The demand for virtual events is rising as a result of the current global situation. Even through the computer screen, you can reap the same benefits of physical events, from sales, to lead acquisition, to brand awareness, to high ROI and increased brand authority. This has made switching to online or virtual events a great alternative to postponing or canceling events.
While onsite events have the unique advantage of face to face interactions, virtual events are proving to be useful in their own ways:
1. Valuable and measurable results
Data is very crucial when making future marketing decisions. Gathering data during and after
in-person events can prove to be a hassle since you can’t exactly track every interaction. It would take much more time and effort to collect valuable information and statistics when hosting a physical event over a virtual one.
Since virtual meet-ups happen online, you’ll be able to easily track data such as which channels led your attendees to your event, the most engaged attendees, their levels of engagement, which content resonated the most with the audience and much more. These levels of data give invaluable insights on who your audience is, what their needs and attitudes are, and guide you on where your focus should be. In addition, the data collected in a virtual event is much more accurate and reliable.
With all this readily available information, you can easily understand what worked and what didn’t in your event helping you organise even better future experiences for your audience.
2. Instantaneous feedback
Unlike in-person events, your audience is constantly online in virtual events meaning they can easily ask questions, answer polls and surveys, chat with one another, all in real-time. This instant feedback can help you gauge how the event is going, which can be extremely useful since you sometimes can’t see your attendees’ faces during virtual events.
With interactive features in your virtual event, your audience’s experience doesn’t have to be passive. Naturally, the feedback given in session can also be used when measuring the success of your event.
When running physical events, you have to carefully consider the time, date, venue and location. The convenience and accessibility of the location are also important especially if you have attendees with special needs. All these concerns are reduced when you switch to virtual events. The only requirements your audience have to meet are having a smart device and internet connection. Since access to a virtual event is relatively easy, achieving high attendance rates comes naturally as compared to a physical event.
Virtual events are also suitable for when you want to reach a global audience or participants that are generally widely dispersed. The number of attendees in a physical event is often restricted by the venue. But with a virtual event, you can reach a wider audience on a single platform.
Virtual events have evolved from being just live webinars. With a number of sophisticated software, you can just about shift any physical event to a virtual one. Small meet-ups, conferences, workshops, trade expos and many more marketing events can be made into virtual experiences.
Moreover, there are options on how to conduct your virtual event. For example, simulive (simulated+live) events essentially allow you to present a pre-recorded presentation to a live audience who can interact with the speakers and content. This option helps presenters who may be nervous public speakers and eliminates the risks that may be encountered when presenting live such as audio delay, difficulty sharing screen or an unstable internet connection.
The level of interactivity in virtual events is also diversified with fun and effective features that keep the audience continually engaged. Gamification techniques (depending on the software used) can be employed to have your attendees collectively participate together despite being physically apart.
5. Reduced marketing and operating expenses
Virtual events have lower marketing budgets since most of your efforts are focused on online promotion. Printed marketing materials such as banners, posters, booklets aren’t a necessity to your virtual event. Instead you can invest in email marketing, social media marketing, and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which will help you achieve a high ROI.
Operating costs are also minimal since you don’t have to rent a venue, supply any food or beverages, pay for the sound setup or any other logistical fees. You can have a large audience at a lower cost as compared to a physical event where an increased number of people can significantly affect your budget.
In-person contact at physical events might be irreplaceable, but the success of your event isn’t dependent on physical interactions, but on those that are relevant and valuable in achieving the objectives you set.
Virtual events aren’t just a temporary solution to the current circumstances we are in, they are also a vital future of experiential marketing. Therefore, don’t hesitate to incorporate them in your marketing strategies.
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