Mobile Event Apps Features and Red Flags to avoid at all Costs!

There are a huge array of features and functions available via Mobile App Vendors. Some of them are useful and some are not – here is a quick snapshot of features and functions Event, Meeting and Conference Planners should look for and be aware of.

5 event app features you must know:

Most mobile phone users are graphically driven

Think of the millions of images uploaded to Facebook via smartphones as an example – maps are a great way to get your smartphone user engaged with your event. Where is the venue, how do they get there, what are restaurants close by, etc. So, make sure you have mapping capabilities built into your Mobile App.

Your schedule will be the most important and heavily used are of your mobile app

The most popular feature of any mobile event app is going to be the schedule. Your attendees will be using this feature on an ongoing basis. Some will of course check it frequently – if you can integrate advertising or promotions within this area of your app, this can be a great way to generate incremental revenue.

Lead capture is of course critical to the success of your event

Think about integrating QR Code scanning and exhibitor lead reports. Also, you may want to integrate exhibitor profiles and even attendee profiles, coupled with search functionality, which will save time for your attendees.

If you want to generate incremental revenue via your event

Make sure your mobile app vendor offers banner app integration which third parties can sponsor.

Make sure the mobile vendor that you select offers an app that is cross-platform

Your attendees will use a variety of smartphones and devices (Android, iPhone, Blackberry) and you want to be able to reach all of them, regardless of the type of device they are using. And, make sure the mobile conference app vendor has deployed their app in a wide variety of event environments.

Mobile Apps Enable Event Planners to Engage and Connect with their Attendees

Approximately 80-90% of the population within the U.S. is utilizing mobile phones to communicate, surf the web, use social media, using maps to find restaurants and much more. You can no longer ignore today’s mobile phone user if you are an Event, Meeting or Conference Planner! Mobile users are in general sophisticated, tech savvy and are drawn to events that let them leverage their mobile phones through an event app.

Here are ten ways to leverage Mobile Phone Apps for your Event:

1) Integrate your corp logo to drive strong brand awareness.

2) Use the Mobile App as a revenue generator by charging your sponsors, speakers and vendors to have a presence within the Mobile App and of course to leverage fixed costs for marketing materials and distribution of same.

3) Let you vendors and sponsors connect directly with your attendees and generate leads in real time.

4) Use a Mobile conferenc App to engage with your attendees and to connect leads for your organization, which can even be leveraged during the event by offering special promotions and break out events (that generate incremental revenue).

5) Reduce your carbon footprint and be certified as a “green” organization.

6) Boost and keep track of event attendance using Mobile Apps – offer a special promotion right within the app to drive revenue, connectivity with a vendor and/or a breakout event within your conference.

7) Leverage the Mobile event App to enable your Attendees to download content digitally, which saves significant marketing costs.

8) Integrate speaker’s bios and backgrounders within the Mobile App and your Event Schedule and offer special deals or promotions within the app for your Attendees.

9) Use a Mobile App to stay connected with the attendees after the event – once they have registered and downloaded the app use this information to send them emails that can be used to garner information to improve your next event via a survey and/or a permission email that asks them if you can continue to connect with them.

10) Integrate Social Media Apps (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) and or processes within your Mobile Application, depending upon the features offered by your mobile app vendor. Ask them for event app gamification to further enhance your promotion efforts. In some cases you may not need this level of functionality or capability if this is your first Mobile App enabled event. In most cases it’s better to utilize a crawl, walk, and run strategy for mobilizing an event. Don’t bight off more than you can chew and/or easily integrate with your Event.

Six Key Metrics for Event Planners who want to Mobilize an Event

Mobilising events is a great way to make you event a success. Event management becomes a lot eesier if you have an mobile event app to mobilise you event. It helps you keep connected to the attendees as well the oragniser from your mobile. Below are six key metrix that will help you mobilize your event:

1. Understand the audience

Have an in-depth understanding of your targeted audience and a strong grasp of what type of capabilities your venue has in place. As an example, if you are going to leverage mobile for your attendees you want to ensure they can easily access and utilize your Mobile App, Wi-Fi usage and the facilities provided by your venue. If some portion of your attendees are from outside the US, they may have a difficult time accessing Wi-Fi, which in turn limits their usage of any and all mobile applications.

2. Update information on the go

One of the great benefits of a conference app is updating it in real time. But, you need to make sure you are comfortable using and updating your Mobile App and that the interface conveys information that can be easily grasped by the attendees. When you are choosing a Mobile App vendor have a check off list of functionality you think will provide the type of functionality and usage your attendees will need.

3. Socialise with your app

Have a good grasp of the type of social media your attendees prefer and make sure these are integrated with your mobile app; or not, if you don’t feel your audience will use social media during your event. If your event is just a few hours or one day, integrating social media with your mobile event will probably not be needed.

4. Promote your app

If you are using a Mobile App it will be critical to promote it prior to the event. Communicate with your attendees and ensure they know how to download the event App and how to use it prior to and during the event. Don’t assume your attendees will want to or have an interest in spending a lot of time using a Mobile App – make it easy to access the app and use it. Complex instructions are not a good idea!

