Virtual Events Success: Stay Smart. Be Authentic.
Virtual events are all anyone is talking about recently — and with good reason. We all want to stay connected in some way to our friends, our families, our clients, our audiences. But where do you begin? How do you determine if an online poll is better than a live q/a? How long should a video presentation be? What is the right time of day to post something? Are digital experiences even the right move for your brand? Basically, how do you ensure virtual events success?
Digital experiences won’t ever replace live ones, but there are lots of benefits to including them in your portfolio. If you’re considering going virtual, now is the time to get back to the core pillars of any strong event — virtual or otherwise — and remember that a strong strategy is the best line of defense — offline, online or hybrid.
1. Get back to basics — establish a strong objective.
Begin at the end. Just as with a face-to-face event, get clear on objectives for your virtual event with an identifiable audience and outcome. Some of your objectives and KPI’s may remain consistent while others may augment as you think about how to connect with audiences virtually while persuading them to come to your live event when that time comes.
2. Focus on audience experience.
An intuitive viewer journey is easy to navigate and understand. Choosing the right format and optimizing for the right audience keeps attendees engaged longer — we all want that. Things to consider like different time zones, appropriate segment lengths and even bio breaks play into an intuitive and personal experience that makes your brand shine.
3. Communicate, big time.
A good outreach plan is key to virtual attendee acquisition and engagement. Pre-, during, and post-event communications create ease for viewers. Communications should amplify, remind, and follow-up. Make it easy for your attendees to put the event on their calendar, to register and to engage through interactivity and community building.
4. Lead with content.
What is your brand trying to communicate? Holding attention and staying on-point with messaging is critical for virtual events success. Communicating your core message with the right mix of live, pre-produced, and recorded content is a must. Additionally, consider changing up broadcast sets, formats, speakers, performances and fun engagements to mix it up — just like a live event.
5. Measure for success.
Virtual event success is measured — not only in number of participants and dwell time, but for brand perception and opportunities generated. Take the time to fully understand your virtual event metrics to improve your programs each time. Virtual event registration gives access to attendee viewership, makes post-event follow up easier and assures an easier path to drive virtual attendees to future live events.
There’s no way around it — human connection, networking and creating opportunity remains vital whether your event is online or offline. A smart strategy that’s built around your business objectives and audience needs, ensures an authentic, brand-building experience and virtual events success!