In the most honest sense, man is not created equal. He is bestowed with genes at birth that profoundly affect his likelihood of success in endless categories. Then there are all the environmental factors like birth nation and familial wealth which are both profoundly important, and also totally uncontrollable. This is far from equality.
So it is with events, specifically free ones. Some are seemingly destined for success while others are predisposed from “birth” to toil in anonymity. Fortunately, though, an event organizer can identify shortcomings and then take action to change an event’s “genes” far easier than man can change his.
Here are five shortcomings worth noticing and appropriate correction steps:
#1 Your event isn’t really free
People have seen enough “free” offers to appreciate that nothing is really totally free. At the very least, there is a time commitment. But beyond that, so many “free” events are merely a mechanism to get attendees to purchase something.
Think about companies selling timeshares. To ensure your attendance at a sales presentation, the timeshare merchants go beyond free and actually pay for your entire vacation. This guarantees that you’ll unequivocally receive some value, the “free vacation,” even if the sales event proves unappealing.
Solution: It’s fine to use free events as a lead generation tool, just make sure you properly convey that an event attendee will gain something of worth from the free event.
#2 Price is seen as an indication of quality
In so many different industries, from wine to healthcare, people associate price with quality – the higher the price, the better the quality. As a result, “free” can come across as low quality and desperate. But it can also be an effective way to entice someone to try something new.
Solution: Coupons, discount codes and limited-time prices show that the event is worth money but that a special deal can be had now. In addition to giving the event some merit, “free for a limited time” increases urgency.
#3 Your network is limited
It’s an annoying problem similar to the one a new college graduate faces: All these jobs require experience, but I don’t have any experience and it’s impossible to get experience if it’s a prerequisite for every job.
But, like that college graduate, a first-time event creator still must find a way to execute. The natural place to start is with friends and family. If you don’t know anyone who will attend a free event, you should probably reconsider the idea of running that event.
Solution: Think hard about anyone you know who might have some interest in your event. Assuming the event topic is an actual interest of yours, it makes sense for you to know some people who would find it somewhat compelling. Additionally, setting realistic expectations is vitally important. Free or not, if you have never run an event before, getting a huge crowd is very unlikely. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; simply plan accordingly (i.e. don’t invest in a huge event space).
#4 No trust links
With a price point of zero you are almost certainly trying to broaden your exposure to new people. “New” means that your target audience doesn’t know or trust you yet. Even with a robust event page, people are going to look for outside sources of validation. Without the trust borne from this external validation, few are going to register.
Solution: Make sure that your company/event’s webpage is professional (this is, of course, in addition to having a professional event page). Link out to any third-party sources that make you seem more legitimate.
#5 It’s not compelling to any specific group of people
Far too many free events make the freeness the biggest selling point. The target audience is nothing more than an extremely broad demographic like “business people.” This simply isn’t good enough.
Solution: Ask yourself, “What type of person would benefit from attending my event?” Paint that picture to a super specific degree. Make up a perfect attendee. What’s his/her age, income, interests, location, marital status, education level, etc.? Then get broader from there, but always keep that perfect attendee in mind.
Want to get your event in front of that perfect attendee and other logical audiences? Not sure where to begin? Dandelion will build an intelligent advertising campaign for your event and take care of everything related to advertising. Seriously. You tell us the event, set a weekly budget, and we will handle all the ad creation, all the targeting and all the optimization to ensure that your event is seen by the right types of people.