One thing that seems to come up quite a lot is that marketing leads up to the virtual event. The event is the target or goalposts for the marketing work. People get all involved putting together the different campaigns that will support the event, make sure the word gets out, etc.
Some food for thought – the virtual event really should be somewhere in the middle of your efforts, rather than the end-point. Some quick tips:
- Your event should reinforce your messaging presented in your campaigns – it should provide additional information for attendees and provide them a “what’s next” plan – should they contact you? Will you be contacting them? What is the purpose of the contact? For example, if you’re event is in and industry you provide a service for, the next steps might be how you can help the attendee apply the things they learned at the event. This helps them get started and realize the value of the event.
- Your event can provide opening comments to talk about the things that will be presented, then closing comments to talk about application of those items. Close the circle, help attendees get their arms around what’s been presented. You can help with this by organizing your event into sections, tracks or rooms depending on how you’ll be doing your event.
- Consider a pre-event webcast or short video. This will help attendees get moving on their understanding of your content.
- Pre-publish your slides, if possible. This gives you another touch point with attendees, and it helps them come to your event with your messaging in mind, and they’ll be and feel more prepared. You can, of course, use this as a good point to not only point out the slides available, but point them in the direction of your site, your blog or other items that are helpful.
- Contact attendees after the event – let them know where they can watch on-demand, let them know about related items on your own site or blog – basically connect the dots between the event and your offerings. “We had a great session (watch it on-demand here) about XYZ – when you’re finished watching, be sure to check out my blog post on the subject here” — that type of thing gives attendees a good handle on the items and helps move them beyond the event with a purpose.
- Consider offering sessions from the event as exclusive webcasts – you can run them in the future to reinforce the value of the event content, to re-establish contact and provide information to new potential attendees for your next event.
Essentially, the big takeaway is that you want to make sure your event is PART of your overall plan, not the endpoint. It’s much more valuable to you, and your attendees, if everyone is able to connect those elusive dots.