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Product

Team Zuddl’s Experience at IMEX America 2022

5
Mins Read
Ketan Pandit

We've shared our on-ground learnings and tips based on our experience of attending IMEX 2022 to help you prepare for any large-scale conference!

IMEX is one of the largest gatherings for event people across the globe. Thousands of event planners, producers, Professional Conference Organizers (PCOs), Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and event tech people from across the world gather at IMEX to find partners, figure out the next big thing in event management and check out the latest in tech powering events. IMEX America 2022, held in Las Vegas, was Zuddl’s first trade show event as sponsor participants.

Here are some of the highlights from IMEX America 2022:

  1. The event was organized at the Mandalay Bay Convention center. That is a whopping 2.1 million square feet of meeting and event space. To give you a sense of the size of the venue, TWO mega events were running in parallel - IMEX America, and ExpCon Reality - both with thousands of attendees, and it didn’t feel like we were in each other's way.
  2. Large trade shows like the IMEX take months of planning, organizing and strategizing before they come to life. This was evident in a mostly incident-free four days, which is a remarkable feat anyway you look at it.
  3. We were averaging about 18,000 steps a day exploring the event. Even though we had a booth to manage, we wanted to seek inspiration for our events down the line. There’s always an opportunity to learn and grow.
  4. IMEX America saw about 12,000 attendees, out of which a majority, say 60%, were destinations. So you could literally walk down from Boston to Puerto Rico to Canada, in the same aisle!
  5. Another 30 percent were hotels and venues that wanted to be the destination of choice for buyers.
  6. The remainder were event tech vendors, like Zuddl, with tools and platforms that support event execution. 

Who is the IMEX for?

I'm glad you asked. 

When you participate in a third party event, your goals could be one of two broad things - brand awareness and/or generating leads. Or you could be at an event just to meet your existing customers. Either way, choosing the right event is crucial to get a positive ROI.

At IMEX America, you will meet a lot of event planners, and associations. So if event planners and associations are your ICP, IMEX is the place to be. You’ll be meeting independent event organizers as well as large event consulting organizations. Between them, they run events of any scale - from a 100 attendee get-togethers to over 15000 attendee concerts!

Another fantastic takeaway from IMEX was the hundreds of event destinations to choose from. If you are tasked with shortlisting venues for your next in-person or hybrid event, then you’ll find a lot of options to consider at IMEX. 

With a lot of event tech vendors in attendance, IMEX also offered a wide array of tools and platforms for buyers to run their events. From face detection technology to audience engagement, and badge printing vendors to event hosting platforms - they were all in attendance.

How to get the best out of IMEX?

Now with over 12,000 registered attendees, hundreds of hosted buyers, and tons of exhibitors, it can be a really overwhelming three days if meetings and activities are not planned out well in advance. We did our homework, and knew exactly what to expect. Even then, we weren’t able to cover as much as we would have liked. 

Here are some tips to help you make the most of IMEX (or any large conference for that matter):

Book meetings way in advance

And by that I mean as early as four weeks before the conference begins. IMEX had a portal for buyers to contact vendors, and for vendors to run campaigns, which isn’t the best out there, but it was still something. Since IMEX is a buyer-first conference, it made sense for buyers to reach out to vendors. And each hosted buyer group had definite meeting targets to meet, so you could be sure that meetings would not be ghosted.  

Book your booth in advance

Most booth sponsors lock in their booths as soon as the event is announced. This helps them secure the best possible location for their budget. And at events, it is all about location location location! 

Follow up quickly

Make it a priority to follow up with booth visitors and leads as soon as possible after the event. The likelihood of them remembering the conversation drops significantly as time passes by. 

