24 Sep How to Use a User Conference to Grow Your Company
Two hundred five million people in the U.S. attend nearly two million conventions, conferences, congresses, trade shows, exhibitions, incentive events and corporate/business meetings every year, and user conferences are especially popular in the technology sector. From Salesforce to Adobe, many of the top technology companies leverage user conferences to reap a wide range of benefits. However, user conferences are not always easy to launch, and they can also cost quite a bit of money.
If you’re thinking of having a user conference, it is important to first determine whether a conference is right for your company. This quick guide is designed to help you decide whether it is a good time for your company to have a conference and, if it is, how to go about creating one that your users won’t soon forget.
What is a user conference?
User conferences are powerful networking, marketing and feedback tools for companies. They are designed to bring together existing users, potential new customers and company personnel to demo and educate about new products, to discuss market trends and to meet with like-minded people who work in your industry. Doing this creates synergies between professionals in the same field, enabling you to gain insights and feedback and get a better sense of what customers want and where your products stand in the minds of consumers.
Why do companies host user conferences?
If participating in a user conference sounds right for your company, there are multiple ways that your organization will benefit:
- Educate customers and prospects about features and capabilities that they may be unaware of. Make them as enthusiastic about your work as you are (which is easier to do in person than in any other way).
- Build brand awareness around your projects, specific product features and even customer success stories. Bringing together people who use, know and support your product helps establish respect and loyalty.
- Teach customers about best practices and tell them about upcoming products or new features you plan to release.
- Generate new leads.
- Shorten the sales cycle by reeling in people at the conference who are already at an advanced stage of their purchasing cycle.
- Promote your company’s brand and culture and highlight your company’s achievements.
- Learn from others in the industry by observing trends, collaborating with industry experts, discussing mutual challenges and maybe even novel solutions that others have developed.
- Get feedback directly from users and build goodwill by personally answering questions and addressing concerns.
First steps toward creating a user conference
Before hosting your own user conference, a few things that you should keep in mind when getting ready for the big day:
- Before officially getting your conference into motion, it’s only natural to wonder whether anyone will show up, so gauge the interest of the community before starting anything. Nobody wants to cancel an officially announced event due to a lack of interest.
- Make the event about more than just your product and your company. Think about the industry in general, how things are changing, the role you play in the daily lives of your customers, and what topics and problems concern your audience in order to effectively source speakers.
- Make it personal and treat every attendee as a VIP. This is pretty straightforward. The objective of any user conference is to educate users and prospects, to create goodwill and to be something that your audience will think about long after leaving. Personal touches from giving attendees a choice of morning snacks to providing informal hangout spaces and responding to specific attendee requests go a long way toward doing exactly those things.
- Market the event. Like products, user conferences require their own branding and marketing efforts. Get the basics right with respect to getting the word out, planning logistics, taking care of attendees, recording data and tapping into the vast potential of your guests during the entirety of the event.
Want to know more? Drop us a line!
Launching a user conference can be a daunting task, especially when industry trends and focal areas change so rapidly. It can be difficult to decide where and how to start and execute once you’ve taken the plunge.
However, at Event Strategy Group, we’ve been in the business for almost 20 years and take pride in our intelligent, innovative and entrepreneurial team of dedicated event management and experiential marketing professionals. We service trade shows, meetings, kickoffs, special events and conferences of any size (from 10 attendees to thousands), and our number one priority is making our customers’ vision a reality.
If you are wondering whether you should have a user conference or if you’ve decided that you’d like to have one and need help planning and launching it, contact us today for a personalized consultation tailored to your specific needs.