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Event Tech for Marketing Lesson 1: Create Your App

create-an-event-app

Event marketing is a critical part of your marketing strategy; at the core of event marketing is event technology. Despite the increasing usage of event technology amongst our customers, we've noticed that many companies still aren't realizing the full potential that event technology brings to their event programs.  

When combined, event apps and registration systems establish the most engaging channel between you and your attendees at your live events. This connection allows you to draw conclusions and data from those interactions, in real-time. This is a powerful channel when it comes to marketing your events and driving engagement.

Over the next few weeks we’ll explore event marketing as it relates to mobile devices, and key opportunities you should consider as you plan to weave event technology into your event marketing strategy.

Before we get started, make sure to download our free data sheet for insights into mobile event technology usage, and trends that you can put to use for your program:

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Okay, now let’s get started! First, you'll need to create an event app that you can leverage in event registration campaigns and other marketing collateral.

How to Create an Event App

When your customers and partners visit your website, interact with your employees, and attend your events, they form a perception of your brand. As an event app creator, what perception do you want them to have of your event? Let's explore a few different options when it comes to creating your event app...

  • An outsourced, templated solution

With this option, you'll choose a provider who specializes in building event apps that are templated and may be white labeled, or may be built in a universal app. There may be some level of customization within your app's content management system, but all the hard work (coding, development, design) is done for you so you can plug and play. We recommend a white-label templated solution for those looking to scale their events while also maintaining a unique experience for their brand.

  • An outsourced, custom solution

In this option, you will choose a provider that can build your event app from scratch. This maximizes your ability to customize the event app experience, but comes at a high cost per event and often isn't the most scalable solution. Consider this option if you only run one or two tier one events per year, or have needs outside of what a templated solution and all possible integrations can provide.  

  • An In-house developed app

If you have a team of developers that can build an event app internally, you may also consider going this route. The positive side of this approach is that you can be very customized, and you have complete control over timelines, branding and features. But this approach comes with significant drawbacks. For one, working with internal developers won't always yield the best experience for your attendees; not all developers understand the event experience so it's best to work with event-tech specialized software developers. Second, owning your own timelines can go awry very quickly; if you go with this option it will likely take longer than if you outsourced, and you may not have time to build all the functionality you need. 

In-house Developed App

Our recommendation: 

Find the best blend and balance of all three options above. Choose a vendor that can help with templating and provide tried and true engagement features. Also, consider your ability to brand the experience to your company's needs, and lastly trust event tech experts to guide the way in creating your app, but give your internal developers opportunities to collaborate and get involved. 

Go with a live engagement marketing platform built to scale, but ready to personalize the attendee experience in all the ways that matter.

What is a Live Engagement Marketing Platform?

Marketers and event managers looking for a more robust event technology provider should consider a live engagement marketing (LEM) platform in addition to an event management platform. A LEM platform should manage and track the entire attendee experience in one place. This is a desirable option for the advanced event marketer, who wants to go beyond project management and really drive measurable results for their program. 

Event Management Platform Overlap Live Engagement Marketing Platform (LEM)
  • Solves logistical problems for event managers
  • Provides project management solutions (budgeting, venue management and sourcing)
  • Facilitates planning primarily pre-event
  • Built to help event managers accomplish their goals
  • Built to improve attendee experiences
  • Solves strategic marketing problems for event managers
  • Provides an outlet for marketing to attendees, and collecting data and insights
  • Helps to facilitate communication, engagement and participation before during and after your events

 

Now, this isn't to say you should choose one over the other. You need both the logistical and the strategic platforms to enable your event teams. However, a Live Engagement Marketing Platform is just as essential to event marketing success as your event management solutions. You shouldn't treat it lightly, or cut costs here.