Create memorable giveaways

You will be long remembered for brilliant swag than a run-of-the-mill pen. Don’t get me wrong - pens are great, but how many conference swag pens can someone have? We took these brilliant water bottles/sippers, stickers, buttons and tote bags that flew off our shelves faster than we could restock. Now someone’s child somewhere knows of Zuddl (or Zoodle :P)

Wear comfortable shoes

I cannot stress this enough. I saw people changing into sneakers by the second half of the first day. These convention centers are huge, and you will need to walk from one part to the other. Comfortable feet make for comfortable days.

So there you have it folks. Hope this helps you drive more value from your events. 

See you at IMEX (or some other event!) soon!

Marketing

How communities are helping businesses to scale up

9
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Find out how people and business organizations leverage communities, and how communities can help engage customers in order to drive long-term growth.

At the risk of sounding cliche, we’d say humans are resilient. Consider the pandemic. Things were extremely difficult for everyone, and that too on all fronts. Lives, jobs, mental health… so much was at risk.

And yet during these trying times people found many ways to bounce back. Perhaps one of the best ways to combat the ills of the pandemic was building and growing communities. The situation during the pandemic made community more necessary than it's ever been. 

People who were out of jobs and needed a place that allowed them to go to help them find jobs found communities the perfect shelter. Communities helped them find empathy for what they were going through and helped them learn, for example, how to secure a job in the harsh climate. It may sound ironic, but the pandemic might have been the perfect storm.

Kishore C S, Content Lead at Zuddl, and Jared Robin, co-founder RevGenius, sat down for a fireside chat to discuss how communities have evolved, how people and business organizations leverage communities, and how communities can help engage customers in order to drive long-term growth.

Psst... if you'd rather listen to a podcast about this topic, click here.

The beginning of communities

In a wider sense of the word, communities evolved as something that’d support you, something outside of work. You had communities in schools, you had the church, you had sororities… And then there are meetup groups, there are events, and there are groups that border on being a community. 

They were also shaped to be a business model, in the way events and communities brought people together. It’s just that the bridge for leveraging community for your job and your professional life has doubled down the past few years. 

Thankfully, the digital revolution has made communities more far-reaching and more accessible than ever. That was clearly visible during and after the  pandemic. 

The first advantage of communities

On social media platforms people seem to do more selling than supporting.There’s nothing wrong with selling. Everyone lives by selling something, as the 19th century author Robert Louis Stevenson observed. But when selling is the predominant activity, other factors and questions about trust come into picture.

Community as a whole has been around probably since the beginning of time, the beginning of our lives. But the way they have entered business activities is very recent. And there’s a lot of reasons why communities are fast becoming important for organizations of all sorts. But the first advantage communities hold is that of trust.

People trust others more in communities than on social platforms. It’s like people are more eager to give when engaging communities. And the goal of being active in communities isn’t to drive leads further down the sales funnel. It’s more about helping them with their current needs. 

For instance, RevGenius may have a hundred people who have signed up to get into SAS sales. There will be cohorts, where we could take 50 people for a month and get them into software sales. And it’s all based on the spirit of helping - like these people won’t be paying anything. 

So communities have come to be identified with the goal of helping people at zero cost, or at a very low cost sometimes.

The widening reach and scope of community events

If you have any experience with communities, you’d have clearly observed two things. One, the reach of communities is growing rapidly, thanks to the digital space. And two, communities are growing in scope; business organizations are also leveraging them internally. 

With the pandemic behind us, we can look forward to in-person events that would strengthen the communities. All through, the focus is still to help community members. So if there were hybrid or digital events, the idea is to give more people around the world access to the community.

Communities within remote businesses 

Let’s see how lots of companies are approaching building communities through events. Initially, the companies were trying to improve their understanding of the virtual world, especially to see whether things were easy to adopt for everybody. 

1. Better quality: Companies have already seen enough evidence that adoption is not an issue. So now businesses are looking for better production quality at their events. They don’t want events to look like just another (boring) meeting. They want a different level of involvement and engagement as well.

2. More focus: At their own end, companies are also taking care that they keep things interesting, focused, and relevant. They are making sure the topics interest the audience. Outcomes are now at the center of these events. And ‘interactive’ is the operative word here.

