Mobile usage continues to grow (and grow and grow). So, having a mobile application ready for your conferences is no longer a “nice-to-have” but a “must-have” feature if you expect members to show up and keep coming back. Just a few short years ago, mobile apps were essentially just a way for attendees to see the show schedule on their wireless devices. Today, the new generation of apps is helping users build true online communities centered around the show. Here are examples of how smart associations are using mobile apps to their advantage:
1. Engage Attendees
Give your event attendees (employees, prospects, partners and everyone in between) a fun, mobile way to engage with your association content and each other. Leverage the conference app’s social activity feeds, networking and event-centric games in order to maximize engagement.
2. Personal Schedule Building
Many apps will allow the user to pre-select the events they want to attend and will integrate the choices into their calendar residing on the app or their phone. This eliminates fumbling through a show guide trying to figure out where you are supposed to go next.
3. Make it Social
With some event apps, your attendees can update their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) from one central location. With a single check-in on your app, attendees can share their updates and encourage participation from others. Additionally, members can send (secure) messages to other attendees through the app and connect to members with similar interests.
4. Go Green
Some associations have green initiatives that encourage limited distribution of printed on-site material. Bring the conference program guide and the speaker handouts onto your event app and see smartphones and tablets transform these materials into interactive social events. You’ll save money, help the environment and look cool doing it.
5. Learn What Members Like
Today’s stronger conference mobile applications have fantastic analytical tools. You can view all app interactions in real-time, identify trends in attendee behavior and pinpoint hot leads for association management and sponsors. Discover what your attendees care about most, and use this knowledge to plan better events in the future.
6. Increase Sponsorships
Uncover new revenue streams for your association and provide more value to sponsors by offering in-app branding and sponsorship opportunities. You may also allow sponsors to engage with attendees through mobile to create relationships that last.
7. Reach All Devices
New devices are hitting the market all the time, and most attendees have these powerful computing devices right in their pockets. Take advantage of this technology at your next event. Most apps are now available for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android phones, Android tablets and HTML5 (for mobile web and BlackBerry devices).
These are just some of the ways that mobile conference applications are being used these days. As with all technology, the sophistication continues to increase as the price continues to drop.
Over the past six months, Naylor has seen great interest in its mobile conference application product offering as associations are learning how apps can greatly enhance a member’s experience at their events. In most cases, the cost of apps can be completely offset by the sponsorship revenue they generate. Take the time to provide a quality conference app. Your members, sponsors and the environment will thank you.
Marcus Underwood is vice president and general manager of NaylorNet, the online media solutions division of Naylor, LLC.