Want to reach your target audience? Improve your messaging.
Do you ever wish you had a magic wand that could make your work life easier? If you could, which problem would you magically tackle first?
If you’re anything like most of the people I’ve asked this question to, you’d want to sell out every event you put on.
This challenge exists for every event maker, but unfortunately, there is no magic flick of the wrist for getting people to your event, even if it’s free! However, there are fundamental steps you can take to increase your event attendance.
The first and most critical step you need to take is to use the right messaging for your audience. If you use the correct messaging, your promotion efforts will resonate with the people who are willing to pay for your event. To come up with the right messaging, you can’t just assume you know what your audience wants, but rather all you have to do is ask them, which will lead to the creation of buyer personas.
The idea seems simple enough, but asking your target audience a list of relevant questions is the first step to building your buyer personas and understanding who exactly it is that you are trying to get to your event.
Which brings us to another fundamental: buyer personas. In order to create the right messaging for your audience, you have to create buyer personas. Buyer personas are representations of your different customers based on market research and real data about your existing customers. More than likely you will have multiple buyer personas for people coming to your event. For example, if you are putting on a 5K race for charity, one buyer persona may be the avid marathon runner who runs at any opportunity she gets, while another may be the person heavily invested in your particular charity. Both types of people will attend your event, but for different reasons. If you don’t have the right messaging, you may miss out on one of your buyer personas.
How To Create A Buyer Persona:
The easiest and best way to to start creating your buyer persona is to start interviewing past event attendees and finding out why it is they came to your event, why they would want to come again, and other questions specific to your event. The actual process of creating the buyer persona is a pretty simple process, and I’ve simplified it down to a few key points for you:
- Compile a list of prior event attendees.
- Create a list of questions in excel that will better help you understand the type of people that have attended your event in the past. Find out where they work, what they do, where they spend their free time, where they browse the internet. Ask them how they found out about your event, why the attended your event in the past, etc.
- Contact past event attendees, first by email then by phone. Try and set up a time for a call by email, then once you have a few appointments set up, start making phone calls. Your event attendees will appreciate the advanced notice. Remember, the more interviews you can get the better. As a general rule, 30 should be the minimum for a decent sample size.
- Write down the answers they give you on the same excel sheet. Get the main point of what they are saying.
- Compile that information into lists and from those lists create your different buyer personas.
- Use your buyer personas to create messaging that will resonate with your buyers.
“Now hold up!” you may say, “This is the first time I have ever put on an event. How does this apply to me?” If you are putting on your first event, don’t sweat! You can still use a lot of these same principles to understand the type of people who may want to come to your event. In your case, you won’t be asking past event attendees since they are non-existent, but you will be spending time in online forums and groups that focus on your particular niche. In these places you have access to many people who are interested in what you are doing. You can ask these people if they would be willing to answer a few questions that you have for them. Then go through the same steps listed above. Then the next time you are putting on an event, you can do the process again, but this time with your past event attendees.
Once you’ve completed your interviews and created your buyer personas, you can start making data backed marketing decisions. You can start writing messaging that is relevant to the people you want at your event. Your target audience will start listening to your flyers, event listings, and commercials because suddenly your event has become important to them.
The real value of buyer personas comes from the data you gather. The more data you collect, the more complete your buyer personas will be, and the more specific and targeted your messaging and marketing can become. It may not be as easy as a flick of your wand, but using buyer personas to get to your event sure works like, well...magic.