3. Micro events: Companies are looking to not only get more focus but are also trying to drive productivity at the departmental level. Micro events involving communities leads to more intent, more engagement. Even big conferences are trying to be more subtle, more personal, and more engaged. 

How being interactive helps communities

You don’t always need to have a huge headcount; a smaller but more engaged group can be more effective too. Imagine you’re doing a hybrid workshop over Zuddl. The participants are women who are in institutional or B2B sales. And because Zuddl is built for making hybrid events interactive, everyone is super engaged and active - basically going great.

Then a saleswoman (let’s call her Irene) asks a question. Her job is to sell to hospitals. Because it’s the healthcare industry, with the insurance industry overlapping, there are lots of restrictions and policy guidelines on what she can do and what she can’t. And because it’s a unique, industry-specific situation Irene is describing, the resource-person has only so many things to say. 

In absence of interactivity, Irene’s questions would go unanswered, or at least under-answered. That’d have left her unsatisfied - not a good thing for events.

But the platform’s ability to get everyone engaged and interact leads to a better outcome. The other participants know what’s being discussed. So everyone begins to dig deeper. They begin sharing their experiences from different industries, thereby trying to build a wider paradigm. 

Soon, the underlying commonalities between different sales situations begin to emerge. Irene is able to connect the dots by uncovering the deeper connections between the different things the other participants are sharing. The overall quality of the discussion improves, with the result that Irene has found a very good answer to her question.

Community as the new influencer

Better understanding begins with better questions. And when you ask questions to people who’re close, they’ll first look at the use case and offer better answers. For instance, field marketers, who’ve been close to your customers for years, are able to niche down to the nitty-gritty in their answers. The people that look at everything best understand their community or their audience or their prospects or their customers the best.  

It kinds of adds up in the way we make decisions in our daily lives. We always check with our inner circle first. A community kind of works as our extended inner circle, where the trust is the same, like as you trust your brother or your best friend. 

Extend it a little. Suppose you’re traveling to some place and you’re looking to learn where you can find the best wi-fi. You’d likely head to Slack or some place where you’d see groups knowing and discussing this. And you can be sure you’ll have the right information. That’s like leveraging people in influencing type of capacities through the community.

The future of communities

The way people are engaging in communities, the way events are shaping up and getting interactive - all this is shaping communities in a very unique way. In fact, we believe that the trends point to something interesting: communities are going to be more massive, and yet more micro. 

That means the sizes of communities will continue to expand. But would that hurt the purpose of communities, namely that of helping community members? Thanks to the digital capabilities of platforms, the focus is not getting blurred. People can still reach out on a one-to-one basis and seek and offer help to very specific issues.

You’ll also see communities becoming more empowering. People will have a bigger say in the direction in which their communities are headed. That augurs well not just for businesses but also for not-for-profits and social movements. For example, communities can solve lots of social challenges. Or there could be communities that could solve the problems of individuals.

Speaking of communities, have you checked out Hybrid State of Mind? It's the place to be if you're looking for expert advice, dope insights and a whole lot of other news and views from the event industry.

Marketing

Set up your marketing function for success with Fuel & Engine

10
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Earlier this year, marketing leaders Emily Kramer and Ketan Pandit discussed fuel and engine, and how to pair them right to get the perfect marketing function. This article has the important highlights from their chat.

Today, we're throwing it back to when Emily Kramer (Cofounder MKT-1) and Ketan Pandit (Head of Marketing, Zuddl) sat down for a fireside chat to discuss the fuel and engine concept and how to pair them right to get the perfect marketing function. 

We've handpicked the highlights of their session in this article; you're welcome!

The growing complexity of marketing

Marketing, especially tech marketing, has grown complex over the years. A number of market-focused tactics have changed. Technology platforms have grown to be a great better, in that they can tell you, with a great deal of accuracy, which ad platforms work better for you. Even a number of marketing roles and titles have widened or altered beyond recognition.

