If you’ve ever planned an event—no matter what the size—you know how important the details can be.
Whether it’s getting the right caterer for a function, finding a location for a fundraiser, or choosing the right time for a networking event—the details make all the difference.
But as important as the details are to you, they are even more important to your attendees.
Dates, times, locations, dress codes, dining options … these are things your attendees will need to know. And it only takes one uninformed (or worse, misinformed) attendee to turn a perfect night into a ruined relationship or a missed opportunity for your organization.
Luckily, with online event management, it’s never been easier to keep your audience informed before, during, and even after your event.
Here are five tips to make sure you “mind the details” to maximize attendance at your next event.
Tip #1: Get the word out early
When planning your event, there are always going to be some details being changed or decided on in the weeks, days, and even hours leading up to your event.
But just because you don’t have all the details ironed out, doesn’t mean you can’t start promoting your event.
In fact, getting the word out early will ensure your audience has plenty of time to organize their schedule and get their questions answered.
This was certainly the case for Ben Burgeson of the Country Hills Golf Club. His club has seen record attendance at its biggest tournaments since taking their event registration online.
He starts promoting the tournaments up to six weeks before they are scheduled to start—sending out an email invitation to his list of over 900 club members. The invitation won’t have all the information players will need when the day finally arrives, but it gives them a chance to find the event homepage and register in advance.
Tip #2: Put your details online
If there’s one type of event that comes with A LOT of details—it’s a golf tournament.
Each tournament runs on a different schedule with players or groups of players, starting and stopping at different times or even different days. There are also different types of tournaments with different rules and restrictions that players are expected to know before the event.
To make sure players have instant access to all of these details, Ben creates an event homepage for each of the club’s events.
“It works for us because the information is easy to read and looks professional,” Ben explains. “Before we were relying on posters to get them the information—now we have a professional looking webpage.”
Having an event homepage for your event will provide your guests with a resource they can rely on to get the information they need about your event. It is also a great place to put contact information that your customers or members can use to have their questions answered.
Tip #3: Send a reminder
As your event approaches, you’re going to want to make sure your event is staying top of mind with your target audience.
A great way to do that is with a reminder email. This will not only help boost your attendance, by giving those who may have not been ready to register when you sent your first invitation, but it will also let you deliver more up-to-date information. (You can also use the reminder as a way to build anticipation with a special announcement or give updates on things like the weather forecast, if relevant).
Because sign-ups for tournaments at the Country Hills Golf Club typically close before the day of the event, Ben is able to use the reminder to make sure no one misses their chance to register. For big tournaments like the Club Championship, he sends the reminder three weeks before.
Remember when sending your reminder email that you still want to give people enough time to prepare for your event.
Tip #4: Provide details at registration
Typically when we’re talking about the importance of online registration, we’re focusing on how valuable it is for providing you with the details you need. Being able to collect attendee contact information, process payments seamlessly, and get an early headcount are critical components to your event’s success.
But online registration is also important for providing information to attendees.
Accepted payment methods at the event, required age limitations (21+ for example), or dress codes are all things you can provide at the point of registration to make sure guests don’t find out after the fact.
For events like the Country Hills Golf Club Championship, golfers are required to enter scores from previous tournaments into a system before they are qualified to play. By including a survey on the registration page—asking if they have entered their scores properly—Ben is able to avoid having golfers register for an event they may not yet be qualified to attend.
Tip #5: Keep your registrants up-to-date
Remember those last minute details we talked about before?
You’re going to want to share them with your registrants before they arrive at your event.
Constant Contact lets you do that by creating an email list of your registrants and letting you send a targeted notification directly to their inbox.
You can use that list to provide last minute updates and to remind them of the details they’ll need to know when they arrive. (If your event requires guests to print out and bring tickets for example, this would be a perfect time to remind them).
If your event lasts more than one day or night, like the Country Hills Golf Club Championship, you can continue to send email updates to the list before, during, and even after your event. For Ben, this is a chance to send important scheduling updates and information about dining options during the tournament.
Manage your events like a pro
Since signing up with Constant Contact in April, Country Hills Golf Club has managed 21 of its tournaments online and attracted over 1,500 golfers to its greens.
“Our tournaments are getting the most sign-ups they have ever seen,” Ben explains. “And that’s because our members know more about our events than ever before.”
With the right plan and the right tools for keeping his attendees informed, Ben was able to start managing his events like a pro.