Want to Increase Event Attendance? Leverage Your Presenters’ and Sponsors’ Networks

If you’re a small- or mid-sized organization, promoting a conference can seem like a Herculean task. The trick is to promote smarter. You can segment your own database, create promotional content to share with your email database and social media followers, and send press releases to your media contacts. If your outreach stops here, however, you’re overlooking some strong allies: presenters and sponsors.

Both these groups have an incentive to collaborate with you.

A presenter would prefer speaking to a packed auditorium at an event that creates buzz rather than speaking to a smattering of attendees who are marginally engaged in the event topic. Her network of followers could produce the additional attendees she needs. Think about it: your presenter wants the event to be a success because it elevates her credibility. If she can say she spoke at a popular event, it increases her chances of being invited to speak at other events.

Sponsors have agreed to partner with you because your event can help them achieve their own marketing goals.  By aligning themselves with your event and organization, they can increase their brand awareness, grow their donor base, or increase sales to a new audience.  Attendee numbers are one metric used to gauge an event’s success, so if these are high, it reflects well on sponsors.

Both presenters and sponsors have networks who would likely be interested in the event topic. Promote your event through their email newsletters and social media channels, and you can increase your reach exponentially. Below are three steps to help you make the most of your collaboration with presenters and sponsors to increase event attendance:

  1. Ask whether they’d be willing to partner on promoting the event to their networks.
  2. If they agree, find out which channels they are willing to promote through (social media, email, media) and how large their networks are for each channel. This will help you decide which channels you’d like to prioritize if you are given a choice.
  3. Make their lives easy: your presenters and sponsors are busy and are doing you a favor by working with you. Come up with a schedule for sending them content, and draft all content to the appropriate length for the channel they’ll be deploying it to.

Harness presenters’ and sponsors’ motivations for participating in your event, and you will not only grow your event audience- you will develop new contacts who may be interested in your own organization’s message and product.