If you used to only running in-situ events, transitioning to online events can be challenging. This is especially true when you have a well-defined event marketing strategy that’s focused on attracting high-quality leads and increasing the brand awareness of your company.
- How do you transition from in-situ to online events without affecting the brand experience quality?
- How do you keep the same standard and level of value when moving from live to an online environment?
- How can you make sure that your virtual attendees will enjoy your event as much as your in-person event guests did?
These are some of the questions you’ll be asking yourself. After all, regardless of the format, your only goal is to ensure a high-quality event for your guests (aka leads, prospects, paying customers, and brand ambassadors).
Indeed, while specific logistic protocols will help you transition to virtual events, there’s nothing that will guarantee the same success levels as with your in-situ events.
And although the costs of your online events are more reduced—think how much you’re saving on venue rent, AV installations, and catering—your brand will be exposed to a bigger audience, meaning you can neither fail nor reduce the quality of your events.
Having this in mind, what are the things you should consider when running your first online event? To answer this question, we’ve put together a few elements you’ll want to discuss with your team.
Identify your virtual attendee profile
The one thing that makes online events so powerful is their incredible outreach. In-situ events often have a limited attendance capacity, plus it’s more difficult to gather attendees from all around the world.
This challenge is nonexistent when it comes to online events. You can easily reach out to a global audience and connect with thousands of people at the same time. You don’t have a limited venue capacity.
You also don’t have to worry about hosting international attendees. Things become simpler when running online events. But they also have certain challenges.
Since you can engage with a wider audience, you may decide not to focus on one particular niche and defining your desired virtual attendee profile. That’s a mistake. You absolutely still need to define your online event audience in the same way that you would when you define a specific buyer and attendee profile for your in-situ events.
You still want to ensure good content quality and help your speakers identify the right approach to their presentations for your online events. By knowing who your virtual attendees are, you’ll be able to come up with relevant content and develop a program that fits their needs, which in turn will give you a good virtual attendance rate.
Design a higher engagement experience
When you’re planning online events, you’re also competing with an overwhelming amount of online content and potential distractions, such as YouTube videos, social media, memes, etc.
During in-situ events, you can always ask your attendees to put away from their phones, but during online events, you can’t keep your guests from opening different browsers and listening to your speakers while also checking Reddit, for example.
The best way to maintain people’s attention during online events is by creating a clear engagement strategy. For example, have your moderators and speakers run live polls every five minutes. You can also run quizzes and incentives. All these little engagement tactics will make people pay more attention to your online event and have a better event experience.
Give your virtual attendees the opportunity to network
The biggest challenge when running online events is helping attendees get to know each other. That’s obviously not a problem during in-situ events. Holding your event in an online environment, however, means that networking is much more difficult. Without a chat option, people won’t be able to interact with each other. That’s a downside, especially considering that networking is one of the reasons why people attend events.
To guarantee a high-quality experience, use an online events platform with a virtual networking feature. With the right tools, your guests will be able to interact with each other and even schedule one-on-one meetings in networking rooms. That’s an added value that will level up the event experience.
Design memorable virtual brand experiences
There are multiple ways in which companies and brand can communicate their value proposition. Event marketing is one of them. From unique product experiences to memorable shows, there’s a wide range of options when it comes to preparing unique event dynamics that will communicate the essence of your brand.
But how can you give your online attendees a memorable virtual brand experience? The answer to this question lies in the characteristics of your brand and your product or services.
For example, if you’re a company producing alcoholic beverages, you can run an online mixology class. The key is to think about transforming the uniqueness of your brand into an exciting online experience.
Continue providing value after the event
The good thing about online events is that you can always reuse the content afterward. There are lots of ways to repurpose, improve, and repackage your online event content for further lead nurturing and value production. For example, you can create a smaller video that contains important industry insights that your speakers shared during the online event.
You could also collaborate with a partner or speaker to create valuable content (such as an e-book) based on solving a specific issue or deepening the knowledge of your guests. There are plenty of opportunities to keep creating value long after an event is over.
It’s all about your virtual attendees
If you want to design a high-quality online event, always think about the needs and the interests your attendees may have. For that, you’ll have to niche down your event and have a clear virtual attendee profile. You’ll also have to offer enough engagement or participation opportunities to maintain people’s attention and reduce any potential boredom.
Next, you’ll want to provide networking opportunities to your online guests, such as the possibility to talk via chat or schedule one-on-one meetings with other attendees.
Subsequently, you’ll want to rethink the entire idea of brand experience and work on designing these experiences in an online environment.
Finally, extend the impact of your event beyond its timeline and repurpose and improve the content. Considering all these elements, you’ll be able to stand out with your online event and build a stronger relationship with your online attendees.