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From Zero to Full House: How to Develop Your Event Audience

Does the thought of growing your event audience give you goosebumps or fill you with dread? Because every audience and event are unique, developing a strategy and tactics can take time. Fortunately, there are some proven steps in the process that can help give you a framework on where to begin and what to consider.

STEP 1: Establish a plan. To build your event audience, it’s important to establish a plan. Start by reviewing your event offering and identifying your needs, goals, and objectives. This will help you create a clear vision for your event and develop strategies for attracting the right audience. By having a well-defined plan, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions about your event marketing, communication, and outreach efforts.

STEP 2: Gather data and insights. Review existing marketing and audience targeting efforts to assess the effectiveness of those measures and offer recommendations to supplement or supplant for maximum return. As part of this effort, be sure to research your competitors and their target audience to identify gaps in the market and areas where you can differentiate your event. Use this information to refine your target audience and develop effective marketing messages.

STEP 3: Define the audience. Once you’ve done your homework, a good place to start is by developing personas for your attendees. You’ll need to identify the factors (e.g., age, sex, location, occupation, education, interests, needs, culture, and associations) that define your target audience and ancillary audiences for your event. By creating detailed profiles of your ideal attendee, including demographic information, interests, pain points, and motivations, you can better personalize and tailor your marketing messages and strategies to effectively reach and engage with them. Doing so will also help you create more meaningful experiences for attendees at your events to help elevate their satisfaction.

STEP 4: Set objectives. Identify your audience development objectives that are achievable, measurable, and scalable for future opportunities. Consider what you hope to achieve and how you will accomplish it within a scalable framework. This will help you track your progress and adjust your approach as needed for future growth.

STEP 5: Outline actions. Create a custom approach for reaching your target audience through available channels using organic and/or developed tools that stay within the time and budget constraints. By considering your audience’s preferences and behaviors, you can select the most effective channels and create content that resonates with them. This will help you achieve your marketing goals while staying within your resource limitations.

STEP 6: Target the audience. Develop a framework that outlines the steps and timing to reach the target audience and use optimal channels to build brand recognition, pique interest, and deliver the right messaging to the right audience at the right time.

STEP 7: Engage with your audience. Use social media marketing and influencer partnerships to expand your reach and build credibility with your target audience. Engage with your audience through these channels and other communication methods to build relationships and foster loyalty.

STEP 8: Review and refine. Constantly review and measure the actions taken to develop the audience so that you can refine the development efforts and maximize your return. Track the effectiveness of your audience development efforts using metrics such as attendance, engagement, and conversion rates. Use this data to refine your approach and improve your results for future events.

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