Jay Tokosch is CEO and co-founder of Core-apps, an event technology company that supports more than 50% of the Top 250 Trade Shows and is the only platform offering Event Management, Mobile Apps, Beacons and Kiosks as 4 tier-one solutions.
Keep Your Corporate Event App from Being Deleted – and Use it as a Year-Round Engagement Tool
Event attendees don't just want a mobile event app. They expect it. Mobile event apps create a better user experience – making schedule-building, networking, wayfinding, and attendee engagement and interaction more efficient and trackable than ever before.
But what happens once the event is over? Without a plan in place, that time, energy and resources put into developing your corporate event app can quickly be forgotten. Or worse, the app gets the dreaded “delete.”
There is a way to keep your event app relevant and out of the trash bin. Event Planners should shift thinking of their mobile event app as a one-off, and start thinking about it as a year-round audience engagement tool.
Maximize Your Event App Investment
Think about the plan you put in place to generate awareness about your mobile app leading up to your event. In addition to the investment to develop the event app, you probably spend a sizeable amount of time on content to drive downloads and encourage adoption.
Why in the world do we let all of that come to a halt after the momentum we worked so hard to create in the first place?
Once your community members download your event app, it’s a priceless opportunity for your organization to be with them virtually 24/7. Capitalize on that momentum to make your investment worthwhile.
A Tipping Point for Corporate Events and Associations
The concept of using event apps for year-round engagement isn’t new, in fact it’s been at a tipping point for a while, but it’s quickly gaining widespread adoption.
Organizations and attendees have started embracing the concept for two main reasons:
- Your event audience is also your content audience
An event app is already designed to facilitate event communication. It’s a perfect vehicle to keep year-round communication too. Email newsletters are great, but standing out among dozens and dozens of other newsletters is a challenge. Getting information out through an event app – especially if it’s time-sensitive – is a much more effective approach today.
The event app can also be used as another delivery vehicle for branded storytelling or content marketing initiatives. Sharing short, Twitter-friendly information via an event app’s targeted alerts or push notifications is a great way to build and maintain a multi-channel communications strategy.
- Promote ongoing value for audience members
Sure, many event attendees find value in the annual event. But there are many other efforts happening the other 360 days a year that deserve attention too. Your event app offers real-time engagement for an audience on the move.
Appealing to Digital Native Attendees
Many organizations are making changes in their communication strategy to appeal to younger generations. Digital natives who have grown up on apps tend to prefer a platform that allows them to find information fast and easy. No websites or URLs to remember, or multiple clicks to find research or a member directory. An event app at the core of your year-round engagement strategy means all of your organization’s information is literally at their fingertips.
Plus, compared to “searching” for information on an organization’s website, there’s a whole different “browse” mentality that event apps enable. Event apps also make it easier for audience members to easily browse to find what they’re looking for.
A Blueprint for Turning Your Event App into a Year-Round Engagement Tool
Ok, so it’s obvious there is tremendous value to turning your event app into a year-round engagement tool. But you’re probably wondering how do you actually make it happen?
Here is a breakdown in the types of events that are the best fit for on-going engagement through the event app:
- Internal meetings – light features for on-going meetings that may also meet in multiple markets
- User group meetings – extending content and updates to the entire community
- Big shows that have exhibitors – keep the momentum going year-round with updates and alerts
To get it all done, start with the technology platform. A product like Access 365° makes it easy. The platform is the essential starting point of your communications hub.
Next, you’ll want to keep the app “sticky” – meaning audience members return again and again to it as their trusted source for information – with valuable content year-round. Just like you carefully orchestrate the content you push out through your app during the event, you’ll want to give the same thoughtful to the content you share throughout the year on the app.
- One of the most used features of a year-round event app is attendee networking. Just like event attendees can find and network with each other, app users can utilize the same features to get in touch with colleagues.
- Your calendar of events. Attendees most likely have the big annual conference saved on their calendar. But it’s just as important to make it easy to find upcoming dates for small events or webinars too. And with the calendar at their fingertips, it’s easier to keep up-to-date with the schedule.
- Another valuable content strategy is to use the app to deliver important news alerts/push notifications. Emails about next week’s networking event may get lost in the inbox. But a short push notification delivered through the event app two weeks before an event, is a timely and relevant reminder to register.
This feature is also great for companies that need to get information out about company updates, industry news, potential policy changes, pending legislation or other information needing attention right away. Immediate push notifications can quickly mobilize your audience to voice their concerns or approvals.
- To keep attendees up-to-date on important industry happenings, consider adding RSS feeds into your app’s news icon, as well as other news items like new blog posts or trade press articles.
- And of course, add in your social media, as well as links to any websites to make it easy for members to stay connected with you on multiple channels.
One other unexpected benefit of using an app as the communication hub – built-in analytics make it easy to see what’s trending and how members engage with different pieces of content.
Driving Year-Round Usage
The key to driving year-round usage is rolling out the concept during your annual event. There is typically a large influx of app downloads around your event. From a timing perspective, it makes sense to capitalize on the popularity and momentum, when app downloads are trending
App Benefits Aren’t Only for Attendees
While there are tremendous benefits for event attendees, organizations benefit greatly too. Organizations can realize additional revenue streams by selling app sponsorships or combining third-party sponsorships on their website – driving additional sponsor exposure and recognition.
And just like the analytics and insights into content and resources being used by attendees, organizations can use the app’s built-in tools to keep a real-time pulse on audience needs.
Bottom line: More engagement equals a positive revenue stream for the entire organization.
Interested in learning more about how to leverage your event app investment for year-round engagement? Schedule a demo with the Core-apps team.
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