What can I say? I don’t butter the truth. It’s high time we all stop pretending our events aren’t a community and the members we have, are only members because they receive a discount for the event.
That is sadly the saddest truth of all. We live in and work in a world of events in which we literally have the greatest audience in the world at our organizations but yet only really give them value of networking at events.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE events. I love the networking. The connecting and bonding. But what I love more is receiving that immediate gratification of value I get from events, YEAR ROUND.
So what and why should we have a community event platform to extend the life of our events and provide value more than 3-5 days a year…see that isn’t a question, it’s a statement.
Empower your audience to share their voice
If the tumultuous political climate has taught us anything, it’s people want to make sure their voice is heard. Even before 2020, social media has taught whether anonymous or not, people want to share. Your organization has a community and with that, should be able to share their voice in a secure trusted environment, your environment.
My assumption, hopefully its true, is you are already building authority within your industry by providing high value content through webinars, e-books, white papers, and whatever else, honestly, your industry loves to consume. Videos?
IF you aren’t producing high value content, you aren’t proving you are the authority and you aren’t providing the right value for your audience.
BUT BUT BUT how do I know what content to provide?
Community forums. Watch your audience ask and write and ask and write over and over again until you see the themes on content they wish to see.
Boom, bold nugget one and you already are seeing the value of community event apps.
What is engagement? Is it walking around an event hoping an attendee stops at your exhibitor’s booth? Is it attending all the sessions they paid for at your conference? Is it signing up to be a member or downloading that awesome prospectus you put together…sore subject? All prospectuses are sore subjects, don’t worry. You should ask Alex Land, he has an awesome idea on how to solve those pesky things.
Engagement is subjective but really it is a mix of it all. Attendance, downloads, participation in groups and forums, and most of all it’s the beautiful and wondrous connections of back and forth dialogue.
See when given the chance, we humans, pesky little humans, will go back and forth because we LOVE having the last word, but even if it isn’t an argument which 98% of the time it is…isn’t…we still love to interject our opinions. Have I mentioned, I love opinions?
BOOM. You hear that? That’s the sound of explosive engagement within your community. PS it will take a little prodding and some planting so get those loyalists you already know of and have them participate in your new forums and groups.
Improve Member and Event Retention and Acquisition
Come on! You can’t be serious! I hear this often but really when you think about it, it’s pretty much a no brainer. We have all been taught from day one in Sales 101, it’s easier to retain and grow from those of whom are loyalists. It’s true. The most honest truth of all!
It really is easier to grow from retained customers. Take it from someone who has led a team of account managers, to a team of hunters aka new business sales professionals, and to having their own business and TRYING to get new customers. It has always been easier to keep customers happy by going the extra mile and then growing them once they see the value.
This is also true for members and event audience. Your event isn’t the only event they attend which means they are seeking more value throughout the year. Why cant that be from you?
Give them more of what they want and you will retain and grow.
We briefly touched on these loyalists. What are they? Who are they? Where do they come from? They are all they are cracked up to be and more! Think influencers but for your industry and organization. How cool is that?
You find these loyalist as the ones willing to volunteer consistently and ones that actually do volunteer not say they will. You find them by the ones who have attended your event every year without fail and then helped bring others to your event.
You know who they are. They are the ones willing to improve the industry and they believe your organization is the best opportunity to do so.
Creating loyalists is amazing, even so when you find the ones you already have. Utilize them to help create more so your industry can explode with awesomsauce and they can see that you and your loyalists are helping to make it oh so much better.
Show Me The Money
Why have a technology platform and not ensure it has the ability to make you additional revenue. In fact, I’ll argue if it cannot at least offset your cost of the technology, you probably shouldn’t have it. That goes for all technology including those very expensive oh we won’t go there.
Besides opportunities inside the platform you can utilize content as revenue opportunities. So many organizations out there have awesome suppliers that provide impeccable material that is non-salesy. Get them involved. Have conversations and figure out their goals to help them get in front of those members and event audience that makes the world go round aka spends money with your suppliers who in turn spend money with you.
Why you shouldn’t have a community event app?
You all are awesome and have done an amazing job adapting to this digital world we live in. Now that we are going back to live or hybrid events lets not go back to normal. Let’s Bee Better at Eventing. Let’s continue the HUGE value of events by enabling your community to be a community.