How to Keep Attendees Engaged Before Your Event
Creative Ways to Communicate and Interact – Before Kickoff
As an event planner you’ve no doubt learned a few tricks when it comes to interacting with the public to promote your event. Sure, your marketing team likely has a hard-hitting strategy in place, but take a moment to ask yourself, “What really will make pique interest?” Chances are, what worked five – or even two – years ago isn’t quite catching the eye of your audience, so your attendee engagement today has to be just as amazing as your event agenda and catering menu to get people excited and in the seats.
When it comes to the event planning industry, we’ve seen it all – the blanket email blasts, the social media shout-outs – but in a world that revolves around an inbox of promotional emails and social media posts, is your current communication strategy the most efficient for keeping you top of mind to your audience? Understanding best practices for maintaining streamlined and consistent engagement strategies and how they help to keep interest levels high is a priority in the event planning space.
Read on for some creative ways to make sure your message doesn’t get lost in the shuffle:
Ask For Feedback And Ask It Often
Who doesn’t like feeling included in the planning of something great? Engaging with attendees through surveys, polls, and even quizzes not only offers and interactive means to gather audience data and new ideas, it allows your audience to feel like they have a stake in the outcome of the event – meaning a more engaged audience on site!
Set up short polls on Facebook and Twitter, create an online quiz, and send surveys via email in the months leading up to your event. You’ll be surprised at the amount of valuable feedback you’d be missing out on by not asking!
Content is King
While much of your database may consist of previous event attendees and engaged email subscribers, how are you promoting your upcoming event to brand new eyes? Creating engaging, organic content through a series of blog posts, LinkedIn articles, and guest posts on sponsor websites is an effective way to boost engagement with potential attendees who are searching for specific industry-related content. Respond to comments and lead impromptu discussions with your audience to keep them interested.
People trust industry experts, so positioning yourself as a thought leader on your event topic makes you and your event even more reputable than you already are – and who doesn’t want that?!
Give Registrants a Means to Interact Before the Event
Promoting an event doesn’t stop at a catchy event hashtag. We live in an age where we can communicate with whomever we want anytime we want – so give your attendees a way to network with one another before they sit down to listen to the Keynote speaker! Consider using a LinkedIn group, a slack thread, or even better use an online event management system. Give your attendees access to event FAQs, networking with fellow industry professionals and solution providers, and a place where they themselves can post questions to their counterparts. Creating this buzz ahead of your event is a creative way to add an air of excitement for what’s to come on site.
Say Hello – Face To Face!
Give attendees a sneak peek into the content of your event by hosting a webinar! Ask one of your speakers to host it and focus on a topic or two to discuss with your audience, complete with Q&A and a chat panel. Your webinar attendees will appreciate getting an inside look into their investment and you’ll be able to use that data to tailor future marketing messages to them leading up to your event. A small taste of what’s to come can be enough to keep your attendees talking not only to you, but to their colleagues and cohorts too. And who doesn’t love a few extra registrations?
Getting creative and having fun with your audience sets the precedent that your event is one of a kind, while opening the lines of communication with you and their fellow attendees ahead of event kickoff. The work you put forth engaging your attendees ahead of your event will help facilitate livelier discussions and more interaction once they’re on site – and that’s an event planners dream!