And yet, lots of things about marketing have remained consistent. The foundation of marketing has not, and cannot, change. While marketing is increasingly finding a seat at the revenue table, its primary purpose and mission hasn’t changed. 

With that context, it becomes both interesting and challenging for marketers to build stronger teams that, in turn, can shape the marketing function.

Fuel and Engine in marketing

If you take away all the jargon from marketing and strip it down to its most essential form, you will find the fuel and engine concept in marketing expresses everything that marketing is and needs.

The fuel is the ‘what’ part of marketing. All the content you have developed, all the messages you have crafted, all the creatives your teams churn out… everything that goes out to your audience is the fuel.

The engine is the ‘how’ part of the marketing. All the channels that you use, all the distribution vehicles you deploy to get the message across, all the platforms you leverage, … all of these are a part of your marketing engine.

In brief, fuel is the all the assets you create while engine is your distribution arm.

The most common marketing problems to overcome

No marketing teams are perfect, no matter how large and resource-rich the organization or how experienced the team members. The three most common patterns or problems that marketing teams face are:

1. All fuel and no engine

This is where you have made a whole bunch of content, you have perfected the words after having spent a lot of time. But unfortunately, that content isn’t getting to anyone because you’re not focused on distribution.

The key problem: You have the ‘what’ but are missing on the ‘how’.

2. All engine and no fuel

The website is ready for conversion flows and everything is optimized but the messaging is almost entirely absent. No matter what stage your website visitor is at, you hit them with the same message. You ignore other things and only put the request-demo message in the loop.

The key problem: You have the ‘how’ ready but the ‘what’ isn’t in place.

3. Wrong engine, wrong fuel

You have a great engine, but unfortunately it’s meant for a different business model, not yours. The messaging is neat and all ready, you’re sending it through the wrong engine.

The key problem: There’s a clear mismatch between your fuel and your engine.

What marketing needs to focus on

Sales is focused on crushing revenue goals month after month, quarter after quarter. But what does marketing do?

Sure, marketing needs to be supporting the sales function in achieving the short-term revenue goals. But in addition to that, marketing should be able to build for long-term growth. And that’s done in a variety of ways. 

It could be through the following five actions:

  1. Building the brand: Your customers know and trust you, and recall your brand so well that they will continue buying even if you’ve dropped your paid promotion budget.
  2. Creating customer evangelist: It could be through UGC (User Generated Content) or finding and highlighting customers who are keen to share their positive experience with your brand.
  3. Going beyond numbers: Your marketing teams should have at least a few goals that are not number-based. Instead, make sure they’re building the fuel for the future.
  4. Always be experimenting: If you aren’t constantly running experiments on your homepage all the time, you’re wasting the traffic. Your marketing teams need the experiments and their learnings to keep improving their strategy. 
  5. Studying all kinds of results: Some of your experiments won’t have great results, but you can learn from them all the same. Learn even from the traffic that doesn’t convert.

The definitive solution: Building your marketing team

It is evident that what worked for some other company won’t work for yours. That’s because all organizations are different. So one thing to do is to build a framework that will work for you.

More importantly, build the right team and you can prevent or overcome all sorts of marketing challenges. So how do you build a marketing team?

The conventional approach - the T-shaped person

Traditionally, people would suggest you hire a T-shaped person.

A T-shaped person is someone who is great in one area and has general knowledge across all the rest of the areas. Startups often do this - they get someone that’s really deep in one area, but doesn’t have much breadth. 

A better approach - hire the π-shaped person 

Times are changing, and you want your hiring strategy to change accordingly. 

A π shaped person is someone who is an expert in one area, and pretty competent in another area. And he has a good general knowledge across all the rest of the areas. Think of a product marketer who also can write well. Basically, you should be looking for a person with skill overlaps.

