Using Virtual Events to Drive Awareness, Brand Loyalty and Revenue

9, 2021

8 min learn

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their very own.

While in-person occasions have been largely non-existent over the previous 12 months, the world is opening again up and eagerly in search of alternatives to join in particular person once more.Even although persons are most enthusiastic about this in-person side of the longer term following a 12 months of lockdowns, there’s a good greater alternative that may go unnoticed by most entrepreneurs: leveraging digital and hybrid occasions to improve consciousness, model loyalty and income. I personally see digital and hybrid occasions starting to play a job that brings the benefits of digital programs, video advertising and communities all into one powerhouse advertising channel. But so as to do this, you’ve to first perceive how the business has not too long ago modified, how these adjustments create alternatives and then additionally how to leverage these alternatives to your benefit.The pandemic reworked occasionsWhen the pandemic hit, the occasions business was turned the wrong way up. Both well being issues and authorized restrictions made internet hosting an occasion of any measurement just about unattainable.Companies that relied on occasions as a advertising channel scrambled to change the leads and income that had immediately evaporated, whereas firms that served the occasion business and these whose enterprise fashions have been primarily based on their very own occasions have been hit even more durable. The business as an entire confronted a $30 billion loss, fully decimating numerous companies.But 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 surprising disaster. “We all the time knew a digital element can be included 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 element to their occasions by means of a single platform, they may serve extra of their goal clients and make more cash,” Elliott explains.While lockdowns have been lifted and we’ve largely returned to regular life, the occasion business has been completely reworked.Related: The Future of Events Is Bright and BigAdapting to as we speak’s occasion businessEvents are a $77 billion business, and it’s solely going to proceed rising — particularly now that folks notice digital occasions are greater than only a hyped-up webinar. The collaboration between Home Depot and nation music artist Brad Paisley is an ideal instance. At the peak of the lockdown, Home Depot granted unique entry to a live performance by Brad Paisley for purchasers who bought $50 or extra in reward playing cards. The occasion, which ran on ViewStub’s platform, was an enormous success on all fronts, leading to greater than 110,000 reward playing cards bought and over $6 million in income.“What I discovered most enjoyable 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 Home Depot generate an incredible return on funding, however in addition they strengthened model loyalty, which can have a compounding impact on all of their advertising efforts.” Data exhibits that whereas individuals might want to attend, they’ll’t all the time make it to an in-person occasion due to journey restrictions, prior commitments, prices and numerous different causes. One of the most important classes entrepreneurs and occasion planners alike have discovered from that is that the power to host a digital or hybrid occasion leads to better attendance and income. Therefore, giving attendees that possibility isn’t just a sensible enterprise resolution, however it’s also a necessary possibility as we speak. And with that digital element, occasions can grow to be each a viable income stream and a strong advertising channel that offers you a bonus over opponents.How to host an occasion that drives consciousness, model loyalty and income Offer an possibility for digital attendanceThe most essential factor you are able to do is be sure you have a digital element to any occasions that you just host. There’s merely no excuse not to since a majority of the industrialized world has broadband web, and the expertise wanted to allow digital attendance is so easy and cheap as we speak. We’ve already lined the truth that providing the choice to attend just about will increase attendance, and because of this, income. Have a plan for promotion inside your eventWhether your occasion is used to promote your enterprise or the occasion itself is your enterprise, you’ll want a plan to promote no matter you promote. I would like to emphasize the significance of planning this forward of time as a result of doing it on the fly will virtually all the time end in it coming off as sleazy and overly promotional to your attendees. The secret is to promote when it’s related, preceded by a easy and logical segue, and adopted by a powerful name to motion.Additionally, it’s important that attendees can instantly purchase your merchandise and providers on-line or schedule a session. You need them to take motion when their feelings are at a excessive level. If they wait till after the occasion, they’re much less doubtless to comply with by means of.Deliver huge worth in your content materialIf you fail to ship huge 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 potential at their fingertips. The secret is to present helpful content material introduced in a fascinating method with excessive manufacturing high quality.The content material half is comparatively simple. You’ll be sharing information that you just’re an professional on. You’ll simply want to break it down in a method that makes it informative, straightforward to perceive and entertaining.After a 12 months of Zoom conferences, everyone knows that nobody desires to stare endlessly at a speaker’s face or their slide deck. In order to hold individuals’s consideration, you’ll want to make sure that your shows are partaking and that you could change between a number of cameras and the slide deck. This takes loads of gear, information and expertise, so I counsel working with an expert AV workforce to guarantee it goes easily.Make attendee engagement an integral a part of your eventProviding a method for attendees to interact is important to conserving their consideration, and it additionally helps to nurture a way of neighborhood, creating stronger loyalty to your model. According to 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 individuals course of and retain the knowledge they be taught at your occasion, which supplies them extra worth,” Phelps explains. “So after a presentation, it’s important to set up smaller, structured breakout classes. When attendees discuss in regards to the content material amongst themselves, it turns into extra private and related to them. You have to do not forget that they’re making an attempt to soak up an incredible quantity of latest info, and this helps them do this to allow them to then implement your recommendation to obtain their objectives.”It’s particularly essential to embody the digital attendees on this, in any other case they may really feel disregarded. Ideally, there must be each a video and textual content element right here, and it’s best to have somebody out of your workforce appearing as a liaison between the in-person and digital attendees. Ensure that your tech will help the occasionWhile most companies as we speak have broadband, the add pace on most plans shouldn’t be enough to keep the video stream. Your add pace must be not less than 100 Mbps — this is 4 to 5 occasions quicker than what’s supplied in most base web plans. It’s additionally good to do a couple of take a look at runs main up to your occasion to ensure that your {hardware}, software program and web connection all work correctly and can help your wants.Related: Why Virtual Conferences May Be Here to KeepVirtual occasions may be your new secret advertising weapon There’s no denying that placing a digital occasion collectively may be loads of work, but it surely’s value it as a result of while you’re armed with the precise instruments and information, your occasion can grow to be a strong software.We are nonetheless within the early days of utilizing digital occasions as a advertising channel, and that’s precisely why you want to begin now. As we’ve seen with actually each different new channel, early adopters will all the time reap the best advantages.

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About the Author: Amanda