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Digitizing your Physical Event

Digital does not always have to mean breaking your budget. Bringing in even small digital event technologies and solutions can improve your overall attendee experience and save you some headaches.

Implementing digital aspects into your physical event does not always have to mean having both a physical event and a digital event, especially when you are working with a small budget that can limit your capabilities. Digital does not always have to mean breaking your budget. Bringing in even small digital event technologies and solutions can improve your overall attendee experience and save you some headaches.

Top 5 reasons to Digitize!

  1. Digitization enhances engagement opportunities
  2. Events are becoming even more social, and digital solutions allow for ongoing networking (before, during, and after your event) 
  3. Events planned with digital solutions, leave more room for creativity
  4. Attendees feel like they know your event inside out and what to expect
  5. Feedback happens in real-time and is richer than ever

Event technology enhances engagement opportunities for attendees, sponsors, speakers, and event planners!

Studies have shown that by digitizing your event and incorporating the use of technology, event planners can see an increase in

  • Planner productivity
  • Attendee engagement
  • Event attendance

As well as a decrease in your overall cost!

Not sure where to get started?

Once you identify your goals and KPIs, then explore where a digital solution might be helpful in creating an impact on those items. Digitization is can look like what you need it to look like for your purposes! A user-friendly event website, an intuitive registration process, an engaging mobile app, or tactical marketing tools are all examples of technology solutions that can contribute to a memorable event experience.

1. Project Management

Pre-event planning can be the biggest source of stress and headaches for even the most experienced professionals out there. Looking for a way to streamline planning workflows and maintain open communication with speakers, vendors and attendees can help organizers stay organized, and track tasks or items, deadlines, and other important information that can sometimes get lost on a sticky note or in a sea of spreadsheets. When working with a team finding project management software (ClickUp, Monday.com, Asana, etc) can also be a great way to communicate where everyone is on their task and where they may need assistance.

2. Registration

Registration can make or break your event! Attendees as well as your speakers and exhibitors who have a less than stellar registration may leave with a sour taste in their mouth for the rest of your event regardless of how perfect it goes. Utilizing a digital registration process is a quick way to begin to streamline your registration, event planners and organizers should still be mindful of creating a registration form that is not tedious, lengthy, and time-consuming. This is often the first impression of your event and a deciding factor in someone attending or not attending. A few common registration form pitfalls to avoid include:

  • Fields are not required, even though they should be, or requiring fields that could be left as optional
  • Having too many non-essential questions
  • Not using conditional logic
  • Not explaining why you’re asking for sensitive information
  • Registration forms that are just TOO long

Ensuring that your registration form is simple, user-friendly, and quick will set you and your attendees up for a successful event. Consider having a short, clear confirmation message about the next steps including where and how to access the event and other important day of information you can make available.

In addition to working to streamline your registration form experience, event planners also can streamline the on-site registration experience as that can lead to additional woes that leave organizers and event guests feeling overwhelmed!

Common day of registration woes include (just to name a few):

  • Long Lines
  • Name Badges (missing or incorrect spellings)
  • Walk-In Registrations
  • Hard Copy Handouts (programs, agendas, etc)
  • Lost or Forgotten Tickets

Online registration and ticketing processing can provide the opportunity to set up easy, quick on-site registration. Depending on what your budget and staffing situation looks like you could even set up self-registration kiosks where attendees can easily scan a QR code from their confirmation ticket to print their own badge and even download needed event handouts. If that is not an option you also are able to pre-print badges so that attendees can easily find their badge and continue on throughout the day.

3. A Mobile App or Mobile-Friendly Digital Engagement Venue

Having a digital engagement venue can be whatever you make it to be. The benefits are endless. The biggest perk to having a digital engagement venue is that you are hosting an event with a sustainability lens! By providing a digital space to access event announcements, session information, speaker bios, exhibitor information, and other resources, you’ll cut down on paper and reduce your event’s environmental impact. 

A second top perk is that it allows planners to collect real-time data from their attendees. Not only can attendees receive personalized alerts, but they can also create their own session agendas, participate in live questionnaires, provide feedback and connect with other attendees with a click of a button. These are just many of the small ways to incorporate a mobile-friendly venue or app into your physical event.

4. QR Codes or Wearable Tech

If setting up an app or digital venue isn’t something you want to do, there are still some digital tools available that can accomplish many of the same things like tracking attendance in sessions, accessing surveys, or downloading an event resource. I spent many years planning events for Non-Profit organizations where budgets were slim and we could not always invest in fancy gadgets or technology to help with a lot of the things we needed. QR Codes became a LIFE SAVER! QR Codes are a creative way to offer a simple way for attendees to scan the code and access the resource they need or be directed to a session survey they need to complete. Not to mention it drastically improved the carbon footprint of the event I was planning as I did not need to print hundreds of surveys or sign-in sheets. I could just create a QR code for attendees to scan and complete the survey for the sessions they attended. 

QR codes can also come in handy for sponsors or booth exhibitors. Instead of printing massive amounts of flyers, brochures, and other promotional material (that let’s face it, will most likely end up in the trash) they can create a unique conference package that attendees can scan a QR code and immediately download the resource to their phone or tablet. It can also be a great way to create simple lead-generation opportunities. Including a QR code on attendee badges can be a quick way for your event vendors to scan the code to access the attendee information (with their permission of course).

Wanting to try something a bit more high-tech? You might consider some sort of wearable technology that can work as an access key for attendees for session use. A wristband with chips to scan attendees into sessions quickly and efficiently can also increase engagement and satisfaction. Other wearables can be used to control security access, monitor behaviors, and draw data for you to use.

5. Digital Marketing

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to utilize digital for your event is through your marketing! We live in a digital society. People are attached to their phones, tablets, computers, etc. When aiming to boost your registrations, sponsors, and other event stakeholders, leveraging digital marketing platforms and implementing a stellar digital marketing strategy is the way to go!

Digital marketing can include:

You do not have to be a technical wizard to incorporate digital event technology into your event (if you are, you may still find that bringing some of this knowledge into the event space is challenging). Regardless of the type of event that you are planning, digital solutions can help you achieve your goals.

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