Are You Missing Out on Another Key Data Point?

In a recent post, we discussed how to use data from your abstract management system to improve your conference performance. At the same time this post was released, we were in the process of surveying association professionals to learn more about the role of online conference materials for planners and attendees. Coincidentally, we learned that data that can be harnessed from online conference materials is also extremely under-utilized by organizations.

A majority (80%) of respondents indicated they do post their conference materials online for attendees, members and/or non-members to access. Unfortunately, a majority of those (77%) are not tracking any usage metrics on this online content. Why is this so important? Using insights provided by multiple data sources—including your online conference materials—can help you deliver additional value to your members and attendees.

Topics of Interest

Session attendance is one way to gauge interest in a particular topic, as long as it’s being tracked. Many conferences either don’t track attendance on a session-by-session basis, or rely on the imperfect science of post-session surveys or manual headcounts to capture this data. Additionally, attendees can’t usually attend every session they may be interested in. Adding the layer of web-based analytics on activities such as presentation and paper downloads will provide a more accurate picture of topic popularity, which can then be used to provide follow-up content such as articles, blog posts, and virtual Q&A sessions with the speaker, as well as help with future conference planning.

Content Usage

One thing we heard loud and clear in our 2018 State of the Industry Report is that most meeting planners are challenged with providing the right mix of content formats to an audience with increasingly diverse preferences. Your web-based analytics can help shed some light on how content is being used, by whom, and at what point in the conference.  For instance, are your attendees accessing papers and presentations before the conference so they can come more prepared to learn? Are they accessing materials on-site just prior to or during the session to follow along and take notes? Or, are they coming back afterward to use the materials to help reinforce the learning? You can also break out usage data by demographics and device type to make more informed decisions on the best way to deliver content that meets the needs of your attendees.

As you start preparing for your next conference, be sure to set-up and use web-tracking tools for your online content. In doing so, you’ll have insightful data right at your fingertips that you can use for future attendee engagement and conference planning.

Three Marketing Objectives for 2017 Your Association Must Consider


Well it’s officially a new year, and we all know what that means; new year’s resolutions, packed gyms, new association budgets and lots and lots of goal setting. It’s an exciting time of year, but it can also be very stressful. After all, it’s the time of year where you start to plan and strategize on how you are going to build your association in the new year. If you truly think about it, the success or failure of your year begins now. Where are you going to allocate your budget? What new technologies or initiatives will your association focus on? There’s a lot that goes into it.

As you sit down to complete your yearly planning, there are a few goals that, if reached, can mean a very happy end of the year for you and your association. Here are three marketing objectives for 2017 that you must consider:

1) Go Mobile with Your Digital Presence

Let’s be real. It’s 2017, and if you haven’t already started to adjust your digital presence to be more mobile-friendly, you’re behind the times. It’s time you made your website, your blog, and any other online presence you maintain mobile-friendly. To survive in today’s digital landscape, you must enable your digital efforts to attract search engines and make them fall in love. If search engines don’t like your website or blog, your potential customers will never find them.

Here are three things you can do to make your site more search engine and mobile-friendly:

  • Use Responsive Design: Visitors use many different devices to access your website. Make sure to optimize your pages for large and small screens. This flexibility means that your site and its branding should remain intact for both a user with a brand new laptop or an old mobile phone. The site automatically detects the users’ screen size and adjusts accordingly.
  • Reduce image size to improve page load time: The time it takes for a webpage to display on a device is incredibly important. Page load time, as it’s called, can be slowed down by large images. Besides annoying your visitor, this can also hurt your search engine ranking. Do your best to keep images as small as possible (without impacting your layout) to allow browsers to load pages quickly. Setting image widths to 100% instead of a set pixel-width is a great way to accomplish this–just make sure your original image isn’t humongous.
  • Migrate your site to https: It’s no surprise that Google, Bing and Yahoo want your site to be secure, so they don’t send their visitors to bad sites. Google has publicly come out in support of this, stating that having your site on https does positively impact your search engine ranking (although it seems to be a small impact for now). There is a wealth of information about this topic online.

2) Double Your Social Media Reach

This one might be a little scary for some of you reading this. A lot of associations are already devoting more resources to this than they would like, but the truth is, it’s absolutely necessary. The feeling from your potential customers has moved quickly from “Oh, wow! They are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn,” to “They don’t even have a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page. There’s no way I’m doing business with them!”

It’s now expected that associations have a strong presence on social media. In fact, an active profile can be an amazing way for you to separate your organization from the competition. Don’t be afraid to show your association’s culture and the fun that people have at your association. Business is all about people, and social media is the perfect platform to show off the great people you have working with you. Try and double your followers, likes and comments in 2017.

3) Make It Easier for Clients/Customers to Reach You

Some marketers assume being on multiple platforms and having a website and a blog is sufficient. But to really be effective, marketers need to always be optimizing those channels. A common mistake is not trying to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to contact you. People shouldn’t have to search for your contact info or the best way to contact you at all. It should be easily found on each type of digital experience you offer.

Here are two ideas of how to accomplish this:

  • Add a “contact us” button to the bottom of your mobile experience that pops up on any page they visit on your website. They should not have to go to your contact us page to get a hold of you.
  • Add Live Chat to your website and blog. Give visitors to your website the opportunity to interact with a live person as soon as they’d like. You might even find you can convert leads to members faster. That’s an absolute must in the times of short attention spans.