The main goal for any event is getting people there in the first place — so you probably have a pretty solid plan for promoting it to your members. (And, potentially, non-members!)
…but, that said, do you have a plan for communicating with your attendees? You ABSOLUTELY should. Whether you’ll be face-to-face, all online, or some combination of the two, keeping attendees informed and engaged is imperative to event success.
That’s why you’ll want to put together an attendee communication plan that takes into account what you should tell them about before, during, and after the event. Here’s an idea of what kind of messaging you should focus on during each phase:
Before your conference or association event
This is your biggest opportunity to not only answer frequently asked questions (i.e. is there a hotel room block?), but also build some anticipation:
- If they’ll be coming from out of town, give suggestions for places to explore and how they can make the most of their time in a new city. Also, you’ll want to provide timing and travel details well in advance.
- Is it all virtual, or is there a virtual component? This is when you should communicate exactly how they’ll join virtually, and any technical testing or setup they should take care of in advance. Don’t be afraid to over communicate these important steps!
- Encourage attendees to download your event app in advance so they can start to get familiar with it. (And, if your event is a conference or similar, build their personal itinerary.)
- Look at your promotional emails: should you be including attendees on those, too? They’re already registered of course, but definitely consider it, if the messaging will give them more reason to be excited!
During your conference or association event
You likely won’t rely on email as much during the event, but you’ll want to have some communication strategies, particularly when it comes to on-site changes:
- Again, encourage attendees to download your event app if only to get push notifications for last-minute changes or additions.
- For virtual events, you’ll want to do a little “housekeeping” at the very beginning of the day to let attendees know how to use their in-session tools. Consider communicating this throughout the day, too, for attendees who may be jumping in and out.
- If you’ll have a TV or screen (or virtual waiting room) where you can share a slide presentation, put one together that’ll loop with important information. (WIFI, where the restrooms are, contest promotions, etc.) This can easily be updated with changes and additions throughout the event, too.
- Email comes in during the event if you want to send reminders in the morning (valuable for virtual events, in particular) or a recap in the evenings — or both!
After your conference or association event
Start putting your post-event communications together before the event even starts. That way you can make quick updates and send them out without having to put too much thought into it at that point. (You’ll be too tired to even THINK about writing anything!)
- Of course, you’ll want to thank your attendees for spending their time (and, probably, money) with you! This is a good chance to also give a recap of everything they gained by attending.
- Be sure to share pictures, videos, social media screenshots, prize winners, etc. The more you can remind them about the great time they had, the more energized and excited they’ll be about your next event.
- Previous attendees are a great audience to send targeted communications to for the next event. They already had so much fun with you before, it shouldn’t be as tough to get them on board again!
- What additional value can you provide post-event? If you have a relevant blog post, white paper, eLearning course, etc. consider sharing those, too!
Be sure you make a regular practice of thinking about your attendees’ experience — that means their entire journey from registration to the weeks following — and what they might need to know about before, during, and after the event.
For even more event planning tips and tricks, download our ultimate guide below!