If you want attendees to flock to your next event, there's one thing you need to generate in advance of it, according to Ryan Gould, a contributor to Plan Your Meetings @ Meeting Professionals International: buzz.
"Uber-novelist Stephen King once offered some deep insight into hype and buzz. He said when the message lands, and there then becomes a groundswell of genuine interest, that becomes 'buzz,'" explains Gould. "Creating that spark is … what any brand that is planning an event should be hoping for. Getting the most bodies through the door at your next event will likely hinge on how well you did at creating genuine buzz."
Event planners that want to create buzz need an engaging website, a compelling social media presence and a powerful email campaign. What they need most of all, however, are influencers.
"The days of celebrity endorsements driving consumer behavior are all but over. Today's generation craves authenticity, thus most of their consumer behavior is driven by peer recommendations. Even the algorithms of social media channels are putting a premium on user sharing nowadays. Enter influencer marketing," Gould says. "Statistics show that this tactic delivers an 11x higher ROI than other forms of digital marketing. And some 94 percent of marketers who invest in influencer strategies report the tactic to be effective. So, if you want to create interest in your next event, you'll want to get the message out with the help of the very people who are speaking directly to your target audience."
To recruit influencers -- influential bloggers, authors, Twitter personalities, etc. -- you'll need more than the word "please."
"Many influencers with a large audience have spent years endearing themselves to their fans and building trust. The most valuable influencers to your event promotion are going to be the ones who enjoy that level of earned respect. Therefore, you will likely have to offer social incentives," Gould concludes. "Whether that's early access to your event, VIP perks, promotional swag, etc., you're going to need to get them excited before the event to ensure they spread the word among their audience and build that anticipation."
If you can earn influencers' endorsement, their enthusiasm will infuse your event not only with fresh energy, but also fresh attendees.