When it comes to the world of marketing, there’s something that nobody can argue with — engagement drives success. Whether you’re looking at events marketing, social media marketing, product marketing or content marketing, the underlying goal is to engage and connect with your target audience. In the context of events, building engagement throughout the entire event cycle becomes even more crucial.

Events hold tremendous potential for businesses to connect with their audience, build brand loyalty, and achieve their goals. However, many organisations tend to focus solely on the day of the event, neglecting the power of engagement throughout the entire event cycle. By embracing a 360° approach that extends beyond the event day, businesses can unlock a wealth of benefits. And who doesn’t want that?

In this blog post, we explore the significance of building engagement throughout the entire event cycle and the strategies that can help businesses maximise their event impact. Let’s get into it…

A man in a seated audience holds and speaks into a microphone in a Q&A session

Optimising your pre-event engagement

The event cycle begins long before the actual day, so pooling some of your efforts into pre-event engagement is always worth it. By strategically building anticipation and excitement through various channels, such as social media, email campaigns, and personalised invitations, businesses can create a buzz around their event.

Here’s a look at some pre-event strategies to build that all-important anticipation:

Social media teasers

Utilise social media platforms to release teaser content leading up to the event. Share captivating visuals, intriguing snippets of information, or behind-the-scenes glimpses to pique the curiosity of your target audience. Use targeted ads or boosted posts to reach a wider audience and generate buzz.

Personalised invitations

Instead of generic event invitations, personalise your outreach to potential attendees. Craft personalised messaging that highlights the specific benefits or reasons why they should attend the event. Mention any relevant connections, shared interests, or exclusive opportunities you may have that fit their needs. Because let’s face it—we live in a world saturated with advertising, and when everyone is vying for your attention, standing out can truly make a difference.

Influencer collaborations

Partner with influencers or industry experts who align with your industry, event theme, or target audience by collaborating on content creation, interviews, or guest blog posts to leverage reach and credibility. Engage them in promoting the event through their social media channels or hosting pre-event Q&A sessions to generate interest and attract their followers.

Exclusive content sneak peeks

Offer exclusive access to event-related content or resources to those who show interest in attending. Create teaser videos, downloadable resources, or sneak peeks of keynote presentations or sessions. This exclusive content can be shared through email newsletters, gated landing pages, or social media groups, creating a sense of exclusivity and anticipation.

Speaker and panellist spotlight

Highlight the speakers or panellists participating in the event. Share their profiles, expertise, and notable achievements through blog posts, interviews, or social media features. This not only generates excitement among potential attendees but also establishes credibility and showcases the value they can expect from attending the event.

Interactive contests or giveaways

Organise interactive contests or giveaways that require participants to engage with your event’s content or social media channels. For example, running a contest where participants share their ideas or opinions related to the event theme, using a specific hashtag. Offer attractive prizes such as discounted event tickets, VIP access, or exclusive merchandise to incentivise participation.

Early bird discounts

Reward early commitment by offering early bird discounts or exclusive benefits for those who register or purchase tickets in advance. Clearly communicate the limited availability and the value they’ll receive by taking advantage of the early bird offer, encouraging potential attendees to secure their spot early.

By building up that all-important buzz, exploring influencer collaborations, and putting in the time and effort to create social media and email cadences, you can reach a wider audience and expand your reach before the event even begins!

An image of a bright neon stage with the word ‘Hyper Growth’ in front of a seated audience.

Keeping up engagement during the event

When event day rolls around it can be easy to get swept up in the excitement, so remember to put a plan in place that will ensure audience engagement is kept up throughout the event. Not only will this benefit you and your event impact, but it also makes the experience that much more immersive for attendees. Here’s how to make that happen.

Start an event hashtag

Start by releasing a personalised hashtag and even event stickers that can be used across social media platforms. That way, attendees can upload posts and footage to their stories or live stream and easily link it back to you. You can even take it one step further and display live social media feeds on screens throughout the event venue to showcase attendee-generated content and foster a sense of community.

Gamify your experiences

Gamification isn’t something new, but it does seem to be the new buzzword on the street when it comes to events. Jump on the bandwagon and inject an element of fun and competition (and a little sprinkle of dopamine chasing) by incorporating gamified elements into the event. You can do this by creating challenges, quizzes, or scavenger hunts that encourage attendees to explore the event, interact with exhibitors, discover hidden gems, and bring out their inner child a bit. Plus if you offer rewards or incentives, it helps to keep participants motivated and engaged throughout the rest of your event.

Host interactive sessions & workshops

Plan interactive sessions, workshops, and hands-on activities that encourage active participation. Incorporate Q&A sessions, live polls, group discussions, and interactive presentations to captivate attendees and make them feel involved. This interactivity creates a dynamic and engaging environment, keeping participants invested in the event.

Create networking opportunities

Facilitate meaningful connections by providing dedicated networking spaces or organising structured networking sessions. Encourage attendees to interact with each other, exchange ideas, and build relationships. Consider using technology that enables personalised networking recommendations or matchmaking to enhance the networking experience.

Encourage engaging exhibitor booths

Work closely with exhibitors to create engaging booth experiences—leaving no stone unturned and no booth boring! Encourage exhibitors to offer interactive demos, product trials, or exclusive offers to attract attendees. Or incorporate gamified elements such as challenges within the exhibitor area to entice participants to visit different booths!

Get an app for that

Depending on budget, you can look at getting a dedicated event mobile app that serves as a hub for information and engagement. Include features such as personalised schedules, interactive maps, session ratings, and messaging capabilities. Encourage attendees to actively use the app to engage with event content, connect with other participants, and receive real-time updates.

People at a business event network in a room

Following up post-event

The event’s conclusion doesn’t mark the end of your audience engagement; it’s an opportunity for you to nurture relationships and maintain momentum. Here’s how to keep the ball rolling…

Post-event feedback

Send out post-event surveys to gather feedback and insights from attendees. Ask about their overall experience, specific sessions or activities they enjoyed, and areas for improvement. Use this feedback to analyse attendee satisfaction, and use this as a foundation to build upon in the future. These insights can help shape future events and show that you not only value their opinions, but you’re committed to delivering exceptional experiences.

Follow-up emails

Send follow-up emails to attendees, thanking them for their participation and highlighting any key takeaways from the event. Include resources, such as session recordings or presentation slides, to provide ongoing value and extend the event’s impact beyond the day itself.

User-generated content (UGC)

Encourage attendees to share their event experiences and pictures on social media using your personalised event hashtag or by tagging your business. Curate and share user-generated content, such as photos, videos, or testimonials, on your social media channels or website to help showcase the action from different perspectives.

Continue the conversation

Create dedicated online communities or discussion groups where attendees can continue the conversation post-event. Leverage the content and insights gathered from the event and repurpose it, sharing it with your community in new formats to help them get maximum value.

Sealing the deal

Identify opportunities for building further value based on attendee interests or engagement during the event. For example—sharing useful resources, product information or exclusive discounts or promotions on products/services that are relevant to them.

Events are transformative opportunities for businesses, but their impact extends far beyond the day of the event itself. By embracing a 360° approach that encourages engagement before, during, and after an event, businesses reap a wealth of benefits. This approach allows you to build meaningful connections with your audience, foster brand loyalty, and drive overall success. Embrace the power of engagement throughout the entire event cycle to create unforgettable experiences and make every moment count!