Though some of you are still managing meetings manually, the majority of you are using some type of online registration software to brand your event and collect registrations. The integrations will continue to increase throughout the year because the value has proven itself. Meetings technology improves efficiency, time savings and cost savings and it is now becoming more apparent. There will always be a learning curve and a cost to play, so in some ways the change can be frustrating, but the return is huge.
Online registration software, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a plethora of tools and apps available to help both you and your attendees’ experience a more organized and personalized event. So many, that it can be overwhelming knowing where to start, what technology to research, understand what’s worth the investment (and what isn’t), and what will benefit both you and your attendees.
As a technology provider, we wanted to know from our users what their upcoming plans are for implementing additional technology, beyond our event management solution. Or at least what’s lined up on their wish list. Below you’ll see a breakdown from our latest trends survey of what your fellow colleagues are including in their meetings and events this year.
It’s no surprise that event mobile apps are at the top of the list. Attendees expect them and it’s a powerful tool for you to improve personalization, interaction and communications. On-site check-in is another big contender. Improving the check-in process, efficiency, and time is always a challenge. Including something like SignUp4’s Kiosk tool will allow you to have designated check-in areas (staffed or self-check-in) to decrease the time spent waiting in lines. This ties into the next effort, on-site badge printing, which is also available through the Kiosk tool. The ability to print badges for those who forgot or lost them and those last minute registrants will be a major lifesaver in your on-site event management arsenal of tools. Get your attendees through the line and moving into the actual program you’ve worked so hard to build.
Lastly, travel management integration is another powerful addition to your online registration tool, but why? If you’re attendees are booking travel and hotel, you can capture everything (including payments) right at the time of registration and you won’t have to worry, as much, about those rogue attendees who like to book last minute, costing you more, or book the wrong dates, again another headache. From here you can also manage travel logistics, make necessary changes, and pull helpful reports to see who is going to be on time, determine if there are any flight risks, and again, provide the best possible attendee experience.
What are your event tech plans for this year?
The expectation to do more with less is nothing new, whether it’s less resources, smaller budgets, or smaller lead times. But the expectation to deliver more visibility, savings, and return is only growing in demand. According to a recent article from Conference & Incentive Travel, attendees at their corporate forum shared a common goal of event technology adoption. This “trend” will only continue to grow as will the need for stronger communication internally and externally.
A common hesitation to adoption is the anticipated lofty price of implementation. The good news is that there are enough tech providers within the industry – you have options! Start small if you’re uncertain of how to prove return, influence change within your organization, or just don’t have the time to add one more thing to your plate. The cost to play (among your industry leading counterparts) is worth it, I promise. The most important step you can take toward success is developing a plan of how the technology will be used for your organization (pre-purchase) and actually taking the training courses offered. Are you going to need to involve marketing, procurement, legal? Who will be your biggest supporters? A major mistake with technology implementation is not using the software as planned and not taking advantage of the training, I can’t stress this enough. There are unfortunate cases when the technology you had big plans for becomes a budget line item instead of a powerful tool with the potential to support your efforts.
Whether you’re focusing on adopting event mobile apps or event management software, be certain to focus on the flexibility of the tool and its functionality, but even more importantly, its reporting capabilities. We’ve been saying it for a while but manual reporting and managing multiple spreadsheets is hardly controlled chaos. So why the heavy focus on reporting?
Every feature you plan to use within your new event technology solution needs to support your event planning and management efforts. So how will you understand its impact toward reaching your objectives?
If you’re using an event app, it needs to deliver the set expectations of your organization and your attendees. Analytics will be the key to determining which tabs were most viewed, how many leads were generated, which devices were most often used, and the like. And the same applies to something more robust like event management software. From your event registration form to emails and hotel room blocks, how well are you performing? The thought of actually viewing your strengths and weaknesses can be overwhelming, but it’s what you do with that information that can improve future events.
You’ve heard the expression, “jack of all trades, master of none”? This applies to reporting. You can’t efficiently and effectively manage manual reporting of your events’ many working parts with spreadsheets, checks and balances. You can choose to do it, but it will not be as accurate as you’d like. Plus, who wants to manually manage spreadsheets? Imagine the time saved from pulling automated reports and being able to share up-to-the-minute reports with stakeholders via a link! It’s all possible, again depending on your provider, and it removes the chaos, while focusing on control.
