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Make Your Virtual Events Better!

The Struggle Caused by the Lack of In-Person Events

Today, I wanted to talk about how many people and businesses are struggling due to the continued lack of in-person events. I am an extrovert and I want to go to events as much as the next person, but my husband has a high risk for COVID-19. So it’s just not a risk I’m really willing to take. So we’re struggling with this lack of in-person events. 

Even Enterprise Companies Are Struggling

Some people got this idea that it’s just the mom-and-pop businesses and people who rely heavily on referrals that are struggling. That’s just not the case. Even enterprise companies relied heavily on conferences and trade shows prior to COVID-19. 

That’s because even though they have these relationships, it allows them to build new relationships in-person and helps them nurture relationships they’ve already had, particularly with past clients.

What’s the best way to get a past client thinking about you? Talking to them; meeting them. One of the best ways we can do that is in-person, surrounded by a wonderful business experience. That is what these trade shows and conferences typically set up for us. 

The Interaction From In-Person Events Is Missing

In-person means interaction. That’s something that’s missing from a lot of these summits. A lot of these webinars take all of the attendees and slot them into these little virtual cubicles where they can’t hear, see, or chat with anybody else that’s also attending the event. So we’ve lost out on this interaction piece. I think that that is really important to focus on. 

Learn about the top 3 benefits of webinars in another of our blog posts.

It’s a huge reason I prefer Zoom meetings over Zoom webinars. On Zoom webinars, it’s almost like you’re on some sort of time out; you’re just sitting there, not allowed to talk to anybody. So keep that in mind as you’re setting up your virtual conferences, seminars, webinars, summits, etc. 

I really love the breakout rooms that I’m seeing from some of these events. I’ve been in breakout rooms with 5 people. Just on Friday, I was in a breakout room with one other person, so we got a quick one-on-one. I thought that was really cool. So just make sure to consider that sort of thing. 

People like to go to events to interact. If you take away my ability to interact, I’m probably just going to bounce out. It becomes very boring, very fast. 

The Physical Touch From In-Person Events Is Missing

In-person means we can touch things. This is also missing. I think that when you have an event – particularly when you’re asking people to pay for something – work it in your budget to send them something. Maybe make it a part of your sponsorship deal with your sponsors, where they get an opportunity to send something to your attendees. Something that really helps them be top of mind. 

If you really can’t think of anything related to your webinar, you could always send them a coffee mug, right? I use coffee mugs for tea. Everybody drinks tea, coffee, non-caffeinated tea, whatever. They drink it, and having a nice mug is a great way to go. 

This works even if you’re just sending them swag. It isn’t necessarily directly related to your event, but you’re still sending them something that makes them happy. Because think about it; what do you get in the mail? Junk. You get junk, unless you specifically ordered something. 

Let’s say I’m attending a conference on time management, and you’ve sent me a nice branded workbook with each of the speakers. Let’s say there’s 2 or 3 questions that I can now write down in-person, as I’m going through each talk with each of the speakers.

I think that’s amazing. You might be thinking, “Yeah, but I could send that digitally and you can print it out yourself.” And that’s true, but there’s just something about somebody sending it to you and now you can fill it out.

Don’t underestimate that. 

Consider Doing VR Events

The other thing I wanted to mention is virtual reality events. Even if you’re having your summit on a traditional platform, don’t underestimate the value of a meet-and-greet, or even a networking mixer that you could hold in a virtual reality space.

I really like AltspaceVR for this because they have options for you. If you can only log in via computer or don’t have a VR headset, you can still attend. I’ve been to a few of those and they’re a lot of fun. I would say they’re something to consider as you’re planning out your events for the next 12 months. 

This Marketing Monday’s Takeaways

Don’t Limit Your Attendees’ Interactions

Do not limit your attendees’ interactions because nobody wants to feel like they’re just stuck in this little timeout box during your whole conference. 

Try to Send Something to the Attendees In the Mail

Ask yourself if there is a way for you to send something to the attendees. Work this into your budget, especially if it’s a paid event.

Is there a way for you to send them swag or items related to the conference? Even if it’s a keepsake or something. If your conference is targeting women and you want to send them all something, send them a bracelet or something.

I’m telling you when I get unexpected mail, I’m pretty freaking happy about it. 

Sending Your Attendees Something as a Way to Encourage Early Signups

This could be something you use to encourage early signups for your event. “If you sign up before this day, we will send you this.”

So if you can make it a workbook, you can make it a journal, you can make it a jewelry item, you can make it up coffee cup, you can make it swag from your sponsors.

I’ve seen people sending cooking kits. Maybe they don’t send you the food, but they send you a new cooking tool or something. Just think about how you could incorporate that level of creativity in your business to give people something to touch during your virtual event. 

That’s what I have for you today. That’s marketing Monday.