User Conferences

User Conferences

Tactical tips to help you run impactful and successful user conferences, no matter the format.

User Conferences
Event Marketing

5 straight-up wicked hacks to get more out of your events

4
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Explore actionable strategies to enhance your event's impact, from crafting engaging experiences to effective follow-up

Whether you're organizing a corporate conference, a trade show, or an intimate seminar, the success of your event hinges on your ability to engage, connect, and leave a memorable impression. Last week, we spoke to some rockstars in the events industry to gather practical strategies that can transform your events from ordinary to extraordinary.

Here are 5 super-cool takeaways from them:

Use this three-pronged approach to planning your event content strategy

Nailing your event content at the pre-production stage is key to event success and outcomes. Here’s what industry expert, Morgan J Ingram, Founder & CEO, AMP, breaks this down into 3 important steps:

  • The first step is pinpointing key individuals for collaboration and crafting an engaging booth experience - crucial for attracting the right audience. 
  • Next, plan your content goals: whether it's generating a few months of material or aligning with an upcoming product launch. 
  • The final step involves strategically engaging key accounts in your content, targeting not just influencers but also potential high-value clients. 

This three-pronged approach ensures a focused and impactful presence at any event, blending content creation with targeted networking.

Now, when it comes to designing your booth or event space, consider it a storytelling platform. How can it uniquely convey your brand's message? Interactive displays, immersive experiences, or live demonstrations can transform your space into a dynamic environment that not only tells your story but also actively involves your audience in it.

Personalize VIP experiences

“Personalization is integral to the event itself; when you register, we ask what you're interested in, and who you want to talk to.” says Sanjib Kalita, Head of Industry, Fintech Meetup

For VIPs or key accounts, create experiences that go beyond the standard. Tailor these moments to their specific interests. This could mean setting up exclusive meetings with your top executives, offering private tours of your product demos, or even organizing special events within the event. The goal is to make these individuals feel exceptionally valued and provide them with a unique experience that they associate directly with your brand.

Make follow-ups memorable

Transform your event follow-ups into memorable interactions. Instead of generic emails, personalize your messages with specific references to conversations had or experiences shared at the event. If you took a photo with an attendee, include it in your follow-up. This personal touch not only enhances recall but also strengthens the connection made during the event.

Use this three-step framework to repurpose event content

Of course, you can turn keynote speeches into blog posts, panel discussions into podcast episodes, or Q&A sessions into social media content. Morgan deep-dives into this and offers a compelling three-step framework that can revolutionize how we approach events. 

  • Firstly, it involves repurposing event content in the sales cycle, such as using customer interviews or expert discussions to directly engage with your audience.
  • Secondly, he suggests on-site content creation, like hosting shows or conducting interviews at the event, effectively turning a day's event into a year's worth of content. 
  • Lastly, this content can be further leveraged bypo transforming it into various formats, such as LinkedIn posts, to amplify your reach. 

Glean insights and learnings from each event

Each event is a goldmine of insights. Pay close attention to feedback, both direct and indirect. Monitor social media mentions and attendee reviews to gauge the event's reception. Use these insights to refine your approach for future events. Remember, the most impactful lessons often come from unexpected sources or minor details that highlight areas for improvement or innovation.

"You've got to find places where they don't know you're listening so you can get the true feedback."  says Jason Widup, Founder, Peak B2B Marketing.

By incorporating these strategies, you can significantly enhance the impact and success of your events.

User Conferences
In-Person Events

Maximizing post-conference momentum - 3 key steps

3
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Learn key strategies for extending the life of your conference, converting attendee data into business opportunities, and using feedback for future success.

The curtains have closed on your latest conference, but hold off on that celebratory drink just yet!

The post-conference phase is as critical as the event itself. It's time to roll up your sleeves and dive into the crucial steps that will amplify the impact of your event.

Let’s explore how you can turn your recent user conference into a springboard for future success.

1. On-demand content

Your event's extended life: First up, collaborate with your content and design teams to make recorded sessions available online. This is not just about providing value to attendees who want to revisit sessions or catch up on missed ones; it's about extending your event's reach. By making this content easily accessible and shareable, you turn your conference into a content flywheel, reaching even those who couldn't attend.

2. Data reconciliation and follow-up

Next, it's time for some data magic. Reconcile attendee data, session information, and reports. Share these insights with your sponsors and use them for targeted follow-ups. Remember, the data you've gathered is gold – use it wisely to nurture leads and provide your sales team with actionable insights. The goal here is to convert interest into concrete business opportunities.

You can use this checklist to track your after-event activities

3. Feedback collection and debrief

Now, let's talk feedback. It's not just about collecting opinions; it's about creating a feedback loop that aligns with your event's objectives. Use the insights to understand how well you met your goals and where to improve. Remember, feedback is not just a formality – it's a tool for transformation. Involve your attendees in the process; you'll get more honest, actionable insights.

Here's a framework you can follow:

When it comes to collecting feedback from attendees, involving them in building their experience can significantly impact the quality and honesty of the feedback received. By giving them a sense of ownership in the process, attendees are more likely to provide thoughtful and insightful feedback that can help improve the overall event experience.

Here are sample survey questions to get you started

User Conferences
In-Person Events

4 hacks to scale your user conference without compromising on quality

4
Mins Read
Kishore C S

As your user conference grows, it's not just about having a bigger audience; it's also about maintaining the same quality of event experience as you scale. Here are 4 hacks to do just that.

Scaling your in-person user conference from a modest gathering to a large-scale event is a remarkable feat, when done right. One of the most critical aspects of this transformation is maintaining the quality of both content and speakers. 

