Great Annual Conference? Now what?

Great Annual Conference? Now what?An association’s annual conference is a great way to re-engage, refocus and energize everyone about your group’s mission and industry. But how do you keep that excitement and enthusiasm going all year long?

Think about why most of your attendees come to your trade show or conference—to feel connected, learn and network. These are also the key reasons they joined your association. Make sure you leverage that momentum built at the annual event throughout the year among all your members.

The first tool to keep the excitement going is social networking. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are great ways to keep those annual event connections. Share industry tips, inspiring quotes from speakers and photos from the event throughout the year on all the channels.

These channels offer ways for your members and non-members to get to know the organization better as you post event recaps, your own content, curate industry news and offer insight into who the organization is through online sharing. On LinkedIn and Facebook, use the request-to-join features to add the perception of exclusivity and more value.

The next tool you have at your disposal is your e-newsletter, newsletter or magazine. The e-newsletter is the easiest and least expensive tool to use because it doesn’t have publishing costs or postage, just the time it takes to create it by a volunteer or staff member.

This simple and effective method allows you to stay in touch with not only those who attend the annual conference, but all your members. In each issue, provide some sort of “touch” to your annual event, whether it is a president’s note thanking them for coming with some executive highlights, a photo collage or a reminder to turn in your attendee survey. You can also use the e-newsletter to preview and create excitement for the next event.

Ensuring your printed newsletter or magazine has information about the conference is another way to touch your members and follow up on the event. A post-event wrap-up feature with stories about the speakers, testimonials about the event and photos is a great way to remind people of all they learned and the connections they made after they get back to the office. And, everyone on the mailing list will get to see why they should attend next year.

Webinars are another way to keep event momentum going and allows those who could not attend the conference a way to connect, participate and take advantage of what your annual event offered and the association offers.

Use your event’s exit surveys as tools to gather information about what attendees want to learn more about and gear the webinars towards that purpose. Then, market it as the response to “so-and-so” was so great at the annual conference, we have scheduled a webinar with them to continue the discussion! This will allow the members who were there to reconnect with a favorite speaker and those that could not attend the ability to catch the flavor of something they missed.

Not sure how to maximize the effectiveness of these tools? CMA Association Management can help. Please call us at 609-297-2235 or email

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