Registrations Disappoint for Your Event - What Now?

You're organizing an event and then you struggle to get the registrations you were hoping for. What now?

We've all been there at one time or another. You have THE idea for an event, workshop, or any type of initiative that requires registrations.

You promote and share the good news with your audience in all the ways you can come up with. You're feeling excited, and you are sure it's going to be a hit.

And registrations fall flat. For what you hoped to be a 50-person event, you're struggling to get past 15.

Aiming for 10, it's about 3.

Obviously, final sales pushes and other strategies aside. What to do if that number stays low?

List your options:

  • Cancel
  • Postpone
  • Go ahead

Personally, I'm, in many cases, a fan of the last option. Go ahead anyway, and here's why.

Smaller audiences allow for much more interaction than you planned in your initial flow. This means you can fire away with your questions too and use the extra time to stimulate a healthy debate about the topic and the event itself.

Transparency is often a good strategy.

  • Give participants information ahead of time that you will have a small group and you will take advantage to exchange.
  • Make sure you do your very best to really embrace those that are there and provide a high-quality experience for them.
  • Know what questions you have in advance regarding the event: what attracted those that came? What were their doubts? How do they think you could have gone about attracting more people? Was this the right format in their opinion (maybe it was always better at a different size to start with).

Make a note of everything you have learned and carefully consider how and what you want to adapt.

Notice I say WANT to adapt. There will be a lot of ideas, and a lot of things you COULD do. But what works for you?

When to cancel?

When in fact you were never really looking forward to it in the first place. Take it as market information that now is not the right time and/or place. If you want to come back to this at a later time.

When to postpone?

You feel it was all a little rushed and "if you would have had time..." you would have done things differently. Give yourself that time.

In all cases, building in a little clause into your communication that the event only takes place if X number of people register is a good idea. It makes it very easy to either cancel or postpone if need be and avoids the awkward situation where you have been building up a hype and then have to sheepishly either come with an excuse or disclose the "one last spot left" sales push was actually not true!

Don't let a low turnout event burn you too much though. Regroup and try again if it makes you happy. Every single person that organizes anything has experienced low turnouts. It's not just what you are doing. It's also a right of passage to growth.

Why not join one of our B-inspired community events? Some are big, some are small, some get postponed... And we're loving the journey!

Happy organizing!


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