We’re all missing in-person events as we take Zoom calls from our couches and heat up another pot of coffee. One thing we’re not missing, however, is the switch from the traditional branded tchotchkes to more elegant digital swag bags. Everyone attends at least one conference where this happens. You’re handed a bag and know…
Virtual Event Best Practices: How To Demystify Your Data
As virtual events continue to rise in popularity, knowledge of virtual event best practices will become very important. For anyone beginning to host a virtual event, a top consideration should be “what do I do with my data?” What data you collect, what do with it, and how it differs from an in-person event should all be top of mind for marketers making the switch to virtual. Luckily, Kapow is here to help. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got a bunch of handy best practices for you below. Let’s dig in!
Virtual event best practices: what data should I be collecting prior to?
If you’re already collecting data from your events campaign, we have good news for you! A lot of that data strategy transfers to an online event program. Metrics like email open rate, click through and registrations are just as helpful when hosting an event virtually as they are when you’re meeting face-to-face. In short, these metrics tell you who’s interested in your event and give a baseline of engagement and intent. Much like for your in-person events, registrations, click-throughs and open rates give you a good idea of how your messaging reaches your intended audiences.
Tracking social media is ideal for this. The impressions your pre-event content receives can more directly be translated into attendance expectations since the event is online. Plus, more likes means more engagement, signifying a wider reach. This makes it easier to hone in on your brand strategy as we pivot to virtual events. Seeing what events people get excited about, and what events get fewer impressions, can help you strategize even further.
Collecting data during online events
Online events also have specific metrics you can track that vary from in person offerings. Much like a live event, you’ll want to track how many individuals are actually attending your session. This involves tracking speaker engagements and views on your online platform. When you host multiple webinars, see what performs the best and maintains the highest number of views and engagement. Review the content they provided and how it was delivered if you can. Different tools, such as live polling, Q & A and surveys offer a unique view into how your audience is consuming your content, as well as signaling highly engaged attendees for follow up once your sessions end. By leveraging technology during your online events, you have access to more data than ever before, all collected for you. This will paramount to executing a successful virtual event series that has people coming back for more.
Following up ASAP is a virtual event best practice
Virtual events are a different beast from what a lot of event marketers are used to, that’s true. But that doesn’t mean you need be lost in the fog when it comes to collecting data after the event concludes. Following up with attendees within 2–3 days of your virtual event concluding can provide a wealth of information. What did they like? How can you improve the experience for the next event? The more specific feedback you can get from your e-guests, the better you can make your next virtual event. Just because you don’t have the perfect strategy in place for virtual events doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn!
It’s also important to have a strategy for following up with no-shows and non-responders. Luckily, virtual events are easily recorded and reviewed. This gives you lots of opportunities to touch base with clients who didn’t attend your event or didn’t respond. The important thing is not to get discouraged. Even in the age of the Internet, online events can still be a bit of an enigma for even the most seasoned professionals, and they may be having trouble visualizing their value. Having a well-attended and engaging online webinar or other event to talk about in a follow-up can be a great way to pique a client’s curiosity for your next event.
Align your virtual events with your goals and collect data that aids that
Finally, involve your company’s stakeholders about your goals for online events. This helps you align your goals with your organization’s so you can better understand what data to collect. Work with your stakeholders to determine your goals, and make sure to set expectations that help you align a brand strategy moving forward. All of the following are great questions to ask at your next virtual event debrief:
- Did you meet your goals?
- Were there any stand-out interactions? How is the progress on follow-ups?
- How did clients feel about the event in their follow up surveys? What worked well?
- Could anything have gone better?
- Would you do it again? Why? Why not?
Calculating your ROI will likely be a bit of an unknown compared to traditional in-person events until you know what works and what doesn’t for your virtual strategy. However, here are some things its always good to keep in mind when decamping with stakeholders and fleshing out your virtual event post-mortems:
- Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs)
- Revenue in pipeline and actualized revenue
- Social impressions and engagements related to event
- Attendee clout and/or buying power
This is uncharted territory for a lot of marketers. We want you to know that we are dedicated to providing unique solutions as virtual and online events are becoming the new normal at present. Get in touch with Kapow’s event experts now to book your next virtual event or receive additional options that are certain to delight. Be sure to check back often for more marketing tips, tricks and strategies.
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