Running and managing events is incredibly difficult. Here at Physi, a mobile app to pair people up to get active, we do a lot of events as participants and leaders. We have participated and led enough events to get some learning under our belt. Our events focus mainly on activities where movement, exercise and social engagement are involved, but we think it has larger applications to events of all types. Through our experiences, we've come up with 7 Easy Steps to help get people to attend your activity-based events.
- Set expectations early and clearly
Share out the length, route and appropriate equipment early and often for your event. A lot of people want to do something fun, social and engaging, but remember that not everyone wants to do highly intense activities. Be clear about the goals and pace of your event. What we've found is that if you can share the activity, intensity and length, people are much more willing to participate. For example, a lot of folks might be interested in a community bike ride, but will not participate in it unless you define it. So say something like, “it's a short ride that everyone, including families can enjoy. The pace will be 8-11 miles per hour and there won't be many hills” Make it approachable to your audience.
- Make it social
This isn't about sharing it on social media, but rather, make it about more than just the activity. The activity is the backdrop for people to get engaged with one another. On that social media thing, you can share it there too. We highly suggest starting in a location or area where people will/might hang around after the event. Often people want to congregate casually post your event, so make it easy for them to do so.
- Don't feel punitive
We've found with many of our activities that people want to come, but things don't always work out. Life happens. If people opt out, don't make them feel bad, but let them know what they missed so they join next time. This also means if people dip out through/during an event, that's quite alright.
- Remind people often
I recommend setting the event at least one month ahead of the schedule and begin sending invites then. We generally use our application, Physi, plus a Facebook created invite. Since most of our events are designed to get people out and moving, we do not have an associated charge. If you are charging or doing attendance formally at an event, you can use Eventbrite to facilitate the event as well.
- Make the everyday FUN
If you're on a run, ride or walk, you'll see and notice things in a whole new way. Make sure to give some context and interest to the group. For example, I love to share the history of an area before we do a bike ride or run. I think sharing that gives people a whole new context to the area. This helps them see and appreciate the area from the new perspective.
- Add a soundtrack
A key component to any ride, run or otherwise is a soundtrack. Ask people to contribute their favorite songs to the soundtrack and then build out that Spotify playlist and shuffle it along the way. Having a soundtrack is a lot like having background music in a movie—it really does add to the mood.
- Feedback and celebrate
I love to ask people what they thought about an event immediately after the event. I always ask stuff like, “what's the one thing that we could have done to make this better” or “what would have made this a bit more perfect”. Asking in that style, tends to lessen the weight of providing feedback. It welcomes feedback. I also ask people to share out their photos on our event page as well. This helps us see it from their perspective and it shows other people about the activity. I always like to end an event with a bit of social celebration, meet someone new and hang for a few minutes.
It's always fun throwing events, but way more fun when people get there and have an amazing time. These are the tips that we've found to get folks out and moving. It's our event magic.
Be sure to share your event tips in the comments.