Creating a truly memorable event experience for attendees goes far beyond the four walls of the venue. From the moment attendees receive the invitation to a company event, you can begin to craft the ultimate attendee experience. Here are a few ways to set the tone for your event, create excitement, and get attendees engaged before they set foot at your event.
1. Maximize the Impact of Your Pre-Event Communication
While this may seem obvious, you can harness the opportunity in pre-event communication to build anticipation and engagement with attendees. This means going one step beyond a fancy, funny, or eyebrow-raising invitation. People love a good surprise, and a well-thought-out pre-event communication strategy can help you give them one.
Rather than simply sending emails when you have details to communicate, be strategic and use those pre-event touch-points to create mystery, anticipation, and excitement for what’s coming. If you use an email marketing tool such as Aventri or Constant Contact, you can create beautiful emails that are themed and branded to match your event, adding a consistent feel that subtly builds anticipation.
Sending a series of emails over a set period of time leading to the event kickoff can heighten excitement and increase engagement with each message.
2. Build a Following on Your Company Social Network
If your organization uses an internal social network, take advantage of this slightly-less-formal medium to build excitement. Use it for all it’s worth by posting sneak peeks, polls, and clues that intrigue and involve attendees in ways you simply could not achieve 20 years ago.
Social media is also a forum for insights that can help you maximize the relevance and effectiveness of your event. For example, you could post a poll about what team building activities people would prefer — the results might surprise you but that way you are able to select an activity that you know your attendees will love.
Social media is such an easy, fun way to build anticipation for your event, so you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to make serious strides in engaging your attendees.
3. Call Attention to Your Event App
If it’s in your budget to have an app built for your event, why not maximize the investment in that app and use it for more than just the day of the event? Of course you will need to build in enough lead time to have the app built and tested, and ensure that it’s user-friendly, but then there are plenty of ways to use an event app before the event begins. You can release hints about the event, provide key information about timing, location, and accommodations, travel tips, and an overview of the agenda.
This is a great way to create an amazing, attendee-centric experience, and make it easy and exciting for attendees to engage with. Even if an app isn’t in the budget, you can use some of those same strategies in your email marketing and social media campaigns.
4. Enlist the Help of Industry or Company Influencers
Whether your corporate event is a sales meeting, a team building event, or launching a new initiative or product, enlist the help of relevant influencers at your organization to help you build interest. These people champion the event, get their colleagues excited about what’s to come, and reinforce the value everyone will get from attending.
When you think of people to enlist, think about who in your organization has influence in the area you are promoting — someone whose opinion is valued by their peers and will promote the event in a positive light. Influencers can be anyone, from executives to mid-level managers, to individual contributors; role is not the most important factor here. And don’t limit yourself to one or two — pick people at each level, or in each department, to really maximize your level of pre-event attendee engagement.
Generating pre-event engagement goes a long way towards creating a memorable experience for attendees. By using your pre-event communications, social media, your app if you have one, and your influencers’ voices, you can build excitement, distribute important information effectively, get feedback from attendees to help you hit the bull's-eye, and set the stage for a high level of attendee engagement on event day.