Here are some strategies to maximize your attendees’ mobile app engagement:
- Message early and often: Most event professionals would not rely on one advertisement or one email or social media post to promote their upcoming event. Your company likely employs a variety of communication vehicles – email, direct mail, digital and print advertisements, and social networking – to attract the attention of prospective attendees. Follow this same approach to increase attendee mobile app awareness. Programming for your mobile app may begin well in advance of your event, and some information may not be available for publication. Awareness, however, still builds over time, and your messaging stands to gain greater traction when the message is repeated early and often.
- Make it social: Social media success depends greatly on engagement. Harness the power and reach of your social media channels in creative ways to encourage your followers to download and utilize your mobile app. Communicate to your followers that your app is fun to use!
- Make it visual: Popular social media sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and, more recently, Snapchat, have garnered large audiences due to the compelling visual images these platforms offer. Studies consistently demonstrate that social media posts that include video or photos perform better than those that do not. Adopt this approach and incorporate visual elements from your mobile app in your outreach efforts. For example, show screenshots or short video snippets that demonstrate the practical elements of your product.
- Demo your mobile masterpiece: Attendees who are reluctant to utilize your fabulous app will appreciate some free technical support, especially if they struggle with or are intimidated by technology. Present a short, complimentary webinar that focuses on the basic user process, from downloads to updates. More sophisticated technology users may appreciate a more involved tutorial that addresses the bells and whistles that the app provides. Ask your mobile app provider if a video tutorial can be incorporated directly into the app. Incorporate visual and social media components in your approach by broadcasting your demo on Facebook Live or on Periscope, a live streaming video mobile app. A help desk located in your registration area will be a welcome rest stop for reluctant mobile app adopters as well.
- Incentivize your end user: People respond to different stimuli and are sometimes motivated by competition, challenges or prizes. Which creative concepts can you employ to engage those who download your mobile app? For example, some mobile apps contain the necessary infrastructure to support games, contests or even quizzes.
- Recruit and employ mobile app ambassadors: Identify and recruit a small pool of enthusiastic mobile app superusers who are willing to serve as “app ambassadors.” Look to committee chairs and other volunteer leaders during your search. Their passion for your organization and interest in the technology can help to engage late adopters. Messages from a peer or a mentor should supplement your outreach efforts to engage reluctant users.
The timeless adage holds, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Mobile apps represent a direct and unique path for organizations to connect with their event attendees. Equally important, however, is the ability of a mobile app to connect attendees with their peers, sponsors and exhibitors, and with potential opportunities. While improving mobile app adoption and engagement rates can be challenging, it need not be a permanent roadblock. Collect formal and informal feedback from your attendees and stakeholders on your mobile app’s successes as well as areas that might need some improvement. Technology changes rapidly, and new advances will increase your mobile app’s value to attendees in the future. One of our greatest responsibilities as planners is to deliver engaging and meaningful events to our meeting attendees. A comprehensive and powerful mobile event app can contribute significantly to that effort. Boosting attendee adoption rates is just the icing on the cake.