EVENT MARKETERS: Why People Aren’t Signing Up For Your Event & What to Do About It (Without Spending a Dime)

Are your event registrations lagging behind your expectations?

Here are some event marketing tips to quickly improve your sign up rate … without spending a dime.

Before jumping into spending more on promotion, these strategies will help you figure out why people aren’t signing up and improve your conversion rate, so every dollar you do spend goes much further.

Build Trust and Enthusiasm with Video Testimonials

Video testimonials communicate so much more than written ones by carrying emotion, enthusiasm, through tone and body language, etc. They truly are the best way to build trust and credibility.

How to collect video testimonials

  1. Get videos from your past event participants – Ask people from previous events if they’d be willing to record a video testimonial. Ideally, get these from both performers/presenters and participants.
    • videoask.com by Typeform makes this very easy and is free for up to 20 responses / mo
  1. Record video testimonials in-person during your events. This is not only the easiest time to ask people, but you’ll get responses that reflect the energy and enthusiasm of your attendees.

Share your video testimonials

  1. Embed the best of them in your site. Ideally, edited down into a single video with short clips from many people.
  2. Email your list with a link to watch them.
    • Bonus Tip: include an animated image in the email with a clip of the videos dramatically increases email click-through-rates
  1. Post them on your social media profiles 

Understand & Overcome Objections

Most websites average a 2-3% conversion rate. So if 2 in 100 people visiting your event site who get a ticket, you’ve got an average conversion rate.

Increase your conversion rate from 2 to 3 percent and you’ll be getting 50% more revenue from your existing website traffic!

If your page is better-than-average, there’s always room for improvement. If you’re doing worse than that, clearly, there must be some significant reasons people are not registering.

Your first job is to discover what exactly are the reasons why people are not signing up.

These could include questions and concerns about event times/costs, who the event is for, how it’s better than other options they’re considering, and what they’ll get out of it.

Here are some proven methods and what to do with those insights:

UNDERSTAND: 3 Ways to Discover the Top Objections Blocking Your Event's Ticket Sales

  1. Call and talk to a few people you know are interested but haven’t signed up yet. Ask about what makes them interested to join and what is holding them back. Record the calls if possible, or take detailed notes in their own words.
  2. Add a survey on the site asking the above questions
  3. Add a live chat widget – this allows you to understand and handle objections in real-time!

OVERCOME: Update the event page and marketing language with the answers needed to respond to people's hesitations, concerns, and doubts.

  1. If people have a lot of questions – consider adding a FAQ section (this could be embedded in the Live Chat widget or a section of your webpage)
    • I recommend www.Tawk.to – free, full-featured live chat or Facebook Messenger – can also be added free. The main benefit is the chat continues after people leave the site!
  1. If price is a major concern – consider lowering your price or offering incentives
    • Consider group discounts, non-profit discounts, photo or video contests, early-bird discounts, and giving a commission to referral partners.
  1. If people aren’t getting excited – consider adding an overview/promo video at the top of the page where you explain what the event is all about, who it’s for, what they’ll get out of it, how it’s unique and better than other options people may compare it to.
  2. If it’s none of the above, and people still aren’t getting excited – ask them “what would make this event more exciting to you”? Be humble and open to feedback. Maybe people would prefer a different event format, possibly something more interactive for example. Maybe they want a shorter event, or more detailed and expert-level. Unless you ask, they’ll probably never tell you.Reasons to consider an event promo video include:
    • Many people prefer watching a video to reading (and just scan without really reading the details)
    • If your event is unique or complex, a video gives you an important chance to clarify, explain and show your enthusiasm
    • You could splice in highlights of video testimonials in the middle

Find & Fix Usability Issues

Identify usability issues

confusing navigation and form fields. Also, look for which step in your event signup process has people dropping off, and work on improving that page.

  • HOW TO: Install Hotjar’s free heatmap, funnel, and user recording software.

Ensure the site is mobile-friendly

Most sites are mobile-responsive, but they also need to easy to read and navigate.