A Live Engagement Marketing Platform Allows you to:

  • Create branded registration experiences.
  • Run campaigns to drive app adoption.
  • Create a branded event app unique to your company, with brand exposure in the various app stores.
  • Integrate across tools like registration and mobile apps for improved attendee adoption and engagement.
  • Secure your event app and create seamless log-in experiences for simple app adoption.
  • Personalize experiences for attendees with specific content and offers.
  • Manage event details, content, and speakers across your entire event program.
  • Increase engagement during sessions through live surveys and polls. Session feedback surveys and Q&A follow-up can be collected through your app. 
  • Create sponsored content and offers to gauge attendee's interest in products, exhibitors, or other promotions.
  • Capture and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) for your events to evaluate performance and prove the ROI of your event programs.

 

How to Brand Your Event App

Your mobile event app should reflect your brand. Your clients, employees, and partners should find the same authority, reliability, and thought leadership in your event app as the rest of your content. Below you'll find some helpful resources on effectively branding your event app. 

Logos for your event or brand

Ensure that you use high-quality logos within your app, have your full logo and thumbnail readily available for all marketing collateral and in multiple sizes.

Visit guides for Apple Best Practices and Google Best Practices for sizing and optimizing your logos for mobile.

Event Images, icons, sponsored content, and product imagery

If this is your first year holding an event be sure to have a photographer get high-quality shots of the action at your event. If you have event photos from last year, make sure that you leverage them to build hype around this year's event.

Here are some best practices on sizing images for mobile.

App download pages

Make sure that you have a page specifically dedicated to driving app adoption for your event. Encourage your sponsors and partners to share the page in their promotion, and promote the app yourself via pre-event social and email campaigns.

Take a look at some best in class pages. 

Splash pages or in-app branding

You’ll need to plan for in-app creative messaging and graphics. This is your first chance to capture attendees’ attention, after all.

Here are some best practices on splash pages to use for your event app splash page.

Copy and descriptions

Don’t forget about effective event app copy. Words can be powerful in engaging your audience! Consider preparing push notifications, sponsored posts, and marketing material ahead of time. Also, ensure that speaker descriptions, session details, and all copy is well-written and enticing.

Read up on push notification best practices for your event app. Also here are some UX and mobile copy best practices to get you started.

Publishing Your App

To ensure your event app is downloaded to your attendees’ devices you need to make it available through the traditional app store channels. Many devices will block downloads from sources other than the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. We’ll focus primarily on those two channels and how to publish your app on each. Mobile device users aren’t the only ones who aren’t settling for cookie-cutter event apps. To meet Apple’s review standards for publishing on their App Store companies need to submit applications that offer “unique customer experiences.” Apple's strict app review processes require that your app was developed by a reputable vendor. This means your app is “customized, innovative and provides unique customer experiences," while complying with Apple policy of being submitted by your business, the content owner from your own developer account. 

Changing App Store Guidelines

In the early days of mobile event app development, organizations of all sizes leveraged app makers to create custom, white-labeled apps for each event. Due to changing app store guidelines, app stores aim to reduce clutter. It’s now recommended that organizations create white-label container apps to house multiple events. White-label container apps still offer the custom branding that organizations want while enabling them to continue to publish new events. 

iOS App Distribution

Our support center is full of helpful information for publishing your app to the Apple Store. See below for instructions on how you can get your app published in the Apple Store.

 

You can also find a video walkthrough of the steps to publishing to your Apple Developer Account on our website.

Android App Distribution Instructions for the Google Play Store

 

You can also find, and bookmark a video walkthrough of the steps for publishing your app to the Google Play Store on our website.

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Okay, your app is created, branded and published. Now what? Promote, promote, promote! In next week’s lesson, we’ll take the next step toward getting your app into the hands of as many attendees as possible through distribution and promotion. Plus, we'll dig into app engagement. 

Also, don't forget to download our handy data sheet on event technology usage and trends.

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By Kayla Tarantino | September 27, 2018

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About the Author: Kayla Tarantino

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Demand Gen Manager

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