Planning an upcoming conference? There are probably a million things on your mind (and your to-do list). I know all about that! Before you get too committed to any particular path, however, I’d like to remind you of one basic idea…
Killer content sells registrations.
Above and beyond anything else you could do to make your event a smashing success, you have to create a plan to ensure the content is going to be top-notch.
This will increase ticket sales for the conference you’re planning now, and provide a residual effect for conferences moving forward. People truly remember killer content, and it’s a huge factor in terms of considering what sells registrations.
Now, there are many ways to plan programme content: invited speakers, call for papers, unconference sessions, internal speakers and facilitators, and more. I don’t think there’s any method or strategy that hasn’t been done! But you don’t need just any old way – you’re looking for the best way.
After all, the quality of your content is directly linked to your ticket sales.
I can’t reiterate enough that killer content sells registrations. No matter what other factors come into play, such as price, location, or timing, a compelling programme can trump them all.
What’s the best way to engage your ideal audience and get them excited about registering for and attending your conference? Ensure that the content you’re offering will be exactly what they need. And not only should they need this content…they should WANT it.
When you can fill a need in a way that gets people excited and brings them exactly what they truly desire, you have a recipe for success. And in this case, success is a sold-out event, with every seat filled.
So how do you decide what your audience’s needs and wants actually are?
You could just guess, or even assume you already know. I don’t think that’s a good idea, however. It doesn’t make sense to gamble on this part when it’s so easy to find out.
Simply put: ask them.
Want to guarantee that your event will provide killer content that sells registrations?
Ask your audience what sort of content would be most compelling to them.
I once asked a client to tell me the last time he had asked his members what they wanted to see in a conference programme. First of all, he couldn’t even answer that question…because he never had.
He’s helped create events for years, and he’s never even asked participants what they would like to gain from the content he’s providing. (If that sounds like you, don’t feel bad about it. Just learn from it and move forward!)
Secondly, when I suggested to this particular client that we create a simple survey with open-ended questions so we could learn what participants actually wanted, he said no. His reasoning? “I don’t want to do that because I’m not a fan of surveys.” I was gobsmacked!
How can you hope to provide attendees killer content that sell registrations if you’re not even willing to gather some ideas about what the content would even consist of?My philosophy is, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. If you’re serious about increasing your registrations and making your conference a “must attend” event, you have to be willing to ask delegates about what they want to see in the programme. And keep in mind that when we talk about increasing attendance, we’re really talking about increasing profits. After all, events don’t make any sense if you can’t offset the costs and garner profits with ticket sales. And no one wants a ticket to an event whose programme doesn’t get them excited. Essentially, your plan for the programme content comes back to strategy. It’s key that you identify your target audience, know how to reach them, and actually know what they really, really want. If you don’t ask questions about what that is, you’ll find it’s difficult to maximize ticket sales and gather positive momentum heading into the event. And as the years go by, you’ll notice that your event registration begins to get stagnant, or even starts to decrease. You’re working way too hard to have that happen!
In order to see registration increase year after year, you have to ensure that your event strategy includes a plan for killer content, guaranteed to sell registrations.
For those of you reading this with a sinking feeling in your stomach…it’s not too late! Ideally, you crafted a strategy and formed your committee at the very start of the process, but you can still go back and get clarity. Even if you’re part way through the planning process, you can still hit “pause” and reevaluate.
A clear strategy does wonders for any conference. It’s the first step to ensuring that the content you provide will be on point with your event objectives and delegate needs. Again, it all comes back to content. When the content is on point, you don’t have to worry about registrations falling flat.
In fact, you might even find that you can raise the prices AND sell more tickets!
And speaking of ticket prices…
It never fails to amaze me that when the need for increasing registrations is mentioned, someone wants to decrease ticket prices. In fact, when I ask people how they think we could increase registrations, reducing ticket cost is the number one response I hear.
I agree that cost should be considered. This is especially important in relation to who your audience is and what they are typically prepared to spend. However, I rarely think reducing cost is the best way to go about increasing attendance. After all, each individual has their own idea about what “value” means. I think we would often be surprised at what people are willing to pay when it’s clear to them that the content they’re going to receive is valuable and desirable.
Don’t keep the same old content and just reduce your prices!
Try amping up the overall value of your programme’s content instead.
When it comes down to it, rest assured: killer content sells registrations.