4 Steps to Figure out the Target Audience for Your Next Event

4 Steps to Figure out the Target Audience for Your Next Event

Events are a funny thing. Everyone loves them in theory, but getting people to come to your event can be an experience that makes you want to pull your hair out. You have great prizes! You have an amazing network of loyal people! It’s the right time of year! You have a superstar headliner! And yet...

And yet you don’t sell out, leaving everyone scratching their heads wondering what went wrong.

As businesspeople and entrepreneurs, we are pretty good at identifying who could benefit from our events. The problem? Those people need to believe they can benefit as well! And in order to convince them, we need to understand them.

For example, there was an event I was involved in that was targeted at small business owners. Our event was a full day jam packed with amazing learning opportunities, and we had a pretty loyal base of fans and clients. However, when it came down to the registration deadline there was a significant portion of people who felt, because they had brick-and-mortar businesses, that they could not get away for an entire day during business hours. This is fine, since as the adage goes “If people really want something they will find a way” - however looking back, had we realized that up front we could have spent less time trying to convince people that they needed to take time away from their business (and thus taking away an entire day of revenue by closing), and focused more on people who either a) were a bit bigger and had employees that could cover for the day, or; b) were consultants, working from home, or with online businesses that had scheduling flexibility. Lesson learned!

Focus more on the people who are most likely to attend - and that means having a really great understanding of who you are marketing your event to. Understanding this and doing the research up front can save plenty of sleepless nights as your event looms closer and closer!

Interested in learning more?

Below are 4 steps you can take to get a really solid foundation to start your marketing on.

  1. If this is an event you have run in the past, analyze the characteristics of your past attendees. Did you get all of the “right” people at your event? What kind of feedback did they provide that could help you re-engage them or other people like them this time? What marketing strategies can you reuse? If you didn’t attract the “right” people, how can you tweak your strategy to reach them? What were your lessons learned?

  2. Look at other successful events in your area and write down the kinds of marketing strategies they used to reach their ideal audience - these can usually be easily found on their website, social media, and email list (if you’re a subscriber - if not, sign up - it’s market research!). Note the language & tone they are using. Graphics? Video? Frequency? What kinds of things are they talking about? What kinds of comments and feedback are their audience giving them?

  3. Reach out to people who have run events with a similar attendee group and ask if they would be willing to talk about what worked for them. Try to avoid people who are running an event within 1-2 months of yours as you don’t want to be competing for attendees. This is a way to get to the deeper info that isn’t publicly available via step #2.

  4. Create a brief survey and send it to your contacts, email list, share it on social media. Find out if there is interest in your event. Ask people what information would make them excited about the event and where they would prefer to get updates.