Engaging Delegates Before During And After Events
Will Enrich Data and Profitability
But Don’t Events Organisers Already Do This?
Article by Mark Elliott
Event tech is on the rise. Since the 80s, when the use of integrated sound and visuals was made readily available with tools such as Powerpoint, event technology has come on leaps and bounds. Today, events and seminars can have a slick look and feel on even the smallest of budgets.
However, as technology brings marketing and events ever closer together, it’s important to realise that event tech is a broader umbrella that goes beyond what happens on the day. To maximise engagement with delegates, it’s vital to communicate value to your audience before, during and after the event.
The 3 Stages of Delegate Engagement
As events become increasingly sophisticated, delegates’ expectations are higher than ever. With so many brands competing for their time and interest, event planners must create a co-ordinated strategy that grabs and sustains their attention.
Events marketing and engagement can be broken down into three major touch points:
- Point 1 – Pre-event marketing & registration
- Point 2 – During event
- Point 3 – Post event
Nowadays, there is a proliferation of technical solutions to delight, engage and interact in real time with delegates, at every stage of the event. There is a risk however, of overloading delegates with bells and whistles that will detract from the value of the key speakers and confuse the message you’re trying to communicate.
To strike the right balance and maximise return on investment, you need to delve into the mindset of your delegates. Only by understanding the priorities, problems and interests of event attendees can you deliver an impactful strategy for delegate engagement.
Understanding The Concerns Of Your Attendees
In the midst of planning an event that satisfies the objectives of the speakers and organisers, it’s all too easy to lose sight of what delegates want. To get ‘bums on seats’, you need to ask the question:
“What do our attendees care about?”
Whilst the age of ‘death by Powerpoint’ is thankfully becoming a thing of the past, the fear of being held hostage by event organisers for hours on end still worries some delegates, who are reluctant to take time out of their busy schedules in case the event falls short of expectations.
Being talked at relentlessly, not having an opportunity to ask questions or voice their opinion, and not being able to access a network (3/4G or wifi) during an event to check emails or social media are just some of the concerns that creep into people’s minds.
Delighting Delegates With Event Technology
To maximise attendance at your event, it’s crucial to address and abate these fears as part and parcel of your marketing strategy. Pre-event engagement should give potential attendees confidence that your seminar or event is worth their time; solutions for example Apps, help you generate excitement about your event, combined with a multi-faceted content approach to email marketing, social media and SEO.
If you’ve created an App for your event, it’s a good idea to encourage downloads before the day. For large events such as conferences and festivals, solutions like Glisser allow you to promote interaction at the event. This could involve live polling, and allowing guests to submit and vote on questions for Q&A sessions, to ensure those ‘golden nugget’ questions don’t get lost in the crowd.
This, of course, relies on good wifi connectivity on site during your event, an issue that delegates are frequently concerned with. Investing in branded wifi solutions like Vidazone for your event will not only solve an age-old problem for busy attendees – it will also allow you to gather live analytics and engagement ratings through your event app.
In turn, this feedback can support post-event remarketing, allowing you to give exclusive insights into audience opinion that will add value to the afterlife of your event. You can even segment data you have collected to retarget delegates during the year with follow ups and resource downloads.
At the very least, a ‘thank you’ email after the day will reinforce positive memories and give you an opportunity to promote sponsors one last time, announce the date for the next event, or encourage social media interactions.
The Benefits Of Delegate Engagement
Striking the right balance for delegates and putting their needs first takes time and consideration in the run up to your event, but get it right and the value of your event will have a lasting impact on your audience.
For repeat events, the return on investment can be lucrative, reducing your marketing budget by increasing word of mouth and social media chatter, and ideally justifying a higher ticket price.
This is where post event marketing and engagement again comes into play; organisers that fail to send post event emails requesting feedback are losing a massive opportunity to retain a relationship with delegates.
By evaluating the success of your event, you can pinpoint what worked and what didn’t. In doing so, you can also refine your event organisation, ensuring you address any weaknesses and play to your strengths next time.
The best events focus on a life cycle of engagement, focusing on the delegate before, during and after the event, which in turn drives greater success before, during and after the following one. Make your attendants feel valued and maintain relationships with delegates, and they will reward you massively in return.
Addressing the needs and concerns of attendees allows you to add value to your event, reduce long-term marketing costs, attract better speakers and sponsors, and ultimately increase your return on investment. Harnessing event tech can help you do just that, to host seminars, conferences and festivals your audience won’t stop talking about.