User Conferences are powerful tools for corporations. If you're thinking about holding one, here are some of the benefits you can expect, as well as advice on what types of organizations are best suited for hosting a user confernence.
Benefits of a User Conference
If you’re considering holding a user conference, you might be asking yourself “what are the benefits”? We think there are many.
Mutually Beneficial Learning
Power users and product experts together in one place—this is a sure-fire recipe for innovation and knowledge-sharing!
User conferences are an unbeatable opportunity to learn from your best customers—there is no better opportunity to collect honest feedback from an audience that knows your product inside and out. Your customers have feedback, they want to be heard, and they want to help. Forget the questions and comments section, answer their questions and address their concerns, real time. Create a "Best Practice" session, where innovators and leaders listen to customer feedback and (this is the really important part) take their suggestions to heart. If you go into your user conference with humility and openness, we guarantee you’ll gather invaluable insight.
At the same, time there is no one better to display and demonstrate your product than you. Take this time to level-up your users and give them ninja skills in your tool. Giving users the skills to optimize their experience–even showing them nuances that may change the way they work—leads to happier customers and fewer calls into your support team.
Build a Community Based on Your Brand and Your Product
Bringing together the people who use, know and support your product helps establish respect, loyalty, and lifelong relationships. Even in today’s fast paced world, no one can deny the power of a handshake and face-to-face interaction. User conferences are a pathway to build rapport—they help your customers understand the people behind the product, and help you understand the people in front of it.
Build Loyal Raving Fans
User conferences are a great venue for showing your customers you value their business and feedback. Everybody likes to be heard and valued, and this is your chance to do it in-person! Be genuine with your appreciation and you’ll inspire your customers to become evangelists for your brand. Provide them with an unforgettable experience and they’ll repay you with years of loyalty.
Who Should Hold a User Conference?
Nearly every type of company has found success with a user conference! It’s all about adapting the format to fit your company’s offerings and needs. Nonetheless, there are certain types of companies that tend to see the biggest benefits.
What types of companies?
User conferences are an ideal venue for highlighting products and how to use them; it’s no surprise that some of the largest, and most successful, user conferences are hosted by tech companies. The product need not be flashy but it does help if advanced knowledge of it helps you get more out of it. Salesforce, which hosts the annual Dreamforce conference, drew over 170,000 attendees in 2016! If you have a product, or suite of products, that benefits from having experienced and highly skilled users, a customer conference is right up your ally.
How many customers?
You don’t need a massive customer base to hold a successful user conference! If you’re at, or nearing, 100 customers, it’s time to start thinking about hosting a conference, or some other form of community building event for your customers (more on this is a moment). Despite the massive size of some events, like Dreamforce, it’s not about quantity. If you have a base of committed customers who love your product and want to get more out of it, you a solid foundation for building a user conference.
Ease into it
Your inaugural event doesn’t need to be a huge blowout; ease into a user conference by hosting a small community building event for your top customers where they can learn from each other, brainstorm ideas for your products, and hear about your product roadmap. A customer advisory board, or CAB, can also provide you with feedback similar to what a user conference would provide, and can serve as the first step towards gathering your customers at a user conference.
Want to plan a kick-ass user conference?
Download our Guide to User Conferences via the blue button!