Is your virtual event in tune with your attendees?

October, 2020

Virtual Events

There’s nothing quite as powerful as learning from past experience.

This is where Tune fits into the MOVE methodology - It’s how you fine tune your event over time. It’s the last of the 4 quads because it ties everything together.

The first 3 quads of MOVE apply to an upcoming event to make it as successful as it can be. TUNE, on the other hand, reflects on a past event:

  • Was it successful?
  • What went right?
  • What went wrong?
  • What can you do to make your next event better?

That last question is particularly important, and it’s not just about how you marketed your event. It’s also about the success of the event itself. Ultimately, if your event didn’t live up to the hype then no one will remember your marketing.

Review your virtual event from start to finish

Tune is about more than reports. It’s about getting a 360-degree view of your event - from start to finish.

Not only do you need to review whether your positioning did, in fact, resonate with your audience, but also whether your event delivered the experience your attendees were expecting.

If this is your first event, make sure that the relevant tracking is in place so that you can access it for analysis after the dust of your virtual event has settled.

Ask yourself the right questions

After a virtual event, particularly a virtual trade show or conference, there is a lot of data to sift through. It’s easy to get bogged down in the nitty gritty details so before you start mapping out the questions that you want to answer by the time you’ve finished this exercise.

Below I’ve outlined some of the questions that we ask (and answer) when analysing the success of a virtual event.

Did the benefits communicated through your campaign follow through at the event?

When coming up with your ads, you would have carefully chosen which aspects of your event you’ll use to attract attendees. Now it’s time to see if you were able to follow through on your promises.

  • Did all the speakers you promoted attend?
  • Was the functionality you promised, live?
  • Did all of the networking opportunities actually happen?

Let’s take this a step further - if the benefits were all available, how easy was it for your attendees to access them?

  • Were they easy to find?
  • Were they user friendly or did your attendees struggle with them?

This is especially important with virtual events being relatively new. Platforms are rolling out new functionality every day, so keep your eyes open for a tool that can deliver on your promises, or work with your provider to fine tune the platform you’re already using.

There are a few ways you can get hold of this information.

The two easiest ways are to check the platforms reporting and run a post event survey.

Most virtual event platforms include analytics that allow you to monitor the behaviour of your attendees as they participate in different sessions, log in and out, and use different functionality. This is a quick way of finding any clear gaps in your event.

Post event surveys can add deeper insight into how your attendees enjoyed your event and how easy they found it to access the benefits they were expecting.

Which personas registered but didn’t show up? What does this tell you about the true understandings of each persona?

Mapping out your personas at the beginning of your campaign would hopefully have guided your virtual event’s marketing efforts. Now, it’s time to take a look at how effective your persona messaging really was.

The key here is to identify how strongly your positioning and messaging resonated with each persona. Take this as an opportunity to get to know your persona better.

  • Did your messaging resonate with your personas?
  • Have your personas’ challenges and goals changed since your last event?
  • Were they attracted to the sessions you expected them to be attracted to or did their behaviour surprise you?

If this was your first virtual event or the first time you used personas in your marketing, you may discover that one of your personas actually isn’t right for your event. Or that a persona that you’d never considered showed interest, opening up a new audience to you.

The best way to segment your attendees into their persona groups, is through the demographic information you obtained during the registration process.

This will allow you to group your attendees and review their behaviour.

What could have been done differently to convince the no shows to show up?

If you had a campaign leading up to your event to encourage the people who registered to show up on the day, then it’s time to see whether your campaign was a success.

  • What was your attrition rate from registration to attendance?
  • How does it compare to your previous events?
  • Were there any messages that performed better than others?

The data you’ll need to answer this question can be found in the different advertising platforms you used. It may take a little digging to get a clear picture of what worked and what didn’t, but I guarantee that it’s well worth the effort.

Of course, if you have dedicated specialists running your campaigns, you can get them to put a report together and save yourself some time.

What are you doing to keep attendees engaged for future events?

As the saying goes, it costs 7 times as much to sell to a new customer as it does to sell to an existing one. The same goes for virtual event attendees.

With all of the effort that you’ve put into generating registrations for your event, it’s important to keep them engaged throughout the rest of the year so that they’re primed to register for your next event.

There are many ways to go about this, including an email newsletter and social media content.

An often overlooked strategy that can be quite fruitful is to create an online community based around a topic that is relevant to your audience.

Your community’s branding shouldn’t be focused on your event, but rather as a place for your attendees to go and engage with like-minded individuals. The trick is to use a community manager to stimulate conversation throughout the year and when the time is right, invite members to your next event.

What feedback did you attendees provide post event? How can you incorporate their feedback into future events?

Your event is about your attendees and their feedback should be taken seriously. After your event, ask them to share their honest thoughts about what they liked and what they didn’t. Is there anything they feel that your event was missing?

You may not always like what they have to say, but there’s more to learn from negative feedback than there is from positive feedback.

If you were optimising your marketing for conversion during your campaign, you’ll already have a good idea as to which of your channels and content worked best to deliver registrations because you’ll have been checking and improving them constantly.

Often, optimisation during the campaign focuses on micro conversions, so now it’s time to take a step back and review the results in terms of goal conversions.

Did the ads that increased registrations lead to actual attendance or were those registrations superficial with very few people showing up to your virtual event?

Optimising your micro conversions and reviewing your goal conversions are equally important, so don’t skip this step.

What next?

Now that you’ve assessed your virtual event from every possible angle, it’s time to decide what changes you need to make to your event. Go into this process with an open mind. Your event was great, but how can you make it better and attract more of the right people?

Also, remember that your personas, technology and the industry are constantly changing, so even if your event was fantastic, you may still find some ways to adapt it.

Even though your next event could be up to a year away, I highly recommend creating a baseline strategy while the event is fresh in your mind. Note down all of your learnings and ideas for improvements so that when you start planning your next event you have a head start on ideas.

If you need help tuning your virtual event, get in touch with us to speak to a strategist.

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Matthew Green
Matthew Green

Matthew Green

Head of Marketing

Matt's passion for people & data make him a savvy marketer. Never satisfied with opinion, he let's the data tell the real story behind our marketing.

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