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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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7 Ways a Conference App Adds Value to Your Event

Posted by Colleen Bottorff

Mockup image of hand holding black mobile phone with blank white screen in cafe + MC Icon + MCI.jpg

Having a conference app just for your event is a seriously powerful tool. They are designed to get more attendee engagement - all while providing a refreshing experience. Plus, when you have a go-to partner to lean on for your conference app needs, you can focus on the content and event planning.

We’ve identified seven major benefits to creating an app dedicated solely to your conference. As you read, think about how each of these benefits would make your biggest annual event easier to manage!

With an event app, you’ll save soooo much on printing costs AND be able to boast about your efforts to host a “green” event. Since attendees can view all of the event details right in the app, there’s really no need to worry about printed materials! If you go this route, be sure to communicate the change to repeat attendees and let them know why the app will be a much better option for them.

Your guests can be surveyed after a keynote, individual sessions, and the entire conference - all in the app! They’re much more likely to complete a survey when it’s conveniently in the palm of their hand and they’re jazzed after a great session. And, the feedback will be much more insightful since it’s fresh in their minds, versus sending a survey in the weeks following the event.

The opportunity to network is a natural benefit of attending a conference, and a conference app can really amplify that experience. Your attendees, sponsors and speakers will all be listed in a directory (or, sometimes, multiple directories). This makes it easy for all parties to search for the new contact they made at cocktail hour and connect immediately!

Many apps include a number of places where you can promote your sponsors and increase their visibility. This is a great benefit for them because it’s another opportunity to reach your attendees; and, to bump up that non-dues revenue, you can decide which places in the app are most valuable to least, and divvy those up among sponsorship levels.

An event app will allow you to bring social media posts related to your event into one single stream. That way, attendees can engage from within the app across ALL channels, rather than having to open Facebook, and then look at Twitter, and then be prompted by Instagram. Pro Tip: Assign a hashtag to your event and encourage attendees to use it. That will make creating this feed a LOT easier.

You can use in app tools to send push notifications to your attendees with pertinent event information, or have fun with it and send a welcome when they arrive at the airport! That being said, be sure to plan your notifications ahead of time so you don’t go overboard. It’s also great to have this option in your back pocket when you need to reach everyone quickly with a last minute change. Talk about peace of mind!

Attendees are given some freedom by the app to create their own unique, personal itinerary. This allows your attendees to truly customize their experience. And, between seeing what people are adding to their itinerary and the session surveys we mentioned above, you can get visibility into which sessions are the most popular.

To take it a step further...what if you could sync your MemberClicks database to your conference app, so that all of the information is the same across the board? Leave the headache of researching app developers to us! We recently announced our new partnership with MobileUp, a conference app development company. If you’re interested in learning more about MemberClicks’ conference app, click here!

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Topics: event planning, MC Insider

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