Key takeaway is to recognize your objectives, develop a plan for how this new software will support those efforts, take advantage of software training, and utilize the reports to track your success and leverage those results to improve future events.
To learn more about event tech purchasing best practices view the free webinar (and earn credit): http://bit.ly/1CPzWgl.
According to the Center for Science in the Public interest, studies show a strong relationship between the physical and social environments of the workplace and the health behaviors of employees.
We spend over half of our days in the office and hours in meetings, event off-site conferences. How often have we grabbed a doughnut or danish for a quick sugary fix? And I know I’m guilty of not making the healthiest of choices after a long day in and out of sessions or trainings. We know there are smarter options, but are they being presented to us?
Event professionals are constantly being challenged to offer the most personalized, memorable attendee experiences and a new component of this superior experience is supplying healthier options. From small, working lunches to multiple day events, healthy options will energize your audience and demonstrate your commitment to your attendees’ well being. To learn more about healthy eating and access free resources like guides and tool kits, visit CSPI’s resources list.
Beyond smarter food choices, events can include physical and mental exercises as well as Stay Well hotel rooms and Stay Well Meeting rooms like offered at MGM Grand as mentioned in an article by SmartMeetings. These converted rooms offer advanced air purification systems, circadian lighting, hypoallergenic cleaning products, ergonomic elements, a hydration station, aromatherapy and healthy menu options. Also included in the programming is …
• Mental activity and brain teasers: exercises that stimulate creative thinking and strategic approaches to problem solving, as well as activities to engage the hands to help release tension
• Guided meditations: periods of silence and meditations in quiet areas to provide relaxation and rejuvenation
• Digital detox: intervals throughout the day to disconnect from technology
• Physical activity breaks: voluntary breaks to allow participants to be active for a short time
• Wellness moment kit: a box of items containing a variety of mental-acuity exercises to improve attendee engagement
So how will you incorporate healthier options into your 2015 strategy? Healthier vending machines like offered in Marriott properties full of salads, sandwiches and snacks made with local ingredients. Provide fitness tracking wristbands to encourage more activity. Small steps in the right direction will result in happier attendees, smarter decision making abilities, and more successful meetings
No we aren’t suggesting you cut down your F&B budget and bring in vending machines to supply your attendees with trail mix and energy drinks, but we are suggesting swag!
To build buzz at or around your event, think about turning to social swag. What does this mean? Incentivize your event registrants before the event by tweeting with special event hashtags in exchange cashing in some sweet swag from your strategically placed vending machines. Driving the buzz during the event would work exactly the same way with these swag dispensing machines living in high-traffic areas.
Old Navy’s campaign, Tweet for Your Feet resulted in over 9,000 flip-flops and tweets distributed to help promote their annual $1 flip-flop sale. The results were outstanding! With over 12 million social media impressions and 170 million earned media impressions, Old Navy saw a lift in sales since the $1 promotion started. Through the built-in tablet, visitors were instructed to complete this message on their mobile devices: “The best place to wear flip-flops is _______” with the Old Navy Twitter handle, special code and shoe size. The machine would then detect the post, dispense flip-flops in the right size, and post a “thank you” tweet.
Another great example is brought to you by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. To promote their new “Miami Summer Deals” initiative, they strategically placed a machine in Times Square to spark curiosity. When visitors approached the machine, their photo was snapped and staffers working behind the machine issued personalized prizes, event tickets to Miami!
This disruptive technology brings a refreshing component to events with multiple outcomes including: increased social buzz, fun, memorable engagement, and convenient brand awareness through swag distribution.
How would you incorporate vending machines into your next event?
If you want a killer combo of mixed media, you must create a harmonious balance between your event website and your event app. Well-designed websites and apps will be the Robin to your Batman. Regardless of your desired event objective, your content areas should act as a support tool to enhance the participant experience. You’ll want to include the following elements and design.
Develop clear, consistent content on both the website and the app. To ensure uniformity and accuracy you’ll want to have a designated group of proofers. Also, keep the theme and branding consistent. The participant should feel confident they’re about to register for and then navigate the correct event.
