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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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Creating a Video Strategy? Answer These 4 Questions First

Posted by Erin Hall, CAE

Video Strategy Questions.jpg

These days, the written word seems to shrink by comparison to what your eyes see (live and in living color) and what your ears hear (even so, PLEASE don’t stop reading this blog; we love and value you). And, why shouldn’t this be the case? As we have fewer moments in the day to consume massive amounts of information, videos are super easy for an audience to ingest, process and act upon.

As an industry that is—often unfairly—characterized as slow to adopt technology and innovation, associations might actually be one of the biggest beneficiaries of communicating through video. An association has a captive audience; events to promote; testimonials to collect and publish; and countless other advantages in favor of putting messages into the world via moving picture. Think it may be time to adopt a video strategy? Let’s focus on a few questions that will help you determine if now’s the time and how you can find success.

What Are You Communicating (and When)?

When it comes to strategic video communications and marketing, “willy nilly” is probably definitely not the best approach. The more details that are hashed out ahead of time, the better the result will be (from both a communications perspective, as well as when considering time versus impact). A great place to start is to determine what subject areas you will tackle and over what period of time. Don’t be afraid to start small. For example, if you’re a beginner, select what association events or topics you’d like to highlight through video over the next quarter. Will it be a conference promo? A legislative alert? A news-style update from the association president? A membership value teaser? Figure out first what information your membership finds most valuable, and then select a manageable time frame for creating video content that tickles that interest. A written plan helps to keep you disciplined. Remember, you can always scale up as/if interest increases.

What Will You Use to Create?

This question helps from a planning perspective, certainly. But it also helps manage scope. If you plan to use readily available/free tools (think Facebook or Twitter Live, Instagram Stories, Animoto, Adobe Spark, etc.), you may be able to churn out quick and informative video shares with relative ease. But if your intention is to produce lengthy, polished masterpieces, that is obviously going to affect the prep time, talent, budget and editing needed. So consider your approach to creating content as it relates to your goal. Ask yourself, “What is the return of our organization’s effort on this video?” In the beginning, you may not know the answer to this question, and that’s ok. Just another reason to start small and build a video campaign steadily as success is defined.

How Will You Disseminate?

Thinking this one through will help you to feel more confident that your video is getting in front of the desired audience. Are most of your association members on your Facebook page? Keep the video content coming through that, then (especially since Facebook gives you the ability to post videos, launch quick videos via Stories and share live video). How about YouTube? Does it make sense to place all of your videos in your own channel, creating a space for members to view new videos and rewatch archived content (be careful, they’ll be exposed to content beyond just yours)? What about a combination? Posting to multiple platforms may have benefits if you have a diverse membership. Use caution, however, when you are tempted to post videos on every platform out there, especially when beginning your video efforts. So, on this one, it’s important to know your audience. But also take into consideration your organization’s threshold for risk. Some social media platforms and other public-friendly video sharing sites have fewer/more complicated privacy protections for users. If this makes you uncomfortable, make sure you research the rules and risks before committing to a specific platform on which to execute your strategy.

What Does Success Look Like?

It is always a good idea to create desired outcomes for any communications or marketing campaign. Video is certainly no different. Determine what those desired outcomes are, and then start measuring. One of the best metrics to review for your video is the number of views versus the defining outcome of the item being promoted. For example, are the 2,000 views of your conference promo video translating to an increase in attendance? Did the 100 unique visitors to that membership testimonial campaign you launched on your association web site attract new membership inquiries? Hard data is invaluable because it allows you to show results. But don’t underestimate connecting that data with qualitative feedback. Your definition of success will be well-rounded when it includes numbers and stories (show and tell). Select a segment of your membership and ask what they thought of your videos (how it was delivered; how accessible it was; what they thought of the quality; how it made them feel; what they found valuable about it; what they would change for the next video; etc.). From these thoughts, you will gain insight into the value your audience is seeking from this medium. And if you are consistently getting negative feedback (or no feedback at all), understand that it is ok to initiate an internal discussion about if video is something you should stop doing. Remember, if your organization’s video efforts aren’t paying off no matter what you try, it may be time to refocus on something that will provide value to your members and your organization.

Quick! Grab your phone and take a video of something interesting happening around you. Wasn’t that ridiculously simple? And it’s likely just as simple to find an outlet on which that video can be consumed. Indeed, captivating content is more sharable and accessible than ever. But don’t let the ease of it all fool you into thinking a plan isn’t necessary. Like many of your association’s most popular efforts, it takes research, planning, reflection and retooling to achieve the comfort and success you’re looking for in a new endeavor. But if you’re willing to put in some work to make sure your videos are reaching your audience in the most effective and thoughtful way, you will unlock a creative side of your association that you never knew existed.

Have a cool video? We’d love to see it! Share it with us by tagging MemberClicks on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! Let’s celebrate your efforts!

And for more marketing tips and tricks, check out our Small-Staff Guide to Association Marketing below!

The Small-Staff Guide to Association Marketing  How to spread the word about your association Download this guide

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

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