Surveys show that attendees who use an Event App have a better overall event experience than those who don’t, whether the event is in-person, virtual, or hybrid. Even the most beautiful and indispensable app needs promotion to get it into as many attendees’ hands as possible, and even your most tech-savvy attendees may need reminders about downloading it and getting the most out of it. Here are our best practices for planning your Event App’s promotional strategy and encouraging adoption and usage. 👇
The sooner you can complete your Event App and launch it, the better! However, if it’s not 100% done, that doesn’t have to hold you back. With Socio, any updates you make in the admin platform appear in the app instantly, so you can get your attendees using it while finishing the last 5 or 10% of details leading up to the event.
Generally, we recommend launching your app at least 2-4 weeks before showtime. This timeframe is ideal for leveraging the excitement leading to the big day. Sometimes even earlier is better, especially if you start getting questions from attendees that could be answered using the app, such as “Where can I see the speakers’ PPTs?” or “What should I pack?” You could refer them to the Agenda or an FAQ section in the app.
If weeks in advance just isn’t possible, aim for a minimum of one week ahead of time.
Before anyone can access your Event App, you have to publish it. Publishing opens the app to your attendees, and lets you log into the app as an attendee so you can try it out. Don't worry! Attendees won't know where or how to find the app until you let them know.
For instructions on publishing your event, check this out.
Set up for success
After building out your Event App but prior to notifying attendees, you can seed it with content that bolsters adoption and engagement.
Upload your attendee list - This is a must for many events and not a fit for others, but if you pre-populate your attendee list, no one has to be the first to the party.
Empower early adopters with Announcements - For those who download the app ahead of time, make it feel like an exclusive experience by sending out Announcements that benefit them. For example, give them early access to sessions with limited capacity.
Starter Wall posts - If you’re using the Wall feature, post some photos or pose some questions before the event, such as what attendees are most looking forward to. This can help conversations and connections take off. 🚀
Load session materials - Gather as much as possible, such as speakers’ PPTs, to provide users with interesting content to build anticipation about the sessions.
If your app is valuable and engaging even before the event starts, you can benefit from organic, peer-to-peer promotion, with early adopters spreading the word and inviting others to join in.
Test your Event App
Don't make your attendees be your beta testers. Before launching your app, you and your colleagues, moderators, staff, speakers, and sponsors should download it and give it a whirl. Experiencing the app for yourselves will help ensure it’s polished and accurate, and it will better prepare you to answer attendees’ questions.
Now that the stage is set, you can officially launch your app! When strategizing how to go about this, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Choosing channels - In the next section, we’ll provide a long list of possible communication channels, but it’s unlikely that all of them will be a good fit for your event and audience. Choose the tactics that 1) you are already comfortable with using, and 2) make the most sense for reaching your attendees.
2. Make downloading a breeze - In your communications, help your attendees find the app by providing the download link and/or QR code from your event’s promo page.
This is a breeze using our access instruction templates. There's a template for the Mobile App and Web App that corresponds to each of the Privacy Settings you can choose. Simply copy the one that's right for your event, fill in the placeholders, and start sending the instructions out to your attendees.
3. Convey why the app is valuable - Rather than solely mentioning the app’s features, include what your attendees can get out of it. This is a great time to tie in their goals so you can clearly show the benefits.
Depending on your team’s size, you can get creative with your app launch. We've seen customers produce graphics, PDFs, PowerPoints, and videos that build excitement and show how to download and use the app. Check out our guide to making an attendee walkthrough for ideas.
Before your event
There are many options for spreading the word about your Event App and building excitement around it leading up to your event:
Website - Include a brief description about your Event App on your organization’s website or event website if you have one. Also, place eye-catching banners about your Event App in high-traffic parts of your site and link to the promo page.
Registration email - Consider customizing the email your attendees receive after they register to mention your Event App, and provide the promo page link if you're ready for attendees to start joining.
Promotional emails - If you already have a planned email marketing campaign around your event, include your Event App in those efforts. Highlight it in the “Before you go” email or even dedicate a whole email to the app, its benefits, and how to download. Keep in mind, if you’ve sent out email communications but some attendees have not yet downloaded the app, you can easily view a list of "inactives" to send them a reminder email.
Social media - On your organization’s social media channels, you can create teaser posts to build anticipation before the app’s launch. After launch, post an “App is live!” announcement that links to the promo page. You can continue to include the app in additional posts showing highlights, updates, and screenshots.
Speakers, vendors, and exhibitors - Enlist these partners to use their own websites, email campaigns, or social media channels to spread the word about the Event App and promote downloads. During and after the event, they can announce how their presentations or materials can be accessed via the app.
Event Game and Wall - Get attendees into the event early with a pre-event game or game codes that are only visible before the event begins. You can also encourage guests to interact on the Wall by posting challenges there. Check out our tips for making an amazing Event Game for ideas.
TV screens and projectors - If your event is internal or a company meeting, use the presentations and TV screens in your building to promote the app before the event takes place. Add the Promote Page content to your presentations leading up to the event. Consider using Socio’s Live Display product. Easy to deploy and maintain, Live Display presents content from your app in real time. The QR code for downloading your app can even be included, allowing users to download your app easily in the days and weeks leading up to the event.
In addition to the benefits early app adopters can enjoy, such as first dibs on any limited-capacity sessions, if you're using the Event Game feature you can reward them with bonus points via time-limited, exclusive Challenges.
During your event
Even after your event has kicked off, there are opportunities to promote your app to in-person attendees.
Empower your staff - Train your staff on the app so they can help attendees download it as well as answer questions. Try to have an "app expert" standing by to help with attendee login issues or questions about navigating the app.
At check-in - Ask your in-person check-in staff to mention the app when they greet arriving attendees. Signage can be effective here, such as banners or tabletop displays. We’ve also seen creative tactics such as putting a QR code linking to the app promo page on the back of printed badges, or including a postcard about it in swag bags.
Intro session/keynote - Ask your emcee or keynote speaker to highlight the Event App, how to use it, and how to download it. With all eyes on them, this is one of the most effective ways to encourage app adoption and engagement.
TV screens and projectors - If your venue has TV screens, include visuals about the Event App. You could also provide speakers with materials to show before their PowerPoint presentations. Options include graphics, animations, or videos, but the simplest and most engaging option is Socio’s Live Display product, which beautifully displays content from your app in real time. Enable the Promote App Live Display feature to have a QR code presented on the screen, allowing users to download your app quickly and easily!
Printed signage - Design visually appealing posters, banners, and/or tabletop signs to highlight your app and provide simple download instructions. Place these materials in high traffic areas to maximize visibility.
With a thoughtful promotional strategy that uses the right tactics at the right time, you can ensure your app helps your attendees have the best possible event experience.
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