Your event website’s registration process should carry over registrant data into the attendee app. Sharing things like personal travel itineraries and hotel reservations will ease your attendee’s worries and set the tone for the remainder of your event.
3. Contact Info
This is critical, especially for your event website. I cannot keep count of how many times sites have offered no additional contact information, which is extremely frustrating when something isn’t working properly or you have a question that cannot be found in the FAQ section.
If there’s any chance your attendees will have down time, it’s only kind to provide them with what’s happening around them. Include dining options on varying levels, entertainment venues, and hotel properties for any last minute guests. Transportation is another user-friendly category. Pinpoint bike or scooter rentals, local street cars, trails, etc.
It’s the easiest and most preferred way to consume content. Highlight last year’s show, this year’s guest speakers and sponsors, and add live streaming video direct from the event for those who can’t attend. Remember to keep it short and sweet – you might get 1 minute of full attention.
I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but keep it clean with an organic flow. Obviously your awesome agenda is what’s going to pull them in and your event app agenda is what’s going to help keep them on track and happy. With personalization, you can also send reminders or personalized schedules of sessions for which they’re registered.
Do you have event “regulars” who attend multiple events? Make it easy for them by allowing for profiles within your event management system. Creating a log-in feature on your website and app will allow personalized info to carry over. Who wouldn’t love a speedy registration process with pre-populated data?
This one is fairly obvious but it’s a must-have. Build, maintain, and continue the conversation through tweets, photos, videos and hashtags. Take advantage of the opportunity to create free buzz, get attendees networking, promote contests and after your event share exciting highlights.
It doesn’t have to live as a main navigation tab on your event site, but within the drop downs, include a Sponsor section highlighting your industry leaders. If your offering different package levels, some sponsors may get recognition as the registration sponsor or app sponsor or special event sponsor so be sure to include at least logo placement where agreed upon in their contract terms.
10. Clear Navigation
No one wants to scroll through long pages of content. Make use of your primary navigation and add child pages within the main content areas. It’s better to have drop downs in your menu for fast finds. Be sure to group those sub-menus under the correct categories and ask others within your organization to test your site/app. If you must have long pages of text, be sure to offer anchor links which will allow visitors to go “back to top” or navigate to specific sections.
As an attendee or planner, we’ve all taken home bags of swag; some more exciting than others. From stress balls to energy drinks and solar phone chargers, the list of promotional products continues to impress.
Until recently, I was completely naïve to the thought of swag safety. I’m not talking about just warning labels. The liabilities behind swag are real risks that need to be avoided prior to investments and distribution. Corporate giveaways and product marketing require brand protection; more than just branding with proper colors and logos.
How many of us have heard of the Consumer Product Safety Commission? This was new to me as well and I’ve been ordering swag for years. In our recent session with Larry Cohen and Shamini Peter of Axis Promotion, the team explained to us the compliance and regulations we must abide by. From the CPSC to the FDA, we must know where our products are coming from, particularly food items. Recalls are a dreaded word for vendors as well as you the event professionals. Promotional items are now embedded with tracking codes exactly for this reason. If something terrible were to happen and there were a recall, the packages can be tracked back to their originating distributor and further action can be taken.
As dramatic as this may sound, the truth is, it’s a reality. This sort of thing has happened, as Larry and Shamini mentioned, to major players like McDonald’s and Reebok where they needed to immediately jump in and protect their consumers. And this leads right up to their number one safety tip – Always assume responsibility for the safety, compliance and appropriateness of the products that you are giving away.
So what are some questions to ask your vendors? Axis recommends the following examples:
- Have you vetted your suppliers & factories?
- Do you test products? If so, what companies do you use for testing?
- Do you consider any of your products to be children’s items? If so, have they been tested?
- What are you doing to help mitigate compliance risks?
- Are you a part of any quality control or safety organizations?
In the end, it’s critical you know which products are “red flags,” which have been recalled, what kind of testing has been done and how best to avoid additional risks because you’re looking to give your attendees a takeaway that continues to carry on your event’s memorable experiences.
If you want to learn even more, I’d highly recommend viewing the Axis Promotions session on Promotional Products Hidden Liabilities: Risks Eventprofs Need to Avoid.
