Is your family entertainment center ready for the rush of holiday party-goers headed your way? Businesses that plan ahead, strategize a plan of action, and invest in tools to help market events are the ones most likely to see a successful return this holiday season. Whether your seasonal FEC strategy is ahead of the game or behind the curve, we have some awesome tips to help you along the way. Ready to bring in your biggest crowd yet? This list might not guide you to the North Pole, but it will certainly make your upcoming event holly, jolly, and full of good cheer.
5 Ways to Increase Attendance at Your FEC’s Holiday Event
1. Design Your Facebook Event Page
Maybe it seems obvious, but as soon as you have the event scheduled on your calendar, you should schedule it on Facebook, too. The success of your event promotion on Facebook hinges on your Facebook events page — set it up properly to give potential attendees prompt information, create a sense of excitement, and send reminders as the event date approaches. The sooner you create the page, the higher your chances of showing up on users’ news feeds and event recommendations, giving you a greater opportunity to improve attendance. To limit confusion, it is best that your event page title is identical to the name of your event. If you’re hosting a small-scale event, Facebook also provides the option of creating a private group.
How do you create a Facebook event for your holiday party?
- Select a cover photo that’s 1920×1080 pixels. Your cover photo should be festive and mimic the holiday spirit, since it will show up when attendees share your holiday event with other Facebook users.
- Choose a short, catchy event name. You want your event page to instantly grab users’ attention. Since most users use the platform on a mobile device, choose a shorter name that will look good on smaller screens.
- Add details to help Facebook promote your event. Just like every other social media platform, there’s an algorithm in place to promote your profile/page. Inputting the correct data such as the event category, date, time, and other tags will increase the chances of Facebook recommending your event to users.
2. Leverage Facebook Ads
You’re probably wondering how to get actual RSVPs for your holiday event. Don’t fret! Facebook advertising allows businesses to leverage event pages to reach a wider audience. You can increase your Facebook event page’s visibility by running a paid event ad targeting a specific audience of people who are most likely to attend. You can narrow that audience by age, gender, relationship status, interests, behaviors, and location — you can even go as far as a specific zip code! Facebook will show your ad in the newsfeeds of those users you are targeting.
Over half of all Facebook users only access the site through their mobile device, so your ad should be as mobile-friendly as your event page. That being said, your holiday event ad should look flawless on both desktop and mobile feeds. We recommend using high-quality images and clear, direct ad copy.
While there are six different Facebook ad formats (video, photo, carousel, collection, messenger, and slideshow), the photo format is the simplest to grab users’ attention. It’s eye-catching and (unlike Messenger and collection ads) doesn’t require people to commit right away. We recommend square ad images, which look best on mobile. For the holidays, it’s best to use a cheery, celebratory photo that will raise awareness of your event and lead to increased attendance.
Now that your ad is ready to go, Facebook will allow you to choose exactly how you want people to say “yes” to your event. You will have the option to do one of the following:
- Collect responses and track people who are “Interested,” “Not Interested,” or actually “Going” to the event
- Direct potential attendees to an event registration page to buy tickets
- Or simply raise awareness of your event with people who either:
- have similar interests and/or demographics as your desired event attendee
- are friends of an already registered attendee
Regardless how you utilize Facebook ads to promote your event, make sure that the page your audience lands on after clicking your event ad is well-optimized and easy to understand.
3. Send Out an E-blast
The goal of email marketing is to capture your reader’s attention. It’s a great tool for reaching your audience, especially during the holiday season, when customers are looking for seasonal promos, coupons, or special event invites from their favorite businesses.
If you have an existing email list of past customers, e-blasts are a great way to entice them back into your facility. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind before showcasing your holiday event via email:
- Design an email that reflects your brand’s aesthetic and has visual elements consistent with other marketing materials.
- Craft a message that’s intentional, deliberate, and easy to understand. If the goal is to have readers register for the event, make it very clear how to do that in your email.
- Incite a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) to persuade potential attendees to register for the event. One cool method to create a sense of urgency is to include a countdown within the email. The timer displays how many days are left until the event or how many days remain until the end of registration and ticket sales. This prompts people to register right away or risk missing out.
- Personalize your messaging. People appreciate feeling appreciated, whether it’s through an employee who remembers their last visit or an email that’s tailored to them. Many e-blast tools allow you to add personal details like a customer’s first name to mass emails. When promoting your holiday event, it’s a good idea to include a nice message like, “Hello, Wendy! Happy Holidays from all of us at TrustWorkz. We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you at our upcoming event!”
4. Go Live
As you’ve probably seen, Live Video broadcasts are growing in popularity across Instagram and Facebook. You can now easily spread the word before and during your event. What’s the best way to promote an event on Facebook Live?
- As you set up for the event, make sure your facility is visually captivating and matches the theme you’ve promoted.
- The day of your event, pick one or two people who have access to your business’ Facebook account to Go Live on behalf of the company.
- During the Live stream, keep things fun for both attendees and people who couldn’t make it (you never know who will RSVP to your next event!). Not sure how to keep viewers invested? Play holiday trivia with special giveaways, offer promotion codes that are only available while you’re Live, and give a surprise gift (like a coupon) to people who watch until the end.
- While you’re Live, be sure to showcase the holiday decor, festive food, and attendees laughing, dancing, and ultimately enjoying themselves! Party-goers will love looking back on the fun and people who missed out will be more likely to attend your next event.
5. Collect Event Attendees’ Email Addresses
For businesses that rely heavily on digital promotion, it’s super helpful to collect event attendees’ contact information. This allows you to thank attendees, email special offers, and share information about future events. Of course, if you asked attendees for their email addresses, birthdays, and kids’ birthdays during the online registration process, you already have everything on file. But if that’s not the case, do your best to collect those details in-person.
Here are a couple of valuable ways to gain customer information:
- Set up a WiFi data collector. It’s no secret that we live in an age where people connect to WiFi everywhere they go. I mean, who wants to waste their cellular data? Offering this free service to your customers is a fair trade-off — you provide WiFi, they provide their name and email address. Remember, it is the season of giving! What better gift (to you and them) than the ability to instantly upload event photos to social media?
- Run a contest or raffle. Ask attendees to write their name and email address on a piece of paper to be entered into the raffle. Put together a gift basket or raffle off a gift card to your FEC. It’s that simple. Pull a name from a hat and inform the winner. If you’re in the holiday spirit, you can even host a daily raffle for 12 days in honor of the 12 Days of Christmas.
- Ask for permission. Whichever way you choose to collect customer data, make sure the customer is aware that by providing their contact information, they are giving you permission to subscribe them to your email or mailing list. This is an important step in establishing trust with your customers and ensuring you are only sending the information they have asked to receive.
Leveraging your holiday event to attract more email subscribers is a simple way to benefit your business all year. Now that you have their info, you can reach out to customers throughout the year, keep them in the loop, and encourage them to attend your next special event.
What are your businesses’ most effective tips for boosting event attendance? Reach out and let us know!
While the turkeys are gobbling and snow is falling, remember to prepare, strategize, and promote your FEC’s holiday event so it can lead into a promising new year.