CBI Scene Blog

Event Mobile App Engagement: How to Drive Attendee Participation

Posted by Christine DeFazio on Apr 26, 2013 12:08:00 PM

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Purchasing a mobile app can be a new and intimidating move for any organization. Whether you outsource or build your app in-house, you know the endless benefits it will not only bring you with respect to savings and organization, but your attendees as well. Getting them to adopt the event app and interact can be more challenging if you’re unprepared. Depending on what type of app you’ve chosen you can design various strategies into your mobile management plan to ensure you are taking every step possible to make the most of your investment. You also want to confirm that your app will have analytics (Tip #1) to measure not only the engagement rates, demographics, devices, etc. but with the most detailed reporting you can further improve future events. Learn what you could do better, what was most popular, who to target, and much more.

If you’ve chosen a native app, your attendees will have the best end-user experience possible. You will have the ability to submit your app to multiple app stores making the app mobile device friendly across the board. Here’s Tip #2 – make the user experience a positive one! Internet connection can also be unreliable onsite. No worries! With your native app, users can still see the latest version of your app content. If the app is hard to see, only available on one type of device, or cumbersome, you are missing out on opportunities for engagement.

Whether you’re hosting a user conference or incentive trip, you have lots of vital information to share with your group, so how do you get your attendees to pull out those mobile devices and utilize your mobile app? Throughout promotion and engagement processes, remember your event mobile app objective to ensure you stay on task. There are plenty of ideas to incorporate before and during the event to drive high levels of interaction.

Before the Event

1. Promote your app on your event website

Your event site is the hub for all event information, agendas, registration forms, and various other details. Chances are your attendees will have to visit this site more than once. Create a page within your site about the app and get attendees excited. Provide them with app screenshots, How-To’s on downloading the app to their specific device, and incentives for interacting.

2. Publicize the app & create buzz

Create a Press Release for distribution in your email communications and throughout your industry. Be your own hype man! Be sure to always dedicate a section within all emails promoting your app.

3. Make a how-to video

Why not make a short 20 second instructional/promotional video which would warm up those hesitant attendees to the idea of using the app? Highlight the ease of use as well as how awesome it is to not have to carry a heavy conference binder anymore!

4. QR codes everywhere

Create a QR code that takes attendees to the app promotional page within your even site or a QR code that will drive them to your app video to learn more. Be sure to include a bit.ly link so they can access the store should they not have a QR scanner. Include your codes in social media updates, on signage throughout event venue, at registration areas, and on badges or tickets.

5. Attendee Lists

Want to drive networking and curiosity through engagement? This is a good one before and during the event. If you’re using an event management system, you can directly integrate your attendee list into your event app. This is a great opportunity to spark curiosity and engagement! Your attendees can see who’s attending, which of their colleagues from other departments or offices are attending, who they can network with and what business opportunities lie ahead.

During the Event

1. Design creative app signage

Throughout your venue you should have reminders for attendees to download your app and a quick 1,2,3 on how to do so. Include a “Hey, did you know …” message on centerpieces, networking areas, mobile charging stations, on swag, near restrooms, go crazy!

2. Gamification

Create a game for your attendees, which will drive networking and interaction among other attendees as well as your sponsors and/or exhibitors. Creating competition will get them on their phones. And of course, make sure your prize is awesome! Try networking Bingo, or QR code scavenger hunts, the sky’s the limit.

3. Train your staff

Ensure your entire staff is not only aware of your app, but that they are also trained on how to download it as well as navigate. Have designated staff throughout your event at mobile app stations or if you have mobile charging stations, take advantage and promote the app at the booths via signage and staff.

4. Include polls and surveys

You want their feedback and powerful, positive app analytics. Include surveys and polls allowing for instant event feedback, questions for guest speakers and vital information for future events. Keep it short and simple and your participants will surely chime in.

5. Social Feeds

You probably have an event hash tag so embed social feeds into your app. Allow attendees to post photos and share comments with your #eventhashtag and pull those feeds back into your app. This will drive further interest in what other exciting opportunities are taking place within your event.

Key takeaways …

Make time for your event app strategy, understand your audience and make sure you offer the support and nurturing they need to get inspired to take advantage of all your app has to offer. Start early and be consistent during and even after your event.

  • Develop a strategy for your app and driving engagement
  • Include powerful app analytics
  • Drive interest with games, surveys, social buzz and important notifications
  • Be creative include video, QR codes, and prizes
  • Train staff to be your app promoters and gurus to help your attendees
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Christine DeFazio is the resident Content & Communications Specialist for SignUp4 and has been active in the software and technology industry for over five years. Christine is responsible for spearheading overall content efforts, strategic thought leadership, branding and customer acquisition through online initiatives. Prior to joining SignUp4, Christine managed the marketing program for software escrow leader Escrow Associates, a NCC company. A Maryland native, Christine resides in Atlanta, Ga. and holds a master's degree in business administration and healthcare management from University of Phoenix.

Topics: Brand & Digital Strategy, Meeting Management