Mobile apps have become a must-have for most events these days, but the number of people downloading them is still relatively low. This is because apps aren’t engaging with their audiences and secondly because event organisers aren’t marketing them to their visitors.
There are a number of questions to ask before committing to an app:
1. Do you have a budget for an app? You should ask yourself this before you think about creating one. There are far too many event organisers trying to get an app on a contra deal because it is perceived as a ‘must-have’ which has resulted in below par apps that have no perceived value to the event organiser and event itself
2. Why do you want an app for your event? What would you like it to achieve? If you can’t answer these questions, you probably don’t need an app for your event
3. Is your app developer able to create an app that is available to all mobile platforms including IOS, Android, Windows 8 and BlackBerry? An app that only works on some mobile platforms is useless to all visitors that don’t have those platforms
4. Does the event venue have sufficient Wi-Fi speeds or is there a good 3G/4G signal in the area? Without this visitors will be unable to download your app and use it, again meaning it has no value
5. What would you like your app to be able to do? Step back and really look at the event you’re hosting. Is it an exhibition for generating sales leads, is it an event for thought leadership and engagement or is it a closed event for high level CEOs to network and share best practice? The answers to these questions will determine what the app needs to do to engage its users
6. How do you plan to market your app? An app which hasn’t been marketed is like a village in the middle of the desert which isn’t on a map. In all visitor and exhibitor communications you need to refer to your app telling people how to download it. Why not train your registration staff to ask visitors on arrival at the venue if they have downloaded it and to offer advice on how to download it. However try and get the audience to download the app prior to the event, once through the doors of the event visitors/delegates will have an agenda, downloading an app will not be part of that agenda
7. Finally, if you have decided to create an event app and given real time and consideration to required outputs, you must give your audience a compelling reason to download the app. Ask yourself the question: “why do you download apps” and look at the apps you have on your device.
Apps are incredibly advanced these days offering an unprecedented level of engagement and information through mobile devices from creating competitions to gamification and meeting management tools. You can create the right app for your event that will engage with its user offering them an experience they won’t forget.
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