Whether you’re hosting a small-scale networking event, a sprawling fundraising gala or a multi-day professional conference, generating buzz is essential for ensuring your event is well-attended by excited guests ready to engage with your work.
While leveraging planning and hospitality trends can help you give guests a fantastic, relevant experience, don’t forget to cover the basics first.
Let’s walk through four sometimes neglected, but highly effective, tactics for generating more buzz about your next event.
For large-scale or annual events that guests look forward to and plan to attend well in advance, merchandise can actively encourage early engagement. Why not ask early-bird registrants to vote on their favorite t-shirt design? Offer a special deal to registered attendees on the limited-edition logo gear for that year’s conference, allowing guests to purchase or request theirs online in the weeks prior to the event.
Creating more opportunities to engage with your branded event merch can significantly boost its impact. A custom apparel platform can make these early-bird sales easier to manage by moving it all online, giving you a big picture view of sales, processing payments and shipping the items directly to customers.
While it makes for efficient planning, a one-size-fits-all approach can blind your team to great opportunities to make your event unique. For instance, you might be missing the chance to make your event even more exciting for guests by neglecting the bigger picture of your venue.
Professional events hosted on college campuses are a perfect example. Universities tend to have a wide variety of spaces available for use during events, so don’t feel compelled to stick to the ballroom or conference space if the specifics of your event don’t require it.
Which would you be more excited to attend? A standard, mid-sized professional meetup in a conference center or an open-air networking event in a university’s botanical garden? Sharing photos of the unique space in advance can help sell tickets and get people excited.
Mobile Engagement Tools
Event planners of all types have embraced the power of smartphones to boost engagement during events, but these tools and strategies should extend beyond simply creating a mobile-optimized event website.
Make the most of your mobile apps to deliver important information in real time. Allow attendees to customize their session schedules or reach out to other attendees. These simple steps could be game-changers for your guests, getting them more engaged than ever.
For nonprofit fundraising events, particularly annual galas and charity auctions, investing in mobile bidding can increase donation intake, simplify logistics and get more guests excited to attend. If your nonprofit hosts auctions, this comparison of top mobile bidding products by OneCause can help get you started.
Value and Convenience
Don’t let the nitty-gritty details of planning distract you from your real focus: the guests! One way to embrace this mindset is to periodically review your plans and ask yourself two questions:
- Is this event offering value to guests?
- Can it be made more convenient for guests?
Convenient locations, dates and times are essential, but providing smarter options in the registration or online merchandise sales processes can go a long way to improving the guest experience.
Kevin Penney is CMO and co-founder of Bonfire.com, a company that’s reinventing how people create, sell and purchase custom apparel. He has more than 10 years of experience in digital media, design, and technology.