how to increase event attendance

How to Increase Event Attendance

Carrie Richardson, Richardson & Richardson Consulting

Managed Sales Pros Outbound Calling Guide for B2B Event Planners:

As a business to business event planner, one of your biggest concerns is how to increase event attendance. You know that the success of your event hinges on the number of attendees and the quality of their experience.

One of the most effective ways to boost attendance and engagement is through outbound calling.

Managed Sales Pros calls your list of potential attendees directly to encourage them to register and participate in your event. In this post, we’ll share how to make the most of outbound calling by building good lists, offering registration incentives, and more.

how to increase event attendance


How To Increase Event Attendance: Start With Clean Lists


The foundation of any successful outbound calling campaign is a well-curated contact list. Building good lists means reviewing your CRM for accurate and relevant information about all potential attendees who would be interested in your event.  The cleaner your data, the more effective your outbound event recruitment team will be.  If you provide a list filled with old contacts, wrong phone numbers and missing emails, you’ll waste around 40% of your event recruitment budget on calls and emails that aren’t connecting.  Data entry and research is time consuming.  An attendance recruitment campaign with Managed Sales Pros includes about 100 outbound calls per person per day – if  your team needs to “scrub as they go” your effectiveness drops from 100 calls daily to well below 50.

Start by segmenting your audience based on known demographics, level of engagement, past event attendance, and other relevant criteria. This will allow your outbound attendance recruitment team to tailor your calls and increase the chances of a positive response.

When building your lists, ensure that you comply with data protection regulations and have consent to contact the individuals on your list. A good list is not just large; it’s targeted and respects privacy laws.


How To Increase Event Attendance: Remove Any Barriers to Easy Registration


Once your event recruitment agents have someone on the phone, you want to make the event registration process as seamless as possible. Removing barriers to easy event registration can significantly increase your event attendance conversion rates. Before you begin your event recruitment calling campaign, ensure that your event website or event registration platform is user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and capable of handling high traffic volumes.

Provide your event team campaign manager with clear instructions and support throughout the registration process. Consider having a dedicated helpline or chat support available during peak registration times to assist potential attendees or third party support agents with any issues they may encounter.  If a potential event attendee has to spend any of their registration time frustrated or confused, they  may not complete the registration process.


How To Increase Event Attendance: Offer Compelling Speakers and Workshops


One of the key selling points the Managed Sales Pros event recruitment team can highlight during our calls is the lineup of compelling speakers and workshops your event offers. People are more likely to attend an event if they believe it will provide them with valuable insights, knowledge, and networking opportunities.

Prepare your event recruitment agency to talk about the credentials of your speakers, the topics they will cover, and the interactive elements of your workshops.  Prioritize them by their “clout” and provide biographies and outlines. Remember, your calling agency knows a lot about calling – they may not recognize a “famous” presenter or speaker in your industry, especially if they are only “a big deal” in your industry.

If your only event speakers are the users of your products and your company employees, recruiting for your event becomes more difficult.  Nobody wants to attend an eight hour sales pitch, even if you’ve had a nice lunch catered for it.

Get More Technology Event Attendees: Avoid Vendor Pitch Saturation

While sponsors and vendors play a crucial role in events, it’s important to avoid vendor pitch saturation. Potential attendees are valuable – you don’t want them leaving right after the morning break when they realize your event is nothing but vendor pitches disguised as education.

When Managed Sales Pros makes your event recruitment calls, we emphasize the educational and networking aspects of the event rather than focusing solely on the vendors who will be present. We assure your prospects that there will be a balance of content and that their time will be well-spent.  While we can get butts into your event seats, we can’t make them stay there.  An expensive event with sessions that sit empty looks bad – for your partners, prospects and especially your vendors and speakers.


Get More Technology Event Attendees: Budget Recruiting Time and Resources


Effective outbound event recruitment calling requires careful budgeting of both time and resources. If you’re planning to do your own event recruitment, you should allocate specific blocks of time for your team to make calls and set realistic goals for the number of calls and conversions you aim to achieve each day. Ensure that everyone on your team has the necessary resources, such as a quiet calling environment, reliable phone systems, and access to call scripts and FAQs.  Ensure they’re tracking their numbers, and recording accurate information.  Working with a third party event recruiting firm like Managed Sales Pros ensures consistency, compliance with process, and accurate daily reporting on progress.

