How to Market Your Event App

Event apps can enhance the in-person event experience for attendees — but you’ve got to get them to engage first. Here are a few tips on how to encourage app use before and during an event.

Author: Casey Gale       

hand using cell phone

Making sure attendees use the event app you’ve created requires your organization to market the app before your event takes place.

Your organization has created an event app that will seamlessly integrate with the in-person experience — but how do you encourage attendees to use it? Event management platform VenuIQ shared some tips and tricks in a recent blog post, “Best Practices for Marketing Your Event App.” Here are a few takeaways from the post as well as other insights we’ve gathered from other event management platform companies, Swapcard and EventMobi:

  1. Integrate app announcements early. “Start by weaving small segments about your event app into all pre-event communications,” VenuIQ suggests. App information should be included in email signatures, event newsletters, and registration confirmations to spread the word well in advance of the event. According to a checklist from Swapcard, featuring a “Download the App Now” banner on the registration page or event microsite is another simple way to promote the app early on.
  2. Show off its features. Event apps can offer in-person attendees tangible benefits, such as networking and feedback opportunities, Q&A chat options, and personalized schedules. But it’s on the host organization to ensure this is something event participants know before they go. “Create official email announcements that focus solely on the app,” recommends VenuIQ. Teaser videos can also showcase the app’s user interface.
  3. Try a soft launch. According to VeniuIQ, a soft launch can work as a teaser, allowing event organizers to gather early feedback. Offering early access to a select group of attendees — such as VIPs, speakers, or sponsors — can be one path toward organic marketing, as these early adopters can share their experience on the app via social-media channels. Swapcard suggests sharing a template with collaborators — which can also include vendors, exhibitors, and industry influencers — to encourage promotion that directly aligns with the event’s goals.
  4. Celebrate launch day. The event app’s hard launch should feel like an event in itself, VenuIQ says, with countdown emails leading up to the launch, as well as an energized email blast on the day that encourages attendees to download the app. Swapcard notes that QR codes that provide a link to download the app — both in registration confirmations and email marketing — are an easy way to help attendees seamlessly find and download the app. The goal at this stage is to create a sense of anticipation, and EventMobi recommends including updates to the schedule, showcasing high-profile speakers and ideas for what to do in the the host destination.
  5. Keep engagement strong. The event app can be made top-of-mind for attendees in the days leading up to the event by increasing communication frequency about it. This can include daily emails focused on a different feature and how it enhances the attendee experience, VenuIQ suggests. Engagement incentives, such as contests or gamified elements of the app, can also be pushed out before the event day arrives. A reminder to download the app within 48 hours of the event can also be effective.

And when the event finally arrives, event organizers should plan to capitalize on attendees’ heightened focus by sending emails or push notifications about the app, as well as daily digests for that day’s program that are directly accessible through the app.

The key to a successful event app, according to VenuIQ, lies in its features — “and how effectively you can market them to your attendees.”

Casey Gale is managing editor of Convene.

Become a Member

Get premium access to provocative executive-level education, face-to-face networking and business intelligence.