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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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14 Ways to Promote Your Association's Next Event

Posted by Callie Walker

14 Ways to Promote Your Next Event

One of the most difficult aspects of event planning is actually getting people to register and attend. You’re putting so much time and money into this. You need to make sure the ROI exceeds that.

So how can you drive awareness and registrations for your association’s next event? Here are 14 ideas:

  1. Post about it regularly on social media. And don’t forget to include a unique event hashtag!
  2. Create graphics for your speakers and sponsors to share on social media. (“I’m speaking!” “We’re sponsoring!”)
  3. Update your social media cover photos. Be sure to include the event name, date, and location.
  4. Promote it on your association’s blog. (Possible topics include what to pack, how to maximize your experience, tips for first-timers, etc.)
  5. Offer an early-bird discount (and possibly other discounts leading up to the actual event).
  6. If you have any other smaller meetings or gatherings (either in person or online) scheduled prior to this event, promote it there as well (on signage, through handouts, via announcements, etc.).
  7. Design and send out a direct mail piece. (With direct mail dwindling over the past few years, those pieces now stand out more than ever.)
  8. If this is a repeat event, gather a few testimonials from former attendees, then share those on your website, on social media, in your newsletter, etc.
  9. Put together several segmented email marketing campaigns. (One to your entire membership, one to previous attendees, one to new members and/or young professionals, etc.)
    • The messaging of these emails and the value props you choose to highlight will obviously differ.
  10. Put together a promotional video. You could include footage from past events, what to expect at this event, what the major value props are, etc.
  11. Utilize member ambassadors. (If any of your members have large online followings, get them to post about it - on social media, on their blogs, etc.)
  12. Experiment with social media advertising and/or retargeting. (You could retarget people who’ve visited your event page, but haven’t registered.)
    • Note: You DON’T have to put much money into this. Social media advertising is actually fairly inexpensive.
  13. Share behind-the-scenes visual content leading up to the event (for example, photos of event swag or a quick Facebook Live video of your team exploring the venue/nearby attractions).
  14. Depending on the size of your event, consider putting together and distributing a press release (announcing who the keynote speakers are, etc.).

Want more tips for getting the word out there about your association’s next event? Check out our free Small-Staff Guide to Event Promotion below!

The Small-Staff Guide to Event Promotion  Everything you need to make your next event POP Download this guide

Topics: event planning, Small Staff Chatter, marketing

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