It’s common knowledge that event managers wear many hats and balance endless duties all at once. The title alone doesn’t do you much justice as you’re tasked with 1000 working parts of the event, which may occur more than once a year. So how is anyone expected to manage it all through emails, spreadsheets and event planner apps that provide to-do lists?
If you’re already using an online registration tool or are familiar with the technology, you’re on the right track. Don’t be fooled though, you’re only a quarter of the way there. There are plenty more ways to maximize your organization’s bottom line and events’ value. If you’re just getting started, finding the budget, convincing stakeholders and proving tech’s ROI can seem overwhelming. The good news is – there’s no bad place to start.
Event Management Systems (EMS) should work with you and provide a fully customizable platform for which you can create your own reports, design powerful event websites, user-friendly registration forms and allow for convenient email marketing. These solutions are beyond just ticketing or registration tools. The EMS is the heart of your event management tools; however, don’t forget about the supplemental tools to maximize your strategy.
These other vital components are what process some of the most critical moving parts for both you and your attendees. I often hear event professionals’ concerns and uncertainty of what other tools exist to assist with tasks that live beyond event management. The second most common struggle is getting “buy-in” from management and procurement to invest in additional tools. You’re challenged every day to prove your worth and that of your meetings and as an event tech professional I can confidently say these additional tools should never been seen as add-ons. If you’re looking to join what Aberdeen calls the “Best-In-Class” you need to aim higher with your technology solutions. Best-In-Class does not have to mean most expensive, but it does mean you need to have the technology necessary to advance your organization and your hard work to its maximum potential.
If you’re managing travel for your events, travel integration is the key. Not all event technology providers offer a true Travel Management System that integrates directly into the Global Distribution System (GDS), but the ones that do will open the door to higher rates of compliance, less booking outside of event dates, significant savings and less time spent managing spreadsheets and manual flight arrangements. Your TMS will integrate with your booking tool, allowing your attendees to make their own arrangements through Single Sign On (SSO) or directly communicate with your travel provider. It will check your Pseudo City every hour for new updates and pull everything you need with regards to your attendees travel right back into your TMS. Efficiently managing ground transportation is another headache that can be solved. With up-to-the-minute reporting you can see whose flights are canceled or delayed and make adjustments accordingly – logistics have never been more simplified. This bird’s eye view allows you to stay on top of everything in a more organized manner. You will see who has booked, who hasn’t, who has wrong dates, who will be late, and most importantly savings! The U.S. Travel Association accounts for $99 billion spent on travel for meetings, events and incentive travel. It’s no wonder compliance and savings are among your top priorities.
Which bring us to the brains of the job, the budgeting tool. Spend Management Systems are what evolve your efforts into a full Strategic Meetings Management Program. Incorporating your current (or new) workflow into the SMS will drive compliance and provide deeper visibility into your meetings. This in-depth meeting intelligence will be utilized for financial forecasting, budgeting and modifying your planning best practices within the organization. This is especially helpful if your organization is nationwide or global because it provides communication and reporting unlike anything you were able to do before. Aberdeen has found that users of end-to-end strategic meetings management solutions have experienced:
- 60 percent higher rate of realized and implemented cost savings than those not using end-to-end technology
- Nearly 40 percent higher rate of compliance to corporate policies
- 35 percent higher frequency of events meeting or exceeding goals
- Nearly 30 percent higher frequency of events executed on or below budgets
If these stats don’t blow the socks off of your upper management and procurement teams, I don’t know what will. From the meeting request to reconciliation, your SMS will be the reporting powerhouse you need to see positive ROI, further proving the value of your events. To complete this Best-In-Class, beyond EMS, collaboration you’re still missing one more working part – the mobile app.
Event mobile apps are not an industry trend; in fact, they’re now an industry best practice. Whether you decide to build your own app in-house or outsource, the app should be built around your objective whether it’s to drive sales, networking, lead gen, or brand awareness. The benefits of offering a mobile app make you look like an event superstar and will certainly make your attendees grateful. I know savings is a recurring theme here, but that’s one of the main objectives with strategic meetings management technology. You will save dramatically on printing costs – gone are the days of big, clunky programs or binders. This is also a step in the right direction for reducing that carbon footprint and living up to your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). If you promote your app before, during, and even after your event, there should be no reason for low attendance rates at sessions, your sponsors will get the promotional love they deserve and attendees will be offered the opportunity to network during all stages of your event. Everything they need to make your event the most memorable will be right in their pockets, you just need to be the driving force to promote it and drive engagement.
