I hated the last event app I used.
Every time I opened it, I had to sign in all over again. It didn't save my login information, so I had to manually type in my email address and password multiple times a day.
Then, to make matters worse, the app didn't have all the information I needed. It didn't include the event emails detailing lunch options (I had to dig through my inbox), nor did it have session surveys or a map of the conference center.
Have you ever used an app like that?
It doesn't contain the information you need or have an easy-to-use interface, so it takes you way too much time and effort to find what you need. It colors your whole experience.
Every organization that holds an event in our technology-driven world is at risk of this. They either don't provide the mobile experience that people have come to expect, or they provide an experience that's frustrating at best. That's particularly concerning for associations that hold multiple chapter, national, and international conferences every year. Even a single annual event or customer conference can be a challenge.
You have to provide an exceptional mobile experience for every attendee of every event, regardless of whether you're commissioning a full event app or just using a dedicated website.
To avoid frustration and give your event attendees the best mobile experience possible, make sure they have access to these five tools.
Whether you're using an app, responsive website, or mobile microsite, make sure that your business or association's branding carries over from your website, online community, or membership management software. Brand colors, logos, headers, and footers should all be pulled over automatically with no extra work from your staff.
Automatic transfer of your brand design will save time, but you should still have the option to customize the information you provide to members. For instance, your event app or microsite's headers and footers should be configurable to show not just your company's name, but an event headline as well.
Customize as much information in your mobile experience as you can so attendees can get all the information they need in a single location. Some information to customize may include:
While you customize information for each event, give attendees the ability to personalize their schedules with a single click. Businesses and associations usually do this by adding small buttons to each session on the full agenda. Attendees use the buttons to add or remove sessions without first clicking into the session details.
Agenda personalization is an essential tool for every event experience, mobile or otherwise. By giving your attendees the option to build their own schedule you help ensure that they get the information they need from your event.
If anything changes with your event's speakers, sessions, or agenda, notify attendees using your mobile tools. Most mobile event experiences will provide an "updates" section to make this easier, allowing attendees to quickly view recent changes and adjust their schedules accordingly.
Most event attendees take notes on sessions both before and during events so they remember important information. Before your event, attendees may want to note which sessions they're most interested in or leave comments about meetings with industry connections. During the event, attendees often record key takeaways from sessions that they want to revisit or implement later.
These types of notes help attendees get lasting value from your event, so give them the tools they need to take notes quickly and efficiently on any device. For example, top mobile attendee experiences provide note sections directly on session pages. Attendees can then take notes on any session from any device. When they're finished, notes are compiled into a single document that's organized by session.
Then, once sessions are over, let attendees give feedback without ever leaving your mobile tool. Provide survey links for individual sessions in your mobile experience as soon as sessions finish. Overall event surveys can be made available at the end of your conference. By providing surveys in your mobile experience, attendees don't have to search for feedback methods and are more likely to respond.
By their very nature, events include time-sensitive information. The surveys discussed above are one example, as is information that's specific to one Tuesday night session or a keynote that customers or members can only register for at a certain time.
When you have time-sensitive information you need to ensure that attendees can only see it when they can act. If you release the content too soon then you risk frustrating your go-getters who want to add the session to their agenda or provide feedback right now.
That's where scheduling options come in. Automation tools that allow you to schedule content to appear or disappear at certain times make managing time-sensitive (or limited-time offers) easy.
Content scheduling tools are especially useful when your conference is over. Once the event ends you can remove agenda information and provide post-event surveys in its place. Your attendees quickly see the surveys they need and your association will collect feedback more effectively.
People have their own device preferences, whether it's an iPhone, Android, or tablet. Don't make them choose between their favorite devices and easily-accessible event information just you're your mobile tools. Instead, provide a mobile experience that works on all devices.
The best mobile experiences won't be limited to mobile, either. Business technology providers are now building responsive designs and microsites that unify the entire digital event experience. These sites let your attendees access the same mobile event tools on computers as well as their phones and tablets.
Providing the same tools on a computer is an extra perk for the attendees you always see carting their laptops around. They can take notes on a laptop when they're comfortably settling in sessions, then review their agenda from their smartphone when they're on the go.
Don't stop at giving your attendees one-click personalization tools on any device "“ go a step farther and provide networking tools. Networking tools are easy to build into your mobile experience as long as the technology is integrated with your private member community or association management software. Just add buttons that allow customers and members to "connect" or "follow" other event attendees or speakers.
These tools will help your attendees will build their industry connections and give your event a networking boost. They'll also help extend the impact of your event by increasing customer engagement in your membership or online community software.
It's easy to say that you need a mobile event experience for your attendees. We all know how much we use our own cell phones and we intrinsically understand how much other people use theirs. But it's harder to know what to include in your mobile experience.
To make the process easier, focus on convenience. You should provide a mobile event experience that's easy for your attendees to use and simple for your staff to set up. Design the entire experience to match your organization's branding and combine all essential information into a single location that's accessible from any device. Your event attendees expect nothing less.