How Virtual Events Are Critical to Customer Engagement in These Changed Times

Written and submitted by Allie Cooper, with edits from IDC Asia/Pacific

With most physical conferences and mass gatherings on standby, organizations are leveraging technology to stage events in order to maintain customer interactions amid the pandemic. Months since physical B2B events were put at a standstill, businesses are still learning what makes or breaks a virtual event.

 

Organizing virtual events is a unique feat in itself. Our study underscores that events should prioritize customer engagement and experience. After all, conferences are not simply about broadcasting information and re-staging what normally would have been a physical event digitally. There are conversations among participants. Between a brand and its event participants, helping build trust and loyalty that ultimately leads to conversion.

 

Read on to learn how virtual events are critical to customer engagement. This article outlines what you can do to make yours a success.

Use customer data from past virtual events

Taking the cue from our study, looking into what works and what does not is the key to customizing your event to a specific demographic. You need to assess the expectations of both attendees and organizers in past virtual events. Furthermore, you have to see if these have translated into marked differences in the virtual event experience. Studying past event experiences, particularly what delegates have found enjoyable, and learning from these can give you valuable insights on how to execute your own event. You will see that this will usher in a more inclusive atmosphere that will engage attendees. You should not fall into the trap of making your event a one-sided download of information.

Explore new forms of virtual engagement

Planning a virtual event is not an isolated occurrence but should already be integrated into your digital channels. Before the event, you need to put your company out there by establishing your digital presence. This will give your event a better recall. Then, you can then ramp up interest for your event through selected channels for better engagement. Effective digital marketing for your company and eventually, your event, should be well-balanced mix. It must be composed of creating optimized content, ironing out SEO, and strategic link building. During the event itself, the lack of physical networking can be filled in with live chats. These can be in place to encourage real-time conversations among you and the attendees.

An extra step in virtual engagement is to leverage tools that can give your audiences a more personalized experience. Assessment tools, for example, can highlight pain points and priorities among your customers. You can use these insights to tailor-fit interactions in your virtual event. If done pre-event, an assessment tool can help underscore the value proposition of attending your virtual event – the assessment makes a clear case of what’s in it for the audience to join. An assessment conducted post-event meanwhile, will give you better intel on how effective your event was in getting your message across, and as a tool to follow-up on any post-event opportunities.

IDC has specific assessment tools for IT executives handling IT security, decision-makers embarking on digital transformation, and enterprise leaders assessing their organizations’ digital maturity. For more information on how to utilize these assessment tools for better virtual engagement in your events, reach out to Brian Kornegay.

Nurture the online community in your virtual events

The goal of the event is to create a sense of community. Facilitate better engagement among participants by making it easier for them to converse with other people. Events using moderated branded communities are seeing a 13% improvement in session attendance and greater social media hashtag usage. Moreover, attendees in well-staffed online communities foster long-term relationships with the brand.

Striving to better understand your audience creates a two-way dialogue and a strong value exchange. You get to gather customer intelligence for targeted follow-ups (like upsell and cross-sell) while encouraging customers’ active engagement with results that they care about.

You can also strike a chord with your attendees by rethinking event giveaways. With the massive shift to remote working, “virtual swag bags” are on the rise. As a matter of fact, 22% of event organizers in our study are using them. Instead of a meal, you can send your participants a voucher for a food delivery service. Alternatively, any other gift card offering value to people can work too.

Select a game-changing content platform – and know how to maximize it

One of the most important considerations for hosting your virtual event is choosing the platform. Organizing a virtual event does not mean simply placing your content online. It requires a re-imagining of customer engagement in a drastically different platform. With the plethora of options in the digital space, you need to select a cutting-edge platform that will help you connect with your audience.

 

This is where IDC’s very own technology content hub comes in: the IDC Arena. Intuitive, data-driven, and built for maximum engagement, IDC Arena takes digital transformation to a whole new level for holding events in the ICT industry.

 

To showcase the platform’s capabilities, we are hosting our flagship annual events – the IDC Digital Transformation Awards 2020 and IDC Asia/Pacific FutureScape 2021 – on IDC Arena. Sign up for the platform and secure your seats to these two events!

 

Learn how #IDCArena can help #technology brands maximize online engagement with customers. For early inquiries on how to deliver your content and generate impactful customer engagement on IDC Arena, contact your IDC account manager or email [email protected] and [email protected].