We love technology and love to use technology for our events. Of course, we use technology appropriately, not just because we can. However, to go several steps further, do you use technology as a way to create attendee or guest experience and engagement
Of course, excellent content is extremely important, but you do want to share that content with an audience, so those people must be aware of your event and be engaged. This should begin long before your event and continue long after.
The concept of engagement is important for consumer events, business to business events, corporate sales events and association events.
Your live face to face conference should be a central feature for this engagement, but not start or stop here. When people attend your annual conference or fund raiser, if they don’t have a satisfying experience and feel engaged they may not return next time and they either will reduce their donation or not donate at all.
Sales and Marketing folks tell me that there must be many touch points to get a sale & their approach is not much different than meeting and event planners who should engage their audience. So what to do?? Utilize technology.
Let’s begin the day after your event or conference is over. Yes, that’s right, the day after. Send an email thanking each person for being there. Include a post event short survey to get feedback. If you were smart enough and ahead of the game, you would have used an event app in the first place, effectively to engage your guests. Those guests would, in turn, have met new people, met up with old acquaintances and friends and continued that engagement with the event app.
The purpose of this blog is not to sell you on a particular app, but to encourage you to research various apps and determine which will best help you with guest engagement and fits your budget. The other part of this is the app is only as good as how it is implemented by you.
Let’s say, for instance, that your event app allows your guests to network, via messaging. This feature can be used pre event, during the event and post event. Your event app may have the capability to have the event agenda available, exhibits and their location, too. It might even have special admission features to private ancillary events. Part of your job will be to encourage your guests to use all of the features as this will help them experience all aspects of the event. They will “buy” into what you are doing this way as they’ll feel personally involved. This is key.
But, what if a certain percentage can not attend due to schedule conflicts, budget, etc. Does this mean that they can’t be involved? Absolutely not.
Making your event a hybrid, by webcasting all or part of it, streamed live and then available on demand is another important part of engagement. Yes, it does require additional planning and some expense, but the ROI and the ROE (Return on Engagement) will prove that it is worth it.
This is not to say, simply broadcast on the net, but plan and produce this element to make it interactive so your virtual guests feel that they are part of the entire event. There are many ways to do this, which we will cover in a separate blog post.
For now, though, think about giving your guests the feeling of experiencing your event from the time that you begin your planning. People who feel that they are experiencing something positive and feel engaged will stay with you and be your “raving fans” to promote the next event.
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