Event Promotion

What Your CTA Strategy Can Teach You About Increasing Event Attendance

By Emily Haigis

You can lead someone to your site but you can’t force them to convert. The same holds true for getting people to commit to your events. For example, an online user has found themselves on your website. Now what? If you’re leaving the answer to this question up to the user, or just pure guesswork on your part, then you’re most likely seeing a high rate of page abandonment and a low conversion rate. Does that sound like what happens when people see your events but don’t RSVP?

What Your CTA Website Strategy Can Teach You About Getting Event Registrations


Put simply, people need guidance. It doesn’t matter if you want people to attend your events or subscribe to your newsletter, the strategy is the same. If you want your users to complete the actions necessary to convert them, then you need to be precise, purposeful and bold with your directions.

How can this be achieved? With a tip-top call-to-action strategy of course!

If you aren’t familiar with CTAs, they’re the bold buttons or graphics you come across on websites that feature a phrase to provoke an action from the end user. You know, phrases like I’m going, sign up, join now, etc.

Whether you’re new to marketing, or you aren’t seeing the results you’d hoped for from your CTAs, here are four best practices to keep in mind.

1.  Be selective. Very, very selective.

Don’t just have CTAs for the sake of having them. Too many will dilute its effectiveness. Once you’ve nailed down which CTAs are mutually beneficial, it’s time to do some spring cleaning if you will.

A common downfall most marketers meet is causing action paralysis in their audience. This occurs when there’s just simply too many directions or requests being made. If you have call-to-actions to download this, read that, click here, subscribe there and so forth, all on one page, you’ll see much fewer actions. In this case, less is definitely more.

This principle should apply to your events, too. Don’t forget to give proper shine to any event you’re promoting. If you send out an email with tons of information with your event sprinkled in, people are less likely to click it and find out more. How can they attend your event if they miss it because the info is buried in the email? Avoid throwing your events in a bag with all of your marketing initiatives and devote time and energy to properly feature them.

2.  Be clear and urgent.

What action are they taking?

On websites, you’ll most likely see prompts to download now, join us or buy today. For events, choose messages like register, attend, I’m going or learn more to include in your promotions.

CTA-I'm-GoingWhen are they taking the action?

It’s common to see phrases on websites like try now or get it while supplies last. If you’re hosting an event, don’t be afraid to tease limited space by saying things like don’t miss out, get your tickets before it’s too late, or only a handful of tickets will be available at the door.

What are they getting out of the action?

Users are greedy with their time and effort online, and rightfully so! If your audience hasn’t been educated on your event or offering, then a short phrase doesn’t hold much weight. For CTAs taking up less real estate, highlighting the benefits as part of the CTA phrase. Asking students to register for an open house to network with current students and to learn what campus life is really like, simultaneously educates and guides. 

If your CTA leads to a landing page or an event page, then you should spell out the top three benefits your audience will enjoy or what they’ll learn if they sign up for your service or attend your event.

3.  Use visuals to your advantage.

Even if you’re at the top of your game with selectiveness and clarity, your audience has to not just notice your event CTA, but also be drawn to it.


To get yours to pop, try these routes:

  • Apply contrasting colors, but don’t use the same color scheme for every CTA or else your audience will automatically dismiss other prompts as being the same.  
  • CTAs don’t always have to be in the form of a button. If you’re in the business of hosting events, then frame specific events as featured and give them a prime spot on your website or calendar.
  • Don’t shy away from being literal with direction. Arrows, checks or hand drawn circles are a simple way to direct attention to your CTA.
  • Consider a hero image. These are the large images often on a homepage that serve as the backdrop for the website’s tagline and CTAs or upcoming events. Including an image will catch your audience’s attention while also providing the chance to educate them visually on what the event has to offer.

4.  Take it up a notch and incentivize your audience.

Sometimes your audience just needs one extra push to complete a desired action. If you’re not seeing the level of interaction you anticipated from new visitors, or you’d like to provoke some secondary actions from previous visitors or customers, give incentives a shot.

Screenshot 2015-11-05 12.43.27

How does this work into CTAs you might ask? Here’s how:

  • Attach a deal or discount to a deadline for the action. This can be worked right into your CTA. You’ve no doubt seen incentives like, subscribe today to be entered in this month’s drawing for a brand new iPad. Incentives give people a nudge to actually complete an action.
  • To increase event registration or ticket sales, promote a contest that will only be open to those who take action prior to the event. Whether it’s a drawing for a chance to be bumped up to VIP ticket status or an exclusive event goodie bag, your audience will be more likely to take the action sooner rather than later at the door.
  • Highlight exclusive offers your audience will receive on your website, event calendar, newsletter and on social media.


Want a better way to highlight and promote your events? It’s time to upgrade to an interactive events calendar. Take a demo to learn more.



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