How to improve your events. 7 tips for event professionals

“The only person you should be better than is the person you were yesterday”

This is the thought that gets me out of bed in those mornings when all I want is to turn off the alarm and get back to sleep – we all have this kind of mornings.

This quote applies to our work as well. And I had the pleasure of discovering that many of our event planners partners think the same. They aim, with every new event, to create a better experience for their attendees. To be better than last time. To make the smile on attendees’ faces slightly wider than last time. And talking to them about what they work on I have managed to extract some common points that can improve any event.

multicolor confetti at a concert

Start (planning and executing) early

‘“If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”

We all know it, no matter if you are planning a one day conference or a multi-day festival, it takes months of preparation and work to make sure everything goes well. Start early and create a schedule for the whole process. If you leave things for last minute you whole event can be compromised by unexpected situations that may occur (and there will be quite a few of them).

Set early bird tickets

Early bird tickets are a way of repaying your most eager (and loyal) attendees, but also a great way of making sure you don’t have cash flow problems. Using an event management software that has a direct payments feature money will go straight into your account, so you will have a back up if needed. As Sir Richard Branson said, cash flow is extremely important for every business, and revenues from early bird tickets can be your safety net.

Choose an “arresting” venue

The human eye craves for beauty, and a beautiful building will always arouse admiration (the positive feedback that we have received for our Beautiful theaters article is a good proof of that). The venue where your event takes place will influence the overall experience of your attendees. Make sure that the building offers optimal conditions in matters of location, access (for people with disabilities), heating/cooling system, sound, and lights. Even though we can’t all just book the most impressive building in the city, make sure it offers you everything you need.

Well-balanced and diversified menu

People don’t attend events (just) for the great food that you offer, but this too will impact their experience. How do you act when you are hungry? Are you still able to focus? Are you still interested in what somebody else has to say? When it comes to food not all attendees have the same preferences, and although you can’t please them all you should at least have both normal and vegan menus.

Engage your attendees 

Let attendees feel as part of your event. As humans, we want to know that our words/opinions matter and asking for feedback is a great way of letting your attendees know that their do. Feedback will also let you know how your event looks from “outside” – no matter how critical you are to your own work, you should always try to see it from your attendees’ perspective. If possible, ask for feedback before, during and after the event.

Keep your attendees informed

From my own experience, I can say that attendees like to know as much as possible about the event that they are attending. Yes, a little mystery is always welcome, but don’t keep essential information from them. Questions like “where can I find the event app”, “where/when is lunch served”, “what time will Speaker X be on stage” will surely be asked, so verify that your team has the answers. People will also want to have access to the Schedule of your event, it would be nice to have it displayed in visible places (and also in the event app – if you use any).

Take advantage of event technology 

This is my favorite part because I have seen how technology in general (and Oveit in particular) can help event planners in their “pursuit of happiness”. I will point out just some of the most important aspects:

Online registration: In 2018, no matter what event you are hosting, you should offer your customers the possibility to purchase tickets online. Making it easier for them to register will increase the total number of attendees and will also offer you more information about them (though registration forms).

NFC technology: The tap-and-pay system is great because it makes it really easy for attendees to purchase the desired products. It can also be used for interaction purposes (link support), transforming the old event wristband into an extremely powerful high-tech tool.

Smooth registration process: Undoubtedly, time is our most valuable resource, and we all cherish it. It’s clear that we don’t like to have our time wasted, so you should always use a smart tool that will ensure a fast and smooth check-in process.

It is hard to change all those mentioned above at once, but even the tiniest improvement can have spectacular long-term effects. And the story of Dave Brailsford and the Sky Team (link) is a great example of how small things can bring unthinkable changes. Keep up the good work and never stop improving!

 

Create copy that sells your events

You work hard to create the (almost) perfect event. And nothing compares to the feeling that you have when seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces, smiles that are a guarantee that they will attend your next events as well. You know that they will tell their friends, colleagues, and families what a great time they had and will act like ambassadors of your great work.

But what about those that never attended one of your events and neither do they know any of your past guests. How will you convince them that you deserve their time (and money)? What will make them decide to come to your events and not do anything else? The event management industry is highly competitive, nowadays there are so many events to choose from.

