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People love experiences. Millennials, in particular, are more apt to spend money on interesting experiences than things. Create an event that stands out, and you create legions of loyal, enthusiastic customers and brand advocates. But we're living in a time where truly great experiences are tougher to deliver.
As event planners try to pivot to virtual settings, there are inevitably a few hiccups. But there are a few best practices that you can apply to digital events just as effectively as their in-person counterparts.
To set yourself up for a more seamless virtual event experience, consider these five tips.
Tip #1: Shape your event around your goals and track your progress
There’s a reason you’re investing energy into creating events. Are you clear about that reason? Yes, events are fun, but more than likely you also want to increase reach, engage customers, drive leads, or boost revenue. Maybe even all of the above.
And with virtual events, people's attention span is lower than it might be otherwise. In general, you have about 30 minutes to an hour to hold people's attention (depending on the type of event), so you have to be efficient.
A firm focus on goals will help you make a tactical plan. To prioritize items on that list, Joshua Zerkel, Head of Global Community at Asana and Certified Professional Organizer, suggests creating a centralized project tracker. This will keep you on track and focused on what matters most.
Tip #2: Market your event to the people most likely to sign up
An existing customer list is a good place to start promoting your event. But to reach beyond existing customers, you’ll need to conduct strategic outreach.
The old way of event marketing was to blast event information to everyone within listening distance with things like radio ads and paper flyers—methods that were outdated even before the pandemic. The new way is to target your outreach on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, using a combination of organic reach and paid advertising.
For instance, you create a Facebook Event and post it to your existing fans. They share it with their own followers. And as word starts to spread, you boost the reach by advertising the event to targeted groups of people who:
- Meet your ideal customer profile (demographics, interests)
- Will be most likely to attend your virtual event
- Are already comfortable in a virtual environment
Tip #3: Make the attendee experience seamless, from the moment they buy a ticket
The experience your customers have with your event—and by extension, your brand—begins the moment they decide to buy tickets. Streamline that moment for them to make that experience pleasurable.
For instance, the event ticketing platform you use must be mobile-friendly and extremely easy to use. If a potential attendee clicks on a paid or organic social ad, they should be able to sign up in just a few clicks.
If you create your event on Eventbrite, then you can automatically publish your event to Facebook with Eventbrite’s Facebook integration. Interested fans on click on “Get Tickets” from their phones, and never have to leave the Facebook app to complete the transaction. It’s easier for them, and drives more signups.
You want digital events to be especially painless to sign up for, since you can't rely on things like food , venue, or live experiences to offer the same draw.
Tip #4: Don’t panic about the registration numbers… yet
You’ve put this event in motion, invested a lot in it already… and you’re not getting interest. You’re getting nervous.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, last-minute attendance decisions are a common phenomenon among humans. Eventbrite data shows that the majority of people (56%) prefer to make event-related decisions at the last minute.
For virtual events with no travel time included, that effect will be even more amplified. People can afford to be very spontaneous—so appeal to that spontaneity! Demonstrate why you event will be educational, entertaining, and otherwise special with digital ads or promotions that stand out and continue right up until the event.
List your event on every discovery platform you can think of — Eventbrite, Facebook Events, and more.
Tip #5: Use surveys to collect feedback from attendees
When your event is over, you might think you can take off the event-creator hat. But you still have one very important thing left to do: ask people for feedback. Post-event surveys are a critical step in improving your next event. Send surveys while your event is still fresh in people’s minds, and you’ll get the most authentic, accurate response.
The world looks different than it did before, but that doesn't mean you have to abandon all your plans and creativity. Virtual events offer opportunities that physical ones don't—like getting attendees from all around the world. Creating a seamless experience ensures that you keep people ready to dial back in.