When incorporated correctly, digital can light a fire in your attendees. Often, people think adding a digital element means disengaging attendees by taking them from the convention floors to their phone screens. But digital is the bridge between your attendees and the experience you want them to have. Offline-online audience journey is a cyclical one that your attendees need to experience in order to be fully immersed in your convention or meeting experience.

MoreFrom Distraction to Engagement Supercharger: Putting Your Audiences’ Phones to Use

To get started, here are four engaging conference ideas that incorporate digital:

1. Elevate Your Event App Tactics 

It’s common for conferences or meetings to incorporate an app that includes an agenda or other logistical information, but chances are, they’re not taking advantage of the app’s full capabilities. Whether this means adding gamification, a private social feed, live audience interaction, or interactive maps, take full advantage of your app’s capabilities to increase your attendees’ engagements.

2. Incorporate Real-Time Feedback in Communication Tools

Your audience engagement ideas need to include tactics that allow you to gather direct feedback and observe at-event behavior of your attendees both in real-time and pre- and post-event. For example, using these tools during your convention can help you find heavily trafficked spots and prevent bottlenecks, or help inform when to use push notifications to indicate sudden changes. And getting attendees’ feedback during or immediately after an event is a much stronger indicator than soliciting it days or even weeks later.

3. Play with Gamified Networking Ideas

Through noninvasive, but engaging tactics, you can deliver value by creating ways for them to build relationships with one another beyond scheduled breaks and social events. Offer attendees points or digital stamps for connecting with someone on the event app and collecting their contact info. This is a prime example of bridging online and offline experiences.

4. Enhance Your Pre- and Post-Event Touchpoints

When you’re looking for ways to engage your audience, pre- and post-event communications are as essential as during-event communications; however, it’s easy to fall short in both areas. For pre-event touchpoints, provide attendees with useful content about what’s in store and proactively give them guidelines detailing how they can make the most of their time. After the convention, remind attendees of popular moments from the event and use social sharing buttons to help them post their experiences to their networks. Remember, throughout all your communications, let your attendees know what’s in it for them.

Conference engagement ideas encourage attendees to return for future events because their experiences have gone above and beyond expectations. With digital, you’re creating a dialogue with your attendees the way they speak and where they speak it. Digital should not be an afterthought; digital should be the first thought.

Sami Ari is a digital strategist at Kindle Communications. Kindle manages live and virtual events, communications campaigns, digital solutions and development programs.