Effective ways to engage attendees before an event

Article

If you want to engage potential attendees before your company’s marketing event, you have your work cut out with regard to event promotion. It doesn’t matter how expansive your audience base is, it’s still difficult to get people to attend.

When preparing for an event, marketers usually spend a lot of their time and focus on how to create an engaging experience during the actual event. Maximizing attendee engagement before it takes place tends to take a backseat. You may have undertaken an extensive email marketing campaign to promote your event, but now you need to take the next step and create a buzz before they actually arrive on site.

Here are a few ways to engage attendees and get them excited before your event:

Use social media

Social media is one of the most effective tools to increase awareness about your event. According to a joint study conducted by Freeman XP and Event Marketing Institute (EMI),1 88% of companies use social media to build awareness before an event. You should start conversations on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to build excitement, and also consider launching a unique event hashtag that’s catchy.

You should start conversations on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to build excitement, and also consider launching a unique event hashtag that’s catchy.

To keep your audience engaged and to encourage discussions, give them something to talk about. Post bite-sized content they can consume easily. However, you need to ensure that your content is customized for each social media platform. By creating conversations, you start to build a community.

Create an online forum

Your guests want to connect, interact and network even before your event starts. So help them find each other by creating a platform online. A simple online forum dedicated to your event will do the job perfectly. You obviously need to post regular updates and other content on this forum in order to engage your audience.

Design your event based on feedback

If attendees are able to contribute in some way during the event planning stage, it makes them feel emotionally invested in its success. Ask attendees via email and social media to suggest issues and problems affecting their industry. You can also ask them which speakers they would like to invite, what topics they’d like covered and what they’d like to learn more about. If you do this well in advance, you can use it to shape the event itself. And to enhance this experience further, you can publicly reconnect with contributors to show them exactly how you took their ideas on board.

Build an event app

An event app is a great way to generate excitement leading up to your event and provides many opportunities for attendees to network with each other. Advertise about downloading the app in your promotional material a few weeks in advance. You can position it as one of the only platforms through which attendees can get access to exclusive content. You can also use it to send out alert notifications to keep them informed about important updates.

An event app is a great way to generate excitement leading up to your event and provides many opportunities for attendees to network with each other.

Blog about your event

Blogs are good promotional tools. Along with engaging with those who have already signed up for the event, you can reach out to other potential attendees with the help of quality, thought leadership articles. Publish the blogs on your company’s website and also leverage high-profile platforms like LinkedIn to reach out to thousands of professionals in your industry. You can ask the speakers at your event to author guest posts as well to generate interest for their sessions.

Putting the effort in before your event gives it the best chance of being a success. Also, once you’ve built an event community, keep it going by staying in touch and keeping your audience engaged. You’ll be able to reap the rewards the next time you plan an event for your company.

References:

  1. http://cdn.freemanxp.com/documents/1382/the_viral_impact_of_events_study_freemanxp_and_emi_final.pdf
 

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