Event marketing is a crucial component of long-term business growth. It gives you the opportunity to interact with potential buyers, increase brand awareness, showcase your product and services and connect with people through genuine interactions.
Yet events have changed significantly over the past two years, with the large majority of in-person events being put on hold since the beginning of 2020.
The result? Online events became a necessary aspect of finding new customers, maintaining sales pipelines, supporting customer engagement and marketing your product/services to prospective customers.
Yet, despite the concern of many organizations who organized a virtual event, these digital experiences offered a range of benefits for both the organization and the customer. Businesses were able to save money and reach a wider audience, while prospects were left with an improved user experience and the ability to tap into a wealth of knowledge from the comforts of their own homes.
With that in mind, in this blog we’re going to look at some of the benefits that your organization can realize from hosting its own digital event, as well as some tips that will help you transition your in-person event to digital.
Firstly, what is a digital event?
A digital event, also known as a virtual event, is an online event that involves people interacting in a virtual environment on the web, as opposed to meeting in a physical location.
It’s essentially any event where those attending experience the content online, as opposed to gathering in-person in one location for the event.
There are four main types of digital event:
- Webinars - through the use of videoconferencing tools, webinars present live or pre-recorded content that is educational by nature.
- Virtual conferences - The same as in-person conferences but over the internet, virtual conferences include keynote speakers, sessions, breakouts and much more.
- Internal hybrid events - These are company-wide events, held both in-person and over the internet, that aim to include anything from training, department meetings, sales kick-offs and much more.
- Hybrid events - Held as a marketing event for those outside your organization, hybrid events are designed for a mixture of both in-person and virtual attendees and could be anything from a webinar to a large conference.
What are the benefits of a digital event?
✔️ Scale your event for a large audience
Virtual events are accessible from anywhere, meaning your company’s event is no longer inhibited by the restrictions of a single location. That means it’s far easier to scale your event to reach a wider audience, no matter where in the world your potential customers are located. This is particularly important during COVID-19, since customers are less inclined to, or even prevented from through restrictions, travel.
✔️ It’s more cost effective
There are of course still investments to be made when it comes to a virtual event, particularly in terms of marketing and technology, but there’s no doubt that virtual events are significantly more cost-effective than their in-person counterparts. Virtual events are easier to plan, and they require significantly less budgeting for venues, catering and other in-person event costs.
✔️ Gain access to a larger pool of speakers
Want to offer value to your customers that truly drives engagement and participation at your event? Get speakers they genuinely want to hear from. Since virtual events allow speakers to participate from the comforts of their own home, they are far more likely to agree to be a part of your company’ event if it’s digital.
✔️ Access data and analytics that show your event’s worth
It has always been difficult to track the worth of in-person events, for organizers, attendees and sponsors. That’s because the only analytics you really have access to is the number of people who turned up. Virtual events have changed that dramatically. Virtual events give you access to data and analytics, such as who was in a session, how long they stayed for, what actions they took and much more. Now you have the insights to see and understand exactly what interested your audience the most and how long they stayed for.
Things to keep in mind when planning your event
When planning your virtual event, there are some crucial; things you should keep in mind to make it a success. Here are a few of those things here:
Technology is key: The most complex aspect of any virtual event is the technology behind planning, promoting and executing it. You’ll need a range of technologies such as communication channels, video conferencing and virtual event platforms for the event to run seamlessly. The best way to execute this seamlessly is to partner with an experienced and highly-skilled collaboration and AV provider (such as Genesis Integration).
Focus on attendee engagement: It’s far easier for an attendee of a virtual event to close a tab or window, than it is for an attendee of an in-person event to walk out of a seminar while it’s in progress. Keeping your audience interested in your content is the key to a successful virtual event. There’s a variety of strategies you can use, such as gamification or giveaways, to drive engagement during your virtual event.
Make sure you promote communication and collaboration: In-person events lend themselves well to networking, and that’s half the reason people attend. For virtual events however, you need to make an extra effort to encourage communication and collaboration among those attending. Use technology to get people talking with both your speakers, and their peers.
Allow personalization: Allow your attendees to get more out of your event by customizing their event experience. This could include anything from creating their own schedule, joining specific breakout rooms or joining specific networking events where they can speak with like-minded individuals.
Need further help planning your virtual event? Get in touch with Genesis Integration today. We’d love to help make sure that your event is a success with the right technologies to promote collaboration and analyze participation.