Mobile has penetrated our daily activities. People are on their mobile devices while they’re working out, shopping, at work, at home and also while they’re at events.
A recent survey by Harris Poll reported that 5 percent of people who live in the Northeastern U.S. are on their mobiles 100 percent of the time when they’re at an event. And 14 percent of those on the West Coast are on their smartphones 50 percent or more during an event.
Since everyone is bringing their smartphones to events, how can event planners make use of this tool to boost event engagement? Mobile can help you gather valuable data, improve attendee experience and monetize your event.
Mobile apps, texting and sign-up forms optimized for mobile and mobile games all help ensure successful event turnouts and increased satisfaction with the event itself. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of mobile for attendee engagement:
Mobile apps are ideal to engage your event attendees. There are lots of ways to make an event a more meaningful experience both for attendees and for the group hosting it. The Aventri Mobile App helps planners reach out to participants before, during and after the event.
Before the Event:
- Send out a poll to find out what attendees want from the event. Planners can provide more tailored experience based on responses. Speakers can also plan their talk around the interests of the audience.
- Encourage participants to connect with each other through the apps’ messaging system
- Send out reminders and helpful information
During the Event:
- Send push notifications to let them know what’s going on and where
- Allow attendees to organize and bookmark speakers or exhibitions that they want to see
After the Event:
- Post slides, photos and videos of the event
- Send out polls asking how it was
- Send thank you messages to event participants
- Let them know about upcoming events
Text messaging is a highly efficient and popular form of communication with nearly 100 percent open rates. When you consider the alternatives such as voicemail and email, a text is much more likely to be opened and read.
Many bulk text services even allow you to see if your text was received or not. In addition, text messaging requires the least from the recipient. They don’t have to download an app or even own a smartphone. Nor do they have to be connected to the internet. That means SMS has one of the widest reaches among all available channels.
In the case study for Behind the Noise, a music business education program, Project Manager Rico Capuano uses texting to let kids know about upcoming events. Capuano commented that
“Although we use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to communicate with the young people, none of them are anywhere near 100% effective whereas SMS text appears to be used by over 85% of our young people and so it is the number one way to communicate.”
If you’ve done your marketing well and have gotten the word out on SMS, social media and mobile apps, then you should be aware that many of your attendees will be signing up for your event on their smartphones. And if you don’t have a form that’s mobile-friendly, you might lose those hard-won event enthusiasts.
Mobile optimized forms take into consideration the experience of the mobile user - for example, drop-down forms are helpful to someone trying to fill in the necessary fields on a small screen. And allowing for auto-fill for name, address and credit card information saves them from having to peck out all this stuff before their battery runs out.
Your mobile form should also be a shortened version of your desktop form. You want to make the process as fast as possible for a couple of reasons:
- Mobile users are subject to more interruptions while filling out (phone calls, messages, dying batteries)
- Mobile users are also more likely to fill out a form “on the go” and are in an environment where they may not have the time or concentration to fill out a long form
Bottom line: The easier your mobile form is to complete, the higher level of attendance and engagement your event will have.
Planners who make good use of that fact that most event attendees will have their smartphones with them can reach new levels of engagement. Rather than having attendees walk blindly around the event space or sit in an auditorium and listen passively, planners can involve attendees by having them participate in the event through mobile “games.”
Here are a couple ideas for how to gamify your event using mobile:
- Social media. Offer a gift to attendees who have published the most liked/shareable posts on social media that include the event’s hashtag. Apps like LiveTweetApp allow you to display tweets on a screen during an event presentation.
- Booth interaction. There are lots of apps that allow participants to engage in scavenger hunts or challenge them to visit as many booths as possible.
Mobile pay is the future and allowing participants to pay for goods and services at your event with their smartphones can boost event engagement. In fact, 66 percent of millennials would like to be able to purchase things at an event with their smartphones
Event planners who incorporate mobile into their strategy see positive results from bringing in bigger crowds and fostering higher levels of engagement at the event. Go ahead and make smart use of mobile to improve your event!
About the Author
Alexa Lemzy is the customer support manager and content editor at TextMagic blog. She writes mainly about mobile customer service, engagement and customer loyalty. You can reach her at @Alexa_Lemzy to ask questions if you have any or check other articles.