Ask the Experts: How to Keep Your Audience Engaged

April 23, 2014

Keeping your audience engaged during any type of live event is crucial. Natalie Epperly, senior director of client services who has produced events at JHE since 2005, shares three basic principles that will set your live event apart and make it one the audience remembers.

Set the tone early.

It only takes 30 seconds to make a lasting impression and research has shown that first impressions usually stick. When consumers first step into the event footprint, give them an introduction to what your event is about by appealing to all five senses. Utilize music, lights, sounds and smells. For example, JHE recently used the sound of race cars and NASCAR fans paired with bright lights at the NASCAR Garage Bar & Grill in Daytona to let attendees know they were entering something really cool and different.

Create “wow” moments throughout the event.

During an event, it’s important to maximize your assets. If you know you have access to drivers, celebrities, giveaways or other cool items, spread them out during the event. It’s important to create “wow” moments throughout the entire show so your audience doesn’t get bored or take anything for granted. During NASCAR After the Lap, we’ve had opportunities to showcase Jeff Gordon break dancing, given away VIP race experiences and a Ford vehicle giveaway. By spacing it out throughout the show, fans stayed interested and engaged.

Keep them wanting more.

At the end of every live event, the goal is for your audience to leave wanting more. Create this feeling with a spectacular grand finale. Like the impressive ending to a fireworks show, those final moments are the last chance you have to engage your audience. Make the most of it with something that will blow them away. As guests leave, offer a branded memento to constantly remind them of the great experience they had at your event. Each guest will leave counting down the days to your next one.               

About the Expert: Natalie Epperly, senior director of client services, has been producing events at JHE since 2005. She currently oversees production of all NASCAR events, including NASCAR After the Lap for the past three years, in addition to various other special events at JHE. She graduated from Belmont Abbey College with a major in sports management.


Natalie Epperly, NASCAR, NASCAR Garage Bar & Grill, Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR After the Lap, Jeff Gordon, Ford,
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