Blog FPO

10 Ways to Create Event FOMO and Encourage Members to Attend

This guest blog post is co-written by Ashley Uhl (Manager, Meeting Planning at AAOE and Meeting Planner at Event Garde) and Alyssa Gibson (Manager, Education at AAOE). The original blog post was featured online by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) here.

FOMO, or fear of missing out, can be a useful strategy to get members to attend in-person and virtual events. Here are 10 ways to instill urgency and engagement into events.

Associations may struggle to get members to events, conferences, and webinars. After all, they’re strapped for time, budgets are tight, and resources are popping up every day competing for their attention. To get people to pay attention and participate in events, associations must find ways to create FOMO (fear of missing out). Here are 10 ways to do just that:

1. Get members involved as microvolunteers. Involve different segments of members in the session review and selection process. A diverse review committee will help ensure that the topics selected will resonate with more people. Plus, it creates a microvolunteering opportunity for members that will boost their engagement with the association.

2. Offer fresh learning formats. Experiment with new learning formats and room sets to create unique and authentic experiences. Attendees are tired of being talked at in panel presentations. Add in some brain breaks: funny, light-hearted, or off-topic sessions that will reset attendees’ minds.

3. Listen, react, plan, and report back. If attendees at a previous event complained about something that can be fixed—like exhibit hall hours, session length, or coffee availability—change it for the next event and make sure members know they were heard. A simple “you asked, we listened” message may be enough to encourage disgruntled—or worse, under-caffeinated—members to return. It also lends itself to an effective FOMO message: “Don’t miss the new networking events you asked for!”

4. Encourage speaker and influencer marketing. The best marketing comes from the stars at an event—the people who will captivate attendees either onsite or offsite. Encourage speakers to tell their story via online video to connect with members and explain why their session will be fun, different, and engaging. Share these videos on all platforms, including the conference’s website, social media, blog, or e-newsletter.

5. Establish creative drip campaigns. Information about an event should be released like a steady drumbeat. This will pique members’ interest and keep the event front of mind. A preliminary program should only provide need-to-know details in one convenient place. In fact, many attendees arrive at the American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives’ (AAOE) events with a marked-up guide tucked under their arm. To create FOMO, more frequent, consistent touches are necessary.

6. Create a conference survival guide. This communication is a basic know-before-you-go email on steroids. It has the necessary information, but also fun facts, reminders for event experiences, and tips for staying sane while trying to be in the moment and learning while attendees’ inboxes fill up. This year, AAOE will include this information in a PDF-file format so that registrants can download, save, or print the guide for easy reference.

7. Conduct a virtual orientation. Conferences can feel overwhelming for even the most extroverted person. To help engage first-time attendees and experienced members alike, consider a virtual orientation session. This on-demand session will not only provide event basics but can also help build buzz about the conference. Be sure to cover any outside-the-box experiences and highlight the creative elements of the venue, experience, or speakers. Also consider using members as influencers to share insights and advice.

8. Take advantage of an app. A mobile app is a great way to engage attendees onsite at the conference, but it can also be an effective tool at driving engagement before they step foot in the venue. Plan a mobile app game that attendees can play to win prizes, and start the game before the conference begins. For example, create a photo contest where attendees submit photos for various categories, such as preparing for or traveling to the conference, to encourage them to download and begin using the app before they arrive.

9. Offer opportunities to give back. AAOE partners with a local charity to give back to the community and to engage members in the months leading up to a conference. Getting-to-know-you emails are sent out to members and detail the charity’s mission and how members can get involved or help out. In 2018, AAOE took a multiprong approach to give back, and it went viral. From social media to email signature badges, to sponsored ads in the event program, AAOE raised more than $32,000 to Give Kids the World. Much of this fundraising came from a successful T-shirt sale. Members could purchase shirts either in advance of the conference or onsite, and once attendees saw how many people wore them, others scrambled to donate and buy shirts before they sold out.

10. Offer a livestream. No matter how effective your FOMO strategies are, some members just simply won’t be able to attend the conference due to budget, prior engagements, or lack of time. That doesn’t mean you should forget about them. Include these members by livestreaming one or two of the most popular sessions. Promote these livestreams well in advance, so that members can add it to their calendar. Tell them how they can tune in, and share the recordings afterward. Giving them a glimpse into the conference may induce the greatest feeling of FOMO yet.

Video Made the Marketing Star

Paragraphs rarely go viral. Videos do! More so than ever before, marketers are looking for a way to help their organizations and companies stand out from the crowd. Video is an excellent solution for grabbing the attention of those you wish to reach in a creative and engaging way. So, where to start? Making videos can be intimidating for a lot of folks, especially if your team is remote and expertise, time, and resources are limited. But, incorporating videos into your content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be daunting if you keep a few tips and tricks in mind. Assembled below are some best practices for creating quality videos that will help you foster deeper connections with your audience.

Read More >

Picture Perfect: Tips for Taking Great Event Photos

​In a sea of hundreds of conference pictures, a good event photo is worth a thousand words. Taking great event photos can seem like a low priority when it comes to looking at your never ending to-do checklist. However, having good photos from your conference or event will provide many uses far after the last attendee has gone home.

Read More >

SHOW ME THE IMPACT! The increased importance of sponsorship fulfillment reports.

​The idea behind sponsorship fulfillment reports is not a new one however in unprecedented times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to help sponsors see the impact of their marketing dollars. With the pivot to virtual or hybrid events, it may be more critical to demonstrate the value to sponsor who most likely has less experience with these formats. Let’s take a quick look into the why, the what, and the how as it relates to delivering successful sponsorship fulfillment reports.

Read More >

Maximizing Your Budget with Volunteers

​Many small staff associations have big ideas but aren’t always able to execute due to a lack of resources, staff, time – or all of the above. Now is the time to learn how to do more with less by really engaging your volunteers.

Read More >

Intentional Marketing: Shaping Stories that Resonate

As marketers, we are often at the heart of DEI discussions with opportunities to inform strategies and make an impact in the DEI space, but maybe we’re unsure of how to make that happen. Or we might find ourselves caught in the middle without much chance to weigh in before being charged with the task of communicating about DEI internally and externally. Working in a niche industry like the outdoors can add another layer of considerations and challenges into the mix. For example, ever try finding a stock image of folks in wheelchairs enjoying the outdoors (particularly a free one)? There goes your afternoon. With so many potential scenarios, what can we do to prepare ourselves?

Read More >

Effective Email Marketing: How To Shine Through Stories

Email marketing is designed to provide audiences with valuable and enjoyable experiences that keep them engaged with your brand over time. However, it doesn’t always shake out that way. How many of us have been in the position where, despite our hard work and time put into these communications, it still seems like the people we’re trying to reach just aren’t listening? This is a tough place to be in during the best of times and right now it can feel even more overwhelming to troubleshoot as marketers everywhere struggle to stand out in a world that looks very different. Here are a few tips that will help you take stock of current strategies and tweak them to foster a deeper connection with your readers.

Read More >