Luckily for all of us, Lauren Olerich, Sr. Director of Events at Gainsight, has shared some super-important insights on how she’s been consistently delivering quality content at Gainsight’s user conferences right from the time they had about 300 attendees to their now massive 20,000+ attendee base.

The challenge of growing events

As your user conference expands, the task of curating high-quality content and securing exceptional speakers becomes increasingly challenging. Lauren acknowledges that there are no easy hacks for this process. Instead, it requires a significant investment of time and careful planning.

Here are 4 hacks that are essential to getting this right.

Hack 1: Build a strong foundation with tracks

To maintain the quality of your user conference, start with a solid track plan. Select new tracks that focus on forward-thinking topics, avoiding repetition from previous years. This approach ensures that the sessions align with the conference's goals and provide fresh insights.

Hack 2: Go the extra mile with speaker outreach

Speaker outreach for your next user conference

The way you carry out your speaker outreach matters a lot. While you can always conduct a call for speakers, don't hesitate to sometimes deviate from the submissions,

  1. Balance the use of a call for speakers with proactive outreach to highlight exciting industry developments and customer stories that may not come through formal channels.
  2. Maintain a balance between solicited speaker submissions and the insights provided by internal teams like product marketing and customer success.

Hack 3: Balancing personas and diverse content

caters to the interests of diverse audience personas attending your user conference

Consider the diverse audience personas attending your conference, from executives to individual contributors and different professions. Ensure that your agenda caters to their interests, offering options in multiple tracks and sessions. Nobody wants to leave your event feeling like you just scratched the surface on a certain topic of keen interest.

Hack 4: Get leadership to review your sessions

Review and provide feedback on each session of user conference

One striking insight that Lauren shared was around how Gainsight follows is a thorough session review process. They review every single session multiple times, even involving their CEO in the process. This commitment to detail demonstrates their dedication to delivering top-notch content.

Whether it's an internal subject matter expert or a leader who can provide valuable insights, having someone review and provide feedback on each session ensures the highest quality content. It'll require extra coordination and a few back-and-forth moments, yes, but is it worth it? Totally!

Summing up...

Maintaining the quality of content and speakers as your in-person user conference grows is no walk in the park, but the payoff is unmatchable!

With diverse tracks, effective speaker outreach, and meticulous session reviews, you'll be able to ensure that your conference continues to provide valuable experiences to attendees, regardless of its size!

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User Conferences

Designing for dialogue: Creating conference badges that spark conversations

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

4 tips to design conference badges that take the 'work' out of networking.

While the average person might see a conference badge as just a name tag, to a conference organizer, it's an unsung hero, a networking cornerstone, a conversation catalyst, and an important factor in building a great event. Its importance in the conference world is second only to the Wi-Fi password.

In other words, a lot is riding on this unassuming piece of rectangle.

But there’s more than meets the eye to getting it right. It’s not just about slapping a name on a piece of plastic –  conference badge design is a delicate balance of art and functionality. 

In this piece, we’ll delve into how to design a conference badge that helps make the attendee experience a great one.

First, let’s get the basics out of the way. Follow the following best-practices to create a fun and functional conference badge.

5 commandments of conference badge design

  1. Attendee names: the bigger, the better

    By which we mean it should be readable from a distance of 15 feet. People should not need to put on their reading glasses to read the badge.
  1. And it should be easily readable

    In other words, please do not use all CAPS.
  2. De-emphasize the conference name

    You can assume that everyone already knows what conference they’re at.
  3. Give everyone another reason to look at the badge

    Extra details like interests or one’s hometown make for great conversation starters.
  4. Lean into the event theme

    Incorporate theme colors, symbols, or slogans to make it distinctive. Remember that attendees often keep badges as mementos.

If you use the commandments mentioned above, you should be able to create a great-looking badge that looks something like the one in the image below.

The anatomy of a conference badge

An example of a fun and functional conference badge

But there’s still more you can do to elevate your conference badge. Read on.

Designing badges that drive dialogue

Just follow these tips:

1) Include ‘Ask me about ____’ or another talking point

Image credit: Business Insider

Let attendees add a little personality to their badges by including a couple of topics of interest or areas of expertise where they're open to collaboration. This lets other attendees get a glimpse into their passions and these serve as potential conversation starters. 

The questions can be professional and/or fun, such as ‘My hidden talent is…’, ‘The emoji that best describes me is…’ or ‘My go-to karaoke song is…’ making it easier for attendees to ask a follow-up question or respond in kind.

But if you don’t have enough space on your badge or need to prioritize other information, you can simply make other smaller badges with this prompt that attendees can wear alongside your official badge.

Make extra smaller badges if you need to

2) Let attendees add flair

Image credit: ONA23

Let attendees add items or objects to badges that employ visual cues, with color coding being especially effective. This approach allows attendees to be swiftly sorted into interest groups, making it easy for them to spot and connect with like-minded individuals.

For instance, badge ribbons can be used to highlight the individual’s role at the conference - as an attendee, guest speaker, sponsor or organizer. These can help attendees quickly identify and connect with the people they’re looking for.

Different ribbon colors can also be used to show how many years an attendee has been to the conference, providing an easy segue into discussing their conference history and experiences. If you're new to the conference and spot a fellow newbie's ribbon, it's a natural conversation starter, making introductions less daunting. On the flip side, if you notice a seasoned attendee's ribbon, it's an opportunity to delve into their wealth of past experiences and get valuable insights into the event.

