Fall is just around the corner! Soon school will be back in session, fall sports will be in full swing and the leaves will be changing. This is a great time to host an event because of the discounted rates, but at the same time, it can be challenging due to hectic schedules. If you are looking to boost your attendance, here are seven tips on how to draw in your guests.
1. Check the church and community calendars.
Before scheduling your event, check your church and community calendars. If possible, avoid scheduling your retreat when there are major church or community events. Such as the church carnival, homecoming, the Christmas Market, etc. Typically, when there are major events such as these, guests are unable to attend due to commitments.
2. Offer multiple ways for guests to register.
Do not limit your guests to strictly paper. Get with the times and provide online registration through your website. Create a PayPal so guests can easily pay for the event while registering. However, for those who are not tech savvy, ask your pastor if you can leave registration forms and a drop-off box in the church office.
Everyone loves a discount or free merchandise. Use this logic to help entice those hesitant guests to register. You could offer an early bird registration, where people that register on your website (or at your table after church) within a specific time frame, receive a discount. Or, offer some form of event swag. It could be a shirt with your logo, a reusable water bottle, drawstring bag, etc.
4. Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!
Get the word out there! Create a website and/or Facebook page so that guests can easily learn more about the event. Through Facebook, you can post updates and announcements. Create a promotional video that consists of highlights from last year’s event, testimonies and information. Share this video on your social media page, website and during Sunday announcements at church. To learn how to create a promo video, click here.
Design posters that can be placed at your church or around town at grocery stores and fast food restaurants. You could also place an ad in your local newspaper. It can be as simple as a small write up or as detailed as using your poster design. Do you have a local Christian radio station? Most stations have a community calendar that they publish on their website and advertise on-air. This is a great way to easily spread the word beyond your community.
5. Promote the thrills.
Within your advertisements, make sure to feature exciting aspects about your event. Whether it is the incredible worship band, the amazing guest speaker, the cool retreat theme or some of the fun activities, like ziplining.
6. Invite guests from other churches.
Go to the churches around town and speak with the pastor and/or youth pastor. Inform them about your event and invite their church to participate! Find out if they would mind announcing your invitation during a church service or at youth group. Ask for permission to keep registration forms in the church office, display an event poster or to place a bulletin insert (or some sort of announcement) for a period of time within their Sunday bulletins.
7. Make your guests feel extra special by personally inviting them to your event.
Design an invitation post card to mail to potential guests. Use the addresses from your previous event or utilized that church directory sitting on your bookshelf. You could also send the invitation to the churches that have been invited, so that it can be placed within their Sunday bulletin. Utilize the event’s Facebook page by creating an event invitation that can be sent to page followers and your friends.
Although, no matter what time of year, these are great tips to take into consideration while planning your event. So, what are you waiting for? Start drawing in those guests!