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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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What Is Your Association Trying To Do?

Posted by Christina R. Green


Forget your mission. If you want your association to market more effectively you need to figure out what you are trying to accomplish (from a marketing standpoint) before you can measure it.

Knowing Your Association Focus

From your website, to your print collaterals (if you still use those), to your social media and content posts, to your correspondence and beyond, everything that comes from you should have a purpose/focus and be defined accordingly. Common purposes for association marketing are:

Get more members

This is an obvious recruitment need but it’s not as easy as a cattle call. What types of members are you looking for? Do you need younger members (check out the post on Millennials and Storytelling)? Are you looking for a more diverse membership? Are you trying out an online only membership? The type of member you’re looking for must drive your marketing. You can’t figure out where you need to be until you decide who you’re trying to talk to. Once you decide who you’re speaking to, find them and speak in their language.

Increase awareness

These campaigns are obvious. You have a service, interest or mission you want more people to know about. But which people? Again, the groups you’re targeting will need to hear your information in a way that speaks to them. If you’re goal is to convince people to support some proposed legislation, you’ll present it differently to Baby Boomers than you will to Millennials. With Boomers an in-person event is more effective than a social media post.

Build community

Creating a cohesive, active community takes a different approach than it did to recruit them in the first place. If your goal is to build an online community look to activity to help. Your marketing focus here is what members will get and what activities will get them there. Lists of features do not build communities, common ground and enjoyment does.

Before beginning any marketing campaign, before analyzing data, you must know what you’re trying to accomplish. Without a goal in mind, you’ll never know whether you’ve been successful or not.

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Topics: association management, association leadership, Association Views

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