How to increase engagement at your next event
Here’s a reality check…
There’s no point attending or running an industry event if people don’t engage with your brand or listen to what you have to say. If attendees are distracted, reluctant to participate or avoid your team entirely, then something’s missed the mark.
It could be you’re targeting the wrong audience with the wrong message, or maybe you’re not communicating your ideas clearly or loudly enough. Whatever the reason, poor engagement at events costs time, money and resources…
Why not try some new event engagement ideas?
There are plenty of easy ways to connect with your audience at your events, from clear messaging to better branding. Read on to discover our top 7 event engagement ideas to get you started.
1. Have a clear message
Your event should have one clear and memorable message. If people are confused or have to work too hard to figure out what you’re offering, they’ll get bored and move on. People don’t have time to take in hundreds of benefits, even if you think they’re all equally important.
Pick one key takeaway and make it stand out. It’s a good idea to create a strapline or statement and use it within your marketing materials. You could display it on your stand and within event communications, making it consistent throughout.
2. Show attendees something new (and interesting!)
It sounds obvious, but the best way to boost event engagement is to get your attendees genuinely interested in something new and original. Show them something that they’ve never seen before and wow them. Tell them a new idea or share a story they haven’t heard before.
Whatever the topic, try to fill your event with interesting and relevant information. This way, you won’t have to convince people to get involved – they will want to be a part of what’s going on. You could host a live product demonstration or put on some entertainment.
For example, we recently took a new machine to Confex North. The Ripple Maker prints images and text on top of freshly made coffees. Throughout the event, it brought over hundreds of visitors and created a buzz around our stand. Why? Because people had never seen their face on a coffee before! It was a brilliantly simple way to get people engaged and start the conversation.
— The Barista (@TheBaristaUK) July 8, 2019
— cUStomised (@cUStomisedUoS) July 4, 2019
3. Keep up communications before, during and after
It’s likely your event isn’t the first your attendees have been to that year or even that month. Make sure you keep them excited with announcements, teasers and insider information. If you show your audience why the event shouldn’t be missed, it’ll help boost it to the top of their agendas.
4. Have branding in all the right places
It might seem like a trivial detail to some, but branding helps keep your company front of mind. This is particularly important at large events and exhibitions where you’re competing with hundreds of other brands.
Branding should be clear, consistent and considered. You don’t need a huge, flashing logo at the centre of your stand. Instead, place your company name, logo and strapline in several key places and on all the materials you hand out.
Finally, make sure your employees and anyone representing your company are wearing your branding somewhere (a name badge or branded lanyard, for instance). This will mean it’s immediately clear to visitors who they’re speaking to and they are less likely to forget.
5. Fill your event with welcoming, friendly faces
If attendees think your team or employees aren’t engaged with the event, they won’t be either. Make sure everyone involved knows what they’re doing and fill them in on details about the event plan and venue. Then if anyone asks a question, your team will be able to answer easily.
External suppliers should be prepared to greet your guests with a smile and be on hand to help if asked. By making it clear your business is well prepared and proactively trying to provide a positive experience, attendees are more likely to be receptive and switched on throughout the event.
6. Give visitors what they need (and want)
People don’t attend industry events for the sake of it. They are looking to learn something new, improve their business or discover alternative ways of working. If you can tick any of those boxes with your messaging, you’ll stand a better chance of catching the attention of your audience.
In addition to sharing industry insight, it’s a good idea to provide something guests might want or need during the event. This could be a tasty treat, a fun freebie or a nice sit down after a long day. Although this tactic isn’t going to directly make sales, it provides a way to break the ice and engage visitors in further conversation.
7. Make sure every box is ticked – within minimal hiccups
We’re all human and small mix-ups can happen. However, if too many things start going wrong or your event is quite disorganised, people will notice. This will almost certainly disengage your attendees as it will look like you haven’t put the effort in.
You need to make everything appear seamless (even if only from the outside!) and fix any minor issues as you go. If people know what’s going on and have everything they need, they are much more likely to concentrate and engage with the main event.