While getting people to attend your event can be tough, getting them to stand up and take notice of what you have to offer can often prove much tougher.
While we often think about the ways in which technology can enhance our event, do we think about the ways in which it can make our delegates’ lives easier?
At the recent Event Innovation Forum in South Florida, Barry Ross Rinehart of Multi Image Group explored how events and meetings can create powerful long-lasting memories. As part of this, he spoke about how event planners need to design emotional experiences in order to create powerful, long-lasting memories. But what if the emotional experience could be something as simple as giving our delegates a helping hand whilst at our events? We utilise technology to help us find a venue, we utilise technology to enhance the event experience, why not use it to help our delegates?
With this in mind, below we take a look at 4 ways we feel technology can help to grab your audience’s attention at your next event.
1. By connecting with your delegates before they even set foot in your event
Don’t wait for the actual event to take place before communicating with your delegates. Make the connection as soon as they express an interest in attending.
- Harness the power of email and social media to provide them with valuable information. It need not be directly linked with or just about pushing your own event, but could be useful articles, guides and news that relate to your niche.
- When providing information to your event, ensure that it is conducive to making potential attendees lives easier. Maps of your venue, directions, the details of nearby hotels, phone numbers of local taxi companies etc. If you have an event app include this information and be sure to push it out through your email marketing and social media campaigns.
- Consider conducting a survey to find out what they want to gain from your event and help them shape it into something they will be able to engage with better. It could be as simple as a tweet asking people what they would like to see, or it could be through a more structured online questionnaire.
2. By cutting down on queues
No one likes to queue. But you have the power to reduce wait times at your event using technology.
- Consider making use of electronic ticketing at your event. Something simple like the scanning of a QR code or making use of your delegates’ devices by allowing them to store the tickets for your event electronically.
- In the case of Apple devices, Passbook provides a single place for movie tickets, sports tickets, loyalty cards, payment cards and of course, event passes, it allows for easier event entry because it is featured on the devices that your delegates will always have with them such as their iPhone, iPad or the newly released Apple Watch.
- Allowing electronic payment in place of cash payment is another way to cut down queues. Use contactless debit and credit card payments, or even PayPal and again by making use of your delegates’ devices and accepting payment forms such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay.
3. By adding support for the devices your delegates will have with them
Think about the other opportunities that the technology and devices they have with them can bring and the ways that it can assist in grabbing their attention.
- If you are expecting your event attendees to be utilising their devices at your event, then a dedicated event app is a must. When creating your event app, consider the ways in which it will be beneficial. It should include interactive content that cannot be found anywhere else. Examples of this could be exclusive interview content with any speakers that may be speaking at your event, bios of the speakers, video content etc.
- If you can, also add an interactive element to your app. Consider adding a day planner which will allow delegates to organise where they will be and when, notifying them of any programme clashes, informing them when they should move to next part of the event and ensuring they get the most out of the day.
- While simple, QR codes still can be an effective way of communicating a message to your delegates. For instance you could place a QR code on a particular stand and this could then direct the user to additional written content about what is on display, this would save these written materials from having to be displayed and would allow the user to read at their own leisure. Alternatively, a QR code could be placed on a product and this would then direct the user to videos showing the product being used.
- Live polling is also another way of getting your delegates to utilise their devices to benefit their event experience. Attendees don’t have to fight their way to ask questions during talks and presentations, instead they can simply ask questions using their device which will then be picked up and answered by the speaker. By allowing your audience members to go to a specific app or URL on their device, you will be able to encourage engagement and interaction by letting them ask questions and vote in polls.
4. By making them feel a vital part of the event.
Gamification is perhaps something you should consider at your event too, as an effective way of encouraging interaction. Games create a new and exciting challenge and make for a truly unique event experience.
Applying game-like mechanics in a non-gaming environment, gamification could ideally form a part of your event app. Allowing you to add interactivity to the app, gamification would allow you to offer challenges to your attendees in exchange for rewards.
- By defining what you want attendees to achieve you can encourage them to perform tasks and actions they may not otherwise consider a priority. Ideas for challenges could include registering early for an event, visiting specific stands, networking with other attendees, submitting surveys, learning about new products etc.
- The rewards that you offer in exchange for completing challenges could come in the form of valuable content or physical prizes. The key here though is to remember that the reward must be valuable enough to convince attendees to undertake the challenges.
Consider developing an official hashtag for the event. Very simple but very effective, meaning all mentions of your event are easy to find and are categorised together. Use something that is easy to remember and relevant to the event. Advertise it everywhere so event attendees know to use it when referencing the event on social media.
Be sure to make good use of any Twitter conversations that are taking place about your event. Software such as Twitterfall, will collate all mentions of your event and allow you to see what is being said about it in real-time. Updating as it is being said; this information can often be put to great use by being displayed on TV screens or projected on to a wall as it allows everyone to be kept in the loop.
Guest blog by Dean Ronnie
Content Marketing Manager at Miromedia and UK based Copywriter + digital marketing specialist.
evvnt – A multi channel event distribution service broadcasts and publishes an event to 50+ event listing sites including Facebook to save time and access thousands of unique event consumers.