Imagine it’s D-day. Your team has managed to execute the planning process perfectly – the seating arrangements are made, the venue is decorated, the stage is set, lights are on, the DJ is playing music in the background, stalls are set, and you open the gates for the attendees.
To your surprise, the attendees haven’t come in large numbers, the sponsors are unhappy, and there is no exclusive footage to share on your social media accounts. Undoubtedly, months of planning and effort have gone down the drain. Despite meticulous event planning and several checklists, the engagement at your event was pretty low. But why? Amongst the many possible factors, one can be the improper use of pre-event engagement ideas or pre-event activities. You failed to create enough hype via promotions and social media visibility.
Pre-event engagement ideas are creative measures ensuring that your event is visible to the audience. They are employed to create hype amongst the crowd so that more and more people attend your event on the d-day.
Why do you need pre-event activities?
When you reach your audience well in advance of the event via pre-event activities, they begin networking and forming a tribe before they even arrive at your location. Such members are more likely to attend your event. Attendees, sponsors, partners, suppliers, and your team members will be more acquainted with you, the aims of your event, and each other upon arrival, maximizing a sense of connectedness that leads to engaging productivity.
What’s the best part about pre-event activities? Attendees are considerably more likely to attend an event if they feel connected to your aim and to each other. Those who interact before the event by pre-event activities arrive committed and eager to engage, allowing the event to run more smoothly on the day.
8 Pre-event engagement ideas to draw attention
Polls and quizzes
Many marketers employ polling and quizzes to increase engagement either as a part of their pre-event engagement ideas or during the event engagement. Inquire about their favourite speakers, the themes they would want to discuss, and what they like to learn about. You may also utilize this data to create original content, such as podcasts and social media posts. Create speculation via quiz questions based on your theme.
Some of the things that you can ask are:
- Where are you joining us from?
- What’s your favorite insert category?
- Which events are you most interested in?
- How did you hear about us?
- Why are you attending this event?
- Who is the most exciting speaker/guest of all?
- What are you expecting from the event?
- Riddles related to speakers
Pre-event polling allows your audience to interact before the event, giving the impression that the content at the event will be relevant to them. This offers a major advantage. Since the information is more pertinent to your target market, you’ll be able to deliver more value to your audience, thereby increasing the chances of a favorable engagement return. Your no-show rate will be lower as a result of this. You can use tools like SurveyMonkey, Mentimeter, and SurveyPlanet for creating polls and surveys.
Some of the polls that you can share are:
- What do you love more? (This and that edition)
- Would you rather…
- Have you ever…
Apart from polls and quizzes, you can do a pre-event survey to know what exactly the audience is expecting from your event.
Celebrity and influencer endorsement
Celebrities and influencers are role models for a lot of us, and their word holds supreme power. They come from all around the world and appeal to a broad spectrum of people. You can broaden your reach, raise brand recognition, and generate buzz by promoting through them across multiple social media platforms.
You can plan the following activities with them:
- A drop-in video wishing you luck with the basic details like the date, time, and venue of your event
- You can also send them goodies as a part of your promotional strategy and ask them to post about it on their platforms.
- Collaborated giveaway to 3-5 followers
- Unboxing and reviews
- Live chat sessions
- Movie promotions on your social media channels
- 1-minute quiz
- This or that questions
- Demo classes
Your social media marketing efforts will be multiplied because of their engagement. What’s more? If the budget allows, you can even have them down at the venue for a brief period to drive the audience crazy.
Turn your attendees into ambassadors
Giving attention to your attendees at the event is one thing. Making them feel special once the event has ended is another. Another way to attract large crowds is to let your previous attendees speak to the potential attendees.
Ask your attendees to share their best moments with pictures and videos at your event. You can either accept them as entries or as a story with tags. You can then repost them and create an Instagram highlight. This will make your previous attendees feel valued, increasing their chance of attending the upcoming event. It will also serve as a testimonial for your other potential attendees.
