Top Ways to Increase Engagement at your Events

Photo Courtesy of CES 2019

Any organizer who has been in the business for long knows that event engagement is an excellent way of measuring the effectiveness of your events. Simply put, engagement is how fully your attendees are participating and how much of their attention your event has captured. If attendees are tuning out or working on other things, you’ve lost them. So it’s important to captivate your audience, from the moment they arrive until the event doors are closed. But how?

Encourage Real-Time Feedback

Asking event attendees what they thought of the event after it’s over is a useful way to improve your outreach. But when guests have a great experience or need someone to complain to, they want to be heard right now. The good news is, since every one of your attendees is likely carrying a phone, you can make that happen easily.

Create a virtual suggestion box and publish it before the event even begins, allowing them to have input through the registration process and leading up to the big day (or days). Include polls and survey questions in presentations or on event literature. Encourage them to text your brand or engage with social media via targeted hashtags, then be sure to monitor and respond to those feeds in real time. Create an event app that allows them to interact with and give feedback on every part of your event, in real time. The options are endless and often easily implemented with the help of current event management technology.

Skip the Lines with a Digital Waitlist App like NextME

Nothing will lose a captive audience quicker than to make them stand around and wait. If you want to keep your attendees engaged and excited about your event, allow them to skip the lines and spend that time learning, networking, or exploring instead. One simple and effective way to manage this is with the NextME app. It allows attendees to sign in quickly and then go do other things while they wait for a panel to start or an interactive experience to be ready.

Rather than forcing visitors to stand around waiting their turn, NextME allows them to sign in with just a few simple details. The app will then text them a link that includes a countdown to their place in line. You can customize this link to include all sorts of information, links to your social media, prompts to help them engage further with your brand, and even interact with your eCommerce site. They can then wander the event as they please, spend some time networking with other attendees, or go grab a snack or a quick drink. A few minutes before their spot is ready, the app will prompt them to return. They can confirm or cancel their reserved spot with a quick return text. During and after the event, you’ll get insightful and actionable reports on everyone who checked in, allowing for easy follow-up and feedback. And all of this without requiring them to download a thing!

Make Networking Simple and Fun  

One of the biggest reasons for attending in-person events is the ability to network with peers across the industry. Not only that, good networking automatically means increased engagement and a more favorable response to your event. Why not make it easier with fun and interactive networking games?

Create a networking scavenger hunt, where attendees have to interact with one another to fill in a list. Use simple prompts like, “find someone with the same initials as yourself,” or “find someone celebrating a birthday this month.” Once they’ve completed the hunt, they’re in the running for a door prize or other gift. They’ll meet tons of new people, have fun doing it, and possibly walk away with a prize.

Encourage smaller networking groups. Large networking mixers can be intimidating, and it’s often hard to find the right contacts in a room of hundreds of people. Instead, have your attendees fill out questionnaires at registration and then use the data to place them into smaller, targeted groups of 20-25 people. This will help to encourage more meaningful connections and provide increased value for attendees.