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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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Boosting Webinar Attendance and Participation: 4 Tips for Association Pros

Posted by Callie Walker

Boosting Webinar Attendance.jpg

Is your association conducting educational webinars? If not, we highly recommend doing so, as they’re great for boosting member engagement and showcasing your organization’s value (as a thought leader and source of industry-related content/best practices).

That said, if you are conducting webinars, but you’re struggling to attract an audience - you’re not alone. Which is exactly why we’ve put together a few tips for boosting webinar attendance and participation:

1. Pick a valuable, interesting topic

Your webinar topic is one of the biggest factors impacting whether or not people actually register/attend your online event. People aren’t going to give up their time (or money) to attend something that’s not valuable, so when choosing your next webinar topic, always think, “What are my members (and potential members) going to get out of this?”

To help you actually come up with a topic, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • What do I hear my members and potential members talking about the most?
  • Are there any new industry-related trends/news stories our association could speak to?
  • What would be a really fun topic to talk about for 30 - 60 minutes? (Chances are if you find it fun, so will your members and potential members.)

2. Get serious (and strategic) about your promotional tactics

Right now, you’re probably promoting your webinar on your association’s website, via email, and on your various social media platforms - which is good! (And you should definitely continue utilizing those platforms.)

But if registrations are low, you may want to take it a step further by revisiting your actual copy. When you post the webinar listing on your association's website or send out a promotional email, what does the layout or verbiage look like? Is it long and detailed or short and sweet? Is it comprised of all paragraphs or a bulleted/numbered list as well? These things matter when it comes to readability.

A few tips for writing webinar promotional copy…

  • Keep it short! Include the title, a brief description, three or four key takeaways (in bulleted form), the time and date, and a link (or two) to register.
  • When writing the takeaways, write them from the perspective of the member/potential member. Rather than saying “Here’s what we’ll talk about” say, “Here’s what you’ll learn.”
  • If you have a special guest/speaker, consider including their headshot. If they’re well-known in the industry, this can immediately boost interest. (But even if they’re not well-known, it still adds a human touch.)

3. Play around with dates/times

If you feel pretty good about the first two items, but attendance is still lacking, consider playing around with dates and times. It could be that you have a really good webinar, but Tuesdays at 1 p.m. just don’t work for a lot of people.

Or, let’s say you’ve been hosting 1-hour webinars, and registrations/attendance have been less than ideal. If that’s the case, try out a few 30 - 45-minute webinars. Maybe people just don’t have that much time to give.

This is a trial-and-error process that needs to happen so you can better engage your members and potential members.

4. Send out the recorded webinar AND a survey

If people register for your webinar but don’t actually attend, still send them a recorded version of the webinar. If it’s good content (which we’re sure it is), they’ll be more inclined to register/attend the next one.

Now for everyone who registered (regardless of whether or not they actually attended), send them a post-webinar survey. Ask them how they felt about the speaker, topic, date and time, and length of the webinar. Additionally, ask them what topics they’d like to see you cover in the future. If you build it **the way they want it** they will come!

Want more tips for boosting online member engagement, not just through webinars, but through your website, email, and social media sites as well? Check out our free guide Membership Engagement for Small-Staff Associations below!

Membership Engagement  A comprehensive guide to engaging your organization's membership Download this guide

Topics: association management, member engagement, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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