Here’s a fun forecast: The number of mobile users worldwide is expected to reach 7.26 billion in 2020. With (nearly) the entire human population walking around with a mobile device in their pocket, it should come as no surprise that people expect a certain level of connectivity in their experiences. Businesses can tap into this potential with a mobile app for their events.
Meeting and conference attendees increasingly expect ways to engage organizers, presenters, and each other – from the moment they register until months after the event. Mobile event apps can be integrated with an online community platform to drive engagement prior to and following an event. This can help demonstrate value to attendees and improve their overall experience.
Let’s get ‘appy and talk about how organizations can cost-effectively enable staff, attendees, speakers, and sponsors to connect and provide feedback during a conference or other event.
Mobile Event Apps: No Laptop? No Problem
A steady rise in mobile users is exciting because it means more opportunity, but it also translates to higher expectations (especially on-the-go). People want to stay connected.
In an effort to drive value, many associations, users groups, nonprofits, and corporations are turning to mobile event platforms to engage their community during conferences and meetings.
Here are 8 practical ways to use a mobile app to make a big impact at your next event:
1. Disseminate event information with real-time updates
Have you ever asked a person wearing a watch what time it is, only for them to fully disregard said watch and fish their phone out of their pocket for the answer? When modern-day folks have a question – be it the time, weather, or the name of that guy who acted in that one movie that’s escaping them – they often turn to their mobile devices first.
At your event, if given the preference, this means people will likely seek answers through your mobile app rather than a paper program (which is still important, but you can minimize costs and environmental impact by printing less of them).
Plus, how is your paper program going to hold up when one of your speakers drops out last minute because they got hit with the flu?
Mobile event apps can allow you to manage event content in real time with a user-friendly backend portal. Using a mobile event app, all relevant information is in one place and it’s simple to modify, giving attendees easy access to the schedule. You can update information at any time and notify attendees instantly, ensuring a smoother experience in the event of a cancelled session or last minute location change.
2. Provide attendees access to their registration information
Despite all the hard work and event planning in the world, someone is bound to run into a hiccup with the logistics of their event registration. And when that happens, your mobile app can swoop in to save the day by centralizing their registration information in one easy-to-find place.
Not only is this beneficial for your attendees, but it will increase the efficiency of your staff.
3. Improve event navigation with a mobile map
About that last minute location change… no one loves to break a sweat running to the wrong conference room. A mobile app that is equipped with an event app is incredibly beneficial for attendees. Being able to access an event map can help them familiarize themselves with the space prior to the event or meeting (bonus peace of mind for first timers or out-of-state attendees), while access during the event can help streamline timely attendance.
4. Enable attendees to search, browse, or change their agenda
Maps will help attendees navigate an event, while a detailed agenda on your mobile app will help them understand what’s really going on when they get there. Giving attendees access to an agenda through your mobile app prior to an event, such as an annual conference, can help drum up excitement and drive more people to download it. Get the buzz going in your online community by offering rewards to customers or members who download and use the app.
At the event, the ability to modify their agenda will help attendees stay organized, informed, and on schedule to engage and participate in the elements of the event that matter most to them.
Overall, the ability to create a customized itinerary will help personalize and improve the attendee experience. The agenda for your event should also be available on your website (like this one that’s coming together for Higher Logic’s 10th Annual Super Forum).
5. Search the attendee list
Have you ever invited someone to a party only for them to ask “who all is going to be there?” before confirming or denying if they’ll attend? Have you ever been that person? Same. There’s something comforting about knowing who you might (or might not) run into at an event. Mobile event apps can allow attendees to create a personal event profile use a comprehensive search tool to find and engage with other colleagues and attendees who have similar interests.
6. Partner up to promote exhibitor & sponsor information
Reese Witherspoon once said, “I think the most profound thing you can do if you are an artist or a community builder is just throw love at the world, in any capacity you can.” For the sake of this example, you should also be throwing love at your proud event partners! Let them get in on the action. A mobile event app provides a great opportunity to promote sponsors and boost the visibility of exhibitors, keeping your attendees informed and engaged every step of the way.
Why you should pay attention: Mobile event apps can help you generate additional revenue through sponsored ad space and push notifications.
7. Publish an event blog or newsletter
In the weeks leading up to the event (and following it) you can use your online community and mobile event app platforms to share knowledge. Being notified with relevant, timely information in the form of a mobile-friendly blog or newsletter can help drive engagement and build stronger connections for future conferences and events. People love talking points, so be sure to provide them long after your event is over with content that keeps the conversation going.
Need examples? You’re in luck. Take a look at the type of blogs we shared last year to boost event engagement around Super Forum, our annual customer conference in November (which, of course, has a mobile app).
In the months leading up to the event, we shared content like this:
Following Super Forum, we seized the opportunity to share resources like this:
The latter piece congratulates our Super Forum attendees who were awarded for success in online community and marketing automation, letting our readers in on their stories. Do you see how these types of resources can drive value to event attendees as well as your organization?
8. Monitor social media feeds + hashtags
Lastly – who doesn’t love a livestream? Using a mobile event app, attendees can browse a customized dashboard where they can receive event updates in real time and tag posts or photos during the event for greater interaction and virtual participation.
You can monitor this activity for informed feedback about the satisfaction of your attendees – are they having fun? Are they upset? What about confused? If so, seize the opportunity to swiftly step in and improve their experience.
Also, it’ll help to establish a dedicated hashtag for your event and promote it within your mobile event app, online community, and other social engagement platforms.
A catchy informative hashtag can unite your community and boost event awareness. Be sure to monitor the hashtag on your social media feeds, looking for opportunities to drive people to download your mobile event app. If they’re seeking an answer that exists within the app, guide them to it.
Boost the Success of Mobile Event Apps with Engagement Tools
If you want to build on the engagement momentum and buzz that your local events and annual conference boasts, your event deserves a functioning mobile app. Offering attendees access to a mobile event app or online community app is all about helping them streamline the success of their experience with your organization, facilitating meaningful interactions along the way.
Engagement tools like online community, marketing automation, and mobile event apps have the ability to work together to collect invaluable behavior data ideal for informing your future event strategy decisions. Harnessing this type of data can allow you to deliver the personalized experience that people have grown to expect when communicating online.
When all is said and done, the success of your events is measured by the experience you deliver. So, utilize event mobile apps and other engagement tools to help shape that experience into a memorable one that drives value to your attendees and community members.
Explore the resources in Higher Logic’s Event Success Kit below to learn more about strategies to manage and promote all phases of your events: before, during, and after.