Stackable stickers are another great option to add to badges too.

3) Incorporate a QR code

Attendee badges at Catalyst '23 by Partnership Leaders included a QR code to enable quick, easy check-in

A QR code badge simplifies the check-in process (it took only 90 Mins for all of the 672 attendees at Catalyst by Partnership Leaderships to check-in + get their badges) and it can be programmed to include quite a lot of extra attendee information. Details such as social media handles or a link to a company website can be easily exchanged via the QR code, boosting networking opportunities and engagement at the event.

Not to mention, using a QR code allows you to provide more information without taking up space on the design of your badge.

4) Don’t forget about the flip side of the badge 

Image credit: CalTech
Fonts In Use – f8 Conference Badges #catalog #print #informational #badges #booklet #conference
Image Credit: Design Inspiration

All too often, badges flip around when you're walking around the venue, which can lead to missed opportunities for connections and conversations. To maximize engagement, consider printing relevant information on the backside of the badge, ensuring that details remain visible from any angle.

Or at the least, use it to share the conference agenda or the layout of the venue.

To sum up

Don't underestimate the power of a well-designed badge. It's the small touch that can lead to big connections and make your event truly memorable.

User Conferences
Virtual Events

Why virtual-first event platforms fall short for in-person conferences

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

An exploration into how in-person events have evolved in recent years, and the technological gaps that restrict event marketers.

We’ve all seen how in-person conferences have returned to the forefront (and thank god for that!)

But is it that same-old in-person experience we knew a few years ago?

Not really.

Analyzing the changes in the in-person experience is sort of like watching an old friend return with a new vibe; they look the same, more or less, but something about them has changed for good!

After being shelved during the infamous locked-down years in the recent past, in-person events have re-entered the scene with a fresh, new sheen. 

But what stirred this change, and where does today’s tech that promises to support these events stumble a bit? 

Let’s find out.

So, what’s the new deal with in-person events?

Safety comes first, but make it smooth

Remember the ease of walking into events, all ready to networking vibes on? Now, it’s all about QR check-ins, ensuring a smooth, touch-free entry while keeping the safety gears in check. Health and engagement now go hand in hand, ensuring everyone can mingle without any worry in their heads.

Tech isn’t just a backstage player anymore

From QR codes ensuring safe entry to attendee apps that enable you to easily manage schedules, technology has stepped into the spotlight, playing a pivotal role in shaping the in-person event narrative and personalizing attendee experiences.

The necessity of hybrid components

In a world where reaching a wider audience has become paramount, integrating virtual elements into in-person events is no longer optional. You need a virtual streaming component at events to ensure no audience is missed and maximize reach and engagement.

Shift in audience perspective and strategy

Strategic audience targeting has taken a front seat, The focus moving from being solely on seeking new logos, to strategically bringing in existing customers. It’s a strategic play to get them to learn from one another, thereby subtly influencing deals and experiences. 

Moreover, existing customers are now viewed as extensions of your sales team.This has become a standard approach in modern event planning.

Event intel is a must-have

The era of virtual events handed us the golden ticket of data - insights into attendee behavior, engagement metrics, and lead generation info that marketers now expect from in-person events too.

In essence, in-person conferences have evolved from just crafting memorable moments to strategically beneficial experiences. It’s not just about hosting a stellar event but ensuring it delivers tangible, measurable results.

But here's the challenge with using virtual platforms for in-person conferences

In-person conferences, now a key player in B2B marketing strategies, aim to bring valuable experiences to attendees and sponsors. However, event marketers find themselves in a bit of a pickle due to the predominantly ‘virtual-first’ solutions in the event tech landscape.

Different foundations, different stories

Most event platforms, which gained traction in recent years, were crafted with a clear mission - deliver a top-notch virtual experience. Adapting to in-person needs isn’t just about tacking on features; it’s about embracing the core essence of the format, which isn’t a mere flick of a switch but a transformation.

Strategic focus isn’t a one-size-fits-all

Hybrid events might be the talk of the town, but let’s break it down. Events usually lean towards one format, with the other playing a supporting role. 

While platforms might claim to cater to both formats, their primary focus often peeks through their features and dashboards. Event marketers need tools that understand the intricacies of their primary event format and align with their strategic goals.

So, where does this leave event marketers?

Modern marketers deserve an event platform inherently designed to deliver an in-person experience attuned to the evolved expectations of attendees.

As in-person experiences transition from being tactical events to strategic marketing endeavors, event marketers should leverage technology that propels them towards success and enables them to extract maximum value from their in-person events.

In wrapping up, the event landscape has evolved significantly over the past few years, and so the technology supporting it must also evolve, ensuring it is not merely a reactive solution but a proactive tool that understands and enhances the modern in-person event experience.

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User Conferences
Product

3 lessons from Zylo on driving 46% in pipeline from your user conference

4
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Here’s how Zylo drove 46% growth in new pipeline from SaaSMe 2023

Every year, Zylo, the leader in SaaS management hosts SaaSMe, a multi-day conference dedicated to assisting IT and business leaders drive responsible growth through smarter SaaS management. 

Day 1 of the conference is open to all who want to learn more about optimizing their SaaS portfolio, while Day 2 is dedicated to helping current customers dive deeper into deriving even more value from Zylo. Here's how Zylo delivered value to SaaSMe 2023 attendees and built relationships that turned into 46% growth in pipeline within just 2 months after the conference.

