While you might think the point of most events is to target prospects, there is one type that focuses primarily on individuals who already enjoy your products or services.
That’s right: it’s user conferences.
Read below to learn about user conferences, why they’re important, and how any event organizer can host a successful one.
As we’ve said, user conferences are events that are specifically created for existing customers.
Typically, these conferences focus on helping attendees familiarize themselves with your brand and deepen their understanding of your offerings.
Don’t mistake user conferences with trade shows or product launches. Although they share similarities with these events, user conferences have key differences that set them apart.
User conferences are primarily about an audience and products that are already there. They’re not really about attracting new business—their main focus is to build on established relationships.
Why Are User Conferences Important?
Now that we have an idea of what user conferences are, let’s talk about why you’d want to host one.
User conferences are an incredible way for your business and customer base to mutually strengthen the bond you have together. Not only do they allow you to learn more about your attendees, they also let your attendees learn more about you and what your business is all about.
Another benefit to hosting a user conference is the networking opportunities it provides. Giving your customer base a place to connect with other people using your products or services fortifies the support that every business needs to thrive. For example, if new users or prospects are in attendance, this type of event lets your brand-loyal attendees do some of the marketing for you.
Apart from relationship-building, user conferences add value to your products. They’re events that make time and space available to discuss insights regarding your offerings or announce incoming products and updates.
To recap, user conferences are important because they:
- Increase brand awareness and accessibility mid- and post-event
- Encourage networking among new and existing customers
- Add value to existing products by offering exclusive information to improve a customer’s engagement and satisfaction with products
So you’re ready to schedule a user conference. But what’s the best way to go about organizing one? Follow our steps below to find out.
A user conference is only as good as its strategy, which is why your first step should be thinking long and hard about how you want to organize your event.
Consider the following to build your event strategy to the fullest:
- Who are you targeting at this event? Creating detailed personas of your existing customer base will help you know which segments to include and not include during your event.
- What are you doing at this event? From inviting speakers to product demonstrations and giveaways, you need to loosely plan out every segment of your event in advance to know what you’ll need to have things run smoothly.
- Where are you going to have this event? Although many event marketing pros will suggest hosting live events because of the value of face-to-face interaction, it’s still possible to have a stellar user conference in a virtual or hybrid model. Decide which one will be right for your brand and audience.
- When are you going to have this event? Knowing how much time you’ll have between conception and execution will help you manage projects accordingly.
- How much are you willing to spend on your event? Getting a firm budget together before making big moves will ensure you don’t push against your financial boundaries.
- Why are you organizing this event? Clearly defining your goals will help you select the best KPIs and data to track during your event.
2. Create Your User Conference
Once you’ve got your event strategy down, it’s time to start bringing it to life.
First things first: you’re going to need to create an identity for your event. An event identity is all about giving your event a look, tone, feel, and story that communicates your brand to your audience. The tiniest logo to the largest AV display will contribute to this identity, so make sure you consider every detail possible.
Next, design the right content for your audience. Since user conferences are about existing customers and businesses coming together, make sure your event allots time for customer- and brand-focused content.
To know what content to include, you’ll need to have a good idea of what segments will make their way into your event’s schedule. Some you could include are (but aren’t limited to):
- Product giveaways, which allow you to build brand loyalty with your customers by having them try out add-on implements or entirely new products for free.
- Keynotes, which allow stakeholders or team members in your company to talk about the wider significance of your products or services.
- Customer testimonials, which allow attendees who enjoy your brand the opportunity to share what your products mean to them in the context of their own lives.
- Q/A Sessions, which allow customers to engage directly with your brand and its representatives to learn more and/or express their opinions about your products or services.
- Group Fireside Chats, which allow attendees to get to know each other and build a sense of how they all relate to one another and your brand.
Once you know the rough event plan, you can start planning logos, videos, signage, displays, audio, stages, lighting arrangements, and other compelling content integrations.
Keep the tips and tricks below in mind to ensure your event runs smoothly from start to finish!
- Communicate with users pre-, mid-, and post-event to increase your capture rate and monitor event satisfaction.
- Troubleshoot your event multiple times to detect any pitfalls and build buffers into your event plan where needed most.
- Integrate event technology, including event videos or live streams, into your event to ensure your virtual, hybrid, or live audience gets the best sensory experience possible.
- Prepare keynote speakers extensively beforehand so they know how to captivate your audience from the get-go.
- Work with a multimedia event agency like OVATION to help ensure your event is one to remember.