Marketing Collateral To Grab Virtual Event Attendees’ Attention

How to be successful at virtual and hybrid events

How you gauge success at virtual and hybrid events will differ from those that happen in person. While you’ll struggle to create the great atmosphere you aim for in normal times, you will be able to get some truly valuable data from your attendees including their interests, preferences, and post-event feedback.

Know what your audience wants

Making sure your virtual events are as successful and popular as possible means getting a thorough understanding of what your customers want from you. A 2021 survey by markletic revealed that 80% of respondents attend virtual events to be educated on the specific subject matter or business trends, with networking a close second.

  • Are there particular speakers they are excited to hear from and if so, why?
  • What business challenges are they currently facing and how could you help solve them?
  • Are they craving breakout sessions and if so, what size groups do they think are appropriate and useful?
  • When it comes to networking, what would work best for them?

Get your technology right

Unless you have been hiding under a rock these last few years, you will be more than familiar with the technical issues that arise when organizing virtual meetups, or even a quick call with your boss. But with 38% of marketers reporting to markletic that they run into technical problems when hosting virtual events you need to do all you can to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Create some awesome lead generation tactics

When you’ve put all the hard work into delivering a seamless, entertaining, and enjoyable virtual or hybrid event, you want to make sure you get some great leads for your efforts. Nearly half of the marketers surveyed by markletic say generating pipeline is their main goal with virtual events so why shouldn’t you have a piece of the action?

  • Get interactive. Attendee polls, surveys, and live Q&As are all great ways to understand your audience’s interests and needs. For example, if an attendee shares an experience with the (virtual) room about struggling with content creation processes, our resident guru, Jerry, might send them a personalized newsletter with an article on how to avoid chaos with a content workflow after the event. Smooth, right?
  • Offer recorded content after the event. Gated content doesn’t work for every stage of the user journey. But if you can offer your potential customers a video download or podcast after the big day that has proven to be a success with their peers they should be happy to give up a wee bit of data. You can demonstrate its worthiness with a few well-chosen quotes from satisfied attendees or a bulleted list of key learnings to whet their appetite. You may also get interest from people who watched on the way and want to refresh their knowledge.
  • Check your analytics. As we mentioned above, one of the main advantages of virtual over in-person events is the ability to gather audience data. So, as with pretty much every marketing activity, always take time to review your analytics and act on any insights. Which aspects of the event did particular people or demographic groups prefer, or not? Which content, formats, or exercises hit the right notes with your attendees?

What kind of content to offer at virtual events

Making sure your offer the right event content is key to your success. You need to keep those Zoom-numbed attendees engaged and interested, and you have to stand out from your competitors. You’ll probably need to keep your sponsors happy, too.

Virtual panel discussions, and fireside chats

These kinds of event fixtures are better if your panel or fireside chats are in the same room, but if this can’t happen, try to ensure there is a good structure to the proceedings. You don’t want people talking over each other, and great interactivity is everything to create a memorable event. A well-ordered and communicated program helps speakers prepare their unique standpoint and gives your viewers the chance to formulate questions beforehand. You could also include one of your colleagues or partners as the moderator to demonstrate your thought leadership and expertise.

Video introductions and 1–1s

Virtual events offer the opportunity to connect your sponsors, speakers, and your own sales team with interested attendees. The best way to do this is to encourage people to book 1–1s on your website or app or even through your event team. If they aren’t sure who they need to talk to, check their nominated interests and suggest a pairing.

Breakout sessions

Event attendees are keen to learn. To facilitate this and to prevent seminar burn-out, consider organizing some breakout sessions for attendees to discuss specific topics and issues. It might be a nice idea to include an expert from your business as a moderator or group leader to help get the party started (and gauge opportunities for lead gen or follow-up).

Networking

Networking is one of the main reasons people go to events. While your attendees might feel slightly tired at the thought of meeting a potential customer in a virtual environment, you will still need to offer them the option and make it as comfortable as possible.

  1. Schedule networking at the right time. Before lunch is a no-no unless it is specifically food-related. The end of the day could be risky unless a social/refreshment element is involved. First thing in the morning could be fun if it is positioned as a breakfast breakout. Timing is everything with your networking agenda. As is the duration — half an hour or an hour should be more than enough time for a single networking meetup, and your participants can always arrange to connect after.
  2. Get the numbers and character mix right. Limiting the groups to 8 or so participants should give everyone the chance to speak and interact. Try to create groups where there is a good mix of personalities, business backgrounds, and levels of seniority. Though make sure there is a good amount of potential synergy too!
  3. Make introductions. It’s worthwhile doing this beforehand so people can do some LinkedIn sleuthing. Confirming who everyone is on the day, including a fun fact about them, is a sure way to open up the virtual floor.
  4. Break the ice. Icebreakers can be great warm-ups for breakout sessions, from ‘two truths and a lie’ to virtual scavenger hunts. Make sure they are conducted by someone who can get people involved without feeling forced.
  5. Keep the conversation flowing. Prepare some questions and prompts in advance in case the conversation dries up. A simple “Greg was telling me that he struggles with organic SEO after his website was relaunched. Phoebe, perhaps you could offer some insights?” can jolly along with the proceedings.
  6. Wrap it up gracefully. Thank everyone for their time and reiterate the pertinent points and discoveries made. Encourage everyone to stay in touch and offer to connect with them after the event.

Capitalizing on the plus points of virtual and hybrid events

I hope these tips and ideas on grabbing virtual event attendees’ attention with marketing collateral have been useful. The trick is to identify where your event can offer genuine value, then think of engaging and creative ways to start the conversation. Make your event as interactive as possible, even before the big day. Yes, you can offer reports, ebooks, etc., but people do events because they want interaction, so your content should be interactive as well.

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Raul Tiru

Raul Tiru

7.1K Followers

Co-founder https://StoryLab.ai, Founder https://GlobalOwls.com. Let’s create memorable content. #ContentCreation, #ContentMarketing, #Nonprofit