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Sending the Message: Digital Events, Beyond the E-Vite

by | Jan 3, 2013 | Industry News & Trends

I am so excited to share this guest post by Ashley Withers, a support specialist at She holds a Bachelor’s in English & Sociology from Stony Brook University in New York. BYM (before she was a media intern, Apple creative instructor, and editor.


You’ve come to learn your member-base and target demographic; you know how to get in touch with them and when and where they will log on. Maybe you’re reaching them by email or perhaps you’ve started an online community. If you’re like most old school organizations, your communication tends to power down after the use of these devices. It’s time to think outside of that dusty cardboard box of pamphlets. Adapting your approach to communicating with your members should go beyond the basics. If your organization is playing it safe with technology, you may be enabling your members’ cultural lag. Inviting members into your new digital home doesn’t end with the e-vite. In fact, digitizing your membership events may be the key to connecting with members both on and offline.

Go-Paperless Programs: If you need to distribute information to your attendees, consider limiting the amount of paper copies on-hand at the event. Send out an email prior to the event linking to a pamphlet-like page on your website. Linking back to your website not only drives traffic, but it reduces the likelihood that an email will get caught in the attendee’s spam folder due to an attachment. Show your members the benefits of paperless content presentation: include videos and photos. Finally, offer a courtesy, printable version on your website.

QR Codes: According CBS news , the number of smartphone users worldwide has topped 1 billion. Quick Response (QR) Codes are an excellent way to capitalize on this ubiquitous technology. Smartphone users can simply install an app that scans the code. QR codes can be placed on signage displayed at the event. These codes, when scanned, can direct users to useful information for the event. Consider linking the code to dynamic content that benefits attendees currently at the event, i.e. a map. Using strategically placed QR codes can turn your event into a virtually interactive scavenger hunt that keeps the attendees informed and engaged.

Incentivize Check-Ins: In your pre-event email, encourage your members to check-in once they’ve arrived at the venue. Save time and volunteers by eliminating the middle-person with online check-ins. Offer gratitude to members who go digital: whether you’re using our events feature or Foursquare, issue promo codes or discounts for future conferences and events to those who check-in online. Not only are your members doing the work for you, but you will also have access to a real-time headcount. Furthermore, offering incentives for use of technology sends a positive message about how these features and tools will benefit members.

Companion Content: Post-event, present the ability to download content related to the event. Photo galleries and videos aside, consider providing audio recorded lectures for use with MP3 players. Set up forums or blogs related to event topics that keep members interacting year-round. Above all, remember, just as your invitation doesn’t end with the e-vite, the event doesn’t end at the door.

Continue to explore ways you can “send the message” to your members. Remember that your members can’t use the resources you aren’t providing. There are hundreds of ways to make the member experience more powerful and portable through the use of social technology. Promote the positive aspects of going digital (exclusive offers and more content) and your members will almost certainly see the benefit to logging on more often.

What is your organization doing to create more engaging events? Please share below.


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