Whether you use events to drive revenue, drive membership, or drive member retention, events are at the backbone of every Chamber of Commerce. Over the past few years we have seen a major change in our ability to hold in person events. Post COVID closures, it is still a struggle at times to get people to show up to in person events even though we know that a big part of the value of the membership is networking with other businesses to find new customers.
Your website is a great place to showcase the events that are coming up. Are you maximizing it like you could? Here are some ideas for ways you can create more excitement for your upcoming paid and free events.
Your Events Calendar
Your website probably has an events calendar prominent on the homepage, and or a listing that people can easily see what’s coming up. However, does it clearly give them the information they need to find out more, register, and share.
Remember that more information is better. Don’t assume that people clicking on the event understand what the event is all about.
For example, you probably have a Monthly Member Meeting. Don’t be afraid to add a sample agenda or set an expectation of what happens at the meetings so people can prep and prepare. This helps put new members at ease that may have never attended before and also lets potential members understand more about the benefits of their membership.
Create Landing Pages for Bigger Events
Your signature events probably include a financial goal as well. Creating a separate landing page allows you to showcase sponsors, have calls-to-action around volunteers and donors, and make it easy for people to buy tickets or sign up.
What most organizations miss here is the opportunity to share what the experience is like. Share photos. Share what the event is like. Share the impact that the last event provided to the chamber and community.
Again make it super clear how people can register and share the event with their friends and colleagues.
The great thing is once you do this once, all you have to do is update it each year with the most relevant information.
Don’t Require More Than You Need for People to Register
Once someone clicks the register button you only want to ask for the most important information. If you put too much on the form they’re more likely to bounce. Yes it is tempting to ask for things like business size, revenue, if they’re interested in becoming a member, but that can all be done in a post event survey or by having conversations with your attendees 1:1.
The goal is to get people to show up and a tedious registration form can stop that immediately.
Write a Blog Post
Blog posts are great for additional information and again to set expectations. For example, write a blog post about what it means to host a Members After Hours events. You can include best practices and what the responsibilities of the host are. Also – have your hosts share their tips that you can use to update the blog post regularly.
Share tips for how attendees can make the most out of the events and networking. Again, have members share the ways they’ve been able to create meaningful interactions with other attendees.
This blog post can also be linked in every event listing you have on your events calendar so it’s a constant reference source that you don’t have to recreate each time.
Hearing from people that go to your events is a great way to encourage someone to attend, especially for the first time. They may see a familiar name or business that they trust plus it again sets expectations.
After your events, reach out to 5-10 attendees and ask them to share 1-2 sentences about their experience. Tell them it will be featured on the website or landing page for the event. Not only does that help you with getting more attendance at your event, it also gives that business another opportunity for visibility in your community.
Create an Announcement Bar
We are al bombarded with so many messages, emails, and social posts every day. We need to see information about anything multiple times before we really take it in and are ready to take action. They may have seen your event on social media, heard it from someone in their network, gotten your email about the event. Another great place for them to see it again in order to take action is an announcement bar. This is an area above the main navigation that calls out a specific thing.
Use this are to showcase the most important upcoming event your Chamber has. Anyone who lands on your homepage is guaranteed to see it.
Implementing these strategies will help your events gain more visibility and therefore increase your attendance. It also gives you, your team, and your membership and easy way to share information on their own social channels.