Here are 3 things that Zylo did which led to incredible growth in pipeline:

1. Smart conference session-scoring let Zylo identify a prospect or customer's specific pain points or interests

Despite having over 1000 registrations at SaaSMe, Zylo effectively understood the pain points and goals of each attendee by employing event engagement scoring.

They achieved this by first intelligently aligning session scoring with Zylo's value pillars.

Then Zylo analyzed each prospect’s attendance at sessions and engagement activity within each session.

This made it simple to see which were the prospect’s primary interests or concerns in SaaS management - for instance security, or licensing. 

2. Layering event + account data gave Sales the power to highly personalize post -conference engagement

By leveraging Zuddl’s Salesforce integration, Zylo’s Sales team had easy access to information on the sessions that prospects and customers were most interested in at SaaSMe 2023 and questions or concerns on their mind. This insight, combined with existing account data, enabled them to reach out with personalized messages and content aligned with a prospect's interests—such as security for those engaged in SaaS security sessions.

Furthermore, Zylo also ensured that the right seller connected with the right prospect. For instance, because Day 2 of SaaSMe was customer-centric, only customer success executives were assigned follow-up with customers. Here too, because of the Salesforce integration,  CS executives had more insight into a customer’s goals and challenges and could recommend additional Zylo service offerings.

3. Made conference video recordings super-fast so that Sales could use them in outreach

Team Zylo, using Zuddl's built-in video production tool - Studio, were able to create SaaSMe 2023 branded video highlights within days after the conference. This meant that their Sales team could use the videos in their outreach to prospects and customers - a simple but impactful way to continue the momentum of the conference forward, cement Zylo as a partner invested in optimizing your SaaS management, and move the needle a little further towards conversion. 

The takeaway:

When the name of the game is building authentic connections and tailored solutions, Zylo's success stands as a testament to the power of meaningful engagement. Through their effective use of Zuddl’s platform features and integrations, Zylo turned their industry conference into an impressive pipeline engine for the company.

Read more about Zylo’s success here.

User Conferences
Virtual Events

Run user conferences like a pro with Zuddl

4
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Virtual user conferences come with their own challenges, but with the right technology, event marketers can not only overcome them but also put up a truly masterful virtual experience. Here’s how.

Crafting a virtual user conference is more than just organizing an event; it's about creating a memorable digital journey for every attendee.

And as an event marketer, you know all too well that putting together an impactful virtual user conference comes with its own challenges.

The good news is that these challenges can be overcome when you have the right conference technology partner on your side. 

So let’s break down the top challenges and see how the right event tech can help you obliterate them!

Challenge 1: Crafting a personalized attendee journey

Every participant at your user conference, be it a customer, partner, or prospect, has unique expectations from your event. But without a tailored registration processes, event communications and experiences, it becomes impossible for you to engage with them in a meaningful way.

How Zuddl helps:

  • Tailored registration: Use conditional logic to personalize your event registration forms as per your attendee persona.
  • Data-driven outreach: Empower sales to interact with prospects and personalize their outreach with real-time and easily accessible attendee analytics - such as the information filled in registration forms, questions asked, answers to Polls, the sessions spent at most, etc.

Challenge 2: Delivering a true on-brand experience

Your brand has its own identity and voice, and your design team is probably fantastic! But even they can be stifled by limited platforms can sometimes dilute that uniqueness, making your event feel less authentic and potentially alienating your audience.

How Zuddl helps:

  • Customizable touchpoints: Infuse every event detail with your brand essence.
  • Diverse visual options: Access a rich library of visuals or integrate your unique designs.
  • No code builders: Publish fully customized promotional landing pages and attendee emails with Zuddl’s no-code builders.
  • Elevated event streams: Our branding themes ensure your event stands out and feels authentic.

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Challenge 3: Overcoming integration bottlenecks


Data drives successful events. However, limited or clunky integration can disrupt the flow, leading to manual workflows, potential errors, and missed opportunities - aka a ‘pull-your-hair-out and scream’ situation for any marketer.

How Zuddl helps:

  • Seamless integrations: Zuddl's intuitive two-way integrations ensure a continuous data stream in virtually real-time.

  • Strategic data utilization: Link CRM with event data for actionable insights, optimizing attendance and engagement.
  • Real-time sales alerts: Keep sales teams in the loop when key stakeholders from an account engage, maximizing opportunities.

Challenge 4: Ensuring studio-quality events

The absence of a robust, integrated studio in your conference platform can be a total dampener on your user conference, rendering your sessions low-impact and your session management glitchy, with a lot of room for panic for you as well as your speakers.

How Zuddl helps:

  • Professional speaker management: Conduct dry runs and coordinate with speakers effortlessly during live events.
  • Content versatility: Choose between live, pre-recorded, or a blend of content, ensuring optimal quality.
  • Quality content creation: Studio is a powerhouse that lets you not only stream quality content but also leave you with branded session recordings, which means your teams can use event videos for follow-up the very next day after the conferene is over.

Of course, we can go on and on, but we highly recommend you watch this on-demand product tour to see how your next virtual conference can be your most epic one yet!

User Conferences
Virtual Events

From chaos to calm: How automation is simplifying B2B conferences

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

How much scope is there for automation in B2B conferences? Is there event tech that can simplify event planning and execution for event marketers? Read this article to know more.

We're hearing it more and more: "do more with less."

With B2B marketers tasked with maintaining smaller budgets whilst maximizing ROI, especially over the past few years, everyone is feeling the pressure to prune wherever possible. But instead of taking a hatchet to your resources, marketers and event organizers would be well advised to lean hard into more sustainable (and affordable) solutions wherever possible. 

By which we mean: automation.

