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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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How to Compete for the Same Members in Your Industry

Posted by Krissy Conant

compete for members

While it’s a win for your industry for any newcomers to join an association in your space, wouldn’t it be nice if they ultimately picked yours? If you’re looking to stand out from amongst the crowd, take a look at a couple of ways you can impress anyone looking to join your association!

Keep your social media updated

Stop and think about when you’re first researching an unfamiliar company that you’re considering getting involved in. Typically one of the first things most people check is a company’s social media presence. Why? Because you want to see how active they are with their audience!

It’s common now for companies to use their social media as a supplemental way to keep your audience (both members and prospects) in the loop with updates, both professionally and personally. To use this tool for your advantage, try to post at least three times a week. If the idea of posting this much overwhelms you, create a weekly rotating schedule as follows:

  • Day 1: Upcoming Event (Luncheon, Webinar, Conference)
  • Day 2: Member Spotlight or Staff Spotlight
  • Day 3: Industry News Updates


Fill your industry’s missing niche

If you’re thinking you need to do something a little more drastic to really grab your industry’s interest, than it’s actually better to think more narrow in your scope. Why? In every industry, there is always a niche market that isn’t being addressed and that’s where your association can come in and scoop up the remaining prospects.

Now we aren’t saying that you have to change your whole association for this movement. Instead consider this focus as a way you can build out a certain aspect of your association. As an example, let’s say you focus in the apartment industry. Why not try having a special campaign where you focus on preserving historic apartments? Whatever you decide, start by trying some specific market targeting to try and grab these outlying prospects. If it’s not successful, than maybe try another angle!

Promote industry resources 

As we’ve talked about before, one of the biggest reasons that professionals join associations is to learn best practices for their industry. Most members (and prospects) are looking to your association as a thought leader to recommend the best classic and newer methodologies on how to be a rockstar in your industry.

We recommend publicly advertising the following types of resources to keep your association an appealing option to your industry (especially if they’re looking for CAE credits):

  • Industry webinars on best practices
  • Luncheons or workshops with CAE credits
  • Recorded sessions from prior annual conventions
  • Monthly or weekly roundup of the best blog posts from your industry

Provide strong customer service

Yes, it can be as easy as that! You’d be surprised at how far it will go for you to just provide a reliable back and forth correspondence with your members. And while you think this may not do much for your association as a whole (other than be helpful to your members), remember that people talk!

Think about it. Who do you think your members most frequently talk to? Probably another industry professional (if they work an eight hour work day). So you can imagine that a great customer service experience for them might be something they’d bring up about your association. Referrals anyone?

While the young professional mindset may change with each generation, there are a few truths that will remain constant: They'll need guidance with landing a job, they'll want to grow their network, and gaining more industry experience will be of paramount importance.

If you’re looking to recruit, engage, and retain young professional members, check out our guide Recruiting Young Professionals for the Long-Haul: A Guide for Associations and Chambers!

 Recruiting Young Professionals for the Long-Haul  A guide for associations and chambers Download this guide

Topics: association management, small staff association, member engagement, Small Staff Chatter, marketing

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