You’ve just spent a great deal of time and money on creating a whiz bang mobile event app. Then, in the post-event analysis, you look at the stats and realize that few attendees actually downloaded or used it. What happened? The most likely cause for this non-behavior is that you didn’t answer the most important question attendees have, which is:
"Why should I download and use this app?"
Chances are you’re checking off all the reasons that YOU think are important: exhibitor listings, conference schedule, maps, etc. And they’re all good reasons in theory. But here’s the issue… every audience is different and has different needs. What might be important to one group is useless to another.
But before answering the “why,” event planners and managers need to identify “what” event app features attendees might want. This may involve helping relieve a common pain point or providing a pleasurable benefit. Some examples:
- Maps. Have a lot of out-of-towners attending? They’ll likely want maps, not only of the show or conference area, but of the unfamiliar surrounding neighborhood, too.
- Conference Schedules. For conferences with lots of sessions and session tracks, keeping track of meeting room locations (and the inevitable onsite changes!) can be a hassle. With complex events like this, attendees would likely want one place to locate vital session information.
- Photo and/or Social Media Sharing. For events or expos focused on fans and networking connections, photo sharing and social media posts are a big deal! Yes, they can use the social network platforms. But offering sharing through and within the event app helps build a more exclusive community.
Though event apps are becoming a standard offering at many events, downloading and using them is still not standard practice for many attendees, especially older audiences. So even though you may offer an event app, it still will take a pre-event and on-site marketing effort to get people to use it. After determining the top benefits attendees would likely want from an event app, then all app marketing can focus on how it fills that need. Promotions for an event's app usually shout"Download our Event App." So what? A better headline example would be something to the effect, "Download our Event App to find your way around XYZ Convention Center and discover 6 great nearby restaurants." It's all about the benefits!
Written by Heidi Thorne