Drawing a crowdWritten by Debby Peters | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The issue: There is nothing worse than going to all the work of organizing an event and then having minimal attendance. It might be an educational seminar, a charity function or an open house for your business. It could even be a networking event. How many times have you attended such an event, and said, ”Well, it was OK, but there weren’t many people there?” While the true measure should be based on the quality of the people, not the quantity, if we’re throwing the party, we want lots of people and lots of noise.
How can we make sure the crowds are there for us? Most of us will design a flyer to be used for marketing. Some may even invest in advertising to gain the throngs they want.
A solution: Gather a group of people around you who are interested in your success. Ask them if they would be willing to personally invite some of their acquaintances. Even better; give a specific number of invitations you would like each person to offer. Instead of giving them a stack of invitations, ask them to issue just five or six.
A stack of invitations looks like a time-eating project. It will sit on my desk until the right moment comes along. Because the project looks so large, the right time never comes along. I am overwhelmed to inaction. However, if I know that I only have to put in the effort for five or six invitations, my mind tells me that it can be done in 10 to 15 minutes. I can get that done right now.
The next step: Take an additional step. Ask that helpful group if they will contact the people they are inviting both in writing and verbally. Someone has labeled this method the authentic invitation. The one-two punch can happen in either order; verbal/written or written/verbal, but it is the combination that exponentially increases the chance of that person attending the event. Also, in gathering that helpful group around you, they will feel accountable to each other. One will not want to have to explain to the rest of the group that he or she couldn’t find time to send the invitations.
Take away: If you are the person extending invitations, be sure to tell the invitees what’s in it for them.
Why should they attend? We are all time-starved. If I don’t feel the possibility for some reward in return for the time attending an event, it is likely I will give a negative reply to the invitation.
The beginning of the year is usually a time when marketing plans are put into place. Does yours include having a function? If so, be sure to include the tasks that will make the project successful.
Debby Peters is owner and director of training of Certified Networker Program of Ohio.