They used to come. They're getting what they said they wanted. Yet they aren't showing up. What's wrong?
What worked then may not work now. If you're organizing events, attendance may drop over time.
Here are three likely reasons why:
- Wrong content
- Wrong attendees
- Wrong time
The ContentYour audience is investing their time and/or money to attend for reasons they may not clearly state or acknowledge. They may say they're attending to learn. Maybe they're really coming to find new clients directly or indirectly.
If you have speakers (especially unpaid ones), they're expecting something in return. One speaker said that when she's paid, she delivers value. When she's unpaid, she creates pain which her services can sooth. That's a disguised sales pitch. If the speaker at each event is doing that, doesn't the audience get weary --- especially if they’re paying? Commercials are free on TV.
Unless your group is particularly desirable (e.g., TEDx), you'll have difficulty getting speakers who normally charge.
What a bind. Speakers want better audiences and audiences want better speakers. In 2011, organized the perfect social media workshop but attendance was low.
Maybe you can find knowledgeable speakers who aren't selling anything. For example, retirees, professors, journalists, hobbyists, Toastmasters and bloggers.
The AttendeesWhat attendees say they want may not be what they really want. Answers can be noble and predictable. And uninspiring. Just because we need something doesn’t mean we’ll get it. Think of exercise.
If your members are entrepreneurs, won't they ask for topics like improving skills, getting more clients or boosting productivity?
We're overloaded with things we could do from past events, the media and even quaint sources like the books we bought but haven’t read.
We don't need more ideas.
We need help implementing the ideas we already have. Change is difficult. Can members give each other support and spur accountability? That's what a mastermind group does. Maybe peer mentoring would be better than speaker-based events? What a great way to share and show expertise.
The TimeSThings change. With such excellent content online, there's less reason to attend live events unless there are other compelling reasons like networking or a need for continuing education credits.
Attendees get bored with routine and want novelty. Unless you have a timeshare or cottage, do you vacation at the same place every year?
In the past, I'd join organizations with annual memberships for two years before bailing out. Now a year is long enough. For pay-as-you-go events, I'm even less tolerant. How about you?
- Arranging the perfect social media workshop
- Event planning showdown: Meetup, Eventbrite or proprietary?
- Ways to boost sales with seminars
- Should you get a sponsor for your event?
- Flubs in a seminar with a $500,000 ticket
- The unremarkable client seminar
- image courtesy of Dmitry Goygel-Sokol (Ukraine)