Communicate with your Prospective Audience
There is no standard of what a virtual event is today, and where it should be tomorrow. One thing we can all agree on is that it’s a wide array of situations, technologies, and interactions that dare not put audiences to sleep. With all the digital tools and event technology platforms on the market, it can be a full-time job just finding the perfect set of solutions for your experience. How do you level-up without creating confusion for you or your audiences?
Build a plan to over-communicate with your guests, starting with information about the virtual event beforehand. Keep in mind that virtual experiences are still new to many so don’t take their digital mastery levels for granted. In your pre-event communication, cover the obvious and not so obvious questions:
- What can I expect to get out of this event
- What do I do the day of the event
- Where do I register and how do I make a payment
- What are my login credentials
- How do I access event sessions and different rooms
- How will I earn credit for educational sessions
- Is this in my time zone
- Are there downloads or pre-event activities required
- Can I access and view recordings of any session on demand
Do not underestimate the volume of their questions and how frequently you should be giving them details to successfully attend your event. Empathize with their journey, and make sure they know from you what they don’t know on their own. Email marketing, social media posts and a dedicated location on your website they can frequently visit for real-time updates are great starters. Details are crucial here. Your attendees will be more understanding of your services, commitment and capabilities which will lead to trust and brand remembrance. Check out these event pre-event communication templates and customize them to match your brand’s tone.
Effective Presentation of your Event Communication
Answering questions your attendees may have can be nicely done in an FAQ presentation. Consider putting an FAQ landing page on your event website. Include a number to call for support or a live chat feature. Create a video guide that explains how to navigate the platform. Consider allowing attendees to practice launching sessions before the event starts. And to ease stress the day of the event, have an event host or “voice of god” record an intro video that educates them right as they log in. When technology is involved, there is going to be user error. Get creative on how you will minimize as many unknowns as you possibly can, in advance.
Using Creative Content
Generate some buzz and excitement around your event by pulling forward content and communications to be available before the event. If you can’t get them excited before the event starts, what might that say about how long you will keep their attention during the event?
- Conduct a pre-event poll (keep this short, like 1-3 questions) to find out what they need and encourage participation. This gives you quick results so you can take appropriate actions on what you may have missed.
- Solicit questions ahead of time that you can showcase in one of the Q&A sessions.
- Announce the launch of a new product or that you have a secret speaker people will be thrilled to watch. Build the mystery but make sure you are ready to deliver the “wow” factor.
- Announce a huge giveaway as encouragement for them to access and build their agenda, and stay present throughout the event.
And of course, send reminders when the event is up and coming. Include all the important “need to know” items before kickoff. Two vehicles for pre-event communication are email marketing and social posts. They’re a great way to reiterate dates and times, registration details, and sneak peaks at your agenda. The use of hashtags can help attendees find event details on multiple social channels, especially if you post frequently. Or, create a social media handle specifically for the event so you know your message won’t get lost.
How to Communicate with Other Event Stakeholders
Prospective sponsors, exhibitors, presenters, and speakers will need regular pre-event communication too. To kick off these conversations, schedule calls and meetings to discuss their marketing goals and how you will help them meet those goals during the virtual event and throughout the year.
Dig into their possible agenda with questions about:
- Product demos
- Virtual logo promotion
- Virtual booths
- One-on-one meetings with prospects
- Panel participation
- Video ads
- Session hosting, chat moderator, and behind the scenes interviews
- Promotion on the website and event app
- Post-event advertising and branding
- Sponsored content
Be sure to provide them with detailed instructions on technical requirements and costs associated with their sponsorship opportunities. If they choose to have presenters, make sure to find out if they regularly have speaker engagements and their comfort level with recording their video. If they aren’t proficient here yet, make them a step-by-step video that walks them through event logistics and screen shots of recording best practices, do’s and don’ts. Communicate how live rehearsals will be handled and over-communicate schedules and deadlines for materials to be submitted to you for each aspect they want to participate in.
If you’re planning for multiple events across 2021, consider journey mapping as an important element of your overall creative strategy. Becoming one of the most successful elements of experience design in the world of events, journey mapping ensures that every possible touch point is thoughtful, personalized, and engaging. It allows you to identify gaps in the user experience and determine:
- When and where you need to support
- How to Inform and educate
- Have some fun with your event and audience
You can start journey mapping by analyzing attendee data from past events. This will help you to understand how attendees previously interacted with certain vendors, technologies, content, and each other. From here, you can build a framework that will identify where an experience might fall apart or create friction for attendees. After that, figure out how to make the experience more compelling. The fundamentals of mapping your guests’ journey through virtual, hybrid, and live events when they return will be a pillar and huge driver for engagement levels in going forward.
To keep them engaged, you have to get them engaged right out of the gate. If anything is difficult you can expect them to throw up their hands at home and move on to online shopping. Make it easy by sharing everything you know that will help your guest want to return for your next event.
Need some help?
OVATION is a fully integrated virtual event platform and production partner. We can support you with registration, live content delivery, networking, and the ability to build lasting relationships with your attendees online through creative expertise. Get in touch with the team to see how we can help with your virtual, hybrid, and in-person events.