October 18, 2008

3 Ways to Improve Attendance at Your Aviation Events

Many non-profit aviation organizations like museums, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapters, etc. host public events. These events are often the best opportunities to attract new members or generate revenue for the group. Also, these events feed the “soul” of the organizations by promoting the joy of flight, the beauty of aircraft, honoring veterans, etc. So one of the most vital parts of having an event is ensuring people actually show up to it.

Here are three ideas that can help.

1. Website
Every volunteer organization must have a useful website or eventually disappear. A website should showcase the upcoming events, and also do a great job of showing how fun the past events were. The website should also have multiple ways for a visitor to call or email questions, or sign up to be notified of future events.

Websites do not need to be fancy. The fancy stuff tends to annoy and distract the reader from real information. Websites must be relevant and updated and updated and updated. There I said it three times. Even a blog will do. If there is nobody currently in the organization that can pull this off, hire someone.

2. Fly-In calendars
This is like posting flyers on airport bulletin boards, but 100 times better. Post your event information on ALL of these calendars and include the link back to your excellent website.
EAA Aviation Calendar of Events
APOA online fly-in calendar
Airshow Calendar
Fly-In Calendar

3. Google Adwords advertising
Yes, Google Adwords. Online advertising has surpassed newspaper, magazine and radio advertising because it is so scalable and versatile. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot, actually it can cost almost nothing, it all depends on how cheap your organization is…or rather how effective you want to be.

Scalable means you can set an advertising budget as cheap and ineffective as $5 bucks a month or more effective like $100 bucks a month or more. You only get charged when someone clicks on your ads, so you’re only spending money on people that are at least mildly interested. Will they be interested enough to actually show up to your event? That’s up to you. Your Google ad links back to your website which should be excellent, helpful, relevant, and updated.

These are just three ideas to increase the attendance at aviation events in addition to the more traditional methods like newspaper classifieds, signs, and flyers on the bulletin boards. What others can you think of?

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