The central focus of any event is connecting with like minded individuals. From planning an informal lunch for prospective clients to organizing a charity gala intended to raise thousands of dollars, you must take your audience into consideration as you plan the event. Making the experience personal for the attendees ensures they’ll be able to connect with one another and get the most out of the event that they possibly can. The following tips will help you boost the quality of your connections, expand your audience, and cultivate a personal experience to keep attendees engaged.

Be a thought leader in your industry

Creating consistent, high quality, relevant content of interest to your target audience makes every aspect of promoting an event go more smoothly. When you’re pressed for time or resources, think about hosting a video series or interviewing other key thought leaders. When people know you from a timely blog post or a hilarious yet thought provoking video that went viral, they’ve already formed an instant connection with you. An event is the perfect chance for them to get to know you and what you stand for even better.

Create natural opportunities for connections

It’s easy to assume that if you’ve brought together the right group of people together for your event that they’ll form lasting connections with very little effort. Attending speeches and presentations is great, but these activities don’t involve much talking, which is key for making connections. The most successful industry events build in multiple opportunities for networking so people can begin forming lasting friendships and business partnerships right at the event. You’ll maintain control of the environment at the event while making it easy for people to meet.

Send personalized messages through the event app

An event app makes it simple to keep attendees engaged throughout the course of the event. From keeping tabs on the standings for the silent auction to reading a short summary of the sessions for the previous day, participants have a wealth of information about the event right at their fingertips. Sending tailored messages makes it even easier for attendees to have the details they need when they need them. For example, you can invite a select group of people to an exclusive lunch or send a video to anyone who attended a particular session and requested more details about a specific topic.

Follow up with targeted campaigns

After the event is over, create campaigns to specific segments of the participant population to extend the reach of the event, boosting signs ups for future events. While it may be appropriate to send certain messages to all event attendees, breaking down the participation list into segments allows you to deliver more relevant, impactful content. Receiving personalized messaging that offers thoughtful, meaningful content furthers attendees’ experience with an event and builds trust for your brand, driving registration for upcoming events.

Many people make the mistake of selling an event instead of creating an experience. When you design an experience that resonates with your target audience, the event will sell itself. From filming video for the key note speech introduction to planning the social gatherings, concentrate on tailoring the event to the attendees to maximize their personal experience.