8 Attendee Engagement Strategies to Attract More to Your In-Person Event

July 9, 2022 Jessica Stewart

New York event planners have been striving to achieve one key element with each in-person event. How can I get more people interested in attending? What can I do differently to make this event even more appealing than ever before? And how can this event draw an even bigger crowd than it did the year before? 

Times have changed. But the drive to bring in more attendees to each event you plan continues to be essential. There are some proven tactics that will always work and serve as a great foundation of best practices. But there are also some new attendee engagement strategies out there that you may be able to tap into for even better results. Here are some of those ideas and suggestions to inspire engagement strategy improvements in your processes. And not only will you get more guests to your event, but they’ll likely be also more engaged and enthusiastic, too.

1. Start with the Pillars of Engagement to Attract Guests

It’s still considered an event planning best practice to start with the pillar promotions for your event. So, don’t be cutting any corners when it comes to creating and sending official invitations. Build the landing page with the event details that you can link and share across your marketing platforms. Cross-promote on all the digital event calendars and ticket sales sites as you normally would. And write up inspirational press releases to share with local media outlets. With this foundation of event promotion in place, you can then explore some of these additional engagement strategies to attract attendees.

2. Content Must Be Informative and Valuable

Know the difference between what your potential attendees want from the event experience and what they need. If there’s an added benefit they’d like to have, you can certainly promote that. However, if you can determine what potential perks they must have, those elements should be the cornerstones of the content you promote. For example, promoting the steak dinner at an event is a nice to have perk. But promoting the opportunity to meet a headline-making, industry-leading guru of a guest speaker could be a ground-breaking perk that attendees won’t want to miss. Consider creating lists to separate each of the promotional benefits of the event you’re planning. You can then make sure to lead with those must-have advantages of attending with your content. 

3. Social Media Stories Add Purpose to Your Event

Don’t just promote your upcoming event on social media; tell incredible stories about your event. Maybe you have testimonials from last year’s event you can share to outline incredible experiences that will resonate with new guests. Instead of “come to the ABC event this year,” try using more engaging and storytelling language, like “imagine the opportunity to meet this keynote speaker.” Share insights using the five senses to describe actual experiences guests can expect to have. Address problems your target audience has and position your event as the solution they’ve been waiting for to achieve higher engagement results.

4. Video Marketing Engages 

Lose the static text formats. Engage your potential guests and attract attendees with brilliantly colored images of last year’s event. And go further by creating videos and reels to have conversations, with enthusiasm, about the event. New York event planners are building online ecosystems that include dedicated event web pages and YouTube channels where videos and stories can live. Remember, your videos don’t have to be perfect or polished. Instead, have real conversations in an authentically enthusiastic way. Your excitement will be contagious, so be bold and fun!

5. Transform Registrants into Event Promoters

When you do have early adopters or ticket sales, use those registrants to your advantage. Consider reaching out to past event attendees as well to explore opportunities to create event champions and promoters out of them. You’ll have your network with which to share the news. But don’t be hesitant to ask registrants to share the event details with their networks, as well. You can essentially expand your audience when you’re able to deputize loyal event fans and transform them into additional event promoters.

6. Networking to Spread the Word

Getting your audience excited about an upcoming and in-person event shouldn’t just be left to digital channels. No one can sell this experience better than the event planner at the helm. So, get out there and get networking! You can be inviting people across a variety of engagements, from ribbon-cutting events, business to business networking and even among social networking engagements. Talk about your event enthusiastically to build anticipation and suspense about what’s to come. Share the details. Ask others to help you promote and spread the word. And remember, the more you champion the upcoming event, the more contagious your excitement will be. 

7. Build Strategic Partnerships to Promote the Event

If New York event planners have learned anything in recent years, it’s the value of strategic partnerships. Don’t promote your event from an island when you have opportunities to team up with other influencers, brands, or companies to promote the event. Market sponsorship opportunities and find non-profits whose leaders share the vision or mission of the event. Cross-promote with others and align your brand with those who can help attract attendees.

8. Incentivize to Attract Attendees

Another engagement strategy most event planners use more regularly now, especially to attract guests to those in-person events, involves incentives. Offer early-bird discounts for those who buy tickets ahead of schedule or RSVP early. But also explore opportunities to create Special Access or VIP experiences, with added value and increased entry pricing. Promote multiple layers of engagement options and introduce discounts where applicable. You’ll find a wider variety of potential attendees who will be interested in learning more.

How has your engagement strategy changed this year? Consider these tips for inspiration to bring more awareness to your next event. And you’ll find even more incredible insights throughout our ongoing blog series. As a reminder, The Event Planner Expo 2022 is coming up, and you’ll want to get your tickets soon. Connect with our team to book your exhibitor booth and explore remaining sponsorship opportunities, too. New York event planners don’t want to miss this year’s 10-year anniversary celebration!

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