4 Easy Ways to Incorporate Mobile Engagement Into Your Event

Jeff Porter
CEO, Handbid

It’s no secret that people love their phones—stats show that on average, Americans check their phones 144 times a day. With this in mind, rather than letting your attendees’ phones be a potential distraction from your event, why not incorporate them into the event itself? 

Whether you’re hosting a hybrid event that blends in-person with virtual elements or opting for a fully virtual event, leveraging mobile devices can significantly enhance attendee engagement and elevate the overall success of your event. By strategically incorporating mobile technology, you can create a more interactive and immersive experience for everyone. 

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled four straightforward yet effective methods to kickstart mobile engagement at your event, ensuring that attendees are fully involved and connected throughout the entire night.

1. Set the Tone with Your Marketing

Before your event starts, offer your guests a glimpse into the upcoming event by showcasing the various mobile engagement opportunities available in advance. ​​You can do this with the communication channels you already have in place, such as the event’s landing page, social media, email marketing, or text blasts. 

When you communicate about mobile engagement opportunities, you can engage potential guests by:

  • Sharing fun, interactive features of your event.
  • Highlighting the event’s networking opportunities.
  • Giving them a glimpse of what virtual and hybrid participation looks like, such as samples of custom-branded auction webpages.
  • Explaining how they can get real-time event updates.
  • Sharing videos that highlight mobile engagement at last year’s event.

You may also want to include instructions for downloading your event app or accessing the site so they are well-prepared and excited for what's to come. 

We’ve all seen the impact marketing can have when done right. Doing a simple empathy exercise for your communications can go a long way. Be sure to tap into your audience’s minds, habits, and behavior to help effectively engage them. With phones becoming almost attached to our hands, your marketing material can create buzz about the event while making the event that much better for your attendees.

2. Let Guests Check In From Their Phones

One way to create an unforgettable event experience is by utilizing technology and allowing guests to check in with their phones. This not only adds a modern touch to the event but also makes the check-in process more efficient and streamlined. It saves your team time and allows your attendees to go straight to where they want to get to: the activities!

You can promote mobile check-in in a few ways to make it as easy as possible for your guests. For example, you might: 

  • Send email or text messages with direct links to check-in.
  • Post signs with QR codes guests can scan to check in around the event space.
  • Equip and train event volunteers with check-in QR codes and instructions.

By enabling attendees at hybrid events to bypass lengthy lines and manage the check-in procedure conveniently using their mobile phones, you can offer a modern and efficient event registration process that prioritizes guest satisfaction and convenience. Guests can feel more connected and engaged with the event, creating a memorable experience that they will not soon forget!

3. Use an App to Simplify Participation

This is a great chance to use different event apps to engage guests on their phones. You can pick from all sorts of apps, like conference platforms or auction software, with loads of interactive features to boost the event experience.

When picking out an app, look for mobile engagement features that will make your event a success. Choose an app that enables guests to:

  • Take polls and surveys during events. This provides an interactive element for attendees and allows for real-time feedback on their preferences or opinions, which can help you better engage with your audience.
  • View and manage their event schedule. When your event has several parts, having an event schedule is essential for attendees. How else would they know when happy hour starts? 
  • Bid on auction items. If your event includes an auction, look for an app with mobile bidding capabilities. Mobile bidding is a digital auction system where guests can bid on items using their phones. This allows for a more interactive and convenient bidding experience, making it more engaging for guests compared to traditional paper bidding which can be tedious and time-consuming.

To see these features in action, take a look at this example of an in-app auction catalog that guests can explore and engage with from their phones:

Screenshot of an in-app auction catalog

When choosing an event application, make sure to do your due diligence and research the app before committing. We encourage you to take the time to evaluate your event needs, research a few different providers, and hop on some demos to really understand what’s out there. When you feel good and have aligned with your event stakeholders, pull the trigger and don’t look back! 

4. Try Gamification

Whether they’re participating in-person or virtually, guests of all sorts can have fun when you gamify your event. Gamification makes all kinds of events fun by adding an element of competition and excitement. We’ve seen it in action when many companies made the switch to remote work and made thoughtful attempts to keep employees engaged. When organizing an in-person, hybrid, or virtual event, incorporating gamification can truly elevate the experience.

Event gamification can take on many different forms and strategies, such as: 

  • Fundraising thermometers and leaderboards. A popular method for nonprofits, these tools visually display progress towards a goal, incentivizing participants to donate more or bid higher in order to reach the top spot on the leaderboard. 
  • Social media contests and giveaways. Participants can be encouraged to share their photos or promote the event on their social media platforms for a chance to win prizes. This also generates more social media engagement and can reach people who never intended to participate, which can boost your overall online presence. 
  • Quizzes and polls. Allow guests to test their knowledge about various subjects and engage with other guests from their phones. 
  • Virtual scavenger hunts. Add an element of fun and challenge by encouraging participants to explore different aspects of your event while competing against each other. 
  • Networking games or challenges. These fun challenges can help build relationships among guests by creating opportunities for them to interact and collaborate in a competitive setting. 

You don’t want to miss out on any opportunity to better connect with your event attendees. Incorporating gamification elements not only makes the event more fun, but it also helps achieve better results by incentivizing active participation from attendees. We’ve seen how game-like features create a sense of competition, motivation, and participation, making the event more engaging and interactive for all attendees.

Hosting a successful event requires careful planning and execution. After you try out these mobile engagement strategies for the first time, consider sending out a post-event survey to understand what worked well and what could be improved upon for even greater success in the future. By staying adaptable and learning from your experiences, you’ll be well on your way to hosting memorable and successful events!

Jeff Porter
CEO, Handbid

Jeff is no stranger to fundraising events, having participated in them for over 25 years. He ran his first fundraiser in 2005 and has managed over 50 auction events and fundraisers for his own charities, not to mention hundreds more with Handbid. Jeff has been involved in technical product and software development since 1996 and has built and managed mobile app solutions since 2008. When it became clear that he and his wife, Kari Porter, needed a better solution for their fundraisers, developing a mobile bidding app was a no-brainer. The result? Jeff and his wife Kari developed and launched Handbid in 2011. The rest is what they call “history”.

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