Virtual Events: Four New Best Practices

Over the past three months, organizations across every vertical have scrambled to establish a successful virtual presence.  The learning curve for this “new normal” has been fast and steep.  Nonetheless, several new virtual event best practices have emerged. 

Here are four that have risen to the top:

The New Perception: Right after the shut-down, many companies tried to take their existing in-person engagement and education programs and simply push them out online.  This was understandable … but it was also a miscalculation. Experience has now proven that engagement programs designed for live events do not work for virtual ones; online engagement requires specialized strategies, specialized technology, and specialized content.

The New Expectations: Professionals are currently bombarded with virtual event invitations–often at no cost.  This has made managing participant expectations more important than ever. But even when a virtual event cuts through the clutter and a participant signs in, a world of distractions are merely a click away. Therefore, it’s essential that every moment of a virtual event is well-defined and well-planned, more so than any live event.  Participants must continually understand the value they’re receiving during a virtual event to keep them from clicking away. 

The New Promotion: Face-to-face events have travelled a well-worn pre- and post-event promotional path for decades.  But what worked before simply doesn’t work anymore. Audience-building requires new, more robust, pre- and post-event promotional tools.  Things like web-scrubbing intelligence technologies are no longer exotic; they’re becoming standard tools in the marketer’s toolbox. 

The New Measurement: Virtual events have made gathering data easier than ever. But while gathering data is one thing; knowing what to measure, how to measure it, and how to transform that data into actionable intelligence, is quite another. This is where the help of outside measurement specialists has become another new best practice. 

In terms of marketing trends, the “new normal” is still in its infancy, and many companies are still working from their back foot. But as best practices continue to emerge, it’s important that companies not only adopt them in the short term, but use them to reexamine their long-term marketing plans as well … especially in a post-COVID-19 world.