Using Virtual Events to Drive Awareness, Brand Loyalty and Revenue

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their very own.

Whereas in-person occasions have been largely non-existent over the previous yr, the world is opening again up and eagerly searching for alternatives to attach in individual once more.

Despite the fact that individuals are most enthusiastic about this in-person side of the long run following a yr of lockdowns, there’s an excellent greater alternative that may go unnoticed by most entrepreneurs: leveraging digital and hybrid occasions to extend consciousness, model loyalty and income. I personally see digital and hybrid occasions starting to play a task that brings some great benefits of digital programs, video advertising and marketing and communities all into one powerhouse advertising and marketing channel. 

However with a purpose to try this, it’s a must to first perceive how the business has lately modified, how these modifications create alternatives after which additionally leverage these alternatives to your benefit.

The pandemic remodeled occasions

When the pandemic hit, the occasions business was turned the wrong way up. Each well being considerations and authorized restrictions made internet hosting an occasion of any dimension nearly inconceivable.

Firms that relied on occasions as a advertising and marketing channel scrambled to exchange the leads and income that had abruptly evaporated, whereas corporations that served the occasion business and people whose enterprise fashions have been primarily based on their very own occasions have been hit even tougher. The business as a complete confronted a $30 billion loss, utterly decimating numerous companies.

However adversity creates alternative. 

Spencer Elliott and Patrick VanDusen noticed these challenges and kicked their occasion streaming software program firm, ViewStub, into excessive gear to assist others thrive by means of this sudden disaster. 

“We at all times knew a digital part could be integrated into most occasions as soon as organizers realized how a lot income they have been lacking out on by not providing the choice. The silver lining that got here out of the pandemic is entrepreneurs discovered that by providing a digital part to their occasions by means of a single platform, they might serve extra of their goal clients and make more cash,” Elliott explains.

Whereas lockdowns have been lifted and we’ve largely returned to regular life, the occasion business has been completely remodeled.

Associated: The Way forward for Occasions Is Vibrant and Massive

Adapting to immediately’s occasion business

Occasions are a $77 billion business, and it’s solely going to proceed rising — particularly now that folks understand digital occasions are greater than only a hyped-up webinar. 

The collaboration between House Depot and nation music artist Brad Paisley is an ideal instance. On the top of the lockdown, House Depot granted unique entry to a live performance by Brad Paisley for purchasers who bought $50 or extra in present playing cards. The occasion, which ran on ViewStub’s platform, was an enormous success on all fronts, leading to greater than 110,000 present playing cards offered and over $6 million in income.

“What I discovered most fun about this specific occasion is that it was all about making a memorable expertise,” ViewStub co-founder Patrick VanDusen says. “By specializing in that, not solely did House Depot generate an incredible return on funding, however additionally they strengthened model loyalty, which can have a compounding impact on all of their advertising and marketing efforts.” 

Knowledge exhibits that whereas folks might need to attend, they will’t at all times make it to an in-person occasion due to journey restrictions, prior commitments, prices and numerous different causes. One of many largest classes entrepreneurs and occasion planners alike have discovered from that is that the flexibility to host a digital or hybrid occasion results in larger attendance and income. Subsequently, giving attendees that choice is not only a wise enterprise choice, however additionally it is an important choice immediately. And with that digital part, occasions can turn into each a viable income stream and a strong advertising and marketing channel that offers you a bonus over rivals.

Find out how to host an occasion that drives consciousness, model loyalty and income 

Provide an choice for digital attendance

An important factor you are able to do is ensure you have a digital part to any occasions that you just host. There’s merely no excuse to not since a majority of the industrialized world has broadband web, and the expertise wanted to allow digital attendance is so easy and cheap immediately. We’ve already lined the truth that providing the choice to attend nearly will increase attendance, and because of this, income. 

Have a plan for promotion inside your occasion

Whether or not your occasion is used to advertise your enterprise or the occasion itself is your enterprise, you’ll want a plan to advertise no matter you promote. I need to emphasize the significance of planning this forward of time as a result of doing it on the fly will nearly at all times lead to it coming off as sleazy and overly promotional to your attendees. The secret is to advertise when it’s related, preceded by a clean and logical segue, and adopted by a powerful name to motion.

Moreover, it’s crucial that attendees can instantly purchase your services on-line or schedule a session. You need them to take motion when their feelings are at a excessive level. In the event that they wait till after the occasion, they’re much less more likely to comply with by means of.

Ship large worth in your content material

In case you fail to ship large worth from begin to end, digital attendees will begin tuning out or leaving as a result of they’re sitting at house with each distraction attainable at their fingertips. The secret is to supply helpful content material offered in an attractive method with excessive manufacturing high quality.

The content material half is comparatively easy. You’ll be sharing information that you just’re an professional on. You’ll simply want to interrupt it down in a manner that makes it informative, simple to know and entertaining.

After a yr of Zoom conferences, everyone knows that nobody needs to stare endlessly at a speaker’s face or their slide deck. With the intention to preserve folks’s consideration, you’ll want to make sure that your shows are participating and which you can change between a number of cameras and the slide deck. This takes lots of tools, information and expertise, so I counsel working with knowledgeable AV workforce to make sure it goes easily.

Make attendee engagement an integral a part of your occasion

Offering a manner for attendees to have interaction is crucial to holding their consideration, and it additionally helps to nurture a way of neighborhood, creating stronger loyalty to your model. In keeping with David Phelps of funding neighborhood Freedom Founders, that is important not just for the success of your occasion but additionally for the success of your attendees.

“Engagement helps folks course of and retain the data they be taught at your occasion, which supplies them extra worth,” Phelps explains. “So after a presentation, it’s crucial to arrange smaller, structured breakout classes. When attendees discuss concerning the content material amongst themselves, it turns into extra private and related to them. It’s a must to keep in mind that they’re making an attempt to soak up an incredible quantity of recent data, and this helps them try this to allow them to then implement your recommendation to realize their objectives.”

It’s particularly necessary to incorporate the digital attendees on this, in any other case they are going to really feel neglected. Ideally, there must be each a video and textual content part right here, and it is best to have somebody out of your workforce appearing as a liaison between the in-person and digital attendees. 

Make sure that your tech will assist the occasion

Whereas most companies immediately have broadband, the add velocity on most plans just isn’t ample to keep up the video stream. Your add velocity must be a minimum of 100 Mbps — this is 4 to 5 occasions sooner than what’s offered in most base web plans. 

It’s additionally good to do a couple of take a look at runs main as much as your occasion to ensure that your {hardware}, software program and web connection all work correctly and may assist your wants.

Associated: Why Digital Conferences Could Be Right here to Keep

Digital occasions could be your new secret advertising and marketing weapon 

There’s no denying that placing a digital occasion collectively could be lots of work, however it’s price it as a result of if you’re armed with the fitting instruments and information, your occasion can turn into a robust instrument.

We’re nonetheless within the early days of utilizing digital occasions as a advertising and marketing channel, and that’s precisely why you must begin now. As we’ve seen with actually each different new channel, early adopters will at all times reap the best advantages.

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