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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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The Small-Staff Guide to Event Promotion

Posted by Callie Walker


When it comes to organizing an event, the amount of planning and promoting required can often seem overwhelming. But if you give yourself enough lead time, event promotion can actually be a breeze.

Here are a few tips to help you master the process:

Select a Theme

Before we really dive into tactics here, it’s important to note that the best events typically involve a theme. This can either be something abstract, such as “The Art of Possible,” or something very concrete, such as a western theme. Either way, having a theme makes promoting your event infinitely easier because it allows you to tie all of your promotional tactics together. Not to mention, it makes those tactics SO much more memorable.

Once you have a theme picked out, you can then incorporate the following marketing techniques:


One of the best (and easiest) ways to market your event is via email. Since you already have a running email list of all your members, donors, and prospects, start by sending them an email invitation with all the event details. Then, take a look at your past event attendance reports and re-invite all of those people - even if they’re not members. Not only is this a great way to market your event, but it’s also a good way to reconnect with your prospects and nonmembers. Plus, it’s a great way to tie in your event’s theme!  


Your website is the cornerstone of all promotion tools. That being said, be sure to create a web page specifically for your event. Include a compelling description, relevant pictures (if you have any), and a prominent “register now” button. And don’t forget to promote your event’s theme! If your event is on the larger side, you may want to devote a whole section or even a whole website to your organization’s big soirée. This will really just depend on the size and scale of your event.

Social Media

When it comes to promoting your organization’s event, social media is a MUST. After all, it’s free - and you really can’t beat that! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog - these are all great places to promote your upcoming event. And don’t forget to utilize social communities and forums as well. Remember, the more places you can post your event message, the more likely it is to be seen.

Now these are just the basics when it comes to event promotion. There’s plenty more where that came from. For a full breakdown of tips and tricks, check out our Small-Staff Guide to Event Promotion below!


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

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Need ideas to promote your next event?  Check out the Small Staff Guide to Event Promotion! Download Now!

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