How to Find New Attendees for Your Event

I recently attended the Attendee Acquisition Roundtable intending to continue my education in how to help my clients grow their attendee audiences. It’s clear to me that without a clear strategy as to how to find and engage new attendees, events will not reach their full potential. 

Reflective of my own 30 + years of experience in the industry – as well as insights gained from attending AAR- I’d suggest the following steps as ways to help maximize the potential for your event:

  • Market Research and Analysis: Before you begin any attendee outreach effort, you need to understand your event’s market landscape. This involves in-depth market research and analysis, starting with understanding your addressable audience. Next, identify the demographics, interests, and needs of your current attendees. Once you have a solid grasp of your existing audience, you can work towards expanding it.
  •  Pinpoint Potential Market AreasIdentifying potential market areas for attendee growth is the next crucial step. One idea would be to consider new geographic regions or cities where your event might resonate. By pinpointing such targets, you can focus your marketing efforts more effectively, targeting marketing to those in those situated in those locales.
  • Audience Segmentation: Audience segmentation is essential to target the right individuals with the right message. Do not make the mistake of trying to attract everyone; it’s vital to have clear and agreed-upon targets. Create audience segments based on the demographics, interests, pain points, and behaviors. Finally, craft personalized marketing strategies and messages for each group.
  • Replicate an Existing Audience: Expanding your audience doesn’t necessarily mean you must start from scratch. You can leverage prior experience to create a new audience by following these strategies:
    • Use ChatGPT for Data Cleaning and Cloning: Employ AI-powered tools like ChatGPT to clean and refine your existing attendee database. By analyzing the data and identifying common characteristics, you can find additional prospects who are likely to be interested in your event.
    • ZoomInfo: ZoomInfo can help broaden your reach within the same companies for whom your current attendees work.  There may be other roles or perhaps other divisions or operating units within large enterprises that can be targeted with your marketing outreach.
    • Leverage Current Attendee Titles: Seek out prospects who have titles similar to your existing attendees as a way to identify new companies that are likely to share a similar firmographic profile (e.g., possibly their competitors). Competing companies often have employees who with common interests and needs.
    • Find More Prospects from Current Attendee Companies: You are frequently not reaching all the eligible prospects from the companies who are already attending the event. Make sure you have resources to uncover and reach these prospects.
  • Utilize the Most Attractive Channels: To reach your new audience effectively, use the channels that will resonate the most:
    • Social Media: Social media platforms are powerful tools for promoting events. Choose the platforms where your target audience is most active and craft engaging content that appeals to them.
    • Vertical Video: Video content is incredibly engaging, and for mobile users, vertical video works best since it can easily be viewed on a prospect’s phone in portrait mode. Create informative and visually appealing videos that showcase your event.
    • Influencer Marketing: Collaborate with influencers who have a significant following within your target audience. Influencers can help promote your event and create trust within their communities.
  • Lead with Value-Add Authentic Content: Your marketing efforts should always lead with value-added, authentic content that addresses the interests and needs of your target audience. Provide insights, solutions, and information that genuinely benefit potential attendees.
  • Measure Results and Refine Your Plans: The process of finding and engaging new audiences is an ongoing one. Continuously measure the results of your marketing efforts and analyze existing attendee data. Refine your strategies and plans based on the feedback and data you collect, adapting to the ever-evolving preferences of your audience.
Use these tactics and you may very well start to increase your attendance by increasing your prospect base. Good luck!

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