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When it comes to holding an event, it’s no longer enough to assume ‘if you build it, they will come.’ How do you make sure your event stands out, engages your audience, and leaves a lasting impression?

Here are five ways to engage your audience before, during and after the event.

Release advance teaser content to promote your event

If people are more emotionally invested in your event before it even happens, they are more likely to enjoy it, and pass on positive feedback to others. Your event might be months away, but you can start the engagement now.

Providing a sneak peek of the setup or planning of your event can allow people to become more engaged and start the event buzz as early as possible. This could include sharing new technology, clips from speakers, or photos of the venue or space.

Encourage audience involvement during the event

By giving your audience ways to participate and interact, it can help keep their focus and attention on the presentation.

More and more events are incorporating interactive tools such as event apps, real time polling, surveys and messaging so presenters, sponsors and event organisers can open up the dialogue, share information, and receive and answer questions instantly.

Display social exchanges

Whether your event is online, offline or a mix of the two, the full power of social media should be leveraged to engage your audience and spread event coverage.

People love to be engaged and share thoughts and images in real time via social media, helping develop a deeper brand connection with your audience. A social media display wall is a great way to enable this behaviour.

We suggest setting up with an event hashtag so that your audience can easily tweet or post about the event and have their tweet or other posts displayed on the big screen at the event for all to see.

Do something unique

It’s no secret that your event needs to shake things up and be different to cut through the noise. Creating unique and personal event experiences is a great way to target your event audience authentically. Clever marketing ideas such as personalised invitations or fun, branded theatrics can set your event apart.

Creating a special experience during your event allows more engagement with your attendees and hopefully, a positive lasting impression.

Keep people talking after the event

People love to share and relive their highlights from events, so providing content that they can easily consume and share will keep engagement ticking over even after your event. Blog posts, videos, images and social media posts relating to the event experience are great ways to get attendees to interact with your brand long after the event is over.

Remember the last time you viewed a PowerPoint presentation? Was it engaging and inspiring or did it leave you feeling bored – eyes glazed over and counting the seconds until it was over? This is known as the dreaded Death by PowerPoint.

PowerPoint can be a fantastic presentation tool, but it is only a tool. The presenter makes or breaks the presentation! There are some classic mistakes presenters make which can lead to Death by PowerPoint.

These include putting too much information on slides, using poor images and fonts and reading directly from slides instead of engaging the audience with stories and ideas.

As a presenter, there are many varied ways to add some zing to your PowerPoint presentation to help your audience stay focused and interested.

Know your message – Consider your message and the reason for your presentation. What do you hope to inform others of? What is there to gain from it, or what do you want people to do with the information you present? Remember that you know your topic inside out, but this may be the first time your audience has ever thought about this matter. Make sure your message and presentation objectives are clear.

Make a good first impression – Make sure the first slide is attention-grabbing and on topic. Your presentation needs to stand out and be different from the start to pique interest.

Leverage visuals – Use visuals that make sense for the presentation subject and that can support your points. This can include graphs, infographics and photos. Often images are more memorable and interesting so will drive audience engagement. It is important, however, not to overdo it. Unrelated images will distract and confuse your audience and gimmicky animations can become distracting and seem unprofessional.

Know that less is more – Use fewer words on your slides and use bullet points where appropriate. This will allow your audience to quickly read and digest your words which makes a bigger impact than if they have to read lines of text.

Cut the number of slides – You want the content of your presentation to support what you’re saying, not act as a script, so use fewer slides and incorporate more discussions and ideas into your presentation.

Get funny and personal – Present your information with personal stories and humour to keep people interested. Stay on topic but keep it light where possible.

Involve your audience – Keep your audience engaged by asking them questions, undertaking polls or breaking into groups for discussions.

Talk to AVPartners today about how to take your next presentation from good to great.

The last few years have seen many marketers take events, conferences and seminars off the marketing plan and instead focus more of their resources on digital according to Ryan Taylor, Partner at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, AVPartners.

The main reason for this is cost. Events are seen as more costly than seemly inexpensive, and sometimes free, digital channels. However, digital activities cannot replace the powerful human element that events can deliver.

In fact, it shouldn’t be one or the other. Marketers should be using a combination of both offline and online marketing tactics to achieve cut through.

While digital marketing can reach tech savvy audiences with bite size information to elicit an action, it requires a large effort and volume of content to get a response; hence the conversion rate can be quite low. But with events, you hold an audience’s attention much more effectively and are able to use the human element combined with great AV and staging techniques to create a lasting positive impression that results in a much higher conversion rate.

Before marketers make the decision to strike events off the marketing plan, they should consider that events have the ability to:

Directly and physically influence an audience

In an increasingly digital world where many interactions occur online, events provide a human and physical element which can be powerful and influential, leading to higher conversion rates and hence an increased ROI

Share content in a truly immersive and engaging manner

With increasing focus on the impact of effective content on customer behaviour, events remain one of the best ways to deliver content in a way that is immersive, erasing ambiguity and creating engagement because of person-to-person interaction.

Convert customers while they are in a state of interest and excitement

In a world where marketers are fighting to gain attention from increasingly distracted audiences, events provide the opportunity to focus the attention on a single proposition, person or idea. They can also create excitement and leave audiences in a state of anticipation, the perfect opportunity where you are more likely to be effective in achieving sales conversions.

Create a meaningful and memorable experience for your customers that correlates to a positive brand experience

The importance of positive branding and consumer sentiment cannot be underestimated. Events can allow you to leave a positive imprint on your audience by creating an in-the-flesh, in-the-moment wow factor that has a lasting effect and can stimulate positive word of mouth.

Engage your audience to become your marketers to amplify your message beyond your event via social media

The combination of physical and digital can be powerful. People attending and posting to social media about an event can quickly amplify to become trending topics. Savvy event organisers that use social media hashtags, handles and pages can take the brand beyond the physical event.

This article originally appeared at B&T.