The most exciting part to this much needed technology is that they all work together and integrate, again saving you exceptional time and savings. With all of these working parts combined, Event Management, Travel Management, Spend Management and Mobile, you will be an unstoppable force within your organization. Management will be pleased with the ROI and dramatic savings, procurement will be pleased with higher rates of compliance and leveraging of negotiations, your department will have more time to focus on the attendee experience and your attendees will have the best possible first impression through a seamless event experience from registration to networking. Remember you don’t have to start big. Starting with an event management tool and continuing to build your arsenal is an acceptable tech growth strategy.
For more info on how to purchase technology, download this free Buyer’s Guide.
Event app adoption is gradually growing throughout the industry and those of us using apps understand the value. The 63 percent still on the fence will begin to trickle in once they’ve got the budgets and resources in place. Though it’s becoming an event standard for those events with plenty of content to share among its large number of attendees, many of us are still learning our way around app adoption and development. Depending on your app provider, you may be outsourcing the development or maybe you’re keeping the creation process internal. Either way, you need to establish a clear understanding on what to expect for you and your team.
One thing we always stress for our rappidApp clients is the importance of timing. Apps aren’t an afterthought. During the event planning process, you need to incorporate your event app creation and deployment strategy. The objective of your app needs to support the objective of your event for complete success. With our product in particular, you’re looking at approximately 10-12 weeks to get your app up and running. Of course times will vary depending on app provider, unexpected changes, and how quickly your team meets deadlines. Remember, this time frame does not include the marketing and promotion of your app.
So whether you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, create a more personalized experience, drive engagement or capture new sales, these next five tips will dramatically improve your event app creation process.
1. Create An App Map
Create your timeline, establish your resources, content strategy, a submission strategy and a promotion strategy. Again, this is why we stress timing and planning early. I feel like I’m preaching to the choir, but you would be surprised how with the whirlwind of event planning activities, apps get overlooked. Within these strategies should be hard deadlines, task owners and additional padding for the unexpected. This map will be shared among all stakeholders and will act as the official guide for your app’s development/deployment.
2. Have Your Content Ready
Some apps require you to have all of your content loaded before submission. We allow customers to upload the basics and continue to build content after app store submission, without having to completely re-submit. The more content you have prepared from the beginning, the less grammatical, user, and submission issues you will run into later. Create an app content calendar with strict deadlines, task owners for accountability and specific details. You’ll also need to gather information from outside resources. And like with any project you can supply deadlines, but life happens and you will run into bumps along the way. Communication and accountability will help drive compliance with deliverables.
3. Don’t Forget About Sponsors
Aside from attendees, sponsors are your bread and butter, especially if you’re offsetting app costs through sponsorship opportunities. Start communications early and establish points of contact for consistent conversations. Collect hires logos, company descriptions, preferred links and engagement opportunities for your attendees to connect with your sponsors. Once you’ve committed to designing your app, develop the sponsorship packages and connect early.
4. Test, Test & Test Again
You’re going to test your app at two main points throughout the creation process (and hopefully more than just that) – before submission and before promotions to attendees. Prior to submitting to app stores you want to make sure your images are high res and not pixelated, faces match names, content is grammatically correct, links are directed to appropriate locations, tabs are properly labeled and overall usability is user friendly. Before you start promotions to attendees, review everything and most importantly test on all devices available. Knowing which devices your audience will be using can be exceptionally helpful – if possible. Once your event is live, you will probably need to make updates to your app. If so, get team members to proof. Functionality and accuracy will greatly affect your attendees overall experience. Remember – your app should support your event’s objective(s).
5. Integrate Analytics
How will you know if your app contributed to the success of your event? Through integrating app analytics. At rappidApp, we use Flurry analytics which is free to integrate. You can measure what matters most for your specific event such as number of downloads, demographic of users, which areas of your app were most viewed, when, and where. You will gain insight into interest, geography, usage and the value of acquired users to improve traffic acquisition. This feedback will help you improve the creation and adoption of future apps for upcoming events.
