Your audience has a lot of different options to choose from when they consider which events they want to attend. If people choose your event over all of their other options, that's a win. If they choose your event again, and continue to attend year after year, you've achieved something truly special: brand loyalty. Brand loyalty — or how likely your audience is to continue to choose your events, products and/or services — is incredibly important. With so many other events competing for your audience's time and attention, brand loyalty is also challenging to maintain. We've collected six sure-fire strategies that will show you how to increase brand loyalty and keep your attendees coming back again and again.
Make it personal
The event space is moving quickly toward personalization, using data and technology to deliver an individualized experience. Personalization is no longer nice-to-have; it's what attendees have come to expect in their interactions with brands in general, and it's a huge driver of loyalty.
So how do you personalize your event? There are several ways to use data and event tech to transform your event into a customized experience. First, let your attendees build their own agenda. As they pick from the menu and customize their own experience, they’ll become more invested, loyal and excited to engage at your event.
Once attendees arrive, the personalization can start at check-in. Greet them with a custom welcome message at the kiosk, and speed them through registration by having all relevant information readily available. Then, during the event, use your event app's beacon technology to pinpoint where and when to send custom messages. At breakout sessions, for instance, you can send a targeted welcome message, instructions, or gather feedback with a poll or survey.
Provide value that attendees can’t get anywhere else
If attendees think your events are valuable, they'll always come back. Make sure you're nailing two event basics: networking and learning. Your event app can help with both.
To optimize networking, offer matchmaking, where attendees can plan ahead and connect with exactly the right people at the event. An event app can also provide attendee QR codes, which enables attendees to scan a code and instantly capture a contact’s profile.
In addition to networking, people come to your event to learn, so make sure your speakers are providing valuable information that attendees can't get anywhere else. We recommend doing your research and find the best possible speakers beforehand, as well as experimenting with new presentation formats. For instance, instead of the classic speaker with a Powerpoint presentation, you might try a different type of presentation, like a panel, interactive keynote, or a series of short and sweet TED-style talks.
Make an emotional connection
To make your event stand out, and ensure repeat attendance, make an emotional connection. One way to ensure a positive experience: make it fun. Choose an interesting location, and integrate your surroundings as part of the experience with local flavor and culture. You might also lean into event technology, gamifying your event or experimenting with a newer tech like augmented reality to create new and exciting experiences.
Another way to create an emotional connection is to inspire. This goes back to choosing the right speaker. When you're vetting prospects and looking for recommendations, don’t settle for mediocre. Make it your goal to find a speaker who moves their audience in a way they haven’t yet experienced.
There's a reason loyalty rewards programs are so popular and such a central marketing tool for credit cards, air travel and other industries: they work. You can create a loyalty program of your own, and you don't need an elaborate system of points to do it. Target your initial marketing to attendees that have been to your events in the past, and offer them an exclusive deal. Rewarding repeat visitors and early sign-ups makes people feel like they’re getting special treatment and keeps your marketing focused on your core audience: those who are most loyal and most likely to share and refer your events to their networks.
Measure your progress
Are you increasing brand loyalty at events? The only way to know (and the only way to keep improving) is to get feedback and measure it. During your event, it's a good practice to solicit as much feedback as possible. If attendees have issues at your event, they'll skip it next time. Offer surveys and clear ways for people to offer their feedback. That way, you'll catch issues as they happen, make people feel heard, and be able to problem-solve quickly.
After your event, make it a priority to measure brand loyalty in your surveys. To accomplish this, send out a well-thought-out post-event survey and focus on a handful of KPIs, like satisfaction, trust, quality and value.
Show your appreciation
Everyone likes to receive a personalized thank you note. It's a classy touch that shows someone that you value them. You might not have time to send out thank you notes to all of your attendees, but you can always send a follow-up email blast and say thanks en masse. And if there are any VIPS, sponsors or others whose loyalty is especially valuable, take the time to follow up with them personally after the event.
For many planners, there's no more important metric than brand loyalty. Without a core group of repeat customers, you're left to constantly reinvent the wheel. By developing strategies to grow your base of loyal customers and attendees, you can set yourself up for sustainable success. Many of these strategies leverage data and event apps to deliver value to attendees. To learn more and get the most out of event tech, schedule a free demo and talk it over with a MeetingPlay expert!