With any live event, the ultimate goal is to get as many people as possible to attend. There’s no point in planning a free or fee-based event if no one shows up.
To get the most out of your event efforts, here are some ways to maximize registration and increase attendance:
1. Save the Date
People are busy and calendars fill fast, so you want to make sure your event is on your intended attendees’ calendars as early as possible. Once you have the basic logistics (when and where) nailed down for your event, let all your desired attendees know with a save the date email. For invitation-only events, send an email and/or mail a save-the-date postcard to the future guest list to get on their calendars.
If your event is open to the public, you can and should add social media marketing to the mix by posting the date and details to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts — essentially, to any social media network where you connect with members and customers.
2. Promotional Video
Show it everywhere that has a screen: children’s church, adult worship, nursing mothers rooms, church restrooms, public or private schools if you have permission. Include it in an email invitation you will read about next. Ask your Kidz Blitz event coordinator for the most recent video.
3. Send an email invitation
About six to eight weeks prior to your event, send out an official invitation to your contact or target guest list. A personalized invitation makes the recipient feel wanted and can help compel him or her to register for your event. The invite should clearly outline the key event details and explain the benefits of attending from the recipient’s point of view. Keep the invitation itself short and to the point. To provide additional information about your event, link to an event homepage and a link to the promotional video. At this point in the event planning process, registration for your event should be open and ready to accept guests.
4. Promote your event through social media
For events that are open to the public, use social media marketing to spread word to customers and members as soon as your invitations go out. Using social media allows you to promote your event multiple times a week, which you can’t do with email. Change up your wording a bit for each pitch to your social networks so it doesn’t look like you’re constantly posting the exact same thing. And, like with your save-the-date email, link to an event homepage to give would-be attendees more information. The promotional video should be prominent on your event Facebook page.
Word of mouth is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in marketing. Motivate your regular kids to invite their friends and neighbors by offering an impressive prize to the boy or girl who brings the most people. For smaller weekly prizes, we have provided you with wrist bands for participating kids. Wear event t-shirts and give them away as prizes prior to your event date. (T-shirts can be purchased from Kidz Blitz or made using graphics you can download from KidzBlitz.com)
6. Event Workers
Recruit your workers early. Explain that this is not an ordinary event. If you wait until the last minute to recruit workers, you will send a message that this is not important enough to warrant adequate preparation.
7. Local Media
One church in Illinois called the local newspaper and received front page coverage with two full-color pictures from our picture gallery. The front page was a significant boost of free publicity for the church projecting the church to the community as a place that loves families. Email a copy of the press release to local news outlets and then call the person who handles the family or religious content of that outlet. Ask for a write-up prior to the event and for a reporter to be at the event.
8. Send follow-up reminders to non-registrants and registrants
Within a few days of the event, send a follow-up email invitation to those on your original invitation list who have yet to register. Change the subject line to add a sense of urgency, such as “Only 2 days left to register” or “5 seats left — register now.”
For those who have registered, you can send them an email reminder that the event is coming up shortly and provide any last minute details that they may need to know. For free events, this helpful reminder can help drive attendance and lower the no-show rate.
9. Ask your attendees for a little promotional help
Get referrals by asking attendees to tell their social media friends and followers that they are attending your event. Make it easy by giving them the text and a pre-shortened link to your event homepage or registration page that they can copy and paste to Twitter and Facebook. For Twitter users, add a hashtag (a # sign followed by a word or phrase, i.e. #FXLiveHouston) to brand individual tweets about your event. This lets Twitter users (and you) easily see who else is tweeting about the event.
10. Printed Invites
Give printed information to your regular church attenders so that they have something to give neighbors or coworkers who may not be familiar enough to share email addresses. Print invites to include in the church bulletin.
Pray with the children’s workers that the Holy Spirit will draw the kids and families that He wants to be there.