Meet Engagement Alice. She’s one of the profiles you might see after taking the Rottman Creative Engagement Assessment. If you’re an Engagement Alice, chances are you’re not meeting attendance goals, people aren’t opening your emails, and your website isn’t as sticky as you’d like. While you might feel a twinge of despair if you fit this category, don’t worry. You have tremendous potential to improve event attendance and member engagement. And we’ll show you how. Come on! A wonderland of engagement awaits!
Where to Begin?
Your first thought might be to increase the frequency of your marketing, update the look of your collateral, or add more speakers and certifications to your event. Not so fast. While killer event marketing and programming can help drive engagement, you ultimately won’t achieve sustainability unless you lay a solid foundation first. Let’s take a step back.
The first step to increasing member engagement is to get 100% clear on the “why” behind your organization (NOT the “what” of speakers, certifications, etc). What is the purpose of your organization? More specifically, what is the ONE THING of most value that you need your members to know? If you aren’t clear on your purpose, your members won’t be either.
Once you’ve established your “why,” you must clearly communicate it to your membership. You need a step-by-step engagement strategy of triggers (juicy offers), targets (calls to action), and tactics (emails, direct mail, etc.) that will light a fire in your members, encourage them to attend your event, and engage them to work together towards your mission.
In this stage we’ll take a look at your email marketing, social media strategy, web site, and other collateral to identify areas for improvement, tactics to add or subtract, timing, and your buying cycle. For example, are you sending the right messages when your members need to hear them?
Once you have a strong foundation, a clear purpose, and an effective engagement strategy, you must deliver an incredible event experience. Otherwise, your all efforts will have been wasted. It’s not enough to have continuing education credits, certifications, and notable keynote speakers. These are all things your members can consume without actually furthering the mission of your organization. You need to create an environment of high-quality connections and engagement to accomplish real outcomes.
Consider these ideas to improve event experience and create an environment that encourages engagement:
- comfortable, inviting spaces for casual networking between sessions (Smell the coffee—and the inspiration—brewing!)
- brain teasers, puzzles, and games scattered throughout your event to spark connection
- engage the five senses: food, music, lighting, and signage should match the look and feel of your branding
- special events to encourage high-quality connections: painting lounges, cooking lessons, and improv comedy workshops are just a few ideas
- active outings to foster collaboration: rock climbing, go-carting, or a friendly softball game
- a post-conference party on the last day to keep the momentum going long after your event is over
Engagement starts with inspiration
You can’t push people to do anything—that simply doesn’t work. Great marketing and events pull people in. They inspire and compel passionate individuals to come together for a common purpose. They encourage members to be present, participate, and get down to the business of changing lives through hard work and dedication. Your organization can achieve this level of engagement. In fact, you can’t survive without it. So how do you get started?
Take the Engagement Assessment
Find out where you rate on the Engagement Scale. Once you know where you are in terms of engaging members, we can help you craft a plan to increase event attendance and member engagement AND achieve long-term sustainability for your organization.
There’s an old saying, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” If attendance and engagement are low, they’ll stay low unless you make a change. Don’t wait for another event to flop before taking action. What’s more, once you achieve engagement your event attendance, membership acquisition, and retention rates will take care of themselves.
Join us on a journey down the rabbit hole to find out what you can do to drive attendance and engagement starting today.
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