Out of thousands of events every year, you want yours to stand out, to be the one that people will remember, talk about, and anticipate next year..
So, how do you achieve this lofty – but possible – goal? Here are 12 tips that will make your event the talk of the industry.
Engage Attendees Throughout the Year
One-way communication with your audience is no longer enough. You need to grab your audience’s attention to get people talking with you and to one another.
How you do that is up to you. Look to your competitors to see what their approach is and then think of something better. Are they offering networking, well, you should be too, but also maybe provide some Buzzfeed-style quizzes to further engage your audience and add gamification to your content.
Switch Up Your Format
The classic event format – general session, breakout meetings, and drinks afterward – is great and still works for many industries. But, is your industry one of them? Could your event benefit from a shake up? What could you do to empower your audience? A non-traditional format might be just the boost your event needs.
A sponsor for an event is more than just someone who is willing to give you money.
Sponsors should be an extension of your event. Sponsors need to provide value for your audience. That way everyone benefits from their sponsorship: you, the sponsor, and, most importantly, your attendees.
Make sure you have plenty of people at your event to answer questions, give advice, or just serve as a friendly face. And ensure that they are identifiable. Have all staff wear bright, branded clothing. It’s important that attendees are able to quickly find someone who can answer questions.
This should be evident from the start of the event: registration. Make sure that your staff is cheery, greets everyone as they walk in, and keeps registration organized and efficient. This will kick off the day on a positive note.
Open with a welcome address that is full of energy and gets the audience excited for the day or days to come.
Conference guides are going the way of the Dodo bird.
Provide your attendees with a mobile app that features the agenda, maps, and a speaker list. In addition, if any unexpected schedule changes occur, you can notify everyone immediately through the app.
Give your audience plenty of chances to meet each other with dedicated networking areas and events throughout the event. For some attendees, making new connections is the most important part of any event.
Also, provide comfortable, common areas throughout your venue. This gives attendees a chance to rest, check email, and chat with a new connection they just made.
It’s often the little things that make or break an event. So, making sure that your attendees have plenty to eat and drink (including lots of available caffeine) is important, but also how you present that food is equally important. The atmosphere you create by ensuring the small details are perfect will result in a happy crowd.
Like your sponsors, make sure your speakers are bringing value to your attendees. You could have the trendiest movie star as a speaker, but if your audience doesn’t gain anything practical from the speech, they will walk away disappointed.
Green is Great
A reason for the extinction of the conference guide is the goal for being as green as possible. Use digital signs and apps and environmentally friendly materials to serve food and drink. You’re helping the environment and ensuring attendees have less junk to throw away.
Everyone likes free stuff…except, only if it makes sense. Make sure your event giveaways don’t wind up in a junk drawer by providing items that are useful to your attendees.
Feedback is essential – and, as much as you desire positive feedback from your attendees, you can often learn more from the negative variety. The point is to get feedback fast, while the experience is fresh in your guests’ minds. Include an easy-to-complete, virtual survey in your app. The goal is to capture your guests’ impressions immediately before they’re lost.
Are you doing enough to make your next event great? Contact The Trade Group at 800-343-2005 for more advice and expert assistance.
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