Four Ways to Stay Engaged After a Virtual Event
Last updated: August 3, 2020
With what seems to be a never-ending pandemic, we all are continuing to turn our in-person events virtual. By now, you probably have either run or attended at least one virtual event. The process for converting to virtual events has been hectic for most companies, as they were not planning on having to make such a quick decision and change. While many virtual events have had successful execution, the benefits of hosting a virtual event do not stop when the web session is over. Taking that next step to stay engaged with your attendees after the virtual event comes to a close is where a lot of the success will lie. What are you doing to stay engaged with your audience after the virtual event is over?
Here are four ways to stay engaged with your audience after a virtual event and all of them can be sold for sponsorships tied to the virtual event itself:
- Personalized Mailing
- Video Webinar Series
- Drinks/Lunch with an Editor
- 3-Touch Campaigns
Go old school and send out a personalized mailing thanking an attendee for joining the virtual event. You will shock someone by sending them something in the mail. People love getting mail and what better way to connect with someone than mailing them a personalized letter or gift.
To help cover the costs of this tactic, consider an advertiser to get in on the excitement.
People are stuck at home – give them something to be excited about. Plus, with the global pandemic, you know for a fact people will be home to receive it and not traveling for work.
Here are some personalized mailing ideas:
- Exclusive Magazine with a personalized insert letter with their name on it
- Box of goodies from you and a sponsor – including an exclusive look at a new product
- Just a good ole thank you letter
Video Webinar Series
Webinars are nothing new for you, but making them exclusive just might help make them more attractive to your audience. One great way to do this is by only inviting people that attended the virtual event to create a new group within your audience and engage with them in a more intimate setting.
When setting up the content for this series, look at the sessions that had the best attendance and had a lot of questions. Look at those speakers and invite them to be the content developers for this series. They clearly have developed a connection with your audience so work with them to take it a step further following the event.
Consider using an audience video feature, depending on the size of the audience, to help engage with people face-to-face. This helps with interaction, making people feel like they are being heard, and keeping people focused on what is being presented.
Here are some other benefits for a webinar series:
- A new audience within an audience has been created, which is more tight-knit and connected.
- The newly engage audience could become a focus group of sorts where you can use them to bounce new product and services off.
- You just created a new revenue opportunity all while engaging with your audience in an exciting new way (plus you can tie this back to virtual events or events revenue).
Drinks/Lunch with an Editor
The idea here is having a weekly or bi-weekly meeting where attendees from the virtual event can join a video conference call with one of your editors (or other faces of your brand) and have a structured conversation.
Ahead of the video conference, send a gift card for Uber Eats, Grub Hub or some other food/drink delivery service letting people know you value their time. You cover their coffee or lunch while they get to ask questions to your editor.
This is a similar concept as the video webinar series, but in an even smaller setting. The recommendation is around 10 attendees for each session. Any more than that and it can be difficult for everyone to share any questions or thoughts they have.
Here are some key benefits for this tactic:
- Intimate setting allowing the audience to feel their voice is being heard
- Gaining valuable information from the audience on how they feel about your brand. This will help structure content direction on new campaigns.
- Revenue. What better way to bring in a sponsor for an opportunity to quickly and effectively have an audience that is as engaged as this one?
3-Touch Email Campaign
This tactic is a bit more “new school” in the sense that it will rely on technology and trigger points to engage with the audience following the virtual event. While the strategy is not as intimate as the first three options, it is still a very effective way to engage with your audience after a virtual event.
A 3-Touch Email Campaign is simple in theory and just as easy to execute. The end game is to lead the audience down a journey – whether that is for a paying client or sponsor of the event or an internal promotion that your brand might want to follow up on.
Here is how each of the three emails should go:
- First email – Problem Focused
- Topic: This should be educational and showcasing a problem within the industry that is relevant to the audience
- Who: Email should go to the entire virtual event audience
- Call to action (CTA): A link to educational content about the problem or topic at hand – for example – technical paper, whitepaper, article, etc.
- Second email – Solution Focused
- Topic: This should be a play off of the first email. You talked about the problem, now how does this problem get solved?
- Who: Email should go to all of the audience that opened the first email
- CTA: A link to content about the solving the problem – for example – a interview, webinar, FAQ, etc.
- Third email – Product Focused
- Topic: What product can help the audience with everything from the first and second email? Hint: This should be the client/sponsor product.
- Who: Email should go to those that opened the 2nd email
- CTA: A product demo showcasing the product or solution that the sponsor can provide
Do not be afraid to think outside of the box. Some of these tactics might look costly, but your sponsors may be willing to join you in thinking differently. Remember, you are not the only brand that needs to look at virtual events differently; your clients do as well. Bring in you favorite clients and have a brainstorm session (virtually of course) on how you can come up with something new and cool that your audience has not seen before.
Take a positive spin on what is going on in the world today and use this as an opportunity to reach your audience in a new way.
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