5. Be  practicle with you app

Have realistic expectations for your first Mobile App enabled event. Start off with a mobile app that has basic functionality; i.e. an event guide for your attendees that is easy to understand, that supports all major platforms (Android, iPhone, Blackberry), showcases your sponsors within the App, links to a registration page, lists all speakers and may even incorporate banner ads (to drive incremental revenue for you).

6. You can monitise your event app

Don’t think about a event planning app as a fixed cost, think of it as a revenue generator and cost reduction vehicle. By incorporating a Mobile App you will significantly reduce your overall marketing costs by going digital with all and you will have the ability to sell sponsorship promotions within most Mobile Apps and/or other types of advertising. Think about renting a iPad as an example to event attendees that will have your Mobile App pre-installed as well as sponsorship promotions.

Creating a Mobile Strategy for your Event – Embracing Today’s Mobile Attendee

Today’s mobile or smartphone ready individual presents opportunity and challenges to an event planner. A well planned event is focused on bringing people together, with a unifying focus and goal and engaging your attendees with digital (preferably) content that they can and will share with others.

In 2011 sales of Mobile phones overtook PC sales for the first time – there are over 5.3 billion mobile phones worldwide and 600 million of these users are also accessing the internet. Mobile phones have become an integral part of Event Planning, you need to understand how to capture the attention of mobile phone users!

Driving Engagement with Mobile Enabled Attendees

You may have put a great deal of hard work into your event. But, mobile phone users may be busy sharing pictures, using social media to talk about your event (or for other purposes), playing games, emailing, texting, mapping the event or where to go after or during the event, etc. So an event app that allows attendees to share the event on social media will be areat boost for the evenet.

So, it behooves you to think about how you can incorporate a mobile strategy with your event to keep your attendees engaged and/or leverage technology. Not only will a mobile event app cut paper and branding costs, it will also engage your attendees and enable you to communicate with them using mobile technology; i.e. QR codes, SMS reminders, post/share networking events, special breakout meetings, pictures and images from the event – all of these activities help to drive engagement with your attendees.

Planning and Optimizing your Next Event

One of the best ways to leverage today’s mobile enabled attendee is to ask them what they are looking for when they attend your next event. Query them about specifics; do they want to use a event planning app for your next event and if so, what type of functionality are they looking for? Should it be integrated with social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) and what type of integration are they looking for.

Also, don’t forget about your sponsors and speakers – you can leverage sponsors by integrating sponsorships with a white label event app that generate incremental revenue for your event and that also help to engage with your attendees. And, many of your presenters and speakers may want to promote their books, seminars and their own events – this creates an incremental revenue opportunity for you as well.

Why You Need to Utilize Mobile Apps with you Event and Reduce Costs

Smartphones have become ubiquitous in today’s society and if you are an event professional or planner mobile apps enhance your event in multiple ways; i.e. improve the experience for your attendees. Lowering printing and related costs, distinguishing your event from your competitors and facilitating communications with your attendees.

Your conference attendees are using their smartphones to find restaurants, places to visit while attending an event, connect and network with other attendees. Mobile devices have become the communications choice for your attendees – it makes sense to leverage this technology to your benefit. An event app gives you the leverage to give this opprtunity to your users.

Say goodbye to expensive CDs that have to be authored (that end up in the trash) and expensive brochures that require significant investment in development and printing costs. Embrace today’s technology (mobile apps) to save money, drive attendee engagement and enhance the overall quality of your event!

Cost Savings Using Mobile App

One of your greatest savings for using a Mobile App is going paperless. If you are spending $10-50. for brochures, handouts, USB or thumb drives, CDs, etc., a mobile app (even customized) will be much lower cost and you leverage economies of scale the more attendees you have for your event.

You’ll get rid of these fixed costs by using a event planning App:

  • Layout and Design of Brochures and Event related Marketing Materials
  • Bag Stuffing and Setup at the Event
  • Staffing Needs for Handling and Distributing Marketing Materials
  • Attendee Bags, Marketing Materials, etc.

Minimizing Wi-Fi Costs or Reducing Entirely

Most venues charge for Wi-Fi access and these costs can range from $3-15K depending on the size of your event. And, depending upon attendee usage, the quality of the Wi-Fi can be challenging at times, which can cause a great deal of frustration with your attendees.

If you utilize a conference App that does not require Wi-Fi usage you can save on these costs and ensure your attendees will be happy attending your event and you’ll garner rave reviews, which will drive downstream attendance.

If you choose a good Mobile App you can eliminate Wi-Fi costs and utilize a single point Internet connection for your attendees in an area in the facility that they can easily utilize. And, you won’t have to deal with sudden bandwidth loads that create frustration with your attendees.

Using mobile event app for your event makes sense – you’ll save costs, enhance the experience of your attendees and embrace and leverage smartphone technology!