Post authored by De-de Mulligan, President & Chief Content Strategist, Mulligan Management Group
Merely knowing what attendee churn is and why it happens isn’t enough. You need to be able to stop it from killing your event’s future.
As we know, attendee churn is your event’s failure to retain guests year over year.
Not only is it important to understand what churn is, but you also need to evaluate your event to see why it’s happening.
Since attendee churn can take a drastic toll on your brand, event, and even budget, let’s focus on seven preventative methods to keep it at bay.
Stop Attendee Churn from Happening in the First Place
1. Check up on your competitors.
When most of us think of the competition, we only consider other conferences.
It’s essential to expand that thinking to webinars, credentialed online learning, Meetups, and social media communities.
In other words, your potential attendees might be able to receive the same information without being out of the office for three or four days.
Having a good grasp on this information will help you structure a more robust conference.
2. Keep “value” at the forefront of your planning process.
When considering presenters, ask the following from them:
- What new or exclusive information can you share with our members?
- How do you present your information (i.e., informative vs. interactive)?
- How many times have you spoken to an audience like ours?
- Why will our participants want to hear from you?
3. Aim to stay on top of your costs.
If the hotel and conference center you’ve been going to for the last ten years has a significant price increase, take time to understand why.
Regardless of their response, you owe it to your members to look at other meeting options.
Once you have a report compiled, please share it. Ask what they’d like to do.
4. Continuously simplify and personalize the registration process.
Provide a “one-stop shopping” registration form for each attendee.
Once you have their preferences captured, such as they want vegan, gluten-free meal options, or they wish to attend only advanced workshops, keep this information for future conferences.
Segment your list so people receive the right information at the right time. For example, don’t send special discounts to those who have already registered.
5. Drill down on your niche.
Who should attend your event, and what benefits they will receive?
Once identified, eliminate all other prospects from the list.
This action will help you develop a content-rich conference for your target audience.
6. During the conference, communicate in real-time.
Let attendees know they can text, call, email, and use social media for any questions or problems they are facing.
If possible, respond within one hour or less.
Keep the line of communication going until you have answered their question or resolved their issue.
7. After your event, poll, respond, and repeat throughout the year.
Rather than garnering feedback annually, keep a pulse on your membership throughout the year.
Find out what attendees want and whom they want to hear from at the next event.
Once you have gathered the data, be sure to let all members know what changes they can expect to see and when they should see them.
Churning Toward a Conclusion
Please remember: it’s a lot harder and more expensive to obtain new attendees rather than keeping existing ones.
Pursue a philosophy of one part knowledge, one part listening, and one part technology to ensure you stop attendee churn in its tracks!
De-de Mulligan is the President and Chief Content Strategist for Mulligan Management Group.
As a former meeting planner who has received Ohio MPI’s Planner of the Year award twice (2006 & 2012), she brings a unique perspective to these blog posts.
You can find her on Twitter @DedeMulligan.