Mobile apps won’t be appropriate for every event and app providers offer different features and functionality, so you need to do your research. Once you’ve chosen your provider, which means you’ve addressed the need for an app, you need to start planning. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task, if you create timelines and strategies for success.
If you want to take a deeper dive into app creation, view our free, on-demand Event App Basics: From Creation to Submission to Marketing session … and earn 1 credit hour in Strategic Planning!
Resources: Event App Bible & Flurry Analytics
Between new apps and tech gadgets, it feels nearly impossible to keep up with the growing list of must-have tools for meetings and events. With the ever-expanding list of helpful event planner tools, also comes the fantastic laundry list of attendee engagement technology. Along with attaining your meeting’s objective(s) you strive to keep your attendees awake, alert and active. By requesting participation, you’re keeping the conversation alive and enabling learner objectives to be met. What better way to retain information, than actually participating in the event and its conversation?
This short list of tech gadgets will help jump start the conversation and your attendees’ interest.
Attendees have valuable feedback which can be shared amongst the group. If you’ve got people who are eager to participate, make sure you’re leveraging the tools in their pockets – smartphones, which can be turned into individual, wireless microphones. With Crowd Mics, the speaker creates a name and access code for the event within the app and session participants download this version. From there, when the presenter is ready to take questions they can select people from a list of names or select an open-mic option for anyone in the room to reply. And for those shy attendees, there’s a text feature where they can submit comments to the speaker.
The app is free for groups of 20 or less and pricing starts at $25 for 50 participants.
For small meetings, international meetings or even meetings on-the-fly Google now offers Chromebox which is a video conferencing kit providing you with an HD camera, mic/speaker unit and a remote control. With up to 15 participants per session, you can call in from anywhere and quickly connect with other callers. Watch out GoToMeeting! Chromebox does not require any funky access codes or logins and invites can be sent right through your Google calendar. Easily share your screen and connect with keynote speakers, other planning team members, or venues. This is a great tool for the pre-planning phase of events.
I’ve found the Chromebox on Amazon for $180. There’s also a $250 annual support fee.
On Location Engagements
In a recent blog post about iBeacons for events I discussed how valuable this would become to the event space and such is the case with the new On Location Engagement beacons. Specific for tradeshows and events, OLE drives relevant, location-based content to your attendees quickly increasing engagement and superior visitor experiences. You’re also able to include interactive maps, drive sponsorship love, video demos, post-show surveys and more! Best of all, for eventprofs, they have drag & drop functionality, which means no HTML knowledge required. And, OLE can be integrated as part of an existing app. Pricing isn’t currently available.
We touched on mics a little earlier, but Catchbox will really create some lively interaction. Who doesn’t want to have fun tossing around a bright, foamy box that (wait for it ….) is also a microphone! The box includes a receiver which can be connected to any sound system. And no worries, you won’t catch any unwanted sounds along the way, as it senses motion and switches off when it’s being thrown or dropped. With just three simple components – the cube, the capsule and the receiver – set-up takes a matter of seconds. To achieve the best signal, use with audiences of 100 people, minimize any obstacles, and keep the distance between the box and its receiver by 100 feet.
Catchbox is affordable at $549 in comparison to other mics upwards of $2000.
LCD Graffiti Wall
3-D projection mapping is still crazy new and super cool but what about interactive walls? Yup, Tangible Interaction has taken engagement to the next level with their LCD Graffiti Wall. Recently released at SXSW, this digital graffiti screen comes with two spray cans for attendees to go wild. Planners can brand the walls to include logos, colors, stencils and more! And of course, once they complete their artwork, they can share via social media. Get a sneak peek of the tagging in action from SXSW.
This product is still quite new & Tangible must be contact directly for rental fees.
If you know of any other awesome even tech tools or gadgets, please be sure to share!
Communication is the key to any successful meeting, so why are attendees still confused and notorious for asking what we think are obvious questions? Well, maybe it’s not the attendees fault, but the way we’re communicating with them.
