Avoid an Event Communication Nightmare
Picture this event communication nightmare. You’re hosting a large regional event. People from all over are driving in to attend and they are pumped about the content you’re offering. It turns out, though, that the major highway most of your attendees will be traveling on has major closures and detours, inciting rage among them – and it’s all directed at you. Attendees are showing up late and grumpy, a significant portion of them just turned around and went home, and now a hashtag celebrating your failure is trending among your followers.
It’s okay. Take a breath. You’re in a safe place. You’re only breaking out in a cold sweat because you know very well what it’s like to be on the receiving end of attendee wrath. The last thing any of us wants is to be in a position where we overlooked some important piece of the communication puzzle pre-event. A solid marketing communication strategy will help avoid this problem, but how can you ensure nothing gets left out?
Karen Baker is a consultant with over 16 years in experiential marketing. Her clients have ranged from BET to Viacom to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Being no stranger to event communication, she shared with us her must-list for pre-event info.
When and Where
“Leaving out location would be chaos. Don’t think that isn’t easy to do.”
Don’t take it for granted that your attendees know exactly where you’re holding your event and how to get there. You’ll want to be explicit when it comes to location. Leave nothing up to the imagination. Don’t be in a situation where folks are wandering around your event venue and wondering which door to enter or where to park. Generally, people need detailed location information.
It also helps to have a way to communicate in the case that anything changes last minute. Your emergency communication plan should include your email list and a way to send push notifications via your event’s mobile app. This will help you avoid that nightmare traffic situation that sent you into cold sweats.
Perhaps one of the finer elements of any piece of event communication before your event is the case for why people should attend. Think about building your case as you would any persuasive argument. Start with a thesis, and then back it up with proof. Once you’ve identified the proof, it becomes your marketing campaign. Every reason why someone should attend your event can be a separate blog post, email or mailer.
And “why” isn’t just for potential attendees. It’s important to include those already planning to attend in your argument as well. Driving event engagement starts before attendees ever step into the event venue. If they feel from the beginning that they have a great reason for being there, they’re sure to have a great time (and tell everyone else about it).
Interact is feature on Guidebook’s platform that acts as a one-stop home screen for your event. It automatically organizes content from every corner of your app into one centralized location. Saving your attendees time searching through your app means more time spent enjoying it!
Sessions, photos, user and admin posts, check-ins and more can all be found here in one beautiful feed. Interact itself is powered by an algorithm that combines highly-ranking content in your guide with posts from your attendees, resulting in an awesome blend of content that users love.
Your event’s schedule is actually a huge selling point for your attendees – especially if you’re hosting a conference or meeting.
“Even though the schedule may change even up to the day of, this will keep the attendees informed for the most part of what to expect.”
You can even think of releasing your schedule as an event in and of itself. Major keynote speakers and exciting sessions can make for their own press releases and build buzz among industry news sources. A slow reveal will keep attendees engaged from the beginning of your event communication plan right up until the start of the event.
Use your event’s mobile app as a tool to fuel excitement about the schedule. Whenever you push out an update, use that as an excuse to contact your list again to let them know of the new information. They can begin crafting their personal schedules and to do lists beforehand – then you have a legion of already-engaged attendees at your event ready to take full advantage of what you have to offer.
The Unique Selling Proposition
“An absolute essential of event communication is something that makes it stand out amongst all of its competition.”
Now is where we really get to the heart of your event. What is it about the event that makes it different? And how will your uniqueness benefit your attendees? Answering these questions is the secret to driving maximum attendance and taking it to the next level. It’s also what will have them lining up at the door to your venue and hour before the doors open.
Providing a unique experience has become harder and harder in the age of instant information and social media, but it is still possible to surprise your attendees with individuality. Karen suggests that “Taglines and themes are great” and can help tell the story of why your event is unique. You can also try offering a special earlybird deal on admission or employ eye-catching visual design to grab the attention of potential attendees. Regardless, spending some time communicating what makes your event special will go a long way towards making it that unforgettable experience your attendees are craving.
Getting Event Communication Across
When it comes to event communication leading up to the big day, it’s all about social, email and mobile for Karen.
“Social media has become the biggest event technology for engaging attendees before, during and now even for post-event feedback and evaluation. With the amount of mobile apps coming through in event technology, it’s a must-use to engage.“
If you are offering the right event communication to your attendees in the places they’re looking for it – their inboxes, on social media and through your mobile event app – you can be sure you won’t be stuck in a situation where people feel misinformed. And taking care of your attendees is an important investment in your future events.
Looking for even more ways of engaging your attendees are your next event? Click below to check out our new eBook on Increasing Attendee Engagement!