What about hiring contractors and freelancers?

Sometimes it’s easier to hire for your own teams, and at other times it makes more sense to have a contractor or an agency.

But how do you make a choice between hiring a full-timer and hiring an agency?

Sure, you can outsource a number of people or agencies for lots of tasks. But even after you’ve signed up with the best agency, how do you make sure they deliver the right quality?

An important thing to remember is that contractors and freelancers, no matter how good, will only be as good as you can manage them and guide them. They aren’t going to be great if they’re not given guidance and context for the company. 

So this is the crux: Activities that require deep expertise are best left to contractors if you’re not going to need that on a regular basis. Contractors have been working on the same thing over and over again, for a long, long time. Also, for work that’s done in spikes, i.e. at irregular intervals should be outsourced.

And with the remote working model widely accepted, it’s easier for people to work from where they want. That brings in a lot of different kinds of people you probably wouldn’t have been able to hire earlier.

As for your own teams, be really clear on goals upfront. When you’re building a startup, you want people to know what they’re working toward. 

Psst... More of a listener than a reader? Listen to Emily and Ketan's conversation here.

Marketing
Virtual Events

4 marketing lessons from our chat with Dave Dabbah

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Here are 4 marketing lessons you'll love from our recent webinar with Dave Dabbah, CMO of Robocorp

If you’ve been following our webinars, you’ll know that we recently featured Dave Dabbah, CMO, Robocorp on a fireside chat about marketing, events and beyond. In case you missed it, you can always watch it on demand here or listen to this podcast that captures the essence of the conversation.

Tell you what, let us spoil you silly by telling you the best parts of our conversation with Dave Dabbah in this blog. It can’t get easier, can it?

Here are four lessons you can take away from our webinar with Dave Dabbah:

Let your passion and curiosity fuel you

Follow your passion

According to Dave, it's important for marketers to let curiosity and passion drive their work. He gives his own experience as a kid to illustrate this point.

“Back in the day, my friends would get copies of Sports Illustrated while I was getting copies of Ad Age and Media Week as a child. It was fascinating, you know, cuz like you'd be reading about products and then, two months later you'd actually see the television spot, you’d feel like you had some, some inside sort of knowledge about what was happening with brand development even at a young age.”

Don’t be afraid to explore different avenues

Explore and experiment

Dave also highlights the usefulness of having worked in different roles before taking up a marketing role, highlighting how knowledge and experience in other functions can add a lot of value to storytelling.

“Having had a bit of a sales background and a business development background, sort of coming into the Silicon Valley, I felt like that really benefited me, um, a lot. And, and one of the things I tell young marketers today who are just graduating from college, is this; don't be afraid to go into sales, for, for a couple years, you know, experience what the sales people are experiencing. And that will make you a, a far better, especially B2B marketer.”

Don’t go for a one-size-fits-all approach

One size doesn't fit all!

Some of you may already know this, but what Dave says about distinguishing the marketing needs of a big corporation from a B2B startup is worth reading multiple times.

“B2B marketing is significantly harder than marketing a consumer brand. Those are, you know, sort of two different things, entirely. A lot of what we've seen with some of the really successful big brands in the Silicon Valley and the enterprise software space over the years is [that] they end up using a lot of consumer marketing tactics to put their brands into the marketplace. 

And, that's great, when you are, you know, IBM and you have, a hundred million, television budget for a 12 month period, but when you are a startup in the B2B space, how do you really get your brand message out in an effective way? I think, you know, over, over the years, that's something I've gotten, you know, pretty good at, um, trying to figure out.”

Repurposing content is the way forward

Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose!

As he talks about getting back to doing events, Dave makes a great case for repurposing content as a long-term marketing strategy.

“When we got back to events during the pandemic, we were not just spending money on the event, you know, before the event or during the event, but also actually getting content out of the event that could be repurposed and reused, down the road.”

