Mykyta Fastovets, CTO at Expoplatform, discusses post event follow-up activities to engage virtual attendees.
With the jury still out on hosting physical meetups, most event professionals are organising their yearly event offering by including more virtual elements to it. But, even as these types of events and conferences gain greater traction in 2021, questions persist around the value they offer for networking, leads and revenue.
Virtual conferences are a potent means of driving higher ROI, given a wider audience reach and cost-effectiveness. However, their success depends on engagement with remote attendees, especially when the event comes to its conclusion.
Once the log-out button is clicked, the virtual audience will be subject to a world of distractions, their interest in the sessions they just sat through fading. It becomes imperative for the organisers to have a solid post-event plan that keeps the connection going and creates a steady stream of potential leads.
Here are some recommended post-event engagement activities:
1. Send follow-up emails
Emails are the oldest – and one of the most effective – tricks in the marketing playbook for post-event engagement with the event audience. By creating a well-crafted email to summarise talking points and takeaways of different sessions and panels, conference organisers can reshare tangible information with the attendees.
They can encourage their mailing list to re-engage by:
• Offering a downloadable eBook or on-demand webinar;
• Directing them to a content hub, where they can find related videos, presentation decks and other materials;
• Offering incentives for next year’s invite.
It’s also important to send emails to attendees who were not able to attend. They can be informed about the dates of the upcoming conferences and provided with interesting content from previous events for further interactions.
2. Use engagement scores to qualify and nurture leads
Attendees can be assigned an ‘engagement score’ based on their interactions during and around the event – from registration to post-event survey. Some of these engagement metrics can be based around the number of sessions attended, meeting requests sent and time spent at different virtual booths.
The higher the engagement score for an attendee, the greater the chance to convert them into a lead. Based on this score, the organiser can:
• Pitch them a live demo and offer an extended free trial of the product or services;
• Schedule a consultation call to assess their needs in detail;
• Share relevant, helpful content to support their needs.
3. Increase online engagement with the community
When organisers build an online community around their conferences and keep it engaged, they get a ready-made group of potential attendees once the time comes to start selling tickets. And they may even be able to recruit loyal brand advocates to help extend the reach of their virtual conference.
Here are some tips to build an engaged community and increase post-event conversations:
• Get industry leaders to participate regularly and hold focused discussions before, during and after the event;
• Share content that interests and engages the event audience;
• Build a content hub with eBooks, White Papers, How-to guides, product videos and blogposts, and encourage participants to leave their feedback and share it in their network;
• Organise contests and giveaways to keep interest levels and enthusiasm high.
The organisers should focus on creating a rich, enhanced experience for attendees by adding more bells and whistles to their virtual conference. However, they also need to stay in sight of their goals and convert these attendees into potential leads – a task easily achievable in the form of a small nudge through these post-engagement activities.