Regardless of what you pay for an app (even if it’s a free one!), it is an investment. You have to spend time researching vendors, choosing the app, briefing the team, introducing all the information… But it will be a waste of resources if your event attendees don’t actually use it. Indeed, getting a good adoption rate is one of the top concerns between meeting planners nowadays.
From my experience, I know that if you have a good strategy in place you will get a very high adoption rate. What’s more, your event participants will love it and use it more often.
So, how do you do that?
The first thing to consider is: do I really need an app? Will it add value to the event and to the attendees, or do I just want an app because it’s trendy?
If you believe your audience will benefit from the app, then I suggest you use as many techniques as you can from the list below…
- Make sure you choose an app that is VERY user-friendly. There are hundreds of apps out there, but not all of them are equally straightforward.
- Communicate the app in advance, in different mediums, and make it as easy as possible to download. A recent study published by C&IT found out that the most effective tools to drive app downloads are email marketing, on-site signage and social media (The State of Mobile Event Technology 2015 – UK). As a rule of thumb, aim to have at least a 50% download rate the day before the event.
- Brief the speakers in advance. If it fits with the content, you want your speakers using the app for Q&A sessions, polling or brainstorming. Several weeks before the event, send them a very clear explanation of what they can do with the app and how to use it (eg. a slideshow with screenshots of the app).
- Have a help desk onsite for speakers and delegates.
- Monitor what’s going on during sessions and send push notifications if you see people not using the app, or ask the MC or the speaker to mention it.
- Design “mobile friendly” activities: it’s not a good idea to organize a lunch session and expect people to be on their app – they’ll be busy eating and using the cutlery! Make sure that the activities that include exercises with the app are “mobile friendly”.
- Have social media walls so participants see stuff going on, it encourages them to participate.
- Ensure that WiFi is good. Do speed tests and consider how many people will be using the WiFi simultaneously. People may get frustrated if the connection is slow and the app takes time to load, or even assume that the app doesn’t work and stop using it.
- Don’t forget to add some fun! A photo sharing feature is usually very popular and it and keeps people coming back to the app.
If you follow all these techniques, I’m sure your event app will be widely used and your audience will enjoy the experience. So don’t be afraid and go for it!