Want more of these marketing gems? Go watch the webinar on-demand now. 

Virtual Events
Marketing

Here's how virtual events can help with brand marketing

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Virtual events offer marketers unlimited opportunities to create touchpoints between your brand and attendees. All it requires is for marketers to be inventive and creative in the way they use virtual event platforms to boost brand reach, recognition, and reputation.


There is no disputing that the pivot to digital and virtual, so tenuous over the last year, is now firmly here to stay. And in this new normal, marketers are increasingly appreciating the value that virtual mediums, such as virtual events, offer today. 

Virtual events are an effective way to reach new prospects, engage (and re-engage) existing ones, increase conversions, and track results. They're also easier to organize, are less expensive, and are more accessible to attendees than traditional in-person events. All this means that virtual events are also the perfect vehicle for brand marketing.

How so? Read on to learn how you can effectively leverage virtual events to effectively market your brand.

A quick recap - what is brand marketing?

Brand marketing is the process of promoting your products or services in a way that draws attention to your overall brand. Its purpose is to connect your identity, beliefs, and personality to your target audience through successful targeted brand communication.

It’s more than just slapping your logo and company name on as many surfaces as possible and hoping for sales. It entails representing your company's identity from who you are, what you do, the level of quality you offer, and your reputation.

So why are virtual events are brand marketing’s new BFF?

While the advantages of virtual events are fairly obvious, the ways in which marketers can creatively use events for brand marketing are less. So here's how you can drive better awareness and impact via virtual event branding

1. Express your brand identity throughout the event

Virtual events give you unlimited opportunities for creating touchpoints between attendees and your brand.In other words, you can use every event asset, from your event landing page to your stage backdrop to bring customers and prospects closer to your brand.

Take, for instance, event branding. To get customers and prospects to feel excited about your brand, a generic image with your logo slapped on it just won’t do. Instead, markers can use branding creatively, such as through a visually spectacular welcome video, to reflect a distinctive look and feel, that attendees instantly recognize and remember afterward. Here's an example of a great welcome video by Razorpay for their FTX 2020 event, hosted on Zuddl.


2. Relationship marketing via a micro-virtual events strategy

Micro virtual events are a series of smaller virtual events that eventually feed into a larger marquee event. These events give marketers an opportunity to nurture brand intimacy ie kindle a personal relationship between them and the brand.

For instance, you can give attendees the opportunity to participate in activities like a Digital Round Table or a Panel Discussion at a virtual event. Rather than talking about yourself throughout your event, you can give your attendees opportunities to express themselves and ask questions.

3. Boost brand loyalty by leveraging the advantages of a virtual event platform

According to a recent study by Invesp about returning customers – those loyal to your brand- are 50% likelier to try more of your products and spend, on average, 31% more than newly acquired clients; yes, brand loyalty is essential.

You can increase brand loyalty at your event in a variety of ways, thanks to how you utilize the features and tools of your virtual event platform. For instance, why not invite your customers to be speakers at your event? Not only does this show existing customers that you value them, but it’s also a great way to show other attendees who are potential customers why they should try your products or services.

Another way to build brand loyalty is by setting up networking sessions for attendees at your virtual events. Enabling current customers to talk to prospective ones is an indirect but positive way to drive brand awareness. Furthermore, it’s a simple way to add value to your customers’ lives. Helping them match with professionals who can add value to their businesses will earn you a lot of goodwill.

Finally, you can also drive loyalty by rewarding loyal customers with exclusive in-event experiences. This could be anything from arranging 1:1 virtual meet-and-greets with your brand’s ambassadors or enabling exclusive access to specific Stages at your event. 

4. Use giveaways to promote brand recall

Everyone loves free goodies - but it’s good for business as well. Just look at these figures in a report by The ODM Group

  • 85% of clients enjoy receiving marketing products
  • 58% retain these products for up to four years
  • Eight out of 10 attendees remember the promoted brand
  • Approximately 21% of the attendees buy products after receiving promotional items

You can send giveaways - both physical or virtual - to your attendees immediately after the event is over. This can be made easier by using virtual event platforms like Zuddl that have integrated ticketing, so that you have a complete list of attendee details such as email or office addresses to which you can send the mementos. 

