotion can be too broad if many topics are covered at the event. The potential attendees are looking for something relevant to their wants and needs.

    1. A generic announcement with stock graphics can serve as a reminder. Still, if there is not something big or sparkly, the generic announcement is usually not enough to inspire people to take action.
    2. Generic announcements are weak – unless there is something powerful. (Celebrity, secret sauce, latest invention.) Acting like APPLE that introduces the latest iPhone will not yield the same results.

  • PERSONALIZE Posts – Shine the light on the people contributing their time to present. Mention via @name in public posts. Many presenters might be involved in larger events about a specific topic. @mention those who invest their time in individual social media posts with "We are looking forward to @name who is presenting about _____ at @event."

    1. Some will take a shortcut and @mention a large group in the same social media post. While it is a nice thing to acknowledge their awesomeness, the relevance to potential attendees gets lost.

  • DIRECT - Personal direct message invites are the most effective and powerful impact beyond @mention invites.

    1. 20 people making 50 personal @mention invitations or direct messages weekly would total 1,000 invitations.
      • Direct invitations receive a better response rate and could be as high as 40%. Those with a poor reputation, "salesy," transactional, will receive less than 5%. Those with no connection, doing "cold direct invites," may have good responses depending on the event, reputation, and approach.
      • Each person making 10 direct personal invites a week = 50 per week. Using social media platforms does not
      • 1,000 X 20% response rate = 200 responses.

Based on the above thoughts, "SOMEONE(S)" can (and should):

  • 2 per day Create general posts with specific speaker @mention and topics twice a day. These might be viewed based on social media algorithms and when those connected with you view their feed. The potential attendees will be evaluating "What's In It For Me" (WIIFM).
    Using a graphic that offers an opportunity to take action will prove more effective than an artsy blend.

    • NOTE: LinkedIn Company Page posts limit @mentions for people using 3rd party tools. Go to LinkedIn Company Page directly to @mention people.
  • 2 per day – Create posts that include specific peoples @mentions – to invite them to the event publicly. "Hey @ElizabethHarris, this TOPIC would be great for you. @NAME is speaking. Will I see you there?"

  • 100 per week – direct personal message to individuals. (20 per day)
    • Based on the relationship, numbers, and special offer… the response can be 10% to 35%.

If we hope 200 people will show up to an event and don't want to rely on luck/chance/serendipity, "someone(s)" can invest a little time each week to invite 1000 people.

  1. Social media direct message – 10% to 25% response
  2. Personal direct email – 10% to 25% response
  3. Marketing Email – 1% to 5% response
  4. Direct Mail – 2% to 3% response
  5. Text – The range of response varies wildly
  6. Phone call – 10% to 25% response

(These are guesstimates based on our experiences – results vary.)


  • With each ad, social media post, direct message… with each invitation, a potential attendee must instantly get "What's in it for them" vs. a generic "attend our event because it is here".

  • About the Speakers and Sponsors - Some company event hosts believe speakers and sponsors will be excited and a significant source of event attendees. Speakers and sponsors contribute time and money and rarely contribute to "marketing campaigns" to fill the rooms. Keep expectations low and appreciate anything they do to promote/share the event.

  • The event page, social media posts, article announcements, website, and images can influence the action someone will take. Evaluating views of the event page each day will soon reveal whether something is missing. 1,000 views with 5 registrations strongly indicate that something is "wrong" and needs a fix.

  • When a leader invites people to an event, it may need a special offer… a discount. The discount rate varies and depends on the relationship, event space, and how important it is for someone to attend.   The invitation discount offered can be 5% to 100%.

  • The above focuses heavily on free tools and not paid ads. We have not discussed how much time/money you want to invest. A direct mail campaign investment can be delivered for a minimum cost to a specific group.

Creating, hosting, and leading events has been a fantastic source of prospects, customers, business partners, and close friends. An organization that hopes to grow revenue should absolutely consider events. They are a "next level" initiative, and smaller companies should collaborate to pool resources to ensure excellence. You may benefit from an event platform such as Eventbrite (recommended) or hire an event manager (which makes sense for larger events).

Remarkable and Advanced

For an event to go "big," it is less about the outreach and more about what is remarkable about the event. Then people are inspired to share and become our enthusiasts. Certainly there are additional activities we can do that are more advanced but we need to evaluate our skills and resources before adding the advanced activities. 

Are you planning an event? Please share!

Of the items on the list above, what is it that keeps you from committing?


Paid speakers are “everywhere” and can be hired via websites like GigSalad. You might decide to invite someone like Mark Robinson to do magic, make them laugh, and motivate them.


A group of 200 attendees x an additional $25 = $5,000. I am unsure if Mark would be available for $5k but start a conversation and consider the possibilities.

The best speakers are often those who are working the roles currently and sharing their time and expertise. These speakers are leaders who want to make an impact and deal with the issues in their own organizations. You would be surprised at how many will say “yes” to an invitation to speak

Topics: Events Guerrilla Marketing LinkedIn