10 Tips for Attendee Engagement, Part One: Before Your Event
New (and old) technology is making it easier to engage with attendees before, during and after events. This gives you more opportunities to build buzz around your event, provide attendees with valuable content, and keep the conversation going long after your event has ended. But there are so many marketing channels and tactics you can use throughout the attendee journey that putting together an engagement plan can be overwhelming.
But we’ve talked to a lot of event pros, and we’ve hosted a lot of events ourselves — so we’ve put together a three-part series of blog posts to give you tips on how to engage attendees before, during and after events. For the first post in this series, we’re focusing on pre-event engagement — so keep reading to learn how to get attendees excited and engaged before they even show up to your venue.
1. Carefully craft your email invitation. Of course anyone hosting an event is going to send an invitation, but it’s important to think about your invitation copy and design. Think about it: this is the first touchpoint your invitees will have with your event, and you want to make a good first impression. For more tips on crafting your invitation, read this blog post.
2. Create an engaging registration website. Again, an event website is a given. But just as you want your invitation to make a good first impression, you’ll want your website to follow suit. Your website shouldn’t just be a portal through which attendees can register for your event — it should also provide all of your event’s essential information. From speakers to venue location, make your website an aesthetically-pleasing and on-brand one-stop-shop for any and all information your attendees might want to know about your event.
3. Share video highlights from previous events. People always want to know what they’re getting themselves into. If your event is an annual conference, or is similar to any other event you’ve hosted, show video or photo highlights on your website to give invitees a better idea of what to expect at your event.
4. Survey event registrants. In order to create the most valuable event you can for attendees, you’ll need to know a little bit more about them. As part of the registration process, make sure you’re asking your future attendees pointed and specific questions that will ultimately give you the information you need to create an event that best caters to their interests and needs.
5. Leverage your speakers. Your speakers shouldn’t just provide content during your event. Get your attendees excited about and engaging with your speakers by asking speakers to write guest blog posts participate in live Twitter chats. This will allow your speakers to engage with their future audience and discover what specifically your attendees are hoping to learn.
6. Crowdsource questions for interviews and round tables. You might have industry experts who are participating in a panel discussion or fireside chat instead of giving a formal presentation. Let your audience know ahead of time which of your speakers will be participating in these in-event sessions, and give them the opportunity to ask the questions they’ll want answered during those panel discussions.
7. Create content about your event. Just as you create “teaser” blog posts for webinars and eBooks, you’ll want to create “teaser” content for your event. Don’t feel limited to one marketing channel or medium — this content can come in the form of webinars, blog posts, video, etc. Not only will this get your attendees excited and engaged, but it will also help you engage with those in your audience who cannot attend.
8. Create a countdown. This can be as complicated or as simple a campaign as you want, but no matter the form, you should create a content-focused campaign in the days leading up to your event. Whether it’s a series of blog posts or a simple and daily update to all social media accounts, create buzz (for both in-person and “virtual” attendees) with a countdown that leads up to your event’s official kickoff.
9. Use an event hashtag. Creating and use an event hashtag before your event, but continue using it during and after your event to engage both your attendees and your wider audience. Creating a hashtag will make it possible for attendees to find a centralized place across social channels to learn more about your event and those attending, and will also allow you to monitor what people are saying about your event online.
10. Create discussion groups around content tracks and/or breakout groups. If your event has content tracks, create discussion boards where those with similar interests can learn from and about those who will be attending many of the same event sessions. This will make them more comfortable engaging with each other in-person, and will also give you the opportunity to learn more about what your attendees are hoping to learn.
Originally published at blog.eventfarm.com.