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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 Your Association Can Think Outside the Box

Posted by Callie Walker

Think Outside the Box.jpg

Nowadays, there are a lot of things competing for your members’ time - other organizations, events, content, etc. So how can you remain competitive? How can you get the attention back on you?

Simple: Think outside the box.

Ok, ok, maybe not so simple in execution. But to help you get started, here are a few ideas:

1. Read, read, read

Reading is the best way to collect ideas and get inspired. You’d be amazed at how much information your brain can take in and retain, so help it out. Read everything from books and magazines to tweets and online news articles. And do it often: During your first half hour at work, while you’re waiting at the airport, during your afternoon coffee break, etc. The more you read, the more you’ll learn - and that’s bound to spark a few ideas sooner or later.

2. Listen to EVERYONE

Just as you should read often, you should listen often - and to everyone, for that matter! Your members (of course), your coworkers, your teenage daughter, your retired aunt - listen to them all. There’s a popular Bill Nye quote that says, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” And boy, is that true. So listen to the chatter around you. Pay close attention to what other people are talking about and see if that doesn’t spark a few thoughts/ideas.

3. Pay close attention to pop culture

Pop culture is a very interesting concept. It often seems like the most random things captivate people (cue the mannequin challenge), but those things are worth noting. Remember when selfies were just becoming popular? Now, there’s a selfie station/stick at every conference you go to - and people love them! Someone took that pop culture trend and used it to their organization’s advantage (to boost engagement). Who’s to say you can’t do the same? Just keep a close eye on pop culture and what’s resonating with the masses.

4. Create a vision board and/or ideas spreadsheet

Last but not least, to help you think outside the box, consider creating a vision board and/or ideas spreadsheet. (I have both, and let me tell you, they work wonders.) Whenever you read a really cool article or blog post, pin it on Pinterest so you can reference it later. Same goes with the ideas spreadsheet: If you’re talking to someone and they mention something cool, jot it down so you don’t forget it (not right that second, but maybe later that day).

Then, later down the road when you are struggling to come up with ideas, take a look at your vision board and/or spreadsheet. There might be something there you forgot. Or, those ideas might spark a brand new idea you hadn’t even thought of. It’s definitely worth a shot.

At the end of the day, thinking outside the box is all about remaining competitive and coming up with creative ways to not only engage your membership, but grow your membership. Want more tips for achieving both of those goals? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Membership Management below!

The Ultimate Guide to Membership Management  Everything you need to know about managing your membership online, from  acquisition to engagement to retention. Download this guide

Topics: association management, association leadership, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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