Speed up your site

Every second of extra load time and hurt conversion rates

  • HOW TO: There are many free and paid WordPress plugins that can help here including Smush-it or Optimole for image compression, and WP Rocket or WP Optimize for advanced modifications like javascript minification. Run a test before and after changes at gtmetrics.com to measure the impact

Get your SSL on lock

Setup a security certificate to add the lock symbol in the browser. Even if your checkout doesn’t take place on your site itself – as is the case if you have people pay on PayPal or Eventbrite, your website visitors won’t know this in advance, and may wrongly assume you’ll be asking for a credit card on your insecure site.

  • HOW TO: Most hosting companies provide free SSL now. You can easily integrate it with the WordPress plugin Really Simple SSL. It sometimes does the trick automatically. If not, it’s probably because you have hard-coded links to http:// version of your pages (instead of using “relative URLs” that start with /about-us). In this case, you may need to run a “find and replace” function to change all links from http to https.

Finally, Drive More Traffic and Stay Top of Mind 

Once you have the above issues addressed, you’re ready to drive more traffic with confidence.

The quickest and most scalable way is to pay for ads on Facebook or other platforms to drive more traffic to your event. But these free methods can go a long way

Remember – everyone is busy and distracted.

You can’t just send an email and make one Facebook post and assume all your people heard about your event.

Basically… you need to be a little annoying.

Email your list, not just once, but a series.

Don’t just directly sell in these emails though … provide value with tips, entertainment, and build up excitement with announcements of new performers/speakers, etc.

Direct message people on Facebook

Facebook messenger, along with text messages, get the best response rates of any marketing channel. And if you use these for real personalized invites, you’ll be surprised at how positive the response is.

Send bulk, personalized text messages

If you’ve got a list of phone numbers from past efforts, send out a single text with an event announcement.

If you’ve collected phone numbers from people expressing interest in this particular event, you can send out a series of texts that parallel your emails, with short reminders.

Many marketing automation programs integrate with CRMs (customer relationship management software) and will let you send bulk, personalized messages not only with their names, but mentioning events they’ve attended in the past, or referencing other “tags” in your CRM, such as “donor”.

Add a Facebook retargeting pixel

Even if you’re not running ads yet, or planning to for this event, adding a Facebook pixel allows you to build up a list of everyone who’s visited your event page, so you can run retargeting ads later. These ads are far cheaper per click than regular ads, because they’re only being sent to people who’ve expressed interest in you and your events.

Post regularly on Facebook, in 5 different ways

Don’t think that just creating a Facebook event and sending a clicking the “invite” button will bring people out in droves. You need to be active with posting to get seen, build excitement, and give people content to share.

Here are the five types of posts we recommend to promote your event:

  1. Post on your business Page – as you probably know, these posts sadly don’t get shown much anymore unless you pay to boost them. However, you can take the same content from here and share it in the following four places to maximize your reach.
  2. Post on your Event page – everyone who’s clicked Interested or Going will get a notification when you add a post to your event page
  3. Post on your personal wall – while Facebook has greatly diminished your Page’s organic reach, your personal posts still get seen by a lot of your friends
  4. Post in your Facebook and Instagram Stories – these posts show up above the news feed and if people regularly watch your Stories, your posts will show up first in their list. Stories are great for less polished
  5. Post in relevant Facebook Groups – often overlooked, there are Facebook Groups for every city and interest group you could imagine.

Get listed on event calendars

Post your event in online event calendars and those in local newspapers.

Don’t forget good ol’ postcards and flyers.

Gotprint.com has some of the best prices and options for recycled paper. Note: glossy paper can not be recycled.

We can help with postcard design, and mailing via an uploaded list or even collect addresses from people who visit your site.


Tell us about your ideas and goals for an online summit or conference … we’ll answer any burning questions about your event planning and strategy and see if we’re a good fit to work together.


You do good work in the world. We help it reach more people. With 20+ years of battle-tested digital strategies, let us be your secret weapon.

Our lead strategists, Daniel, Michelle, and Jay, each have decades of experience producing and marketing hundreds of online and in-person events for grassroots organizations.