The best 8 methods to grow your community through events

Building a more active and engaged audience

15 September, 2017

TryBooking



It’s one thing to run an event successfully.

It’s another to leverage that event into an ongoing, engaged community that’s invested in your organisation’s goals.

Building that kind of network can lead to amazing benefits for your organisation, but it can also be a challenging task if your team is small or a volunteer group.

The good news is...

It only takes a few steps to start growing a dedicated community from your events. With these tips in mind, you can better engage your guests, keep them coming back and spreading the word about your organisation.

Here are some of the proven ways you can develop a stronger community through events:

 

1. Put some value on free tickets

A common mistake event organisers make is deciding to charge less for tickets, or make their events completely free in an effort to get more people through the door.

While this can work in certain situations, it can also have the opposite effect. If people don’t spend much money, they won’t feel as emotionally invested to attend the event.

Free events tend to have higher dropout rates (as high as 40%!) than ones that charge for attendance.

Increasing your ticket price by just a few dollars could make a huge positive difference to your turnout rate, the perceived value of your event and the way your community engages with it.

 

2. Consider alternatives to charging money for a ticket

Other than raising the ticket price, you could give guests the option to donate a small amount of money as they make a booking. If it’s for a worthy cause, then people are probably going to be generous.

 

TryBooking Sample Event Donation Feature

 

The benefit of this is two-fold: guests who donated now place that value on their ticket, and you get some funding for your cause or project.

If you prefer to keep your event entirely free, then another option is to use TryBooking’s hand back free tickets feature, which has been proven to reduce the number of no-shows on free events. This gives guests who can no longer attend the ability to release their tickets back into the pool of community members who are still interested.

That way, you get fewer empty seats on the day and attendees who are more likely to be interested and engaged - the perfect environment for a stronger community!

 

3. Amp up your social media posts

People are unlikely to share your event invitation online just because you ask them to. There should be a force behind it – something that gets them talking and excited to share your posts.

The best starting point to get people sharing your event posts?

Making sure that your posts look and feel great.

Images and videos can be crucial to achieving this. Did you know that Facebook posts with images see a massive 2.3X more engagement than those without images?

That could be 2.3X more guests who consider going to your event!

A hashtag helps, a “like” is good, but think about ways you can actually evoke your audience to share your event posts or even generate their own content to support you:

  • Use words and images that will elicit more excitement in your post - words like “empowering”, “brave” or “eye-opening” have all been proven to generate a stronger emotional reaction in readers. The same goes for images that are bold, colourful or humorous.

  • Write in a way that makes it all about your audience - ask them a question and encourage responses. Try to use inclusive words like “you” or “all” rather than “me” or “I”.

  • Use a call-to-action in the post - ask them to book tickets before a certain deadline, or tag a friend who they think will be interested in attending. For example, if you're running a choir performance, can you ask your audience to comment and offer their favourite songs for request? It’s a huge step forward in reaching the wider community, and it doesn’t cost anything.

If the “ice bucket challenge” can go viral across the world, then we believe you can create your own incentive on a smaller scale. Just make it easy enough for people to share.

Read more tips on promoting your event on social media here.

 

4. Make your event pages beautiful

In our last point, we talked about people being visual learners.

The same principle should now be applied to your event. You’re more likely to get people coming to your events if your marketing material looks good, and your event is the foundation of that.

Here’s the secret to having a beautiful event page…

TryBooking Sample Community Event

Keep it simple! Simple doesn’t have to mean boring. Good, clean branding is possible without a complicated process.

It’s amazing how easily you can transform your event page using the right online tools. For example, you can use TryBooking’s homepage editor to completely revamp your page with customisable backgrounds, pictures and logos. You can also add website widgets and share your custom event URL on social media to get the right message across.

For a step-by-step guide on creating a great branded event, click here.

 

5. You can never invite too many people

People drop out of attending events all the time – life happens and sometimes they just can’t show up.

In fact, dropout rates for paid events can be as high as 30%! Not as high as the dropout rate for free events, but still a high amount.

The solution?

Invite more people than you think you’ll need. Choose to hold it at a time that you think most of them will be available. Leverage your social networks and online/offline communities to get the word out – even if not everyone comes, the fact you’re generating so much noise around your event will bode well the next time you start advertising.

If people need to become familiar with your organisation first before they attend something, then they will reach out to their networks for feedback. If you can get some positive reviews for previous events it’ll give your event social proof, and the bigger noise you make the better.

 

6. Start collecting data

Engaging your audience is as much about targeting messages at the right time. Collecting data is a great way to start doing that, and you need to be asking the right questions prior to the event – for instance:

  • If someone is new at an event, do you know that?

  • Do you know what your most popular referral channels are?

  • Do you know which days of the week you’re getting the most bookings? (You can do this via a "Ticket sales vs Time" report in TryBooking)

  • Do you know which attendees have been to the most events?

These types of simple metrics can help identify your most engaged audience members, who have the most potential to spread the word to the rest of your community.

Send new guests a welcome email. Send your top attendees thank you emails or ask for feedback on what you can do to improve. Promote your organisation more heavily on your best referral channel.

There are so many ways you can create the right messages to a relevant audience, but you will need to have a good way of gathering data first! Take a look at TryBooking’s data collection capabilities for some ideas.

 

7. Offer benefits to attend the next event

If your audience loves events, then offer a sweetener for the next one: preferred seating, a small gift, membership, or the ability to participate in some way. Even if you're running a smaller event, it pays to remember your guests and mention some of them during it and make them feel special. Every guest counts, and to have them feel recognised will leave them with a memorable experience.

Try to avoid discounting tickets, though – you probably don’t want to associate repeat visits with saving money.

Instead, get attendees excited about the potential value they’ll receive.

 

8. Work with other communities

There’s a lot of benefit in working or partnering with other organisations, especially if your event delivers a synergistic value to their communities. And if you list the more attractive options at the top of your ticket selection, you can be sure they'll grab people's attention first.

Work together on a joint event, and you can potentially reach twice as many people. Pick one that has similar goals to yours, as you can find people who are likely to attend events run by both organisations.

 

Let’s start building you a stronger community through events,

The TryBooking Team

15 September, 2017

TryBooking



download your TryBooking guide for running events.

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