Written By: Guestblogger, Tara Barnes, Marketing Director at Pathable
Your event is one in a million… but that isn’t meant in a complimentary way. Your event is one thing among a million others that your attendees are thinking about on a daily basis. You need to work hard to get attendees engaged with your event’s content. You need to capture and hold their attention. And you can’t do this by throwing a couple of tweets their way and thinking that all is well.
Making sure your attendees (and potential attendees) are engaged with your event year-round takes careful planning and strategy. Each event’s strategy will be as unique as the event itself, but there are specific, well-tested tips that will get anyone started in creating their engagement roadmap.
Tip #1: Set clear, measurable goals. This may seem like a no-brainer, but goals are often overlooked. You can’t know how well your strategy has worked unless you have goals you’re trying to achieve and ways to measure if you’re meeting them. Goals will differ for everyone but might include: Increasing registration numbers, generating more website traffic, number of social media shares, etc.
Tip #2: Properly load your tool chest. You want to engage with attendees, and you think you’ve got just the right social media tools to do it with. Perhaps you do, but these need to be tools your attendees are already using, not just what your favorites are. Select your social media and communication tools carefully. Poll your attendees to see what they’re already using. It’s far wiser to use a few tools well than to manage a dozen poorly.
Tip #3: Set a schedule and stick to it. Good marketing and engagement with any audience comes from providing relevant content in a timely manner. A content schedule is an important part of an event’s engagement strategy. Once you have your communication mediums pinned down, map out your content. What do you want to be communicating to your attendees before you open registration? Just before your event? On-site? Post-event? You need to think of content through every phase of your event’s life cycle, plan out when you need to communicate it and which tools you will need to do all of that.
Tip #4: What’s in it for your attendees? A common mistake planners make when trying to engage with attendees is exclusively trying to sell what makes their event so wonderful. You don’t want to neglect that, but the central focus of a good engagement strategy is showing attendees what’s in your event for them. Focus on what they will learn at your event. Who will they get to network with? What new products and services will they learn about? Additionally, the more questions you ask attendees and the more you empower them to help shape your event, the more relevant your content will be to be to them.
Attendee engagement should be an on-going endeavor, and creating your strategy is merely the jumping-off point. Stay tuned for more posts on engagement management with tips for goal setting, choosing the right tools and ways to extend that engagement year-round.
Tara Barnes (@PathableTara) is the Marketing Director for Pathable, Inc. In addition to a background in event planning/management, Tara has extensive experience in marketing, social media, communications and public relations strategy.