Automation is of course not a new phenomenon.  People have been crying themselves hoarse about robots taking over our jobs for a decade

But most companies have quickly stopped crying once they realize how automation can unlock value and efficiencies across business processes. Recent research from Accenture underscores how investment in intelligent automation has helped companies grow their businesses five times faster.

So when it comes to B2B conferences (regardless of the format), it’s not really a question of whether to use automation or not, but instead a question of where it can provide the most value. 

Event marketers need to ask themselves several questions. 

  • In the B2B conference event lifecycle, which are the most time-consuming and expensive manual processes? 
  • Which are the most repetitive? 
  • Where could improved accuracy or better data be beneficial? 
  • If automation can do X task, then how can the time and energy allotted for it instead be used to move the needle at an event?

To help out, we’re specifying the different ways you should be leveraging automation - if you’re not already that is:

Before-event automation

The pre-event stage is crucial in setting the tone for the conference and generating excitement among potential attendees. Automation can help event planners manage several key tasks during this stage, including: 

  1. Social media promotion to educate, and build urgency: You’ll already know that automated posts can be scheduled on various social media platforms to build interest and awareness in the conference. 

    Take this one step further by creating a workflow to send out social posts when specific numbers of spots have been booked or tickets sold. For example, the instance 80% of spots for the conference have been blocked, a social post indicating the same can help create a sense of urgency/FOMO and prompt last-minute holdouts to sign-up or book.
  1. Registration confirmation emails to nurture interest: Automated emails can be sent to registrants immediately after they sign up for the conference. These emails can include information about the conference, instructions for accessing the conference platform, and a schedule of events. 

    Based on the information you collect from your registration forms (for instance, the track the attendee is most interested in), your emails can be personalized to an attendees interests (the header image featuring key speakers in that track). It's a small step but one that can make your attendees feel seen, heard and understood.

    Without automation, you would have to manually input email addresses, segment them into certain lists and send out email blasts on different days and times.
  1. Calendar blocks to improve turnout: Triggering an automated Google Calendar block when someone registers for your B2B conference is one of the best ways to keep the conversion rate from registration-attendance high. It’s a simple heads-up and reminder to a registrant to show up.
  1. Reminder emails to also improve turnout: 99% of email users check their inbox every day with some checking 20 times a day so automated emails are a no-brainer.

    Send automated emails to remind attendees that the conference is 1 week away, 3 days away, 1 day away and then 1 hour away to keep the event firmly in their radar.  Plan in a drip of content updates such as ‘Here’s a new speaker we added,’ or ‘Here is some new information on what we’re doing,’ or ‘Here are some other folks that you can expect to see there.'

    On the day of the event, reshare important information such as details about the venue (transport, parking, accessibility) or virtual venue (login links). This will help to increase turnout.

And automate WhatsApp messaging as well Sending updates to registrants’ WhatsApp accounts is an especially efficient way to reach them where they are.

  1. Chatbots can do a lot of talking for you: Setting up a chatbot on your landing page can help interested conference-goers get quick responses to questions. This can help reduce the burden on you and your team and provide attendees with quick and accurate information.

    The chatbot can go as far as sharing personalized session recommendations based on answers provided by the attendees about their interests and goals - i.e. ‘Here are the [sessions] that we think can provide you with value’ or ‘Here are the people you should meet with because we know they’re also going to be there.’

During-event automation

When attendees are actively engaged with the conference content, automation can help event planners manage several tasks during this stage. Here’s how:

  1. Session start emails to increase attendance rate: Automated emails can be sent to attendees to remind them when sessions are starting. These emails can also include information about the speakers and the session topic. 
  1. Mobile or self-check-in for easy entry: Automated mobile or self-check-in can help reduce the burden on event staff and provide attendees with a quick and efficient check-in process. 
  1. NPS surveys after each session for better data collection: NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys can be sent automatically to attendees after each session to gather immediate feedback on the session content and speakers. This automated collection of information means that you can bring together different pieces of data  for a more cohesive (and easier) understanding of what performed well with different segments of your audience. Without automation, you’d have to spend hours copy-pasting details from different sources into your spreadsheet - that can be prone to error.
  1. Slack messages to the sales team: Enabling real-time Slack alerts about registrations and attendance at B2B events can empower sales to interact with prospects in real-time - especially if your sales colleagues also have access to actionable data such as attendees’ reactions to in-session polls or how long attendees spent at a session.

Post-event automation

It’s a misconception to think that once the event is over, your work is too. Post-event is an extremely important phase in the event lifecycle as it’s when marketers can gather valuable feedback from attendees and share conference content. Automation can make this easier by helping event planners manage several key tasks during this stage, including: 

  1. On-demand video emails to nurture leads:  Emails with an event recap and links to on-demand videos from the event can be sent as soon as the conference is over. It’s a major value addition to registrants who were unable to attend, as well as to attendees who were unable to take notes or attend all the sessions they wanted to catch. It also serves as a touchpoint for sales to follow up with them later on. These emails can also include surveys to gather feedback on the conference content. 
  1. Activity-based emails to also nurture leads: Using marketing automation software, you can set up triggers for emails based on actions your conference go-ers take, such as their badge scans for entry to different sessions at a in-person/hybrid event or if they watch a product demo at an expo booth, or based on their answer to a poll. This enables you to reach out to attendees with context, nurturing their interest and keeping them engaged with your brand.

