I think it’s safe to say that you can have the best event app of all time, but it’s next to useless if no one uses it. In this blog post, I’m going to share a few ideas for promoting your event app so that you maximize your pre-event attendee engagement. All these ideas are based on the successes of clients whom I’ve had the pleasure of helping achieve their event goals as an EventMobi Customer Success Coach.
Promote Your Event App Well Before Your Event Begins
Leading up to your event, you have a limited number of options to communicate with your attendees before it feels like you’re spamming their inboxes with redundant content. Here are the most common approaches that clients use.
1. Take advantage of the registration confirmation email
One of the greatest opportunities you have to communicate with your attendees is before your event starts. Specifically, the confirmation email you send after your guests register for your event is a low-hanging fruit.
This email is a great opportunity right out of the gate to:
- Raise awareness of the existence of your event app
- Educate your attendees about what the event app can do for them
- Emphasize how integral the event app will be to having the best event experience
The confirmation email is also a great time to provide attendees with instructions on how to access and download your app, create or edit their profiles, and if you’re adding gamification to your event experience, you can even add a game challenge that encourages them to download the event app to collect points.
2. Release Event Content Bit by Bit
Just like what George R.R. Martin (author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series that’s the basis for HBO’s Game of Thrones) has been doing for the past seven years, releasing just a bit of information and sneak peeks in order to create anticipation of the main event is a great way to keep your audience captivated and interested.
Every now and then, Martin will release a chapter from the next book, reminding his readers that the 6th book is coming someday (I’m not giving up hope). It reinforces that the event is worth the wait and keeps them excited.
Knowing the effectiveness of this model, I’ve seen the most successful clients should treat their events like the release date of the next Martin novel. They get their attendees buzzing about it, excited to line up on opening day to get their badges, grab their seats, and settle in for a great event that the planning team has worked tirelessly on for the past few weeks or months.
Releasing Content Through Your Event App
The best way to release content in your event app for pre-event attendee engagement is to take advantage of being able to hide modules in the app, and revealing them periodically in line with your promotional strategy.
For example, you can keep your list of keynote speakers a secret, and reveal them each a month apart. Then, plan an in-app alert (you can use email and push notifications as well) to let your attendees know that they can check the event app to see the latest addition to the roster.
If you want to use your own email system, that channel also gives you a chance to reel in anyone who hasn’t checked out the event app yet.
Make the Content Reveal Exclusive
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “I also want to put my keynote speakers on my website for marketing purposes, can’t people just check that out?” and you’re right.
It’s true that people can check out your website for some of that information, which is great as an additional promotional channel. My advice is to use the event app as a way to enhance this experience for your attendees – it’s an additional touchpoint for you to emphasize the value of your event, and a place to access exclusive or advance content or information about the event (for example, speaker presentation slides).
Ideas from My Clients
Some of the things that clients and I have discussed releasing in advance range from keynote names in the event app a few weeks before they go on your website (giving them that ‘early adopter’ feeling), to exclusive access to menus at different meals before arriving on-site.
This can work really well at events where you have different food stations and food vendors. People who consult the event app can plan out their route and prioritize the food stations they want to visit in advance.
The event app can also serve as the place where the attendee list is available, allowing attendees to plan out who they want to network with at your event.
Recommended Read: Implementation Guide: How to Create an Event Networking Game
3. Enlist Speakers to Promote Your App Before the Event
Not only will your attendees look up to event speakers as trusted industry experts, they also tend to have very strong and dedicated social networks they have accumulated throughout their careers. As such, you should consider reaching out to engage your speakers to promote your event app to attendees.
Well-known speakers could guest blog for your site and include a call-to-action to download the event app, or simply share their excitement for the event with few social media posts online that link to the app download.
When working with your speakers, make it as easy as possible for them. Pre-write tweets and social media posts that include the app and event hashtag. If necessary, don’t be afraid to offer to pre-write a blog post for them (“ghostwriting” is standard marketing practice).
An Event App can be a great tool for building hype leading up to your event, and if the value of visiting the app before the event is conveyed properly, you’ll see your event app adoption skyrocket.
Maximize your pre-event attendee engagement!
Read The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Event App Adoption & Usage.