Great conferences aren’t created overnight. Wildly successful events like SXSW or Wisdom 2.0 take a year or more to plan their remarkable experiences — and decades to build their reputation.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t manageable steps you can take today to make your upcoming conference legendary.
Keep on reading to discover five simple ways to deliver an iconic conference experience today.
1. Put your conference-goers at the center of everything
Attendees want to know they’re being heard and cared for. But with so much focus on budgets, ticket sales, and speaker fees, it’s easy to forget that attendees are real people.
Thanks to innovative event technology, it doesn’t take much to give your attendees white glove service. Using an event registration platform that integrates with your CRM and marketing tools, for example, means you can refer to an attendee by name and organization when communicating with them. And if they attended previous conferences, you can even welcome them back.
These little touches add up to make your attendee feel like the center of your universe.
2. Speak your attendees’ language in your marketing
Large conferences cater to people who attend for a variety of different reasons. A real estate conference, for example, might offer educational sessions to agents planning to take the broker license exam in their state. Whereas brokers who’ve already earned their license will be more inclined to register for more advanced sessions.
This complexity would make it difficult to deliver a cohesive experience if it weren’t for audience segmentation (based on shared traits, such as location) and targeted advertising.
By segmenting the real estate agents from the brokers, the real estate conference’s marketing team can cohesive experience for their attendee segments, they can start with targeted ads that highlight offers that appeal their specific interests.
Check out this post on search engine marketing to get started with targeted ads.
3. Help attendees connect with sponsors
Sponsors provide a necessary extra boost to your budget and event. But if conference-goers need to fill out paper forms or spreadsheets at a sponsor’s activation, they’ll probably think twice about engaging — regardless of how valuable the experience is to them.
RFID badges or bracelets remove that barrier by making it super easy for attendees to give their contact information with a simple swipe or tap. Attendees will enjoy the frictionless process and you’ll reap the rewards when sponsors see all the leads they generated.
4. Harness the power of mobile event apps
You might have tried mobile event apps in the past with mixed success. But with features like push notifications, for example, you can help attendees get relevant updates and reminders that keep them engaged. And if people aren’t looking at the speaker during a presentation, consider asking them to weigh in on live polls or submit questions for the Q&A.
Event apps with networking and messaging capabilities help attendees become part of the larger community, while notifications and live polling help engage them online. Check out this ebook to get the most return on investment (ROI) out of yours.
5. Ditch the latest fads and novelties for swag bags
A gift bag stuffed with useless items can negatively affect your conference brand. But if you make it part of your planning process, you’ll be able to come up with ideas that set your event apart and actually delight people, instead of weighing them down with extra stuff.
For example, if your attendees are interested in networking at the happy hour you planned, including conversation starters printed on reusable tumblers will add more to the experience than a simple logo.
What’s trending today is out of date tomorrow and if your conference swag is an afterthought, there’s more at risk than a trash can full of fidget spinners. Learn the rules for creating swag that doesn’t suck in this post.
Boldly go where no conference has gone before
Once you deliver an amazing experience, conference-goers will expect you to do it again. Unfortunately, repeating verbatim what you did at your last conference will get old, fast.
Learn how to create a sustainable differentiation strategy for your conference with The Executive’s Guide to Creating an Out of This World Conference.