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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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8 Lessons Event Planners Can Learn from Home Alone

Posted by Callie Walker


We get it. Planning an event can seem like a daunting task. But if 8-year-old Kevin McCallister can plan a smashing success, so can you! Behold, the eight lessons event planners can learn from Home Alone:

Have a plan

Every great event starts with a plan. Just take a look at Kevin McCallister’s. Do you think he could’ve defeated Harry and Marv without a detailed plan? Not a chance! With just a few crayons and a little imagination, he created the plan of the century. We suggest you do the same.

Get creative

Don’t stick with something just because it’s what you’ve always done. Get creative! I mean, setting up a burning hot doorknob? Organizing a blowtorch to the scalp? Pretty creative, if you ask me.

Now remember, Kevin was trying to ward off burglars. You’re trying to plan a fun event for your members. Your ideas should be INFINITELY less violent, but you get the picture.  

Pay attention to detail

The devil is in the details, and that’s particularly true of association event planning. Can you imagine if Kevin’s plans went astray? He would’ve been in deep, deep trouble. So save yourself the stress and pay close attention to detail.

Stick to your budget

This one’s far less exciting, but still important to note. If you want your event to be a success, you must work within your budget. After all, most of us can’t get away with paying people in sticks of gum. (Kevin McCallister, we’re talking to you.)

If your organization’s budget is high, consider charging an attendance fee for guests. Just remember, your fee should match the perceived value of your event. 

Promote, promote, promote

No matter how great your event is, you still need publicity to get people in the door. Grab people’s attention by sending out email blasts, posting on social media, or even featuring the event in your organization’s newsletter. Sometimes, you just have to give people a little nudge, and these free tactics are bound to get the ball rolling.

Roll with the punches

Speaking of rolling, mistakes happen, and when they do, you’ve just got to roll with the punches. When something goes wrong (and it likely will), just remember to look back at your plan and determine the best course of action. 

Don't panic

Kevin McCallister never panicked when Harry and Marv broke into his house. He had a plan – and a backup plan at that. When a fire arises, stay calm, remember your plan, and make rational decisions. 

Have fun!

At the end of the day, this is YOUR big event, so just try to relax and have a little fun. You deserve it!

For more event planning tips and tricks, download our free guide below! 

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Topics: association management, event planning, member engagement, Small Staff Chatter

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