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Engage Your First Time Attendees to Maximize Their Benefit

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By Conference Charlie |November 15, 2013

LostYour repeat attendees are wonderful — they love you and you love them.  But, that familiarity can create a bubble that seems impenetrable to outsiders. Don’t let this happen to your event. Embrace your newcomers — make them feel special and welcomed.

Track Attendance Records

Make sure you keep good track of attendance. Use this information to tailor your message for different attendee groups — regular attendees, occasional attendees, and first timers.

Market to Potential Newcomers

Show potential first timers that you’re interested in them by devoting resources to them on your website’s registration page and in your outreach materials. You want newcomers to know that you’re ready to help them navigate your event for their best benefit.

Welcome Newcomers Right Away

As soon as you identify first time attendees, welcome them into the fold with some tips for how to get the most out of your event. If you can do this before the event – even better! Let them know the flow of the meeting, from where to pick up their badge, where the main socializing areas are, and where to find out about any ancillary networking events.

Give Newcomers Recognition

Offer to identify newcomers on their badges, but don’t pressure them, since not everyone wants to be called out. Appeal to repeat attendees to greet newcomers, and let them know how to find them. If you have the space in your program, host a reception that can help newcomers mingle with the most active participants of your group, which will help them to become more engaged participants themselves.

Guide for Newcomers

The more practice you give to your newcomer welcoming strategy, the more it will be appreciated. Publish a guide for newcomers with all of the materials you’ve created. You can include this guide with your registration packets and in your program and mobile app, and returning attendees may even find this useful.

Have other ideas about how to engage newcomers? Let us know in the comments!

Conference Charlie
Engage Your First Time Attendees to Maximize Their Benefit

Conference Charlie has worked as a conference director for over 10 years and has planned events for 250 - 8500 people with a micro staff. If you have any questions for Conference Charlie in regards to an event you're hosting or attending, please feel free to post a comment to this blog.

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