One of the most excruciating things about promoting your own seminars or workshops is wondering whether you’ll hit your registration goals. For most events, the number of registrations increases the closer to an event you get. The increases can be dramatic. When promoting virtual events, for example, it’s not uncommon to double your registrations in the last 24-48 hours before the event starts.
But when you’re promoting a live event – complete with high event costs and room guarantees – you probably don’t want to wait until the last minute to see if your event will be profitable. Instead, you’ll want to do all you can to encourage prospective attendees into registering for your seminar sooner than later.
Here are five ideas to try:
1. Tuition discounts. The early bird discount is a classic tactic used to generate early registrations. Some seminar leaders keep it simple, offering a single early bird discount that expires a few weeks before the event. Others offer graduated tuition rates – such as an early early bird, a regular early bird, full-price tuition, plus a walk-in rate that’s even more expensive. The threat of paying more will motivate people who are concerned about making their budgets stretch as far as possible.
2. Free bonuses for early registrations. These items may include books, consultations or audiotapes. Private VIP receptions or luncheons are another way to reward registrants for prompt action. For the biggest impact, limit availability with deadlines and/or with quantity. For example, you might offer a private reception for the first 30 registrants or gift everyone who registers in your first 30 days of promotions with a home-study course.
3. Provide pre- and/or post-training support. With early registrations, you may run into the challenge of making the sale stick. You want early registrants to stay excited, engaged and committed to attention your event. Offer early registrants the chance to participate in pre-event training, so they can start learning as soon as possible. The offer of additional follow-up support after your event also may be enticing.
4. Offer payment plans – and reduce the number of installments the closer your event gets. If prospects sign up six months before your event, break their tuition into six installments. Five months before the event, offer a 5-installment payment plan. This offer appeals to prospects who like the idea of paying their tuition in small chunks each month. The sooner they act, the less painful it is to fit into their monthly budget.
5. Highlight registration numbers. Nothing puts the pressure on someone to sign up for an event as the threat that they might get locked out. As your event starts to fill, let your prospects know that they are at risk of getting locked out.
You’ve probably noticed that deadlines are important to motivating prospects to take prompt action. Keep this in mind when scheduling your promotions. Contact your prospective seminar attendees often and increase the frequency of contacts right before a deadline.
Whether promoting a live or virtual event, most event promoters find that attendees like to wait until the last minute to register for events. Use these 5 tactics to shift the curve – and give you the peace of mind of knowing that you’ve met your minimum registration goals.