5. Extended brand coverage through social media and other channels

It’s a no-brainer that social media can drive more business for your brand, which is why marketers put in time and effort in planning campaigns, reposting testimonials, and curating good-looking Instagram pages. 

Virtual events can contribute to amplifying your brand on social media, through the use of in-platform tools like an integrated Social Wall . This would be a simple, fun way to encourage attendees to share posts about the event (without requiring them to download and install anything) that will appear on-screen within seconds.

For example, using hashtags can help you gain reach, putting your brand awareness virtual event in front of people who might not have heard of it before. Or you can also get your attendees to share photos and videos of the event using the same hashtags so that you can reshare user-generated content. This will help bring your brand to life.

Continue sharing memorable moments from the event and ask attendees to share their favorite discussions and experience. This will keep them excited about attending your events, and keep your brand in the spotlight.

The social wall will also let you drive more visibility and awareness long after the event is over. 

6. Leverage event analytics to drive better value for customers

One of the best things about virtual event platforms is that they are a data gold mine. At in-person events, it can be extremely difficult to source feedback and opinions from your attendees. Virtual event platforms make this a breeze.

Marketers can use Polls, for instance, to gain insight into the needs and wants of your attendees about a variety of things - preferences and complaints about products and services in your industry or topics that attendees want to know more about. This information can then be used to tailor your brand’s offerings down the line. And needless to say, asking your customers and attendees their opinion is a simple but significant way to tell them that their voices and opinions are important thereby fuelling brand loyalty.

In conclusion…

It’s clear that there is plenty of opportunity in using virtual events to market your brand - they offer unlimited opportunities to create touchpoints between your brand and attendees. All it requires is for marketers to be inventive and creative in the way they use virtual event platforms to meet their goals. 

Need any advice? Our team is full of ideas. Just connect with us for a quick conversation on how to deliver better brand marketing at virtual events - we’re happy to chat! Let’s talk.

Virtual Events
Marketing

8 Ways to Get More Attendees and Boost Virtual Event Engagement

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

With the presence of a million distractions in the online world, the first challenge when it comes to hosting a successful virtual event, is convincing your target audience to sign up for and show up to your event. If this is a challenge you’re facing, here are 8 steps that help you, your business, agency, or association boost virtual event engagement.

With the obvious advantages virtual events provide - from allowing for a much larger and more global audience to better opportunities for attendees engagement and lead generation - it’s now almost impossible for businesses to not incorporate them into marketing strategies. The presence of a million distractions in the online world leads to a dearth of virtual event ideas that can efficaciously convince your target audience to sign up for and show up to your event.

If this is a challenge you’re facing, here are 8 steps that help you, your business, agency, or association boost virtual event engagement.

Step 1: Offer early-bird registration

If your event is going to be a paid one, it’s wise to run early bird ticket sales. This is a reliable virtual event idea to boost interest and hype in your event.

Once you set the full price for your virtual event, you can calculate a discount that can be applied as an early bird offer. Release the full price and the early bird offer at the same time, setting a limit on the date until when the discount is valid. This will build a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

This should help you obtain better results in terms of ticket sales. Furthermore, attendees who opt for the offer are also likely to tell their friends or colleagues about it, creating a snowball effect.

Step 2: Showcase your event speakers to build hype

Another age-old virtual event idea to boost those registration numbers is to invite celebrities, industry thought leaders, or experts to speak at your virtual event.

One of the best examples that demonstrates the benefits of leveraging celebrity power for virtual events can be seen in Vanity Fair’s Live Cocktail Hour that took place in April 2021. The event was carried out as a charity fundraiser, with donations going to Covid-19 relief efforts.

