Connecting with Your Customers and Prospects Through
Virtual Events Can Be Very Effective: A How-To Guide
— This memo is part of a series of articles and perspectives prepared by Accel-KKR in relations to COVID-19 impacts. —
This time of uncertainty has upended many sales and marketing programs, but probably none more severely than in-person events like conferences and sales visits. Yet, not being able to meet in person doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t meet at all. Nowadays, people have become completely adept at getting online to convene with others, so that’s already half the battle. You just need to do your part as the host: if you’re considering hosting a virtual event for your business audiences – and you absolutely should – here’s a guide on how to do it successfully.
Things to Consider:
- Technical: Consider the size of your audience and complexity of your program: there are a wide variety of online event solutions that run the gamut of cost-effective but self-run, or costly but comes loaded with bells and whistles like a dedicated operator, bandwidth, options for concurrent tracks, virtual lounges and expo halls, which may be especially nice if you plan to have sponsor revenue.
- Communications, before & after: Because people don’t have to travel in order to attend, you could shorten the time between announcement to the actual event. Map out your communication plan: be clear about your registration process and event agenda, use your event platform’s tools to set reminders. Widely promote the event on all your public channels. Work with your speakers on content and technical set-up, and… rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
- Engagement during event: One of our portfolio CMOs had a fun quip: “run it like a TV show”: keep sessions under 60 minutes and slot in breaks. Use those breaks for light-hearted user engagement: run a live poll to ask attendees their favorite show to binge watch or to share a picture of their new “coworkers” aka pets or family members. If your platform permits, share handouts or worksheets during the webinar. Pro tip: pair your webinar with a custom event app for smartphone devices. These solutions are not expensive, and practically doubles the user engagement. And, encourage attendees to reach out to each other using the mobile app – after all, part of the value of events is in the networking.