4 best practices to connect with attendees after the conference

Picture this: your association just wrapped up a conference that kept all of your attendees engaged and taught them valuable insights that they can carry into their professional careers. However, just because your association’s event is over doesn’t mean your work is!

Events are not just one and done. Post-event follow-up is critical to keeping attendees invested in your organization and eager to stay involved, whether by registering for an upcoming event, signing up for your mentorship program, or upgrading their membership tier.

Luckily, you can use a variety of communication and marketing channels to keep attendees in the loop and connected to your organization at all times — from text messaging to social media.

Use these best practices to foster lasting relationships with attendees and nurture guests along the member journey after your event:

  • Express Appreciation
  • Solicit Feedback
  • Post event highlights
  • Offer additional ways to get involved

Connecting with your attendees before, during, and after your event is a vital part of boosting your member retention rate. Let’s dive into how you can keep your association on your members’ minds long after your event concludes.

Express Appreciation

Your association is likely made up of busy individuals who take the time out of their schedules to attend your conferences, workshops, and more. As a result, it’s important to show your gratitude to members for showing up. Doing this can build stronger connections with your members and make them feel like they're really part of your association's community.

In your thank-you messages, be sure to:

  • Greet attendees with their first names: A personalized message is much more eye-catching and impactful than a generic note that begins with “Dear Member.” Plus, it can lead to higher open rates. In fact, one study found that personalizing your subject lines can increase open rates by 29.3%. Add members’ first names to your subject lines so they’re more likely to read your message and feel like they’re a valued part of your organization, rather than just another participant among hundreds or thousands. 
  • Reference the event they attended: Include the specific name of your event in your message so attendees know what you’re thanking them for. 
  • Share the top insights from your event: Remind your attendees of the key takeaways from your event that they can use to reach their individual goals. For example, if you recently hosted a skills-building conference, you might say “Dear Monica, Thank you for attending our Annual Skills Development Conference. We hope that you enjoyed our public speaking and technical writing workshops and will carry out the three C’s we went over: “Communicate Clearly, Concisely, and Confidently.”

Manually personalizing each of your attendee communications can eat up all of your time and cause you to delay getting your thank-you messages out quickly. Instead, leverage a text messaging platform with automation and personalization abilities so you can easily power off these messages in just moments and feel confident that attendees will see them. The right platform will also let you schedule these messages in advance to be sent mere minutes or hours after your event concludes. 

Solicit Feedback 

Show your guests that you value their perspective by inviting them to fill out a post-event survey. Ask attendees to honestly share what they liked and disliked about your event. For instance, you might ask questions like:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how engaged did you feel during this event?
  • What was your favorite part of our event?
  • Do you have any suggestions to improve this event? 
  • Did you find the registration process simple? 
  • How likely are you to attend another event from our organization in the future? 

Your members’ responses will point your association to ways you can increase your events’ impact in the future and boost your attendance numbers. After all, members are much more likely to attend events that align with their interests and actively take their feedback into consideration. 

Once your survey is created, you’ll need a way to get it to your supporters.  Easily send out this survey by text messaging your attendees a mobile-friendly link. This way, attendees can submit their responses at any time on the go. You can also email it to your event attendees so they have the option to complete it from their computers. 

Post event highlights 

Sharing event highlights on your marketing and communication platforms — like your text messaging campaign, social media, and email — allows attendees to remember the great time they had at your event while enticing members who weren’t in attendance to register for future events. 

For example, you might share: 

  • Photos of guests engaging in event activities, like listening to a speaker or networking with peers
  • Video clips of the top speeches from your event
  • Testimonials from guests in attendance

To gather testimonials, ask some of your loyal members who were in attendance to write a few sentences about what they took away from your event and how it’s helped them in their respective fields. This can be powerful social proof to inspire people to sign up for your next event or even apply to be a member if they aren’t already. 

Sharing testimonials from your attendees can help inspire sign-ups for your upcoming events.

Offer additional ways to get involved 

Events can often serve as a springboard for attendees to dive deeper into what your association can offer them. Point attendees to other ways they can continue to stay engaged in your association. For example, you might invite attendees to:  

  • Register for upcoming events: On your website or through newsletters, highlight  upcoming conferences, workshops, or networking events that would be of interest to your attendees. Include a link to your registration page so attendees can sign up with ease. 
  • Sign up for your email newsletter or subscribe to your blog: Attendees can always stay tapped into your organization by keeping up with your email newsletter or industry insights blog. This is a great way to keep your association top of mind and help members derive as much value from your organization as possible. 
  • Follow your social media accounts: Encourage attendees to follow your association on social media for real-time updates and the ability to connect with other members. For example, you might create a Facebook group where members can launch into thought-provoking discussions. 
  • Explore opportunities that relate to their specific interests: Suggest opportunities that align with the purpose of your event since you know that attendees are already interested in this. For instance, let’s say you’re an association of medical professionals that recently hosted a networking event for new doctors to learn more about how to progress in their careers. You might direct them to an opportunity to join your mentorship program and receive invaluable advice from more veteran members of your association. 

You can also ask attendees as part of your post-event feedback survey for ways they hope to get more involved in your association. Then, you can suggest opportunities based on these responses. 

Wrapping Up 

The post-event phase is a golden opportunity to convert attendees into loyal members. With the right post-event marketing and communication strategies, you can build stronger relationships with attendees and create a vibrant and growing member community. Make sure you’re working with the best tech to easily get in touch with attendees and keep them engaged well after your event ends. 

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