The population as a whole is constantly overstimulated with information from advertisements, blogs, videos, articles, social updates, and commercials. We digest information differently now. Attendees are inundated more than ever through their smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Emails are so 2013! Kidding, they will always be a must-have, but really, it’s time to step-up your game. Communications may be happening more frequently, but the real challenge (or opportunity) is to find the disruption that captures their attention.
Before you can develop your customized communication strategy you must understand your audience. What are the gender, age, and career type breakdowns? What type of activities and sessions will these attendees be involved in? What’s your overall objective? What type of mobile devices does your group tend to use? Once you’ve got some background data gathered, you’ll be armed to make more strategic decisions for communication. The list below includes the top three must-have communication tools for your next meeting.
Video is #winning
Best Resource: Wistia (you’ll thank me later)
Studies have shown that content is consumed more often and efficiently through video. I understand budget is always a first concern. Don’t be intimidated at the thought of production costs and hiring an entire team. If you have an iPhone and a couple of lights from Home Depot, you can make a quality video. And if you’ve got the budget for it, interview a few production teams before making a final decision – you have to feel a connection, be on the same page, and communicate effectively for your messaging to resonate with your audience. Make videos for event announcements, testimonials from past events, interviews with guest speakers, and the list goes on.
Most importantly, have fun …
Key takeaways & resources …
What is your goal? Brand awareness, lead generation, education, event updates, event awareness, etc.
Have fun! Videos don’t always have to be serious and stuffy. Mix it up.
Quality is key. It’s better to create quality videos than messy, fuzzy, ones that look unprofessional.
You don’t need $50,000! See how Wistia makes it happen on a budget.
Event Mobile Apps
Best Resource: rappidApp Blog
Event apps have blown up, especially over the past year. We get it – they’re an industry best practice, not a fad. But at the same time, let’s not get crazy. Every meeting and every event will not call for a mobile app. Just like videos, it’s better to create apps that bring value to your attendees and support your objective(s).
You should constantly be asking yourself, “how is this app bringing value to my attendees, exhibitors, guest speakers and sponsors?” The standard must-haves for content within your app include a map both for venue and local area points of interest, dining, and entertainment, an agenda with session times and descriptions highlighting guest speakers, and a sponsors page linking to their websites with booth information. Other tabs could include social integration, photo gallery, networking, note taking, in session polling, surveys, and gamification to name a few.
If you’ve invested in an app, besides the informative content, you need to focus on adoption and promotion, otherwise why have one? Use your videos as an opportunity to highlight your event’s app, in all email communications you should be including app download links and an image (if you have room), and visible signage at your event with download info. Keep the name of your app simple and relevant so it’s easy to find in the app stores. Promotion should start before the event, not just during the event. Be your own best hype man! Create the buzz, get people networking, share videos of the event coming together, promote your awesome prizes for the in-app game – get creative.
Key takeaways …
Start early. Plan your app while you’re planning your event/meeting.
Be your hype man! Promote before, during and after and use all channels including your videos!
Use analytics. Track the success of your app for your next event.
Value worthy. Not every meeting needs an app – what value are you bringing to your event people (not just attendees)?
Events on Google+
Best Resources: Google
So you’ve most likely heard of Google+ by now, but did you know they have an Events category? Of course they do, it’s Google! So what’s so awesome about hangouts for events? It goes beyond just a Facebook type event. It’s another tool to help create that buzz before, during and after your event. You can take advantage of the real-time photo sharing, sync sessions with your Google calendars, and live streaming from your event!
I know personally, if it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist, so this connection is critical. And if you want to connect with your group, you can host group video calls and host face-to-face meetings. Automatic notifications are sent out to remind everyone to join. Imagine hosting a session with your presenters or interviewing previous attendees for their top reasons to attend the event. The potential is endless.
And remember those videos you created and the app you developed? This is another tool to help spread the word. Create engagement unlike ever before. Post notifications, create excitement for giveaways, highlight major presenters or booked entertainment.
Key takeaways …
Plan ahead. Is this scalable for the type of event you’re hosting?
Promote like a boss. Promote your Event group, videos, speakers, sessions, etc.
Don’t wait. Use this as a tool for all stages of your event.