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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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4 Ways to Impress Your Organization’s Members

Posted by Callie Walker


It’s nice to be adored, and as a small-staff association professional, it can even give you a little flexibility. Think about it: If members genuinely like you, they’ll be more inclined to attend events, come to you with questions, and even offer their help and support.

Now you can’t turn your job into a popularity contest, but you can leave your members feeling pretty darn impressed. Here’s how:

1. Reach out to them personally

With so many people involved in associations, it’s easy for members to feel like “just another face in the crowd.” That’s why singling them out on occasion can go SUCH a long way.

Now I know it’s not possible to reach out to all of your members personally, but if you’re able to reach out to a few every week, that can make a HUGE difference. Just give them a quick call, introduce yourself (if you haven’t already), and ask them how their membership is going. The fact that you care enough to call will honestly mean a lot.

2. Respond to feedback (both positive and negative)

There are few things more frustrating than being asked for feedback, taking the time to give it, and then seeing little, if not any, change. Don’t do that to your members. If they give you feedback, try to incorporate it, if possible. If it’s completely out of the question, tell your members that (in a nice way, of course).

In fact, why not designate a few minutes at your next meeting or event to address some of your members’ responses? Imagine how gratifying it would be for your members to know that their feedback was heard and considered, even if it couldn’t necessarily be implemented.

3. Make an effort to accommodate busy schedules

Just as your schedule is busy, so are your members’ schedules. Try to accommodate those schedules as much as you can by offering a multitude of times and locations. You’ll never be able to accommodate everyone, but trust me, your efforts won’t go unnoticed. Take note of what works and what doesn’t - and make changes accordingly. Who knows, you may even see a rise in attendance!

4. Consider getting the family involved

For many people, maintaining a solid work-life balance is important. If you find that most of your members have kids, consider hosting a family-friendly event, even if it’s just once a year. That way, members won’t have to choose between spending time with their families and getting involved in your organization. At the very least, it will show that you’re invested in your members’ work-life balance - and that can mean a lot.

Remember, work isn’t a popularity contest, but it does help to be liked. Want more tips for engaging your members and keeping them happy? Check out our free Member Engagement Guide below!

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Topics: association management, association leadership, Small Staff Chatter

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