Planning and managing large events is an incredibly demanding job with so many different aspects and details to manage. To better help you succeed we are dividing these event planning strategies into the timeframes around any large event engagement. To begin with, what strategies will help you build momentum before the event?
Before the Event
Reach Out to Influencers
Thought leaders and influencers who will help you develop your content strategy and build momentum for your event should be included in your planning process and content strategy from the beginning. You must decide early who you want to ask. Make a list and contact the people whose participation in the content and promotion of your event will be vitally important. There are agencies that you can contract with, who will help you find influencers relevant to your event and/or help you to contact the key influencers you wish to bring on board.
Build a Social Media Community
The earlier you can build your social media presence and get people interested in your event the better! Make sure you are continually stoking the flames of interest with regular and interesting posts that evoke feedback, questions and responses.
Send Updates via Email
Email Updates should be part of your event engagement strategy. Limit your emails to pertinent but exciting information, as it becomes available. This includes information like the schedule, speakers names and websites, information about the event, venue, the city, etc. Keep people interested in and excited about your event and their participation in it!
Event Mobile App
Get someone to create a mobile app just for your event! Make sure it is available for download early so that all of your pre-event information can be made available to attendees through the app. Especially if your event is very large you will want to provide lots of easy pathways for attendees to download the app once on site (especially if lots of them didn’t do so beforehand).
Most event apps will include features such as:
- Relevant content: frequently taking the form of an activity stream.
- Integration with social media: include your app users in social media campaigns, contests and announcements.
- Notifications: providing all the latest updates and important details to attendees.
- Interactive maps: These help attendees create individualized schedules that work for them.
- Analytics: To help you get accurate insights for optimizing the success of future events.
Game Style Contests
If you want to incentivize attendees to download the app, these contests can be made accessible only with the app. Or the contests can be available to everyone through email and social media as well as the app. These contests are just clever ways of offering meaningful prizes to those who are willing to engage, interact and offer feedback about the event ahead of time. Prizes should dovetail with speakers topics, exhibitors products and the focus of the event. A great way to do this is to contact event contributors early and ask them to commit some of their materials for contest giveaways.
The final puzzle piece then is getting your attendees engaged in the contests. This is best done by having them post their contest entries on Instagram or with tweets to ensure their enrollment in the contests. These social media platforms will then drive third party energy around your event while also building event credibility. Credibility and buzz are invaluable to your event planning and management both now and for future events.
During the Event
Polls for Live Responses
You can include in your Event app a connection to an app like Poll Everywhere that allows attendees to give live responses to questions from speakers, organizers, exhibitors or anyone you want to have the opportunity to poll your audience. These poll responses are great for live interaction, live feedback, live opinions, whatever you wish to know from your audience.
An additional benefit is that both the contests and the polls will also provide you with access to tons of user generated content (USG) which you can analyze in a myriad of ways or future event engagement strategy, themes, content, useful products, etc.
Online Goody Bags
Rather than working with your sponsors to give out a variety of physical products that may or may not be useful or interesting to attendees, offer them an assortment of online giveaway options instead. This allows attendees to choose offers from your sponsors that they will use. Giveaways can again be tied to the app as another incentive to download the app early.
Getting your online goody bags ready will require early cooperation and collaboration with your sponsors, speakers, exhibitors, and anyone who wants to take part in these giveaways. But doing so will once again allow you to keep your gifts or discounts in alignment with the event’s theme, values and purpose. And, as with anything done through the app, everything can be tracked so that organizers and sponsors will know which offers were successful and which need to be reworked.
After the Event
Send Surveys for Feedback
Here again is another opportunity to use the app to follow up after the event with attendees and get their feedback on what went well, which speakers were most helpful, what exhibits they liked and what specific things need improvement. Making your surveys as easy as possible to fill out and return will ensure greater participation. While making your surveys as specific as possible will maximize their helpfulness for future event planning and management.
Host a Live Q & A Session with Participants
Use any of a number of platforms to host Q & A opportunities for follow up questions. Advertise them through the app, email and social media and involve speakers and other contributors whenever possible.
Create an Event Content Hub
Since no one who attended your event was able to attend every seminar or session you have a great opportunity to provide further resources for them by creating an event content hub. In the hub attendees will find downloadable versions of all seminars as well as links to speakers’ websites for purchasing their books, podcasts, and other resources. All of these searches and purchases can also be tracked to discover whose message got through all the excitement of the event and caused attendees to think further about what they experienced.
There are so many new ways to maximize the impact, excitement, benefits and follow-up around event planning and management these days. Hopefully these tips will help you with the planning of your next event.
But if you have any further questions about adopting these ideas, or if you can see the benefits of the technological advancements but they are overwhelming for your team, you have options. There are event marketers who will walk you through any or all of these steps. There are niche marketers who will help with app development or other specific areas of need. And there are full service marketing agencies who will help you strategize about your event to maximize your vision and provide you with personalized strategies.
Here at zo agency we work to build long term relationships with our clients. We call it Tribe!
We will work diligently to discover your vision, your passion, your needs, your hopes and dreams for your business and then will create an event marketing plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. Visit us today at www.zo.agency