Social media contests
Using the full potential of social media to engage your guests, whether you have a virtual event, offline event, or hybrid event will define the relationship between your target audience and your brand. Creating a one-of-a-kind social experience before the start of your event allows for additional touchpoints and interaction with participants.
Besides, who does not love a little challenge? The best way to get your audiences involved before the event is to hold contests. You can plan the following challenges to keep your guest engaged:
- Online treasure hunt
- Photo contests
- Theme-based events
- Poetry submissions
- Online Bingo
- Best caption contest
- Remix of trending reels
- Best hashtags
- Fitness challenge
- 10 years challenge
- Live debates
You can use the following platforms and tools to bring these contests to life:
Exciting gifts and goodies
Well, don’t we all appreciate free gifts and personalized goodies? Send gift hampers and goodies as one of your pre-event engagement activities. You can create a package with gifts representing your event some way or the other and send them along with a personalized note. The effect? There are high chances that the people you send it to will share it on their social media accounts. This will work as self-promotion and encourage the receivers to attend your event. You can include the following items in the hamper:
- Personalized invites
- Customized mugs/ diaries
- Popular products from your sponsors
- Discount vouchers
Tip: If you are running behind the clock, the best and easy way to get audience engagement and sell tickets last minute is to offer discounts and vouchers when a participant registers for an event. This will save you time and money both.
You must start developing interest months ahead of time. However, the days leading up to the event are critical for creating buzz and ensuring that people do not lose interest before the big day! That means you will have to kick things up a notch – and you will need a well-thought-out strategy to do so.
Share at least one amazing story or piece of content each day in the final week or so. A pre-event webinar with prominent thought leaders or a well-thought activity with an industry influencer may be examples. Whatever you’ve got under your sleeve, make sure to maintain the momentum until the end.
Sneak peek into behind the scene
Name one thing that creates more curiosity than polls and quizzes? Exclusive footage of behind the scenes. Sharing short videos of what’s happening behind the curtains as one of your pre-event engagement activities is a creative way of showing them what you have in mind.
You can choose to share the following as a part of your behind the scenes:
- Pictures and videos from technical rehearsals
- Stall installation
- Decor set-up
- Snaps from sound and light check
- Short conversation with key project stakeholders
- Insider information
- Description of the events‘ thought process
- Time-lapse video of the event being put together
Go to the streets
Almost all of us have an active social media account today. The keyword here is ‘almost’. While promoting an event, keep in mind that most but not everybody is tech-savvy and comfortable with the internet. Sometimes, we are just too occupied to check what’s happening around us. In such cases, your promotions may not address your entire target audience. So let’s bring traditional event advertisement methods back with a modern touch.
Work on developing innovative guerrilla marketing methods for the streets. Bring the hashtags to life by providing incentives for customers to share your exciting, pre-event bonuses with their social networking sites. Seeing the internet on the streets is a delightful surprise for most individuals. When someone has an unexpected or enjoyable encounter, they usually want to tell their friends about it. Give them a reason to grin, and then show them how to spread it. Some ideas for bringing the internet to the streets are:
- Street plays
- Open mics
Check out a few more event trends to keep the spirits of your audience high.
What we think
According to a study, over 82% of B2B marketers consider attendee engagement to be a crucial KPI for measuring the success of an event. Pre-event engagement ideas are a chance to know your audience on a deeper level via quizzes, polls, campaigns, etc. Pre-event activities are also a strategic way to gain insight into their likes and dislikes. Once you are aware of your audience’s preferences, you alter or make similar arrangements for the main day.
What you do before an event plays a vital role in determining what will happen during the event and post the event. In addition to the efforts of an event management team, it is the people who attend it that make it a success. Their satisfaction and involvement are of prime importance and pre-event engagement activities are a smart way to ensure it.
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Manali is a writer, editor, and content marketer by profession who specializes in event management and planning. She is working with AllEvents to help them create engaging content that drives the event organizers forward.