(Last update: September 8, 2016)
So you’ve invested in a mobile event app? Congratulations on the move!
But, are you happy with your event app adoption rate? In other words, how many attendees really downloaded and used your app during or after the event? 10%, 20%,…or you simply don’t know?
In this article, we’re going to share with you 5 practical tips on how to increase the adoption rate for your event app. Now you will get the most out of your investment.
Before we start, here’s why your app doesn’t get downloaded or used…
While mobile event apps offer significant value for both host organizations and attendees, generating downloads and driving usage can be a challenge, even with an audience of mobile-savvy participants.
Why? From lack of awareness to a preference for mobile web to even having — and not using — too many apps already, consumers have become increasingly judicious about what they download and use. According to DigitalTrends, study shows that 90 percent of apps are downloaded once and then deleted. Only 16 percent of people will try out an app more than twice.
But by being consistent, cohesive and compelling in your pre-, onsite and post-event promotions you’ll fuel some serious momentum for your app while ensuring ongoing usage and, even, boosting future programming.
So where to start? These 10 handy tips will help get your app promotions on track fast.
BEFORE THE EVENT…
The days, weeks and even months leading up to your event are a critical time to build awareness and drive downloads. Strong pre-event promotions will ensure you’ve got a good user base going in while, at the same time, encouraging positive word of mouth and organic downloads among attendees.
1. Make your app part of registration
Chances are you think event registration is just for collecting attendee information, and payment. That is not wrong. But…it’s also a perfect opportunity for you to introduce the event app to the registrants.
For example, you can add a few sentences in the registration page and let registrants know that there will be no paper handouts. All brochures, schedules, and guide are digitized and can be accessed through the app. Further, you can say you’re going to keep them updated through the app. Bottom line — let them understand the benefits of the app. Once they get it, they’ll have no problem downloading your event app.
2. Distribute the app download link
Now that you’ve created some awareness for your event app through the registration platform. What’s next? The question is — where can they download the app? App Store, Google Play, or simply via a web browser? You’ll need to give them more details.
How do you do that? The simplest way is to shorten the download links using Bitly or Google URL Shortener. If you can create a custom url that is easier to memorize. Also if you can, create scannable QR codes or step-by-step instructions that help your attendees quickly find your app on the App Store or Google Play. Once again, don’t just throw the links to your attendees. Make sure you mention the app benefits to them.
3. Collect pre-event surveys through your app
Let’s face it. One big challenge for us event planners is to estimate the headcounts of who will show up for sure. For free events, the default rate could be high. Inaccurate estimation would either cause resource waste or inadequate supplies. How to overcome this through your event app? Collect pre-event surveys!
For example, you can create a poll in the app asking your attendees what kind of food and beverage they prefer, what entertainment programmes they like so you can invite the best musical team, etc. The bottom line — make the pre-event survey fun and ensure it caters to the interest of your audience. Then get ready to see the app adoption rate increase.
4. Encourage pre-event attendee networking in the app
Think about this. People go to events for two reasons: to learn something new and to make new friends. While it’s unrealistic for them to start the learning ahead of time, it’s totally possible to get the party on way before the event begins. How do you do that? Via the event app!
One of the amazing features of a mobile event app is that it allows both organizers and attendees to populate personal profiles e.g. name, picture, organization, interest, social links, etc. Attendees can do some homework by browsing other attendee profiles, and get to know them even before the event starts officially.
But it all starts with attendees adopting the app. What can you do? Send messages to existing app users and invite those who haven’t downloaded the app. If you have an event team, dedicate an event coordinator to do this. You’ll be surprised about the app download rate and usage.
DURING THE EVENT…
Onsite is the ideal environment to generate increased downloads and drive added use. Now is the time attendees are deeply engaged in your content and programming, so promoting the added benefits of your app will no doubt boost traffic and adoption.
5. Have an one-page guideline at the registration desk
While it’s unrealistic to have an absolute “green” event, printing as least as possible should be your goal especially if you are a corporate event planner who has CSR objectives to reach. Designing a one-page brochure and putting in at your registration desk is common practice.
