One thing about events is that they are created with an audience in mind. The success of an event will be known until after the actual event has passed. Event planners only know when they can obtain feedback or surveys from attendees talking about their experiences. The attendee experience is what matters most in event planning. Every step that you take in planning and marketing an event is influenced by asking, “would this attract your target audiences?” It’s important to ask these questions early because it gives you a clear direction on attracting prospective attendees. Your target audience will guide you in your planning and is a great way to set your parameters and goals around.
With that said, audience and attendee experience are the most important aspect of any event that you plan and manage. Engaging your audience and attendees increases positive audience experience and will influence their perception of the event managers and organizers. Specifically, when we talk about audience engagement at events we most often think about fandoms. Fandoms are the driving force behind many niche events. Attracting and engaging with fandoms are a great and personal way to get the word out about your event or conference.
Here are a few things that you can do to increase and attract a fandom at conferencing events.
1. Establish meet and greets
The promise of meet and greets are a traditional and easy way to increase fandom at conferencing events. Organizing a meet and greet with artists or important figures within the fandom produces a unique and special atmosphere because meet and greets are not always available at every conference or event. Make sure to promote meet and greets in the early promoting stages of your marketing campaign. Set up a system where you’re able to communicate with your audience and encourage early access promotions and similar events in order to instill in your audience that they’re invited to something that is unique and one of a kind.
To learn how to organize a smooth meet and greet, here is a great resource to get you started.
2. Special packages are key to establishing a fandom experience
As mentioned before, people are interested in things that are unique and special. When producing an unforgettable fandom experience for your specific audiences, you have to communicate to them that what you are presenting to them only exists with the event or conference you’re planning. They want special access to things that are limited and elective and an easy way to establish that is through special packages.
For example, let’s say that your event is a music event featuring a popular artist. A special package that you produce might include limited edition poster prints of the concert featuring the artist, photo cards, special access to backstage events, t-shirts, and any merchandise that is related to the event or artist. What you want to remember about special packages is that you have to make sure that it is time sensitive. This means that the contents of the special package matter only within the context and the time restraints of the event. After the event passes, the contents of the special package will be filed under a special and unforgettable experience.
3. Pre-promotions will produce early interest
Early access and early promotions will produce a sense of “iykyk”. Things that people can get their hands on early is indicative of a special experience and pre-promotions are a great way to begin doing that. In your marketing campaign, leave space for early promotions of ticket sales. Additionally, you can even add special access and offers to the pre-promotions which creates the idea that people are going into something that only a few can get. Pre-promotions are a great way to establish early fandom interest and because of the nature of fandoms, they will be on top of all the pre-promotions and early access events so leverage these opportunities carefully. When you do them right and at the right moment, you will be able to engage fandoms and it will increase interest in the event in general.
4. Establish a fandom community at your event or conference
In short, fandoms are all about a tight-knit community. Fandoms are created because people are interested in establishing relationships with people who have the same interests and fascination with a common artist, show, book, etc. When you’re looking to increase fandom attendance at conference events, you have to establish that you’re putting that fandom first and you do that by communicating the exclusivity of certain aspects of that event. You manage this through special pre-promotions, meet and greets, and more. The idea is to demonstrate to the fandom that the event management is producing an event that acknowledges the community and is committed to bringing a unique experience to them.
Remember, when you’re trying to attract more fandom members to the event or conference, you have to appeal to fandom interests and this happens through research and understanding what is popular in the fandom. Search social media and sift through fan pages to find out what is popular amongst the fandom. It will get you to a great start at planning other special events at the event.
Appealing to a fandom is a great way to increase attendance and interest in an event or conference. What matters most is figuring out and planning events that are unique to the fandom experience. They want something that is unique and basically their ultimate dream experience. A large part of communicating these special offers is by increasing the number of special events and access that is geared towards members of the fandom. Intentional engagement is key here and you manage that by being transparent with your audience because they know when they’re being offered something unique and special. Being planning content to increase fandom attendance by thinking about what would appeal to them and act on that research.
Because of the nature of conferences, they have a more global appeal depending on the type of conference. Even if people aren’t available to physically access the event, they would love to access it online. Create different ticketing types for your conferences, whether online or in person by ticketing though Ticket Fairy.