    You can take this one step further by setting up a workflow based on lead scoring. Set up different emails based on the number of activities completed by attendees at the conference, or based on the scoring they receive if they perform specific activities. This enables you to set up specific nurturing streams using engagement data.
  1. Automate post-event reports to be able to take immediate follow-up actions: Automation tools can lead to cost savings for businesses, as it frees up organizers from individually entering a daunting amount of data into a sheet, or tracking individual engagement which can be near impossible at an in-person or hybrid conference. 

    By pulling together important bits of data, automated reports enable you to see the effectiveness of your conference, and how well your customer journeys are working - and turn these insights into actions.

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Move faster with automation 

It’s not difficult to see the various ways in which automation can make life easier and better for marketers and event planners. By streamlining workflows, reducing human error, and providing attendees with a more personalized and efficient experience, it can make all the difference when it comes to moving the needle at your next conference. But the key is to always infuse automation with the right dose of human touch - to quote Maya Angelou ,“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.

User Conferences
Virtual Events

6 insanely smart user conference promotion hacks

7
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Work smarter, not harder. Use these 6 hacks (+ ready-to-use email templates)to send the registration and attendance numbers for your user conference through the roof.

We’re not quite sure who came up with the phrase "If you build it, they will come”, but clearly it was not a B2B marketer in the 21st century. 

In this era, markets are already saturated, competition is fierce, and people are extremely picky with where they choose to spend their attention and money. There is just no scenario today in which you can organize a user conference, and simply expect people to flock to your proverbial doors. 

So, as with all things B2B, you’re going to need a well-thought-out plan, consistent monitoring, quite a lot of co-ordination, and a couple of excel sheets to get the results you want for your user conference, but it’ll be well the effort (just ask anyone who’s won Product Of The Day on Product Hunt #IYKYK). To this end - and to provide you with even bigger results - use the following 6 proven promotional hacks to maximize your event registration and attendance results.

Let’s get started.

Insane Hack #1:Start promoting your user conference 6-8 weeks before the event

Ideally, you need to start about 8 weeks before the date of your event - yes, we know, it’s tempting to think that that’s too early to start talking about the conference, but trust us, the earlier the better. Just ask Haptik!

By choosing your event promotion timeline carefully, you can maximize awareness, and increase attendance at your user conference. Break down action items into monthly, and weekly tasks - this will make it easier to execute, monitor, and optimize. Here’s a sample timeline to follow:

To make sure you’re staying on schedule, create a tracker - we've made a handy one for you here including ready-to-go email templates for all your blasts and follow-ups, thank us later).

Keep an eye on your metrics to see which activities are performing the best so you can double-down on them, and which ones are lagging behind, so you can pay a little more attention to those.

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Insane Hack #2: Have event specific branding

Three people hold a pencil symbolizing event branding above their head

Don’t be complacent. It’s tempting to just use the company logo and colors for your event branding, but getting your design team to come up with a unique, event-only brand that stands out is well worth the effort. Keep in mind that your target audience is already attending a couple of events every month - and probably a few every week! Great event branding helps to distinguish yours from all the others out there, and makes the experience cohesive and memorable.

Here are examples of great event branding for user conferences:

IBM’s ‘Think’ 

The conference brings together IBMers and experts from different fields for a variety of workshops, experiences, networking, talks, and education. The event branding for the conference aims to align with different business units and narratives, but expresses the journey from individual components to large-scale solutions and insightful discoveries.

Image: Melissa Miyamoto-Mills

Salesforce’s ‘Dreamforce’

One of the largest global conferences held, Dreamforce connects their community for three days of learning and sharing knowledge, networking, and getting inspired to ‘blaze their own trail’ - attendees are playfully known as "Trailblazers". 

The event branding follows this thread, featuring national park-themed decor and design  - tree canopies for a 100ft. forest installation for instance, or staff members dressed up as Park Rangers - that is high-tech, creative, unique, and definitely so distinct that it leaves its competitors in the dust.

Image: Amanda Cheung

The moral of these examples is to go big on your event branding. Sure, it’s more work, but will help you deliver your message more effectively and emotively, and drive the attention and footfall you need.

Insane Hack #3: Show with video

A rocketship symbol rises from a laptop whilst on the side a hand pushes a launch button

B2B marketers who use videos in their campaigns see a 34% higher conversion rate, so it’s a no-brainer to incorporate them into your promotional activities. And here are even more compelling reasons to use video in your event marketing:

  • Adding video to a single promotional event email can increase click rates by 300%
  • 7 out of 10 B2B buyers watch a video during the buyer journey
  • People are 27 times more likely to click on an ad if its video in comparison to a static banner.

Now that the case for use is quite clear, let’s narrow down the different types of videos you can create to drive interest and engagement:

  • Teaser videos: Showcasing what attendees can expect at the event is a great way to leverage FOMO to persuade those on the fence about registering for the conference. These will be especially useful in email marketing. 
  • Recap videos: If your company has already hosted a user conference, video highlights of the event will remind those who attended the first time around why they should return for the second edition, and via social proof, nudge prospective attendees into registering. A great example of this is Adobe’s Max 2022 hybrid event video recap, which captures the warmth, creativity, energy and community spirit at the event. Watch it here

         MozCon’s video recap is another fantastic example, especially since it features testimonials by previous attendees. Watch it here.

  • Invitation videos by speakers: Getting your speakers to introduce themselves and what they’ll be discussing at the event can go a long way toward building credibility and confidence in your user conference, and the value attendees can gain by showing up. Here’s an example of this in practice - Emily Kramer, Co-founder of MKT1, introduces herself and invites B2B marketers to join her talk.

The key is to use a variety of video content to attract the attention of your target audience, and then use it to connect with emotion and empathy with prospective attendees.