The event featured a huge roster of celebrities. The list included names like Serena Williams, Gal Gadot, Michael B. Jordan, Julianne Moore, Laura Dern, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Paris Hilton, Jessica Alba and many others. The event schedule featured discussions and conversations on a variety of topics relating to the entertainment industry. There were also live performances, games and trivia challenges. With that line-up, who wouldn't want to attend this event?

Step 3: Leverage promos to kick curiosity and excitement up a notch

The lead-up to your virtual event is as important as the event itself, so marketing it in the right way can lead to a rapid increase in the number of people who want to attend it. 

What this means is that your promotional content, in the form of videos and graphics, needs to really showcase the USPs of your virtual event as opposed to a physical one. For instance, you could have video sneak peeks of your virtual venue completely covered with company branding.

Get creative with tools on social media! You could use Instagram stories’ for attendee engagement or Facebook Polls to amp up curiosity and enthusiasm. Twitter Spaces is a great way to have a small interactive session before the actual event takes place.

Promotional Content with Zuddl

The power of digital marketing is limitless, and you should harness different platforms in the right way to make sure your target audience is interested in attending your event.

Step 4: Keep attendees invested pre-event

Once the number of registrations start to swell, the next challenge is to keep your attendees interested and engaged. Here are two ways to do this:

Send an in-depth pre-event attendee guide

A pre-event guide gives your potential attendees an exact idea of what they can expect from the event not only in terms of the agenda but also in terms of the timeframe. Additionally, a pre-event attendee guide serves as a reminder of the valuable learnings that attendees can expect to take away from your virtual event. In that sense, it works to further the excitement that surrounds your virtual event.

Create a resources hub for attendees

As the title suggests, a resource center is a directory of the tools and information that your attendees might need to access before, during, and after the event.

Depending on the scale of your virtual event, you could create a dedicated website for your resources, or it could be something as simple as a Google Drive folder. The main aim is to ensure that it has any tools or information that your attendees may need - for instance, a Frequently Asked Questions in your resource center would be very useful.‍

Step 5: Give your attendees reminders through multiple channels

The internet is full of distractions, and it can be hard for attendees to keep track of your virtual event. 

Usually, the virtual event platform you use to host should have automated reminders that are sent to attendees weeks before the event - or whenever you schedule them. It’s also good practice to send reminders across multiple channels, just in case some attendees lack access to a specific platform.

Be careful not to spam your attendees, however, as this can be a huge source of annoyance.

We hear you, Kim.

Step 6: Keep your attendees engaged through creative activities

Scheduling small activities before the event helps to generate a buzz, as well as keep it top of mind for attendees - and the more creative, the better. 

With many platforms nowadays allowing you to customize your virtual event, it’s a smart move to use it for your pre-event activities. For instance, within your platform you could create different rooms for attendees to wait in and socialize before the main event starts, or you could host a small ice-breaking introductory activity to help attendees learn more about each other.

Step 7: Share resources post-event

After your virtual event, you should send out tools, brochures, or resources that may help your attendees. This is also extremely useful if you are going to have another similar event in the future, as it makes your audience feel valued, and shows them that you are trying to drive value for them.

It’s also a good practice to reach out to those who registered for your event but didn’t show up. This not only shows them what they missed out on, but it can also help you find out why they could not attend your event, which can assist you in improving your next virtual event registration strategy.

Step 8: Ask your attendees for feedback

Collecting post-event feedback is a significant part of the process. Through this, you can find out what went right and what went wrong with your event, from the perspective of your attendees — offering you insights into improving the next one that you might be planning. Additionally, feedback also shows your attendees that you care about their experience at your event. Click here to read which important questions you should ask on your post-event survey.

Conclusion 

Hosting virtual events can involve a lot of organizing and management. Use this detailed list of steps to drive registrations and pull in attendees, and watch it grow into an exciting and enriching event.

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