Here is where the power of words comes to the rescue. And even though marketing works on many channels (and we have talked about keywords, Twitter, Instagram and more) one thing is more important than anything: the way you tell your story. Words have the power to transfer feelings and the message that you choose can bring people towards your events or it can make you go unnoticed.

open laptop with "create copy that sells your events" text

Here are 5 things that you should have in mind when creating the message for you future attendees:

  1. Define your audience

You will never know how to adapt your message if you don’t know who you are writing for. Defining your audience should be the first step when building a marketing campaign. The better you know your potential customers, the higher the chances are that you will speak their language. And speaking their language is the key to getting to their hearts. Why get to their hearts? You will see later in the article.

  1. Have (just) one goal

Setting too many goals can keep you off track. After all, we all have a limited amount of time and energy. If you want to gain more from your texts you should create them by having just one goal in mind for each of them. Trying to build a road that leads to too many directions you may end up with a road that leads nowhere. What is the ultimate goal of your text? To convince people to buy tickets for your event? To convince them to read your blog posts? To subscribe to your newsletter? No matter the goal that set up for your message you should make sure that it leads the reader towards it.

  1. Look for the emotional response 

In sales, there is a theory stating that “people buy based on their emotion, and afterward use logic to justify it”. If you want to convince people to come to your event try to call for their emotions, dreams, and aspirations. Planning a business conference? We all want to be our best version of ourselves, and your conference can bring us one step closer to it. A 3-day festival? We all deserve a break from work, calls, and emails. We all crave for a long weekend surrounded by friends and good music in a landscape worthy of a fairytale.

  1. Always tell a story about your events

“Stories are a vital part of any business. And they are one of the most powerful tools you can use to engage your audience.” Tony Robbins 

You create experiences that, over the years, transform into your attendees’ memories into unforgettable tales. Stories have the power to carry us through time and space and show us that dreams can be fulfilled. Let people know your story and the ones of your attendees and they will want to be a part of your remarkable journey.

  1. Keep it simple 

In order for a message to touch us, we first need to understand it. With hundreds of messages that are “pointed” toward us each day we have started to filter things to see what deserves our time and what does not. Things we cannot understand easily will have a hard time getting our attention.

ex:

I can be that your attendees don’t care about the technical details of NFC technology, but will love the fact that they can add credit on a wristband and pay with just a tap of the hand. Too many details will make things more complicated than they need to be.

People should know the passion you invest in your events, but they should also know their gain from attending them. After all, there is one Radio channel that we all listen to and that is WII FM: What’s In It For Me? A medical conference, festival or concert, your attendees will choose to come to your event only if they can picture themselves in your story.

The shift towards experiential marketing

experiential marketingIt’s one thing to imagine that you are driving a sports car, it’s another to actually be behind wheel and hear the purring engine. It’s one thing to watch a billboard that invites you to visit the Canary Islands, it’s another to feel the sun comforting your skin. It’s one thing to see an online ad and it’s totally different to FEEL the benefits a product can give you.“…Involve me and I learn”, Benjamin Franklin’s quote can be adapted to the experiential marketing scene. “Involve me and I will see and feel how your product can help me”.

More and more brands are using experiences to create a bond between customers and the brand.  This is why I think that more and more event planners should be prepared to host experiential marketing events. Or to include experiential marketing campaigns as part of their existing events.

What is experiential marketing?

If we reach Wikipedia we will find that “Engagement marketing, sometimes called ‘experiential marketing’, ‘event marketing’, ‘on-ground marketing’, ‘live marketing’, ‘participation marketing’, or ‘special events’ is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand or a brand experience. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagement marketers believe that consumers should be actively involved in the production and co-creation of marketing programs, developing a relationship with the brand.”

By using experiential marketing brands want to create an emotional connection between themselves and the consumer, connection that most of the times have the power to transform customers into advocates of that particular brand. In a world where the new generation values experience more than things, it is only normal to value powerful memories more than ads and pop-ups.

Experiential marketing is based on one main idea: the live interaction between the potential consumer and the brand. Although we focus on organized events, (and how event planners can partner with brands to create branded events – or even to implement experiential marketing within an existing event) engagement marketing comes in different shapes.  Its purpose is to create a memorable experience, even though sometimes it may seem that there’s no direct connection with the brand itself. A wonderful example is the Piano Staircase, from Volkswagen, a campaign that at first has almost no connection with an automotive company. But innovation and fun will always stick to people’s minds, and this campaign was highly appreciated all over the world. A good experiential marketing campaign can be more powerful than any form of “classic” marketing.

An example of a great experiential marketing event is Smirnoff’s Comic Book party, where attendees walked into a…you guessed it. Whether you like comic books or not (if this is even possible) I think that walking into a Comic Book will make an impression. Will make you take pictures and share them. Will make you talk about the party. And definitely will make you remember the brand.

