If the fans don’t wanna come to the ballpark you can’t make ‘em. This time honored dictum should be engraved on the computer screens of all event marketers as although they might conceptualize, develop, and produce one of the greatest, finest, and most exceptionally wonderful events of all time, if no one shows up for it then it’s going to be a failure of epic proportions. Events live and die by their attendance and if you’re making any of these equally epic mistakes you might as well start preparing the burial site for your event.

1. Spam the planet – We’ve all had the impulse to let as many people know about our event so that we might have thought that violating online best practices might be worth it “just this once.” Well, no matter how much you may be tempted you should never violate the rules of CAN-SPAM and of email and other online communications best practices. Sure, it might be really tempting to want to buy that list of attendees from that other event promoter since you think that it would be a natural for them to attend your event, but buying a list is one of the fastest ways to put a stake through the heart of your event.

2. Have a zillion discounts – Discounting the price of the ticket is an effective and powerful way to maximize the turnout to your event, but you have to implement the K.I.S.S. rule. If you have a 10% discount to members of this organization, a 15% discount for members of that one, a 20% discount for people with green eyes, and a two for one for any conjoined twins, all you’re doing is confusing the living daylights out of your entire audience. Even if you try to keep the offers separate and direct to only specific categories of prospective attendees, they’re going to find out what the other group is being offered and they’ll be offended that they’re getting a lower discount than their counterparts. Create one discount structure and implement it universally if you know what’s good for your event.

3. Book your favorite presenters – Yes, you might think that Mr. So-And-So is an enlightened guru that will galvanize an audience but does anyone else really share your opinion? If you’re producing an event that is only intended for you to attend alone then by all means go spend a wad on getting your fave to present at your event, but if you’re actually expecting other people to want to show up you’d better provide them with the speakers that they are interested in. More than just about any other aspect of event production and marketing you have to be very careful and listen to what the crowd is telling you. Book the speakers that they want, not the ones that you want.

4. Disregard the calendar – No matter whether you’re planning a venue or online event, the calendar is key to your success or failure. It is obvious that you shouldn’t prepare an event for a day which is counterproductive to it, as no sane event marketer would schedule a business seminar on Independence Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. However, there are a myriad of other calendar dates which would conflict with various events. How about a Halal food festival in the middle of Ramadan? Or a temperance convention in New Orleans during Mardi Gras? Why not try out a film premiere on Academy Awards night!

5. Launch at the last minute – Yup, it would be a great idea to have your event next weekend, but only if you had started planning it six months ago! The rule of thumb is that if you’re producing any type of conference event you need to start at least half a year in advance, and more is even better. Some of the top annual conference producers start planning for the next one the day after this year’s is completed. You’re simply not going to be able to secure sufficient attendance with a snap event!

You want your event to be well-attended and successful so don’t make any of these mistakes!