Insane Hack #4:  Make it easy to spread the word

A loudspeaker that pours out 'fave' icons

With basics in place such as using an event hashtag in your social media posts, you’ll be able to catapult visibility and awareness of your user conference. But to boost efficacy, use a social wall.

A social wall is a feed of aggregated user-generated content in real-time, pulled from across a variety of social media platforms. Adding it to your conference can pay off seriously down the road.

  • Amplifies event reach: Each tweet or post share spotlighted on the social wall motivates attendees to keep posting, which strengthens visibility and awareness.
  • Stokes FOMO: Showcasing memorable moments can  generate a sense of excitement and urgency, which can entice last-minute holdouts to join the event. 

This is one of the easiest tools at your disposal to help you draw more attention, so make sure that your event platform partner has the capability to showcase user-generated content from the event on social media.

Insane Hack #5: Rope in speakers for promotions

We mentioned this earlier in Hack #1 but it bears repeating: your speakers are one of the best event influencers you have at your disposal. Thanks to their credibility and reach, they can be the catalyst that makes your conference the ‘must attend’ event of the quarter. But for this to work, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to promote the conference. Here are a couple of things you can do to that end:

Insane Hack #6: Get CS and Sales teams to reach out to customers and prospects respectively

Two work professionals running towards a gold cup

Create a leaderboard to incentivize sales and customer success to increase the number of registrations for the event.

By adding competition and recognition as additional motivation for sales and customer success colleagues, you can ensure that you’re getting more of the right people to your user conference. And with attribution in place, you can also track which AE was responsible for driving the most attendee registration

This cross-functional collaboration will help keep the entire company’s eyes on opportunities to rope in more attendees. Alignment across teams is challenging, but one of the most effective ways to improve promotion results.

Protip: Don’t just rely on your CS and Sales team to drive registrations. Get everyone in the company involved! But make it easy on everyone by making a little kit/drive where everyone has easy access - include essentials like creatives they can post, a hashtag they can use.

Promoting your conference effectively requires smart strategy

A clearly defined promotional plan that thoughtfully utilizes your resources is really the key to getting all the right people to your user conference. You may have to tweak your strategy as you go along, but as long as you have a schedule that covers your bases and the backing of different teams in the company, you’ll be able to generate the results you want.

Zuddl is a unified platform for events and webinars that helps event marketers plan and execute events that drive growth. The platform has clients across the globe, such as the United Nations, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, HSBC, VMware, Google, StackCommerce and Cipla amongst others. In January 2022, Zuddl announced that it closed $13.35 mn in Series A funding.

User Conferences
Event Marketing

How to build an agenda: 8 proven tips to make your user conference memorable

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

A user conference agenda needs to be a careful balance of activities that deliver value for customers and the company. These 8 tips will tell you how to get it exactly right.

Have you been in a situation where you had a killer idea for a user conference, and you were sure the agenda would drive registrations in the thousands (ok hundreds! We’re no SaaStr!)? But the audience response was a lukewarm ‘meh!’?

Nothing crushes the spirit of an event marketer like poor registration (and poor turnout!), and event folks are pretty darn tough!

Most of the times when we look at building an agenda for an event, we are put in topics and themes, and panel discussion ideas that we think are of interest to the audience. But it’s more nuanced than that. A user conference agenda needs to be a careful balance of activities that deliver value for customers and the company, for instance track learning as well as product updates, roundtable discussions as well as talks by customers. 

Let us look at some tricks to building an agenda that will guarantee a fantastic user conference.

1. See how other companies are doing it

review other companies

Not just competition, look at how other companies are building agendas. Afterall, inspiration can strike from anywhere. And wasn’t it Picasso who said “good artists borrow, great artists steal.”? No, we are not advocating you lift an entire agenda off someone’s event, but it is certainly a good place to start looking for ideas. 

Taking a look at how other B2B companies have curated their agendas allows you to discover speakers, session topics and trends that you should be familiar with but have slipped your radar, as well as to see how they’re organizing the conference days.

Take for example SaaStr 2022’s agenda. (SaaStr Annual  is one of the largest B2B conferences in the world, every year bringing together 10K+ founders and entrepreneurs to learn what’s new, what’s changed, and what’s a secret in the space.)

The conference usually has something for everyone - a startup owner seeking advice on how to scale their business, a company looking for a niche B2B software solution, or your everyday B2B marketer wanting to refine their ABM strategy. The 2022 event agenda reflects this, with tracks dedicated to Growth, Scaling, Customer Success, and Team Management. 

SaaStr 2022's agenda
SaaStr 2022's agenda is a great example of clever curation

You’ll notice that each track offers a blend of 

  • Keynote sessions
  • Masterclasses and workshops
  • Networking
  • Mentoring sessions

So, for instance, a Revenue Leader at Saastr 2022 could attend plenty of tactical sessions from world-known founders, and Q&A rounds. 

  • 10 Lessons Learned Scaling to $1B Valuation with Drift's Co-founders
  • Growth Day Q&A (with Alogolia’s CEO Bernadette Nixon and CRO Michelle Adams, Zendesk’s SVP Global Marketing Prelini Udayan-Chiech, and SaaStr’s GM and SVP Amelia Ibarra)
  • Scaling Revenue in 2022: What’s the Same and What's Different? with Confluent's President
  • Revenue Alignment: How to Pull Marketing, Sales, Customer Success Together with Divvy's CRO
  • How to Scale a Platform and Ecosystem to $10B with Atlassian's CRO

The agenda is organized so well that each day drives new learning, new connections and immeasurable value for different persona types  - as should yours.

