Picking a venue, finding a speaker, and setting the date – these are actually some of the easier tasks involved with event planning. What most organizers fret over is whether or not people will show up.

For small business owners planning live events, that worry increases about tenfold. That’s because with tighter budgets and less public recognition, shelling out money for a live event that bombs can be financially crippling.

To get more foot traffic to your next special event, try these marketing tips.

Drum up interest with your event page or website.

If website visitors don’t have a clear picture of what’s going on after 5 seconds on your event page, you’ve done something terribly, horribly wrong. Include these key pieces of information on the main page:

  • Event title or topic
  • Location and time of event
  • Attention grabbing description including what attendees will get out of the deal
  • List of speakers or activities
  • An uber-conspicuous registration button

Email your mailing list prior to the event.

In addition to mentioning the event in your regular correspondence such as an e-newsletter or post-sale thank you email, send an announcement dedicated solely to the event.

While your first inclination might be to send the big announcement during typical office hours in the middle of the week, some marketers have suggested sending out an email on Saturday or Sunday, when email volume is lower and your message is more likely to stand out.

Work with event partners.

Going solo might not be advantageous. Working with other business partners gives you access to a larger group of potential attendees. Could you work with any of these types of event partners?

  • Professional service partners. If you need a writer to blog about your event or a photographer or videographer to capture material for promoting similar events in the future, call on professionals in your network for assistance.
  • Affiliate partners. Use your professional network to team up with other business owners for promotional offers and give incentives to those who help market the event.
  • Social media partners: Provide pre-written Tweets and status updates that your employees, partners, speakers, and friends can schedule to help you get more exposure on social sites. (Remember to make the updates compelling, not spammy.)

Blog about the big day. 

Don’t just blog about the event itself, create content related to your event topic and provide a call-to-action inviting people to learn more. Make use of your post footer for an eye-catching button or use your sidebar space – or both!

About those posts. Say you’re holding a product demonstration event for your home painting business. You could blog about home restoration, home repair, house flipping and any other related topics you can think of.

Ask affiliates and speakers to guest post on your site. Don’t forget to return the favor and write guest content for their websites, too.

Remember that people won’t come to an event unless they know about it and they have a compelling reason to attend. Spread the word often and brag about the benefits of attending at every opportunity.