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Why Your Event Needs a Mobile App

Written by Molly Talbert | on November 5, 2015 at 10:30 AM

Event attendees expect information, in real time. Not only that, but it should be easily accessible and available before, during and after. How should you do this? Since people are more glued to their phones than ever, a mobile app makes perfect sense -- it gives attendees everything they need (and more) in the palm of their hands.

Because the price point can seem steep it’s easy to think you can get by without one; paper programs always worked well, right? Sure, they did, but your event could be so much more informative, interactive and collaborative if the program is dynamic and updated in real time. It’s time for your events to go beyond the status quo (apps are approaching the norm, by the way).

Hear us out:

  1. All the information is in one spot and easy to change. Maybe an app is just a glorified paper program -- it contains the schedule, event locations, speaker profiles, etc. But there’s one big difference -- you can change information, even last minute. If your event relies on paper programs, then there’s no making changes after they’re printed. If a session is cancelled or moves to a different location, how do you communicate it to everyone? Most likely, you use word-of-mouth and hope for the best. With an app, you can easily change the schedule, even last minute, and everyone is notified instantly.
  2. Give attendees immediate access to extra resources. Here’s where the event app begins to prove itself as more than just a fancy schedule. In addition to being a place to quickly see when and where everything is, you can pack the app with extra resources, enhancing your attendees’ experiences. Did one of your speakers give a relevant TED Talk once? Embed the video. Add relevant PDFs and documents to further your attendees’ learning and make the experience richer. Since it’s in an app, they can access them anywhere; from the poolside to the Starbucks line
  3. Create stronger connections between the attendees and the event. An app allows you to take attendees on a journey, from pre- to post-event. To do this, promote the app ahead of time so attendees download it before arrival. While promoting the app, highlight that it is an on-the-go, easy to use resource for their entire trip. Add hotel and restaurant recommendations (which can connect to their GPS or services like Yelp), maps to and around the venue and tips for taking public transportation in your city. After the event, add extra resources such as videos of the speakers and customer feedback surveys.
  4. Sell ad space to sponsors. One way to help pay for the app (or even make some money) is to sell ad space to event sponsors within the app. True, traditional paper programs also sell ad space, but it’s more powerful on the app -- attendees can click through those ads and experience additional content. Factor this in when thinking about the app’s cost, since it has the potential to collect extra revenue.
  5. Get immediate feedback by tracking engagement and analytics. Data is a powerful feature. Know in precise detail, in real time, what people think of your event. In many apps, attendees can create their own schedules -- this offers huge insight for you because now you know exactly what people think is most important. You will also know definitively which extra resources were most helpful. In addition to tracking where people go, make it easy for users to rate various aspects of the event, from speakers to venue and swag. This data not only helps you plan for next year better, it also helps you determine the ROI of the app -- the numbers speak for themselves and will tell you if your foray into event apps was worth it (we’re guessing it was).
  6. BONUS -- Make your event greener with less paper. An app makes paper programs obsolete. It could be good to have a few on hand for the odd person who can’t (or doesn’t want) to download the app, but you don’t need to print nearly as many as you once did. People will appreciate the app makes the event more environmentally friendly, and it may incentivize them to download it.

Ready to start designing an app around your next event? If you’ve already used an app, what did you find most helpful? Leave us a comment!

Topics: Customer Experience, Member Experience, Marketing Automation, Online Community

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