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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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Nailing the "Newness" of a New Year

Posted by Callie Walker

Nailing the Newness of a New Year

With a new year comes a fresh start - positive change. But with all change comes the need to adapt.

What “newness” are you expecting in 2019? New staff? New members? (Hopefully!) New technology? Below are a few tips and best practices for adapting:

New staff

Now that you’re working with a fresh budget, you may be in a position to expand your team. But just as you onboard your new members - to boost engagement and retention - you should have a solid plan in place to onboard your new staff. (Recruiting and training takes time and money, so it really is worth it to onboard effectively.)

A few tips for new staff onboarding:

  • Make them feel welcome - Send out an introductory email to your staff. Let everyone know there’s a new hire on board and encourage people to stop by and say hi. (Taking the new hire out to lunch is a nice touch, too!)
  • Provide ongoing software training - If there’s software the new hire is expected to use day-in and day-out, take the time to train them on it. If the software company has a customer support/help team, let that be known too (and don’t forget to provide that contact information). The easier it is for the new hire to do their job, the more likely they are to stick to it.
  • Schedule periodic check-ins - Regardless of how quickly your new hire gets up to speed, you’ll want to check in with them often. Take that time to discuss current and upcoming projects, as well as address any questions and/or concerns they may have.

New members

You hopefully have a few tactics laid out for onboarding your new members. Maybe you send them a welcome email and/or give them a shoutout in your monthly e-newsletter. But are you consistent with those tactics? And not only that, but is there anything else you could be doing?

Below are a few tips for new member onboarding:

  • Send out a new member welcome packet - Sending a new member welcome email is great, but sending a full-fledged new member welcome packet is even better. Items to include would be a list of member benefits, upcoming events, staff roles and contact information, etc.
  • Host a new member orientation webinar - Hopefully your new members will flip through that welcome packet, but some may not. Or, if they do, they may have questions. Address both of those possibilities by hosting a new member orientation webinar. It doesn’t have to be long, but it’s just a way for you expand upon that information and answer any lingering questions.
  • Create a series of emails for new members - In addition to that new member welcome email, it’s best to have a series of emails designed to encourage new members to engage - to attend your upcoming events, to follow your organization on social media, to check out your latest blog post(s), etc. One email won’t cut it. Frequent communication is key!

New technology

Ah, yes. New technology. Very exciting, but also very intimidating if, again, you don’t have an onboarding plan in place.

When it comes to adopting new technology, below are a few tips:

  • Take onboarding seriously - It can be tempting to want to blow through onboarding. You just want to get up and running! But taking the time to really learn the system will save you time and frustration in the future. (If you have “homework” during this period, be sure to complete it. Not only will it help you get up and running faster, but it will help you learn the system better.)
  • Explain the “why” to other staff members - You may be excited about a new technology, but sometimes, others may be a little hesitant. To get them to actually adopt the new technology and use it to its fullest, be sure to explain the “why” to them - how it will help your organization, provide a better experience for your members, etc.
  • Attend any and all training opportunities - If the software company you’re working with offers any training opportunities - webinars, user group meetups, etc. - take advantage! You’ll learn how to fully leverage the system you’re using, which will not only make your job easier, but your organization better.

Want more tips for effectively managing your organization in 2019? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Membership Management below. It’s filled with best practices for membership recruitment, onboarding, engagement, retention, and more!

The Ultimate Guide to Membership Management  Everything you need to know about managing your membership online, from  acquisition to engagement to retention. Download this guide

Topics: association leadership, Small Staff Chatter

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