There’s a need for most organizations to turn their physical events into virtual events. But the concern of event organizers is how they can provide a personalized and engaging experience that will excite the attendees.
In a live event, most companies can achieve personalization through networking opportunities, breakout sessions, and informal interaction between attendees and sponsors or partners. But it’s not easy to achieve the same result in a virtual event.
Here are practical ways to add personalization into your next virtual event:
1. Determine Your Business Goals and the Target Audience
Before running your virtual event, it’s best to set the event’s goals and objectives. People use goals and objectives interchangeably, but they are different. Goals refer to the purpose of the event, while objectives are the steps you should take to reach the goals.
Goal setting is a critical step when it comes to event planning. For an event to be successful and benefit the attendees, planners should set measurable goals and predict how things could unfold.
To define the event’s goals and objectives, you may want to analyze answers to crucial questions, including:
- Why are we organizing this event?
- Why are we inviting people to the event?
- What will the attendees take away from this event?
- What is success to the organization, and how will we measure it?
One of the best practices for event planning is to align the event goals with the company’s mission statement and your brand’s marketing strategy.
Some of the goals of your virtual event may include:
- To expand your reach and audience
- Up-sell a service or product
- Promote a new product
- Increase the number of leads or email subscribers
- Educate the audience about new features of an existing product
- Build brand awareness
- Increase customer loyalty and retention
- Impact the company’s revenue goals
After establishing your event’s goals, it’s time to determine the right audience that ties in with your goals and prepare relevant content for this audience.
The primary event goal will dictate the type of audience to target. Once you know who the attendees are, you can prepare relevant content for them.
If the goal is to increase the number of leads, for example, you’ll need to create relevant stories, Q&A sessions, polls, and call-to-action buttons to help inform your audience about the main goal and make them act in favor of the goal.
2. Encourage Potential Attendees to Suggest Event Speakers, Topics, or Questions
Conducting a virtual event requires proper planning. And part of the planning process is to decide on the event’s speaker(s), questions, or topics.
The best way to personalize the event is to start involving your attendees right from the planning phase. If you’ve got a list of customers, why not email or survey them to share some of the topics or questions they would like the event to address? You may also ask them to suggest their preferred event speakers.
By involving your audience at the planning stage, you’re showing them that the event is all about them. That way, the attendees will not only show up in large numbers to hear someone address their burning issues, but they’ll also actively participate in your event.
We often receive webinar invitations to company events whose topics we haven’t thought about and whose speakers we have no clue about.
This approach may still work, mainly if the event planner researched more about the needs of the audience. However, it won’t be as effective as a personalized event in which the audience suggests the questions or topics they’d like addressed.
A practical way to make this happen is to share a promotional video of your event on social media and add a CTA to take people to a page where they can discuss their preferred speakers.
The page may also contain a poll question regarding the possible topics to select from. You can use the information your attendees share on this page to repurpose content for your event.
3. Send out Personalized Invitations and Reminders
If you want your virtual event to be insanely successful, you’ll need to get the invitations and reminders right. Invitations are those first impressions you make on your attendees. And as you already know, first impressions matter!
How you create and deliver the online invitations, determines whether people will click on your link to grab a spot at your upcoming event. How do you create a request that compels people to click and register for your virtual event?
Here’s how to get craft compelling virtual event invitations:
Create Irresistible Email Subject Lines
With tons of marketing emails circulating our inboxes today, you can’t underestimate the importance of a brilliant subject line to increase your email open rates.
For your email invite to stand out, you’ve got to personalize it, which starts by addressing your recipients by name. If you, for some reason, you don’t have the names of the people you’d like to email, then use pronouns, such as “we, your or you.”
Moreover, try using a date and an element of importance to inject a sense of urgency in the subject line. An exclamation mark won’t break a bone in your subject line, too, will it?
Here are quick tips for crafting irresistible subject lines:
1. Keep it short
2. Remove any filler words
3. Include your most important words near the beginning
4. Add any relevant keywords
5. Be precise and clear
6. Personalize it
7. Indicate if you need the recipient’s response
8. Don’t write the subject in all caps
9. Include a date
10. Reread the subject line
Good Examples of Subject Lines You Can Copy and Paste
1. Hi Brad! Are You Free on (Event Date)? Join us at (Event Name)
2. Hi Jamie! It’s Finally Here: (Name and Date of Your Event)
3. Your Last Chance to See (Name of Speaker) at (Name of Webinar)
4. Don’t Miss (Speaker’s Name) on (Event Date) at (Event Time)!
5. (Name of Event) is Almost Sold Out. Grab Your Spot Now!
Pro Tip on Sending a Personalized Invite
Furthermore, you can send an event invitation based on a previous activity about the recipient. For example, if the recipient ever emailed you asking for the product pricing, how it works, or even made a purchase, these are the people to invite to your next event.
When emailing such people, you can send frame your email message to start this way:
Hey (insert name),
“I figured you might be interested because you’ve previously enquired about our prices/you’ve purchased before……..”
Customizing Event Reminders
Sending event invites is only half the battle. Sure, people will express interest and register for your virtual event, but not all might show up. Some might forget, get busy with other things, or simply lose motivation.
To increase the attendance rate, you need to send customized reminders. Here are some tips:
- Send at least three reminders: 48 hours, 24 hours, and a few hours to the event.
- Include the event registration link in the email body
- Include a full event registration URL so people can paste it in the browser in case the link doesn’t open
- Customize the “subject” and “from” fields
4. Make the Event Accessible Across Devices
Physical events have hitches, but virtual events have glitches. And if you don’t prepare well, you may find it difficult to run a successful event.
Remember, the attendees will be using different devices, including personal computers, smartphones, and tablets. It’s crucial to stream your event on a platform that’s compatible with most devices.
If you don’t consider this factor, some people won’t attend the event to end because of running into trouble with their gadgets.
To offer your attendees a customized experience, provide your event through an app that supports all devices. Be sure to check out the different features of each app, first.
One benefit of making your virtual event accessible through an app is that it can create a highly personalized experience. The app allows you to run Q&A sessions, collect participant information, send out targeted content relevant to your event, and make some sessions available so people can watch them on demand.
While you might find apps that offer these capabilities for your event, it’s best to have an application for your business to help you quickly tie the event to your overall business goals.
Other Benefits of Having an App for Your Business:
- Recognition and customer loyalty – Business apps help to create a connection between the brand and customers through constant notifications and reminders. The reminders generate awareness about the services and products, encouraging the customer to purchase. And if the customer needs a service or product in the future, they will select the now-familiar application over the competition.
- Customer support and engagement – Most apps have the help desk and support integration that allow customers to air their complaints and questions. Your support team can resolve these issues in record time.
- Improved visibility – In the past, people preferred web browsing and word-of-mouth recommendations to look for products and services. These days, people search for stuff on their phones during their pastime, while traveling, or even waiting for an appointment. That’s why creating a business app will boost your brand’s visibility.
To have an app that helps you connect with your audience when running a virtual event and reap the above additional benefits, you don’t need to have a dedicated development team in-house. Outsourcing the development to experienced professionals is usually less stressful and more cost-effective.
Personalization attracts the attention of your customers at all levels. Your events are no exception to that rule.
To make your virtual event successful, be sure to personalize the presentation, invitations, reminders, devices, and more.
A well-thought-out personalized event will be a memorable experience for your audience, which will ultimately benefit your business bottom line as well.
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library with a hot cup of coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.