How To Boost Event Attendance With Text Messages

August 27, 2018 - 9 minutes read

We live in an era in which one can access information in different ways. From social media to emails to websites, access to platforms is readily available.

Despite the ease of communication, emails face low engagement and have low click-through rates.

Luckily, there’s an easier way to reach out to donors and supporters. With an average open rate of 99%, text messages are one of the easiest ways to reach out to people and boost event attendance.

SMS marketing lets you connect with people, build awareness, attract an audience, promote events and rally support. And the best part is – it’s simple to use.

In this article, I will take you through a few ways in which you can use text messages to boost event attendance.

Send Personalized Messages To Boost Event Attendance

The easiest way to boost engagement and event attendance is by personalizing your texts for each attendee or supporter. Use the supporter’s first name and tailor the message to appeal to their unique needs and interests. A personalized text grabs your supporter’s attention, makes them feel important, provides information, and displays how they can’t afford to miss your event.

Unlike conventional texting, CallHub allows you to send out thousands of texts within a few seconds. You can personalize each text with tags, for example, {first_name}, which will fill up the supporters first name in the message when sent.

Peer-to-peer texting helps you nurture personal connections by engaging in one-on-one conversations with your supporters. It allows organizations or campaigners to have real conversations with the supporters and donors, respond faster with templated texts and record data based on their responses.

For example, p2p to initiate a conversation and rally support:

Hi Alice! This is Jesse volunteering with Hope Society. On 12th April we are gathering outside City Hall to protest against <insert cause>. We are providing refreshments! 🍟 Want to join?

Nonprofit text messaging for political parties can also be used to encourage supporters to get out and vote on Election Day. Example:

Hi Alice! I’m Jesse a volunteer with Naomi Clark for City Council. Your polling station is at 1225 Fallon Street, Room G-1, Oakland. Polls close at 7 pm. Think you can make it to the polls? ✅

Use P2P to give your attendees or supporters a reason to be excited about your event. So, offer details or share insight on what makes your event special. This creates create excitement and boosts attendance.

You can send out texts like:

Hi Alice! We’ve added a Hall of Fame Basketball player to our discussion panel. 😀 Don’t miss out on a chance to listen to him speak about his life as an athlete. Think you can make it? ✅

Start Off With A Good Hook

With text messages, you only have 160 characters to make a good impression. So, you need to provide a good hook to draw supporters and make them want to attend your event.

Consider the following questions while developing a hook:

  • What’s the theme of your event? – if you’re throwing a Black-Tie event, make sure your text promotes this theme.
  • Why should people attend? – Emphasize the benefits they will receive.
  • Who’s the speaker? – Let your supporters know you’ve invited someone notable in the industry or community to speak at your event.
  • How to register? – Include a link to the registration page in your text message.

You can achieve this by sending a broadcast text to your supporters and donors. A broadcast text works well to send out automated reminders a week before your event or rally. Keep your attendees updated by providing details about your event.

Broadcast message for last minute updates:

50 start-ups and 20 keynote speakers have confirmed their presence at our event. Gary Vaynerchuk will take the stage on March 12th. Don’t miss out on a chance to listen to them speak!

You can also use broadcast texts for rapid response actions when you want to reach maximum people in the shortest time.

Make Use Of SMS Sign-up Campaigns

An SMS sign-up campaign lets you build your donor lists, capture new numbers, find prospective attendees and boost event attendance from your website and social media accounts by letting people text a keyword to a number. It is also a cost-effective way to advertise your event on social channels, television, radio, newspapers, and billboards.

SMS opt-in gives nonprofits, political campaigns, and advocacy groups with a wide platform to engage their audience. For this, you need to have a keyword and a long code or shortcode that acts as a caller ID.

For example, a billboard or flyer can say:
Text “HDSOCIAL” to 56009 to find out more about our keynote speakers, venue, and for live updates.

The keyword is “HDSOCIAL” and shortcode is “56009”.

Once, a supporter or prospective donor texts the keyword you can send an automated reply to collect details like name, email, address. Example:

Thanks for showing interest in our event! 🎊🍾 Please text your name, last name, zip code, and email.

You can set the keyword while creating your SMS sign-up campaign and rent a short code or long code. Once you set up your campaign, you can promote your keyword and shortcode to capture numbers. After building your list of prospects, use peer-to-peer texting to nurture relationships and encourage people to attend your event or rally.

Enlist Attendees To Spread The Word

Your supporters are your biggest advocates. And within your list, you may find one or two who are extra influential. Find those people, and encourage them to help you spread the word.

Use text messages to make your attendees and supporters feel like they are an integral part of your event by enlisting them to create strategic and timely posts about your event.

Sample text:
Tell your friends and family where you are headed this Sunday. This 5k run and BBQ 🍖 cook-off is an event you know they wouldn’t want to miss!

Target The Right Audience

Segmenting your audience before sending out texts is important. Doing this will help you reach out to the right people on your list. By texting the people who are most likely attend your event, you can control spam and market your event to its full potential.

There are several ways in which you can filter out your audience. If you’re hosting a local event, you may only want to target people living in and around the area. So, segment your list based on location. You can also segment your list based on people who have registered for your event and who haven’t. This way you avoid sending irrelevant messages.

Getting people to show up at your event may seem like an arduous task, but using a text messaging service can help you overcome the hurdle of boosting event attendance. If you’re planning your next event, check out CallHub’s text messaging software.

For further information on how to get started with text messaging reach out to us at [email protected]