What about the numbers?

I know, the theory sounds good, but do the numbers support it? A study conducted by Mosaic and the Event Marketing Institute revealed that  74% of consumers said they are more likely to buy products after they had a quality experience within a branded event. Furthermore, 98% percent of consumers said they take at least one photo during experiential marketing events and all of them (100%) said they share this content!  

Event planners can create experiential marketing events from scratch for clients that understand the power of experiences. A bond between the consumer and the brand is more important than an individual sale made using an AdWords campaign. Don’t get me wrong, keyword campaigns are very important, but their direct effect is different from that of an experiential marketing campaign. Aiming for different objectives, but not excluding each other).

Experiential marketing campaigns can also be integrated into already existing events. Festivals and conferences offer brands the chance to interact with a large number of people that are craving for memorable experiences (this is why they are there in the first place).

Oveit will support your efforts

Using a smart event management software, like Oveit, you will be able to make the experience even more memorable (especially through NFC technology). As you probably know, you can set up cashless payment systems to reduce queues, a very important aspect related to attendees’ overall satisfaction. But for experiential marketing events NFC wristbands can also be used for:

Gamification: the NFC chip is paired with the ticket (that acts like an account) and attendees can use it and mark different checkpoints in the game. You can also use them for interactive screens, to connect the character in the game with your attendee.

Perks: the wristbands can store perks (gifts, promotional merchandise, etc) and attendees can claim them by simply tapping the wristband to a reader/NFC-ready mobile device. We all like surprises, so why don’t you and your partners use it to create an even more memorable experience?

Data transfer: the NFC chip can be used by attendees to transfer their information to the brand that hosts the experiential marketing campaign. It’s easier than ever, with a simple tap, and the best part is that the transfer works both ways: the attendee can receive an email with a link that opens his/her way to new memorable experiences (for example, a registration link to an exclusivist party, sent only to those that take part at this experiential campaign hosted at a large conference).

We see how more and more brands are turning towards experiential marketing campaigns, and how more and more people appreciate the work event planners put in. Shifting our attention towards real experiences can only enrich us and more and more people will focus on feelings and memories. So be prepared, event planners.

Why and when to use conference apps? Partner spotlight: mReady Meet

For the past years we’ve worked with some of the best minds in mobile app development: our partners at mReady. Given the rise in mobile apps usage at conferences, we’ve asked them for some tips. In this interview you’ll find out how and when should event planners use conference apps.

1. How and why did you start building Meet?

Six years ago, when mobile apps were just on the rise and we were just beginning our journey as mReady, we thought would be a good idea to build an app for a conference some of our friends were organizing. So we did.

Over the next 3-4 year we have been constantly improving it, based on the feedback we got from the conference attendees and organizers. A couple of years ago someone approached us to request a similar app for their conference. Shortly after we did that, other requests for event mobile apps started popping up. It was a sign the time had come to take the next step and bring Meet to the market.

Mready meet team

2. What was the toughest challenge in building a product that fits the event planners’ needs?

The main challenge in building Meet was meeting the users’ needs. How do you manage to offer an outstanding event experience to the attendees, while also giving organizers the proper tool they need?

You cannot only focus on one aspect of the product, because if attendees don’t like it, they won’t use it, hence the organizers efforts won’t be paying off. Likewise, if the organizers can’t see the benefits for them and their attendees, they won’t know why request it.

3. Is there an event size where you would recommend conferences to start using mobile apps?

There are a few parameters to take into account when deciding whether to use a mobile app at an event. Some of them are the number of attendees expected, the number of days, stages and locations.

For a 1 day – 1 stage event dedicated to less than 100 people, there is very little to no need for an app. As the number of days, stages and / or locations increases, so will the necessity for an app, in order to better and easily structure all the event information and pass it on. At events larger than 150-200 attendees, even if it’s a one day event, the networking component of a mobile app becomes super useful.

Mready Meet app

4. Where should event planners look for Return on Investment when launching conference apps (visitor satisfaction, loyalty, increased interaction etc.)?

Because of the relatively high cost for a mobile app, it’s good to make sure it will have a positive return on investment. Since we’re not talking about an ecommerce app, it can be difficult to identify the right metrics to take into account for ROI.

However, there are a few elements that are worth considering. Since the smartphone is usually at an arm’s reach, it’s easy to get real-time content feedback from the attendees. By being able to communicate in real time all the event info, a mobile app contributes to building trust towards the event brand, increasing brand awareness.