But keep this caveat in mind:  Because a competitor did it, and it was well received does not mean that a similar agenda would work for our audience as well. Your audience is yours for a reason - you offer them something no one else does - your viewpoint. 

2. Send out before-event surveys to gauge attendee interest in session topics

Conduct before event survey

Getting your attendees to weigh in on what kind of content they want to consume, and what they’re expecting to take away from your event is exactly the direction you need to build an interesting and valuable event agenda. To this end, you can conduct a simple poll on LinkedIn or check in with your Sales and Customer Success colleagues about what customers are asking about, or even post in relevant Slack communities.

You can also gauge interest by customizing your registration form, as illustrated here:

Customized registration form
Source: Dribbble

Protip: An alternative to the text box shown in the example above is to let attendees pick the session topics they are most interested in, using a multiple-choice format. You can then use this insight to plan additional panels or discussion rooms in the agenda, and create more targeted marketing materials to hand out during the event. 

PS. Involving attendees from the get-go displays thoughtfulness and commitment from the organizer’s side, and can translate to a higher level of engagement.

3. Keep event sessions length to 45 minutes with breaks in between

Include breaks in between events

Your attendees are going to lose focus and energy if your webinars and event sessions last longer than a typical Netflix show episode, so it's best practice to keep them between 30 or 45-60 minutes long.  

Within each webinar or event session, set aside time for an introduction, then at least 25-30 minutes for the main speech/presentation, followed by time for Q&A. Here’s an example of a structure to follow:

Session breaks sample

How to plan in breaks for virtual conferences

Schedule regular breaks in between sessions, ideally 5-10 minutes long. 

This enables attendees to:

  • Stretch their legs to stave off ‘Zoom fatigue’
  • Check their email and mobile messages so they aren’t distracted during a session
  • Replenish the brain’s stores of attention and motivation
  • Return to the event energized and focused

Protip: Arrange wellness or fun activities such as yoga or meditation or even a game like a scavenger hunt during some breaks as “palate cleansers" to make your event more memorable and fun.

Here’s an example of session durations at SaaStock. As you can see, they can be as short as 20 minutes.

SaaStock sample
Source: SaaStock

4. Arrange sessions by ‘tracks’

Arrange sessions by tracks

As seen with Saastr, sometimes there are hundreds of sessions at a conference. Using tracks lets you group them under different umbrella topics - and importantly, make them visible on the agenda. This makes it easier for attendees to navigate the agenda.

As an example, here’s how Kaltura used tracks at their Virtually Live! event. 

Kaltura sample
Source: Kaltura

Event sessions are grouped under larger topics such as branding, ROI, and data. Attendees can jump from one track to another, but grouping them as such makes it easier to understand the agenda, and make a choice on what sessions to attend.

5. Catchy session titles can make a difference

Create catchy session titles

This might seem like a low-priority tip compared to some of the other points in this article, but you may be surprised to find out that it's actually one of the most effective. 

If you talk to your email marketing colleague or the copywriter in the team, they’ll no doubt tell you the difference a well crafted subject line or phrase can have in driving people to take an action. The same principle applies here.

Taking a little bit of extra effort to make your session titles more catchy and creative can make your event agenda that bit more memorable and entice more attendees to attend them. Rocketlane's Propel 22 conference for customer onboarding and implementation professionals is a stellar example, with session topics so catchy that they immediately grip your attention, yet provide enough context to make you want to attend.

Rocketlane sample
Source: Rocketlane

Protip: A simple way to approach session titles is to make it as specific as possible about a problem, a challenge, or a goal.

6. Schedule your most in-demand speakers for the beginning and the end of the day

Schedule event speakers with Zuddl

To start strong, schedule your most important speakers at the beginning of the day. They’ll be able to energize your audience and set the tone for the rest of the day, leaving them excited and interested for what is to come.

Similarly, by scheduling a high-profile speaker for the last session of the day, you can leave attendees uplifted and inspired to return for more the next day.

7. Plan in time for attendees to network and socialize

Networking opportunities with Zuddl

Aside from breaks between sessions, it’s important to give attendees the opportunity to meet one another, chat, mingle and make a new friend, business connection, or even a new investor - you just never know where a conversation will take you.  To this end, it’s a must for you to organize breakout and/or networking sessions during the event schedule. 

Here’s an example of how Private Equity International built in some networking time during their CFOs & COOs Forum New York 2022.

PEI events sample
Source: PEI Events

Breakout rooms: Virtual rooms in which attendees can gather can be used as spaces for socialization - for instance, you can name Rooms after topics related to the event theme, that are sure to bring together ‘birds of a feather’ groups.

Networking sessions: Use AI-powered matchmaking to connect with attendees with like-minded or complimentary goals and interests eg. investors, and startup owners. 

Protip: Energy levels can flag in the middle of the day, after lunch, and in the middle of the evening. Scheduling breakout and networking sessions around these times can help to get attendees energized and ready to go again.

A well crafted agenda is non-negotiable

A well-crafted user conference agenda can go a long way to driving up attendance and participation rates. Put a little bit more effort and time when building your own (with the tips from this article), and you’re sure to see it pay off.

Zuddl is a unified platform for events and webinars that helps event marketers plan and execute events that drive growth. The platform has clients across the globe, such as the United Nations, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, HSBC, VMware, Google, StackCommerce and Cipla amongst others. In January 2022, Zuddl announced that it closed $13.35 mn in Series A funding.

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