Newsflash: If you want to sell at your live events, you have to make sure people actually attend the event.
Here’s the thing: With any free, live event, whether it’s online or in-person, there’s going to be a percentage of people who don’t show up.
I confess, I’ve no-showed on my fair share of free events.
But, in my own experience as a speaker, energy is always higher when the room is full. Not only do I feel more connected and excited, but I think the students do, too.
People are excited to be a part of your event when it’s bustling. And that energy is contagious. Expectations become higher and that excitement feeds you (and your sales).
So…how do you build buzz around your event in order to get butts in the seats?
Let’s dive in.
Tip #1: Assume people won’t show up and over-book your room by at least 30%.
If I’m teaching a live event and the room seats 30 people, I always book 54. In the event that everyone shows up (which is as rare as a unicorn sighting), the worst that will happen is you bring in some extra chairs and people get excited because your event is sold out.
But you know what? In my seven years of doing this, only once has everyone who signed up actually attended and that was because I announced it was going to be my last in-person seminar.
We had 54 people in a room that sat 35 (don’t tell the fire marshall). We had people sitting on laps, sitting on the floor, sitting on stage with me…it was awesome.
But again, it’s only happened once. And I’ve hosted well over a hundred live, in-person events.
This means that you can basically count on 50-60% of your registrants to actually show up. So, set yourself up for success and your audience up for the best possible experience by overbooking the room.
Tip #2: Set up an automatic email campaign that sends attendees prep work and reminders.
Get your event attendees plugged in right away.
Let’s say you start filling your workshop two weeks before the day of your event. Over that two week period, send out four quick pieces of prep work that take five minutes or less to complete.
That might include…
1. a quick action people can take
2. a short exercise
3. or you can share a case study to get them ready for what they’re going to learn
The idea here is that you create excitement so that people who registered for your wonderful class will actually show up. Think of it as a powerful way to get folks invested, even when the event is free.
Tip #3: Make confirmation calls.
1-2 days before your event, have someone on your team make confirmation calls.
If you do this, you’ll spend a lot of time answering questions from your eager students. So make sure you delegate this one.
And yes, this is a lot of work. But it makes a dramatic difference in your turnout, so I suggest you make this a non-negotiable. When we began making confirmation phone calls, our attendance rate increased dramatically.
Tip #4: Send reminder texts.
The morning of your event, send a text to everyone who is registered to remind them when and where your event will begin.
You can say something like…
See you today at the Through the Roof seminar! We’re going to talk tangible strategy to bring in more clients now.
630 9th Avenue. 3pm.
By the way, this little texting trick has paid off tremendously for me. Our average turnout rate went from 65% to 80% with this simple strategy. That means our no show rate is only 20%… so this is a big one.
Take a look at EZ Texting if this strategy interests you. It’s free 😉
Tip #5: Put it in their calendar.
After someone registers, send them to a confirmation page with a link that allows them to automatically put your event in their calendar.
I use a service called CalReply which is awesome. Admittedly, it’s a bit advanced. But if you’re looking to test it out, they offer a free two week trial period.
Tip #6: Encourage attendees to bring a guest [in a structured way].
Be careful not to over do it with the overbooking! If you over book the room plus invite guests to bring a friend, the room could be crowded to a point of distraction.
I know I said a full room has great energy, and it does, but a way-too-full room is just uncomfortable.
So rather than just suggesting attendees bring a friend and hope for the best, build some structure.
Your initial confirmation email can say something like this: “Would you like to bring a guest? If so, click here…”
That link might direct them to a custom registration page where you ask for the guest’s details. This is a list building strategy, but also easily allows you to have attendees promote your event for you. #WinWin
The main takeaway today is this: don’t assume everyone who registers for your live event will come. It’s your job to ensure that the room is full. You do that by engaging registrants right away, going out of your way to confirm their attendance, and of course, overbooking the room regardless.
Did I miss a handy strategy for getting butts in the seats? Share with me below…