It can be hard to increase attendance at your events.

Promoting a trade show, conference, concert, party, or other event means you are at the mercy of your attendance numbers when you measure success.  Sometimes you see a flat line in your growing audience graph and it becomes a real grind to increase attendance, especially without breaking the bank.

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You have likely tried alternative means of advertising – print flyers, radio, maybe even taxi ads if you’re a Vegas casino host or NYC concierge – and we’re not knocking these types of advertising, nor are we suggesting that you stop advertising in any spot that is providing you with a decent ROI.

Mobile is the wave of the future.

If you aren’t yet familiar with just how much mobile device use has grown in the past decade – especially the past 5 years with smart phone use – then you should take a quick gander at some Google or other statistics.  This leads us to say, with 100% certainty, that if you want to increase attendance at your events, you should be leveraging the power of mobile in order to make that happen.

[READ: Personal search, what it means for local business – BLOG ARTICLE]

Mobile lock screen notifications are also exceedingly cheap when compared to SMS.  And there is absolutely no comparison to building and supporting an app when you are doing a cost analysis between mobile wallet ads and notifications compared to a stand alone app.  You can flip through the archives on this site and get a multitude of comparisons between those costs.  Social media has become a much more business unfriendly place these days, and certain types of events or groups are not seeing any love when it comes to discovery or search results.

If you are looking to increase attendance or even just maintain your current attendance rates at your events, you should plan on creating and deploying marketing and advertising campaigns to your previous attendants; these are people who (hopefully) enjoyed your past events, felt they got their money’s worth in attending, and would be likely to attend your next event.

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If you’ve ever been through sales training, effective use of the “rehash” or the “cross sell” or the “upsell” is one of the more important parts of the training.  It’s so much easier to convince someone to buy SOMETHING ELSE instead of convincing someone to make an INITIAL PURCHASE.  This holds true no matter what you are selling, no matter what industry you are in, or what type of event/product/service you have available to your prospective customers.

This isn’t an option on your to do list.

Failing to leverage your previous attendees when it’s time to start marketing and advertising a new event is absolutely leaving money on the table.  When you consider the conversion rate of an add-on or alumni sale, as it compares to making a fresh sale with a new customer, the ROI is nearly treble that of a new sale on average – even taking into account products or services that people buy and are unhappy with, which is likely to cause them to not make a repeat purchase.

If you look at how quickly, easily and cheaply you can set up a mobile lock screen notification campaign, and how simply it is to keep it as an ongoing engagement and interaction tool with your attendees, you’ll see the value in using the tool.  Once you start re-targeting and re-marketing your previous attendees, you will come to realize the incredible conversion rates that mobile lock screen notifications command, and you will begin to understand how you can use the notifications to increase attendance exponentially.

Last but not least, the duration of the mobile ad campaigns in the prospect smartphones has a LT component that outlasts their device, especially in the case of the iPhone; this means that if your customer switches to a new phone, their mobile ad passes travel with them and the installed rate does not drop.

When to get started to increase attendance at your next event –

As soon as you’re ready to start selling or giving away tickets to your next event, you should launch a campaign directed at your previous attendees.  This can be done in segments or all at once, depending on how your initial campaign was designed and deployed.  In either case, it’s possible to message every attendee that you’ve had at any previous events, or you can segment your cohorts based on geographic location, previous event attended, and more.

There are plenty of blog articles on this site that detail how to set up your initial campaign, when and how to effectively message, and other details of creating, deploying and tweaking your campaigns to get the best conversions, the most longevity and the best overall ROI from the program, so poke around to your hearts content.  Or just ask us for a demo, we’re happy to do it.

Remember that in order to cost effectively increase attendance at events, you need to be able to cost effectively leverage your previous attendees and know that they are responding to your messaging.