How do you make sure your event is attended—by the right people?

As you’re no doubt aware, any solid event strategy needs your organisation to think about your goals and how you’ll define success before getting started with an event. But more often, we remain uncertain on who, exactly, should attend this event. The most common answer to this question seems to be, “Anyone and everyone!” It’s a tempting thought: more bodies at an event would seem, on the outside, to imply greater success.

But that’s not completely true.

Know who you want to attend. In actual fact, your attendees and objectives will be closely linked. Ideally, you want to invite attendees who are capable of providing the response you want your event to elicit. For a great many businesses, this means attracting the attention of those with the capacity to make buying decisions. Whether a buying decision is made immediately and on the spot, or when the lead has been nurtured over time following first contact at your successful event, it only matters if the right people can be reached in the right way.

Invite people to your event, then follow through. An invitation to your event, in literal terms, need only contain two things:

  • the practical event details, and
  • a clear indication of what the recipient gains by attending

Sending real invitations creates a greater response than a page passively gathering dust on your website.

However, absolutely no good comes from letting your event exist in isolation. Don’t make the mistake of inviting people to your event by one channel and then neglecting to support the invitation by other means. Your other, more regular content needs to act as an extension of your event invitation and there are lots of ways to do it. Common ways to do this would be to add your event to your newsletter, post it on your social media accounts or add a prominent call to action on your site.

But we know, too, that providing valuable, interesting content is what really drives engagement and gets people interested in finding out more about your product, service or event. You need to give value to get value. In short: if you’re not saying something interesting, people are unlikely to be interested!

So how do you make the kind of content that will gather interest for your event? There are a lot of options. You might consider spreading information about your biggest speakers and their areas of expertise in the lead up to a conference. You could take advantage of video content to talk about your event set-up or hype up the location. You could even do something as simple as making basic infographics—after all, we know that people’s brains process images faster than text!


Whatever you do, make sure you’re bringing up your event consistently to keep it in the forefront of people’s minds.


Make sure you have a strong email list. It’s commonly said that having an email list is vital to marketing in the modern era—and it’s really, really true. Email marketing has existed since the days of ARPANET, the predecessor to our modern internet. That’s right, email marketing is older than many digital marketers today. And it’s still going strong. Why? Well… Because it works.

By several metrics, it’s still the most effective channel for marketing. We hear a lot about the value of social media, SMS, website advertising and the like, but it remains true that email conversion rates consistently outperform other metrics. 78% of event creators say email marketing is their most effective marketing tactic.

And, for B2B marketing, people overwhelmingly prefer to receive business communications by email.

Segment your contacts: personalisation means engagement. Targeting specific people on the basis of their demographic, technographic or behavioural data with personalised communications is referred to as ‘segmentation’.

Make sure your list data includes the audience you want to attend your event, absolutely—but make sure it’s also enriched with as much additional data as possible. That’s because while having a great list of qualified leads is important, good quality segmentation of your list data is equally vital.

Sending relevant and personalised messages to people on the basis of what you already know about them, can make invitees that much more likely to respond positively to your invitation. For example, you may have a list of prospects across Australia, but if you’re running a conference in metropolitan Sydney, you could effectively target those with a Sydney CBD post code for a different message, one intended to engage locals. Or you could segment based on previous behaviour, too—do you have contacts who have previously attended industry events? Maybe those invitations, too, could use a little rearranging to acknowledge that their recipients are conference veterans. There are an endless number of ways to segment, limited only by what you know about your contacts and your own creativity.

Keep in mind, though, that the goal of personalisation is always to make each communication more relevant, and therefore more interesting to the person who receives the message. Personalised, relevant messages consistently see a better response than basic broadcasts that send the one, same general message to a nonspecific audience.

Whatever your event—whether it be a conference, a trade show or expo or even a product launch—getting the right people to attend is likely to be one of your biggest hurdles. Make sure your invitations are supported by good quality data, and ensure they get to the right people at the right time to drive your event’s attendance.

About the Author

Lauren Reizer is a Sales Development Specialist for DCA Data Services division. With a background in events and lead generation, Lauren helps DCA’s SME clients and event organisers make the most of their data and increase ROI.

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