How do you effectively engage attendees at every point of your event? It’s time to think differently about attendee communication. To do this, shift your thinking from targeting the “attendee” to instead targeting the “participant”—doing this will make you think about how attendees are interacting with your event and its message. Here, we explore a strategic timeline to ensure you engage participants before, during and after your event.
Pre-conference communication starts with your registration page, which sets the tone for your meeting. Make sure you have all your social feeds set up, populated and linked to the registration page. Your email invite should easily direct to your website, where all event information, as well as a portal for registrants to connect with one another, is available. Once attendees are registered, don’t stop communicating with them. For example, send them a message from the CEO thanking them for registering; create a video to expand on the conference theme; highlight the location by sharing about local events or activities in your host city; or send a “before you go” email with reminders on packing, arrivals and more.
> A Word About Communication Technology… It’s imperative you have a mobile strategy in place before your conference begins. There are many options available, but the most important factor in choosing your tech system is to make sure it’s cohesive and covers all bases. For example, the mobile app needs to link to your registration system, which needs to connect with the production tech used in your general session, and it all needs to provide a message to your attendees.
Think about how you are using technology to engage individuals and make them participants rather than attendees. We’ve seen groups use Catchbox (a throwable microphone), polling software built into the conference app and Facebook Live, which can be used to showcase portions of a keynote rather than webcasting the full message. Others are enhancing the keynote message with a post-session Facebook Live stream, where a green room is set up for high-profile speakers to provide additional education and insights.
On-site, capitalize on points of entry and modes of transportation, whether they are at the airport, motor coach transportation, hotel check-in, conference signage, etc. If you have attendees captive on a bus for 20 minutes from the airport to your hotel, why not play a video of what’s to come? Or in their hotel rooms, have a package waiting for them on their bed that reinforces your premier sponsor or invites them to the welcome reception. Think about how your event branding and signage has a welcoming and immersive effect on attendees when it’s on banners, wrapped posts, escalators, stairs, etc.
Once the event is over, how do you keep the momentum of your message moving? Follow up with participants using a post-event survey, where completing it will unlock a special discount for early registration for next year. Participants love to see photos of the event, especially if they’re in them. Compile a video highlight reel of the conference experience. You can use crowd-sourced photos from a social media contest or images from posts using the conference hashtag and share it on your social channels and in your post-event thank-you email. You can also offer a photo and document sharing space on your mobile app or event website, and run a social media memories contest, where attendees can post their own photos, to keep the fun going.