It might help if the "ticker" at the top left of the website was linking to FUTURE events and not PAST events! A curious happening...
I agree with Kevin, live events are still KEY. Yes, there are more online events than ever, as Matt observes, and they can be great for a "shot of learning," but they are not a substitute for live events.
I do wonder what impact the membership changes have had on events... from traffic to events page to fewer events...? (I'm not looking at the numbers, so I don't really know.)
I completely agreed with decision to only let only "pro" members host events and publish articles, but I wonder what "energy" is missing from having a larger membership. (Again, I don't know the real numbers as far as how activity has been affected.)
On the upside, although I've had some smaller events recently, I've also experienced a decline in "no shows". We've had great participation and quality people at both larger and smaller events.
There aren't more events because we, as members, are putting on fewer events. Why is that?
One change is obviously the membership changes in Biznik. I can only answer for me, and I'm still weighing out what affect those changes are having. It does seem like there are fewer people going to events, but I still see quality events with topics in demand drawing attendees.
Another somewhat recent change, locally (Seattle area) is that two places where I used to host events for free now require $ to reserve the room. And of course, gas is sky high.
It's not that much money, but it does make me "think" - "Will I be able to monetize this (now or down the road), if so, how, or am I just going to be 'out' the room rental (plus $20 in gas from Duvall!) to put on this event?"
It used to be a no-brainer to put on events just for the experience - to test some ideas, meet a few nice folks, etc. - but now it costs perhaps $50 to put on a "free" event (plus any materials involved, and more for hosts bringing refreshments). It's certainly not a deal-killer, but it makes me consider ROI for my money as well as my time, and I'm probably putting on fewer events because of that.
Why aren't more people going to events?
THIS probably could and should be an article, so I will save some for later... but a couple quick thoughts:
1) Are the topics in demand, and are they being promoted effectively? Oftentimes, I would have to say "no." It's easy to blame people for not coming, but I think we need to look at what we're doing as event promoters, if you will.
Is the title of the event an effective headline that prompts people to click for further information? Is our copy effective? Does it build enough desire to make people take action? And are we addressing their primary concerns, desires and fears, and offering real solutions? (Matt hit this one square on the head.)
2) I think there is also such a thing as "market saturation." For instance, a lot of people interested in Wordpress have already learned from the excellent Bob (and sometimes Judy) Dunn. A lot of people interested in book publishing and professional speaking already know about Patrick Snow and have attended our classes.
We've done quite a few classes, often with full rooms, rave reviews, and repeat attendees. But repeated offerings to the same group of people won't necessarily generate the same interest as previous offerings. (And I suspect the pool of people we're drawing from is not growing/changing as fast as it once did with membership changes.)
Pinterest and YouTube, however, are "fresher" topics that have not been covered in this community. (At least, not recently.) It makes sense that we'd see great turn-outs, live or web.
What can be done about it? Well, you've started the conversation, Richard, and that's a great start!
Maybe other good question for this thread would be, "What inspires you to GO to events? What kind of events would you attend? What's not being offered that you'd like to see?"