For recurring events, an branded mobile app can also be turned into another promotional tool. Still, the most important element to focus on is the community. By facilitating meaningful connections between event attendees, a mobile app is addressing the very need for belongingness, which is one of the five primary human needs, and has become increasingly important in present times.

5. What should any event planner know before requesting a mobile app?

With the ROI in mind, it’s worth mentioning that a conference app, just like most of the other mobile apps, is not a loyalty tool in itself.

Just because you own a conference app it doesn’t mean that people are going to fight to get it without any communication effort from your behalf. It is the event organizer’s job to promote the benefits of using the event app to their attendees. In order to help it meet the ROI goals, the app has to be intensely promoted. And this can add to the marketing effort event organizers already have.

6. Why are customized apps better than off-the-shelf conference apps?

When talking about the difference between an off-the-shelf standard mobile app versus a customized or branded one, there is no better or worse. It all depends on the organizer’s needs. An off-the-shelf app is usually less expensive, less customizable and could require more persuasion skills for the attendees to adopt it. Nonetheless, is can be a very good option for low budget event organizers who want to offer a mobile app experience. The are some very good options for non-branded event apps available.

On the other hand, a customized conference app is focused entirely on the event’s brand identity, with many options for customization. At the same time, it becomes an integral part of the event experience and would be adopted more easily by the attendees. The need to explain the benefits of using an app during the event to the attendees is still there, however it’s simpler to be integrated into the overall communication plan.


Here you go – 6 great tips from a great team. If you need to get more insights, be sure to visit their app page and ask for a call. They will be happy to walk you through the app’s features and you can get a feeling of how your event would benefit from it.

How will your event app increase attendee engagement?

Technology really changed the event management game. From ticketing, badges, or payments, to the way we gather information from our attendees, everything has changed due to tech.

The rise of smartphones offered event planners the chance of adding a new asset: the event app, a powerful tool when it comes to both gathering data and engaging attendees.

EVENT APP

Attendees engagement is crucial for every event planner. And event apps are great when it comes to measuring it. Further than the show/no-show rate, we all want to know if the attendees really were connected to our event. What are they curious about? What made them lose interest? And the event app is able to gather this information for you. You will know how many people downloaded the app, how many accounts have been activated, what messages generate interest and much more. All with the help of the app’s reports and analytics. But first things first:

What is customer engagement?

Customer engagement is best defined by the guys at Intercom in their powerful “Customer engagement” ebook:

“Communicating with your customer over the course of their lifecycle to help them get to the outcome that they want”. I really love the way they put the customer first. “To get the outcome that they want!” So the best practices involve putting your customer at the center of your activity. I am sure it is not the first time you hear this idea, but it can’t harm to hear it once more. When sketching the app for your event, ask yourself: How will it help attendees? How easily can someone create an account? What’s the added value for my guests?

Event app prior to the event

You can encourage your attendees to install the app just after they buy the ticket and supply them valuable information prior to the event. But try not to overwhelm them with your messages and send only valuable information (otherwise, why would they use it?).

Make sure you provide a schedule for the event and info about the speakers/artist, this is something most people will find extremely useful.

Using the app during the event 

The best moment to engage your attendees is, of course, during your event. But make sure you don’t use it to distract them, or it may backfire. Social media integration will help your attendees’ networking efforts, but at the same time can be used to create buzz around your event.

Gamification will motivate engagement and at the same time will help your attendees network. And considering that events are based on experiences more than anything else, it is a great way to ensure a level of loyalty from your guests.  

But don’t create an event app just for gamification, a smart event management app – like Oveit – can be used for gamification without the cost of another app.

Use polls and survey to increase engagement 

What is the best way to find out what your customers really want? By simply asking them. If you can’t read minds, of course. Remember using paper and pen for surveys and polls, asking attendees to “keep one and hand the rest to the person in your left/right/back”. Those days are over and now everybody can vote or offer feedback using the event app, in a much simpler manner. For both attendees and organizers.

Offer certification for your attendees

If your event has seminar sessions hosted by certified trainers your attendees can receive a certification for attending them. And your event app can help you automate this process and send the certification to your attendees. Simply connect their personal profiles to a specific seminar and they will be able to receive the diploma when the seminar is over. You can use the app to test their skills and give certification only to those that have answered correctly to a certain number of questions.

The event app will increase the engagement of your attendees and will help you collect relevant data about your guests. But when aiming for increased customer engagement remember to use your energy so that the attendees get the outcome that they want. And the app makes no exception.