Defining what makes a conference a hit is a baffling matter, especially in today’s highly competitive environment where a fascinating host city and a cost-effective planning phase are not enough to guarantee maximum impact; or to put in differently, delegate retention. It takes year-round efforts and well thought out activities to get people coming back and ensure conference success.
Here are a few tips to consider before delving into developing a solid strategy:
Focus on tailoring your communication to maximise retention
Keeping in mind that there are different types of delegates it should come as no surprise that your communication strategy should alter depending on each type. It is misleading to assume that because someone attended last year’s conference, specialised communications wouldn’t make a difference. It is important for your conference success to court them with compelling learning opportunities and show them that there are still new and valuable connections to make. Whether it is networking and emerging innovations, or new activities in the host city, customise your message in alignment with what types of offerings would be interesting for them and highlight the added value of attending next year.
Embrace social platforms
Even though social media automation tools will increase the volume of your posts – a tactic which comes in rather handy during the busy times of a conference – it isn’t enough to increase engagement, and hence increase returning attendee numbers. This means your posts should appeal to your past attendees and bring back riveting moments from their previous experiences. Try publishing visual content which gives a nostalgic behind-the-scenes feel, reminds delegates of people they met and even provide them with flashback pictures they took together. Help them remember the value of their past attendance and they are most likely to anticipate the same for your next edition.
Build your online community for all-year round engagement
Tight travel schedules and urging work demands may sometimes obstruct the final session attendance, or even get in the way of you interacting with your target delegates. Nonetheless, one of the top reasons delegates return to your conference each time is the relationships they build or rekindle while attending. Therefore, developing an online community is a catalyst for engagement, as it allows your past attendees to stay connected and retain dialogue. Not only that, but an online community can also be a platform for knowledge exchange and more in-depth discussion about the topics covered during the conference, building excitement and anticipation for the next edition.
Whichever tools you deem suitable to answer your association challenges, make sure you are always present to stimulate conversation and stir excitement. Whether you are looking for ways to uplift the overall experience, boost engagement or activate your audiences, our association experts can help you solve your challenges and unlock opportunities for your conference success, so visit us at association.mci-group.com.