What are some of the keys to creating a memorable and informative conference experience? Most professionals will reference delegate information and engagement, an interesting scientific content and choosing appropriate speakers and presentations. However, we often fail to realise that leveraging such an event to the fullest also involves preparing the attendees for what is to come well before the conference is set to take place. Let us look at some successful ways which can be used to engage with the future audience as well as to pique their interest so that they will be more receptive and engaged. After all, preparation is the key to success.
The Building Blocks of Social Media
We first need to realise that a social media presence will have a massive impact upon the conference in question. However, this is nowadays obvious and we should take such methods a step further. In this sense, pre-event engagement can be broken down into a few key areas:
- Applying the appropriate branding campaign
- Connecting with audience influencers
- Listening to any feedback that potential attendees have to say
We will talk about the first two concepts in a future blog and we will now instead focus upon the power of listening. In this case, we are not referring to passive listening (simply sitting back and appreciating what the virtual audience has to say). Listening should take a much more proactive approach. Address the needs of any guests in advance. Appreciate their feedback and if necessary, make any changes to the itinerary as might be deemed necessary. Not only will this illustrate that you take the needs of your audience seriously, but such an approach can help to foster further communications during the conference itself.
Addressing the Conference Experience of the New Attendee
It is likely that a number of new guests will be arriving at the event. Always recall that they may be nervous or confused as to what is expected of them. This can include common questions such as arrival times, accommodations and dress codes. Or, it could revolve around more discrete issues such as which seminars may be the most appropriate or if they are allowed to use digital devices to take notes or record a speaker. So, make certain to address these and other concerns through targeted communications including emails and (if necessary) webinars or conference calls. This is one of the best ways to establish a firm B2C relationship.
Develop a Mobile App
The majority of attendees will be utilising their smartphones to check for updates and to follow any conference-related news. So, it can make great sense to create a bespoke application that will provide them with streamlined access as opposed to navigating to a website. The advantages of such an app are much more than convenience alone. Users should also be able to connect with other guests through social feeds, ask questions and network with their peers and thus enhancing your delegate’s conference experience by offering new forms of pre-event networking opportunities.
Never Neglect Email
There are some attendees who may not log onto their social media pages on a regular basis. A handful might even avoid the community entirely. Therefore, always follow up with relevant updates via an email feed. This can help to engage attendees as well as to serve as a subtle reminder that the date is not far off.
Sharing Previous Content
There are some guests who may not know what to expect. Others are likely to have fond memories from past events. In either case, try to enhance their upcoming conference experience by providing digital content from the previous seminar. Examples here can include interviews, recordings of guest speakers, testimonials or even a post-conference event. This will work even better if you have worked with high-profile keynote speakers in the past.
All About the Timing
Above all, always realise that these suggestions will work best when they are used in conjunction with one another. Feel free to use this guide as a rough checklist when planning your next event. By preparing well in advance of the conference and attending to the needs of new and returning guests, you can be sure that they will appreciate what it is that you are offering.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering integrated solutions especially for non-profit clients. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy of associations. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 33 conferences with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.
If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.