Here’s the math and timelines:

One agent can make 1oo dials a day, and on average they will speak to ten people and leave forty voicemails.  Of every ten conversations, one to two will register for the event, assuming it is within a reasonable drive and has no costs associated to it.

From there you can do the math on how many days of calling it might take to secure the number of attendees you’d like to have in attendance.

A 12 week lead time is best – more is even better.

CEO calendars fill up quickly, and there are competing events – both live and virtual – every week.

Budget your final week of calling for reminder calls to encourage already registered guests that they’ll be attending an event next week, and asking if they have any questions, confirming dietary restrictions or special accommodations required.

If you need 50 additional attendees from a known target base, you’ll need to call 500 companies at least 3 times each.  If you’re calling a cold list, that number jumps to about 5000.  Make sure you give your event recruitment calling team the time they need to be successful.

Last minute campaigns are always possible, but expect to pay a premium for a hurried launch, and have realistic expectations about what anyone can do with no lead time and a limited ramp.


Event Recruitment Strategies: Predicting Attrition Rates


No matter how successful your outbound calling campaign is, there will always be a certain percentage of registrants who do not attend the event.

Predicting attrition rates can help you adjust your targets and plan accordingly.

Look at historical data from past events to estimate a reasonable attrition rate, and consider factors such as the time of year, location, and industry trends that might affect attendance.

Virtual event attendance rates can expect at least a 50% no-show no matter how interesting the topic or how compelling the speakers.  People don’t see virtual events as “real events” and they see no issues in skipping it if something comes up.


Event Recruitment Strategies: Follow-Up Activity Cadence


Consistency is key when it comes to follow-up activities.

Develop a cadence for your follow-up calls and emails that keeps your event top-of-mind without being intrusive.

A good rule of thumb is to touch base with potential attendees immediately after the initial call, then again one week later, and finally a few days before the event.

Tailor your follow-up messages to address any concerns or questions they may have raised during the initial call.

Make sure if you’re using an event recruitment partner like Managed Sale Pros, you have a clear action plan for all phases of the event recruitment process – from the first call to the final confirmation call.


Event Recruitment Strategies: Measuring Results


To understand the effectiveness of your outbound calling efforts, it’s essential to measure results.

Track metrics such as call volume, conversion rates, and attendee feedback.

Use this data to refine your approach for future events.

Pay attention to which scripts and talking points resonate most with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.

One of the biggest benefits of using an event recruitment partner like Managed Sales Pros is our years of experience recruiting for large technology partner and prospect events.  We already know how to measure and improve performance rates on outbound event recruitment calling campaigns.


Event Recruitment Strategies:  Registration Incentives


Offering registration incentives can be a powerful motivator for potential attendees. During your calls, mention any early bird discounts, group rates, or special packages available. You can also create a sense of urgency by highlighting limited-time offers or exclusive benefits for the first few registrants.  Our clients often offer travel incentives, gift cards, premium seating at the event or other benefits to encourage attendees to register now!


Event Recruitment Strategies: Attendance Confirmation Calls


As the event approaches, we make attendance confirmation calls to ensure that registrants are still planning to attend. These calls serve as a gentle reminder of the event and provide an opportunity to re-engage with attendees, answer any last-minute questions, and build excitement.  If you have the budget to do so, connecting with your registered attendees and asking them questions is a great way to make your event “sticky” and decrease your attrition rates.   One of the best strategies we’ve seen:  assign every guest to an “ambassador” within your company whom they can interact with before, during and after the event.  This gives the event a more personal touch, and makes guests feel heard if any issues arise – before they go online to complain!


Outbound Event Recruitment With Managed Sales Pros

Outbound calling is a highly effective tool for event planners looking to increase attendance and enhance the event experience. By building good lists, removing barriers to registration, highlighting compelling speakers and workshops, and avoiding vendor pitch saturation, we can help you create a successful calling campaign. We can help you plan and budget your time and resources wisely, predict attrition rates, establish a follow-up activity cadence, measure results, suggest and offer registration incentives, and make attendance confirmation calls to ensure your event is a resounding success.

With a friendly and professional approach, Managed Sales Pros will contribute significantly to the overall sucess of your well-attended event.  (Repeat events are even easier, as we then have historical data to measure against!)

We’d love to help you get started recruiting for your next partner or prospect event.  Get in touch with us using the form below:

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