Most businesses run some form of conference, usually as an educational exercise to spread the word about its services and what it can offer, communicating news and key information about the industry that they serve.
Given the competitive marketplace faced by most businesses today, it’s vital to differentiate your business and your conference from all the others. If you’re going to invest in the event, then it needs to stand out from the competition, so that you attract the best delegates and keep them coming back.
For those who have to attend numerous conference-style events, they can become somewhat monotonous and uninspiring, so you have to work harder to capture their imagination. Incorporate your USPs from early stage planning, so that your conference is as unique as possible.
When selecting a venue, find one with a ‘wow factor’. Whether that’s the geographical location, or the venue itself, this can make your conference all the more appealing to potential visitors. Make the entrance a real moment, be it with lighting or music, so attendees feel that they have been properly welcomed.
Promotional material in the run up to your event is your first opportunity to communicate with your audience, so the tone and messaging should say exactly what you want to get across. Make it exciting and relevant, so that your event is the event everyone wants to attend.
From the conference name, to the creative on your marketing collateral, this is a prime opportunity to stand out from traditional approaches and convey why your event is the best.
And be sure to use a multi-channel approach that involves social media. Social channels can be used before, during and after your event to reach your targets and to make an impact.
If you can find a way to personalise your event, it will become more meaningful to attendees. This is easier to do at smaller conference, perhaps providing a notebook for each delegate with their name on it, or a welcome note with a goodie bag of branded items and treats for everyone to take away.
This simple thoughtfulness will make a connection with each individual and also leave them with something tangible after the occasion, to remind them of what they learned and experienced.
For larger events, a theme can be used in a similar way, making your conference visually exciting and different, like using corporate colours in lighting and decoration, tablecloths and chair covers, themed sweets or pens available on every table. If the theme is carried throughout the presentation of your event, it will make quite an impact.
You can also achieve standout through the refreshments on offer, as this area is often very basic at conferences. Perhaps theme it to a certain style of cuisine, or have promotional staff walking the venue with snacks, like ice lollies in the summer, or mulled wine in the winter. Or how about hiring an ice cream van to add an unexpected element of fun!
Behind these enjoyable accoutrements, it remains crucial to ensure that the meat of your conference is solid, useful to your delegates and on message for your company’s benefit. It is possible to deliver all of this and maintain a unique approach in line with your branding and themes.
Choose your speakers carefully, make sure they are dynamic and engaging, and take a fresh approach to the topics you are addressing. If you can guarantee your delegates will be able to take away knowledge or understanding they didn’t have before, your conference will have made an impact.
As much as possible, make your conference interactive: sitting and listening to presentation after presentation is pretty dull, regardless of topic, and people will inevitably switch off. Incorporate workshops that require involvement, encourage Q&A sessions during presentations, create a debate and you will generate interest.
Social media provides a useful tool to this end. Screens featuring live feeds can allow attendees to tweet comments and observations as they happen, so that your event is documented and everyone feels involved. It also allows everyone to keep up with what’s going on, including people who couldn’t attend, as you can tweet reminders about certain activities to drive interest throughout the proceedings.
We’d love to help you engage and inspire your delegates with our innovative Conference & Meetings services. Visit our dedicated events website to learn more. Or to speak to a member of our award-winning team, make a quick enquiry, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 0370 405 2020 to find out how to drive your business performance today.