Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it is worth doing.  I see many event planners doing multiple tasks to find out that very few have registered and have to pick up the phone and beg others to attend.

Why won’t people attend?

We as a society are bombarded everyday with advertisements can easily be filtered, ignored, and overlooked.  That is why meeting planners have challenges in getting people to attend.

If the message is received then is the value proposition of money and time worth the investment to spend the day learning/networking/sharing with others who have similar challenges? Personally, in choosing which sessions, I’m more concerned about the time I invest rather than the money spent because the money can be made again.  The time away from business, family, and fun activities cannot be replaced.

As a marketer of events here are 27 things you can do each time:

  • Create a Facebook page
  • Create a Facebook event
  • Create a Linkedin event
  • Design and distribute a flyer
  • Create an EventBrite page
  • Send out an email to top brokers
  • Send out an email to membership
  • Create a QR code to place on a flyer
  • Tweet the registration link to your followers
  • Pick up the phone and call
  • Create a podcast interview with the speaker
  • Filming a video interview speaker at an event to be shared in future marketing
  • Design and send out a postcard
  • Advertise in the local and state publication
  • Write a blog post about the event
  • Create a promotion video for the event
  • Share the promotion video on YouTube
  • Embed the promotion video into blog/website
  • Email the link of the promotion video
  • Ask the speakers to send out a message about the event to their database
  • Create a PowerPoint presentation that talks about
  • Upload the flyer to Dropbox to send the link out using online marketing
  • Shorten and customize the URL using http://bit.ly or http://budurl.com to include in online marketing so others can remember
  • Send out a SMS to member cell phones with the registration link
  • Send out an electronic broadcast fax with the flyer to members

Do you yourself have the time to do each one of these?

Do you rely on other team members to accomplish these tasks?

Do you have the technology to support these actions?

To fill seats for an annual meeting presentation, CE class, or conference I recommend the following:

Be clear on what attendees will receive

Melynn Sight of nSight Marketing says that unless your speaker is a celebrity you will want to start your marketing message with what are the top 3 things that audience members will receive as a result of attending the session, instead of who the speaker is and what they have done in the past.  No one cares about a speaker’s resume.  They care more about what actionable items they can take away and implement that will save them time, save money, and make more money.

Create shareable content

A blog post is the best way to send out information to as many people as possible with the least of amount of time, money, and energy.  The blog post should include the following in this order:

Catchy Title

If the title is boring no one will read it.  Create a title in 8 words or less that pops off the page.  Sam Horn, author of POP! Has a great book on how to make names POP! off the page.


This is where you include the list of the 3 things people will be able to implement.  Focus on pain of the target audience and how attending this session will be able to solve the challenges.

Registration link

This is the sign up form that attendees will fill out to register.  This could be a site on the existing website, Eventbrite page, or PayPal payment link.  This registration link will be more effective if it was a picture of a button that links to the site that says “Register Here” rather than just the link itself.  If you don’t have the time to make a picture of a button the link itself will have to do.


The YouTube video is the most effective for capturing attention because most would rather watch a video than read.  If the video isn’t captivating after the first few seconds than viewers will exit and move on to something else.

Use Windows Movie Maker or iMovie to make a video that transitions text every 5 seconds with 6 or less words on each transition.  Include each of the 3 takeaways as a single transition on a blank screen or in front of an existing video.  I like iStock videos to play behind the 3 takeaways.  Next, include the sponsor name and logo as a transition with the subtitle “presents”.  Include a picture of the speaker with credentials and website following the sponsor transition.  End with transitions that include the event location, date, time and shortened registration link.  You can shorten the registration links at http://budurl.com or http://bit.ly.

When you upload the video to YouTube be sure to optimized the Title, Description, and the Tags.

The description should start with the registration link.  This way viewers can click on the link from the top instead of scrolling down to the end to register.  Also include it at the end of the description as a friendly reminder.  Copy/paste the 3 things along with any verbiage used to the market the event into the video description under the registration link.  This could include the marketing remarks, learning objectives, and time/date/location.

See examples here

Identify your local influencers

Find your local social media influencers.  The reason why Inman’s Agent Reboot program has been so successful at filling seats is because they find the agents who are the best at social media marketing and give them free registration, hotel stays, plane tickets for outsiders, and the opportunity to share their expertise live on stage.  You may not have the budget to pay for these expenses however if you can tap into the local talent who are leaders in the association you will find yourself doing less work and receiving more registrations.

To wrap it up…

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s worth doing.  I know you only have so many minutes in the day and can’t do everything.  Prioritize your own list to determine what is feasible with your existing schedule, determine how much time and money it takes to accomplish these tasks and measure the results from them.  Take the time to see what marketing methods are working and improve on them each time.  Otherwise you will find yourself overwhelmed and working much harder than you have to in order to produce the same results.

What are some challenges you have had filling seats?

What could you eliminate to focus on new responsibilities?


Organizations bring in Doug Devitre from St. Louis, Missouri USA when they want to dramatically increase operational performance, create breakthrough value propositions, and serve customers beyond geographical constraints on a minimal budget. For more than a decade he has been setting trends with how organizations engage customers with social media, video marketing, and custom-built software applications. Doug’s book Screen to Screen Selling published by McGraw Hill pioneered the way sales professionals sold homes without being physically present before the COVID-19 pandemic. He is one of a select few who have earned the Certified Speaking Professional Designation from the National Speakers Association and has experience as a REALTOR.

View all posts

Add comment