How to Get More Attendees to Download and Use your Event App

The mobile event app revolution has hit a full sprint. These days, you rarely stumble upon an event that has not deployed some kind of mobile app in support of sustainability initiatives, networking, content sharing, or all of the above.

In fact, some organizers are scrambling so fast to catch up with the mobile revolution that they are getting caught in an “any app will do” mindset – as long as they are doing something.

Regardless of whether you go for an enterprise-grade solution, rich with security, a suite of services, and robust content management tools, or opt for a simple, do-it-yourself web-based tool, the key measure of success is fully dependent on attendee awareness and adoption.

Use these 5 strategies to promote your event app and get all your attendees using it:

Before the event starts:

1. Start early!

Communicate as soon as the app is available to users. Highlight the use and availability of your app on your event homepage with links to the various app stores. Promote the app in all of your pre-event marketing and include links and any login information required. Monitor adoption rates in the backend to see how many downloads you are receiving in advance.

2. Make it special

One mistake we see over and over again is that event organizers send out one “mega” email with every single little detail of the upcoming event, and the information about the app gets buried in the fine print. People don’t read long emails so if you want app adoption to be strong, separate the promotion from the pack and send one email JUST about the mobile app. Taking it one step further, some organizers have created quick videos to help guide users through the setup process, and have seen even greater app adoption.

3. Map your message to your audience

If your audience is young and social, make sure your app promotion messaging focuses on networking and social engagement. Point out that they can start connecting long before the opening remarks.

If your audience is environmentally conscious, promote the fact that the app helps you save trees by reducing (and at some gutsy events, totally eliminating) paper.

Got an older, lower-tech crowd? Focus on the basics and center your messaging on the ability to have all the most current information about sessions, speakers and locations at their fingertips within a really easy-to-use mobile application.

Onsite promotions:

4. Presenters make the best promoters

Create opening slides for your keynote and other presenters so that they can mention the mobile app at the beginning of every session, and point attendees to the download sites. We have seen this work really well because attendees are more focused, settled, and able to download easily while they are just sitting there – versus the frenzy of registration, travel, etc. It also helps when the speakers promote the fact that their slides are available through the app. Everyone wants the slides that they see in a session and the ability to go at your own pace is a big selling feature.

5. Onsite support

Make sure there is a dedicated person onsite who can quickly look up usernames and passwords, and even add late registrants to the system. It is important to follow the security protocols set forth in your corporate mobile strategy – which usually includes unique user login data – but it is inevitable that there will be attendees who swear they never received the information and can’t login to the app. It takes all of two seconds to look people up, but it’s best to have someone readily available at the registration desk that can do the lookup. Oh, and having signage pointing attendees toward the “app assistance” location works wonders!

Bonus!

Keep the conversation going long after the closing remarks. Rarely do attendees delete the app so use it to send notifications after the fact. Encourage them to fill out surveys. Offer vendor and presenter content. Remind attendees to register early for the next event. There is really no end to what you can do with a mobile app once it’s been activated.

We’re the official event app provider for WEC 2013 and practicing our #5 tip. Our Event App Coaches are available onsite to answer your app-related questions at the registration desk or our Booth 3006 in the MarketSquare!