attendee engagement

Attendee engagement strategies to drive event success

When it comes to planning an event, it’s about more than just getting your attendees in the room. Whether through instruction or thought leadership, inspiration or entertainment, you want your event to add value to your attendees, and create real impact. For some events, the timeline from event registration to post-event survey can span months, even years in some cases, which is why having a strong attendee engagement strategy is vital to event success. 

Your Attendee Engagement Strategy: Where to start

  1. Keep your metrics measurable. 

When drawing up an attendee engagement strategy, you want to know whether your efforts have been successful or not. This means picking goals that can be measured, and that feed into the wider strategy of your event. By knowing what to measure throughout your event management process, you’ll quickly be able to tell if your decisions are bringing you closer to your goals or not. 

  1. Outline your key messaging. 

Every client wants something different from their event. So how can you make sure that what you’re delivering is both unique and effective? By outlining a clear list of core messages, you can quickly see what needs to be communicated throughout your event. Once these messages are established, then you can get creative about how these are communicated and delivered. 

Let’s look at the different strategies and top tips you can apply to your pre, during and post event management process to keep all eyes glued to your event experience.

Pre-Event Engagement:  

  1. Give your attendees control. 

Allow your attendees to tailor their own agenda, and create itineraries full of content they want to engage with. At a recent event we created for a client, attendees voted on the sessions that they wanted to be included in the programme, from the discussion topics to the speakers delivering them. Giving attendees more control over their event experience will keep them engaged.

  1. Attendee swag

Ahead of the event itself, you can send your attendee's swag bags and engagement tools to really pique their interest around the event. Attendee goodies like branded merch, or even an at-home experience such as a cocktail-making kit can show your attendees just how valued they are, and create that engagement before the event has even kicked off. Looking to add some extra sustainability to your event? Swap the physical goodies for virtual vouchers or gift cards for your attendees to redeem instead. 

  1. Eshots and Pre Event Communication

Your pre-event email communications strategy is a great way to build attendee engagement with your event before the event itself is even underway. Rather than only sending emails asking for dietary requirements and other vital event information, why not send updates about your itinerary and the activities they’ve got coming up, or fun facts about where your guests are headed. Don’t bore attendees with only the essential info, send them interesting insights that will keep them engaged with the wider event. 

During your event: 

Proper AV management is what brings that high-quality, engaging production value to your attendees. The importance of AV is even greater for a hybrid or virtual event. Investing in the right AV is what’s going to turn your virtual event from a bog standard zoom call to a high-quality, produced experience that will keep attendees engaged. 
It’s amazing what a slice of healthy competition will do to your attendee engagement. Whether in the form of a scavenger hunt, an in-app game or networking bingo, adding gamified elements to your event keeps attendees engaged with your core event messaging, all in the name of being crowned the winner!
Live Streaming
Really want to expand the opportunities for engagement? By live-streaming keynote presentations and inspiring speeches, you can multiply the audience of your event content. Not only does live streaming keep your event accessible to all audiences, it also limits the amount of unnecessary travel, making live streaming a sustainable and engaging event format. 
Q&As, Live Chats, Live Polling
A key element of engaging your attendees is capturing their opinions. From allowing attendees to share their thoughts in an open form Q&A, to simply selecting an option in a poll, you want to make it as easy as possible for attendees to get involved and share their thoughts. You could even collate these responses in a digital mural, and tangible proof of the community that your attendees have created with their participation. 
Native Event App
Creating a native event app is the ultimate secret weapon for an attendee engagement strategy. Not only can you send push notifications with vital info and updates right to your attendee’s device, apps can also be a great way to track other engagement metrics you’ve established for your event. Take a look at some other features that a native app can bring to your event.

Post-event attendee engagement: 

  1. Post-attendee survey.

The key to an effective post-event survey is getting the balance between figures and emotions. You want feedback and testimonials that tell a story, but you also want the hard facts that prove that your event was a smash hit. Tailoring your survey questions around the key goals of your wider event strategy or your KPIs gives you key data and actionable insights for your future event strategy.

  1. Keep the thought leadership content coming. 

Particularly if your event is run annually, there will be large gaps in your calendar between the end of one event and the announcement of the next. To create that lasting legacy of attendee engagement, don’t just let the tumbleweeds roll through your website or social media until the next event registration opens. In the meantime, keep attendees (past and future) engaged with inspiring content that gets them thinking ahead of the next event. 

  1. Keep your event content accessible. 

By recording and storing all key event content on an online portal, attendees will keep coming back to relive their favourite moments. If you really want to keep things short and snappy, you could even create day summaries and highlight reels of your event content to share on your social media, giving attendees a quick overview of the key events from each day. 

If you need help drawing up an attendee engagement strategy for your event, or if you need help coming up with creative ways to convey key messages, get in touch with the First Event team! We’d love to help.