The best part? You can mention your event app there. How do you do that? Mention that event schedules and real-time announcement will be updated through the app. Also, if you’re using an app like Whova, you can let attendees know that their profiles have been populated automatically and friendly ask them to check or update them in the app.
6. Promote the app during opening remarks
Ah, opening remarks. Admit it or not, this the very initial session that most of your attendees will pay attention to. They can’t wait to hear your passionate announcement that the party has officially started. Why miss this golden opportunity to promote your event app?
You may feel this is redundant, but remember many of the attendees will likely miss your first few attempts to connect, particularly those who are late and rush to your event. The more they’re exposed to your app the more it will feel like an overarching piece of the event experience — and the more likely they are to download it.
7. Engage attendees through the app
Downloading an app is one thing, keep it on your attendees’ mobile phones is another. Remember that figure we showed to you? 90% of apps downloaded get deleted after using once. Why users do that? Simple, they don’t get the value.
How to make sure your event app isn’t just an app? You engage with your attendees through the app. Attendees care and love engagement because they fear being left out. What can you do? A lot actually. For example, you can send in-app announcement about a temporary session change; Create a live polling asking them what wine they’d like to drink for the dinner; Post messages in group chat and share photos to the social wall; The list goes on.
Not only those who already download the app get engaged, but it would influence others who haven’t used the app. Do you know FOMO (fear of missing out)? It’s related to psychology. If many other attendees are using the app, those who don’t will fear missing out and they would go get the app if they can.
Even though your event is over, it doesn’t mean the mobile experience has to end. Leverage your app to create a mobile community that’s ideal for ongoing communications and future event invites.
8. Collect feedback through your app
Normally when your event ends, you send out a thank-you email to your attendees and ask them what they think about your event. Well, it’s part of your event planning checklist. But, what’s the response rate? Not that great, right? Because timing, motivation, etc. all matter.
How can you do that differently? Collect feedback directly in your event app! Not only can you control the time to send the survey out and it instantly pops on their smartphones; But you can create incentives they can immediately get at registration desk. All these would help you get higher response rate. Another benefit? It also incentivizes those who haven’t downloaded the app to take action.
9. Keep engaging attendees for next events
Finally, everybody goes home and you’ve completed all the post-event checklist. Time to relax? Maybe not. Why not take a few minutes to share with your attendees your event highlights? E.g. the best photos, success stories, statistics, and information for your next events.
All you have to do is curate several messages and send out via the app announcements. Those engaged attendees will surely appreciate you. Also, you worry less about the ticket sales for your events. Fantastic strategy…isn’t it? Wait, this also serves as another reason for them to keep and use your event app. You win!
10. Build a community through the app
People hates being sold, unless they see the value of a product. Events are no exceptions. Like we said, people go to events for two reasons. Hopefully, they are satisfied with the learning part; Don’t ignore the networking part as it’s far more important to make them feel valued.
What can you do? Build a community! However, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You need to come up with a list of tactics that actually work. One of the easiest strategies is to leverage your event app — which acts like a bridge for you to communicate with your attendees. Unfortunately, not all event apps in the market supports post-event engagement. Whova, is an exception. Our mission is to help you enhance attendee networking and engagement. Give us a call and we’ll show you how.
Keeping this audience engaged post-event ensures you have a solid foundation for promoting future events or, even, inviting attendees back for next year. Consider offering additional value like discounts on upcoming programs, travel deals or other relevant promotions to keep users coming back for more and, beyond that, sharing your app with their friends and colleagues.
Though event apps come with a host of powerful benefits for organizers and attendees, the current marketplace has become so saturated with apps that it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. By connecting your attendees with compelling, consistent and cohesive promotions and real-time perks, you’ll drive event app adoption rate and ensure ongoing download and usage before, during and after the event.
Start by weaving app messaging into your pre-promotion and registration process, and keep the benefit-driven communication going onsite and, even, in your post-event follow up. Not only will you build an audience of loyal users, but you’ll create a highly active, highly engaged audience of potential attendees for future events.