This is a guest post by Chuck Smith of Enliven Production Group.
“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.”
John Russell, Business Consultant
There are many types of events; sales incentive meetings, appreciation and award ceremonies, user conferences to promote or launch services and products, networking and team building, educational seminars, and more. The success of each event, no matter the type, hinges on how well you clearly deliver your message.
Here’s the caveat. “Delivering” your message today does not mean having your presenters preach to your audience. This kind of one-way communication has been a typical technique for decades. Today’s attendees want a more intimate and personal experience. They want to participate. They want to be engaged.
Even if your primary goal is to inform your audience, when your message delivery is only one-way, you run a great risk of your event being deemed, at best, a mediocre success. Plus, by not designing in methods for attendee participation, you limit or deprive yourself of important feedback that could help you make crucial business decisions later.
With this in mind, let’s look at some great ways to engage before the event even happens.
Pre-show engagement starts building anticipation and excitement long before your event arrives. You can incorporate ways to engage on your registration page, through email campaigns, social media or similar methods. A registration app, or mobile event app that contains a registration component, puts everything conveniently in the palms of your attendees’ hands before, during and after the event.
Here are some more ways to engage your audience before people even arrive at the event venue:
- Share event highlights, schedules and updates to provide clear focus on meeting topics, and promote thinking ahead of sessions.
- Build excitement by listing your presenters’ and keynote speakers’ content subjects and bios, as well as links to more and/or related information.
- Link social feeds, as well as portals for attendees to connect with each other. In-app messaging is another good option.
- Have the CEO or another meeting VIP send a message to registrants telling them more of what to expect, and thanking them for registering. A video is a great way to present this. Simply upload the video to YouTube or Vimeo and provide the link.
- Allow future or past attendees to comment on their expectations or experiences. Post them on the event’s blog feed.
- Some full featured event apps can match up attendees to others that have similar interests through a profile questionnaire, or pair groups that will benefit from meeting each other. Think of the efficiency, strategies and positive outlook this offers those about to attend an event with hundreds of people they’ve never met.
- Make the event more efficient to clear potential hurdles, allow attendees to focus more on the important issues and help promote a positive attitude. Offer event logistics, local maps, wifi login codes and available services like transportation. You can even list local activities for attendees to explore during event downtime.
In Part 2, we’ll look at how to engage your event attendees during and after the event. Because you’ve built up anticipation and you don’t want to let them down once you’ve got them in the room!