GTM Blog Series Part 6: How to run a successful virtual event
The workforce changes brought by 2020 were more than remote working or productivity-based. Between March and September of 2020, one virtual event platform, 6 Connex saw the number of virtual events increased by 1,000 percent.
For organisations, virtual events are a great way to continue sharing information with customers, keeping communities together, or even a new way to ensure more people can join. However there’s more distractions – phone calls, emails, kids and the entire internet to compete with!
To use this channel to speak with your customers, you need to understand how to set-up, deliver and follow-up your online events to drive return.
Why host a virtual event?
In the short-term, virtual events have been the de facto way many companies are doing business. With travel restricted, different rules for different areas, and stretched resources, virtual events allowed us to engage directly with customers.
However, the benefits for virtual events mean they’ll stick around post-2020. For a start, for a typical event over 80 percent of a budget is consumed by venue, food and beverage and equipment costs. A virtual event allows you to focus on the messaging, reduce your costs and provide more flexibility.
You can also run them more frequently, not be restricted by your audience’s location and provide your message to an exponentially higher number of attendees. And they can be more accessible for everyone, with the ability to leverage technology such as automatic closed captioning and subtitling over video.
While there will be a desire to get back to physical events, with a new acceptance of normal and restricted budgets due to economic uncertainty, the virtual event is here to stay. The importance of learning how to deliver them effectively is becoming increasingly mission-critical to businesses.
What are the elements to a successful virtual event?
There are a few important elements to create a successful virtual event. Here are our top four you need to keep in mind when planning your next event.
For any virtual event to be a success, not only do you need your audience to RSVP, you also need to ensure they attend. According to May 2020 Markletic event research, the average no-show rate for virtual events is 35 percent, higher than for physical events.
Targeting is key in this. Understanding who your audience are, crafting a message that will pique their interest and getting that message to them with the right call to action, all play a part in delivering a return on your investment. The Marketletic research found that small events typically take three to six weeks to promote, and bigger events more than six weeks. That brings us to our next element – driving registrations.
Creating paid, targeted, social media campaigns is a highly effective way to attract and drive attendance. As we’ve all moved as a population to more digital channels, there’s never been more views on digital ads than there are currently. And on certain platforms, it’s never been cheaper to advertise. Pick a platform where your audience live, create a campaign message, then deploy, measure and adapt each week.
Marketletic research found that 76 percent of marketers list email campaigns as one of the most effective way to drive registrations. Clear CRM with precise call to actions, and multiple follow ups can also deliver an audience. Remember, that in any communications plan you need reminders and joining instructions in the 48 hours prior to an event starting.
With your audience in attendance, you now must deliver your event in a professional seamless manor. Crafting a message that can be delivered in 60 – 90 minutes; engaging your audience through polls, Q&As and relevant guest speakers are all important elements. Most importantly, you need to ensure that everyone can be seen and heard.
Every event should have an event producer, the person responsible for ensuring that everything goes as planned. This can be a talented member of your team or an experienced production company, it is a vital role in ensuring event success.
Finally, you need to choose the platform that is right for you and your audience. From Microsoft Teams, to ON24.com; the choice of platforms is endless. It’s important to choose one that provides you with the flexibility and engagement options that will allow your audience to feel like an active participant.
As with any sales activity, following up your attendees is key. This can be through automated or personal messaging. Offering a one-time discount or a value add for only those attending your live events can increase conversion and ultimately drive your ROI on virtual events. You can even leverage the event and turn it into an on-demand series or webinars later, capturing more potential customers and driving more ROI.
With the right planning, engaged audience and thoughtful content, you can create a successful event to drive your growth, gain new leads, and strengthen your current customer relationships.
Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more about running successful virtual events. Also, you can contact Rhys Kirkham and Mark Anand from Blueprint Partners to find out how we can create the perfect tailored virtual event for your needs.