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8 Ways to Create Engaging Live, Virtual and Hybrid Events

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  • 1. 8 Ways to CreateEngaging Live,Virtual and When it comes to your next live, virtual or hybrid event, here areHybrid Events 8 ways to make your program more engaging.
  • 2. 1. Set your Objectives Go into your event planning process knowing what you want to accomplish and how you will measure its success. Make sure your objectives are SMART… S SPECIFIC M MEASURABLE A ACTIONABLE R REALISTIC T TIME-BASED“With our 10x10 exhibit space, we needed a way to stand out from the crowd. Live Marketing developed several innovative strategies that helped us create brand 2. Get Consensus from the Decision-Makers impressions, deliver Involving all decision-makers—including executive/senior management, sales, marketing, in-depth messaging, product development and more—is crucial. Get their input and consensus early on in the engage and qualify decision-making process, but make it easy and fast for them. prospects, and gain the attention of Here are 7 questions to ask: press/analysts. We • What are you trying to get out of this event? What would success look like to you? exceeded our • Who are you targeting based on these objectives? expectations in every area!” • What do you think our target audience is currently looking for? What are their top-of-mind concerns?—LANDesk Software • How does our product or service fulfill their needs/solve their problems? • What is the personality of our brand/our brand promise? • What is our competition doing and saying? • What will help you determine if this event program is a success? © Live Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. 2
  • 3. 3. Know & Respect Your Target AudienceNow that you know what you want to get out of the event, it’s time to focus on your targetaudience. Ask questions like: • What are their titles? Are they decision-makers? Influencers? • What are their care-abouts? Different industries have different care-abouts. Economic conditions and culture also shape/define care-abouts. • What are their pain points? • What does our target audience need to get out of the event? • What do we have to offer that will solve their problems, meet their needs, or get them excited about working with us?4. Plan Your ExperienceToday’s event attendees are sophisticated—they want to know: what’s in it for them? Thebest way to demonstrate that is to create an experience: get attendees involved physically,intellectually and emotionally with your brand and solutions. But create an experience appro-priate for your company, brand and message. It may be tempting to use a gimmick to gener-ate large numbers, but does that kind experience drive your objectives and results?Creating an experience serves dual-purposes. First, an experience can be used to generatetraffic, because you can’t have impactful engagements without audiences. Second, an experi-ence, especially one designed as a one-to-many or one-to-few activity, allows you to effec-tively communicate your message to as many people as possible.© Live Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. 3
  • 4. For live events, consider a vehicle like a business theater, booth activity, experiential demonstration, briefing zone or booth tour. They provide a structured way for attendees to receive consistent, high-level messaging and introduce them to all you have to offer. These one-to-many strategies can be used in any size exhibit and within any budget range, and they provide measurable results. They also serve as a magnet to attract and focus large audiences—providing opportunities to retain key customers, reinforce your company’s branding and positioning, introduce new products and services, and generate qualified sales leads. Don’t forget: the overall creative tone, style and content of the experience should be right for the industry and your target audience, but it shouldn’t overshadow your message. Here are a few considerations when creating an experience: • What kind of experience will resonate with our audience? • What do guests need to think, feel and do to understand the value of our brand or solution? • What actions should visitors take to move them further through the“Live Marketing sales funnel? had a tremendous impact on our attendance. We received a 66% increase in booth scans! It was absolutely amazing to us and all thanks to you.”—AiPhone 5. Be Engaging Now that you have attendees’ attention, don’t let it go to waste. Create long-lasting impres- sions by integrating a powerful story about your brand and solutions into the experience. The best experiences ensure guests consistently hear your solutions and messaging story (whether high-level or detailed) instead of just walking away after participating in something cool or fun. For example, provide a structured and cohesive way to tell your compelling story at live events by using a highly-trained communicator or professional engager. These outgoing, en- ergetic communicators serve as the first touchpoint your audience has with your brand. They also deliver high-level messaging to educate and engage large audiences, taking the burden off your staff and allowing them to focus on what they do best—communicating with qualified prospects. © Live Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. 4
  • 5. 6. Amplify the Engagement Whether live or virtual, think beyond the space and time of your event—consider pre- and post-event. And how can you stretch the event experience to those not in attendance? Can online components and/or social media be used to amplify your experience and engagement strategy? Consider a variety of touchpoints and marketing channels—before, during and after—to en- gage audiences and contribute to a strong return on investment. Make sure the story being told is consistent throughout these integrated touchpoints too. Here is just a sampling of touchpoints to consider integrating to amplify the engagement: Pre-Event At-Event Post-Event Social media Sponsorships Event-specific microsite Advertising Exhibit Social media Event-specific microsite Booth activities Targeted direct mails and Web site banners Business theater emails Direct mail Social media Follow up sales calls to A/B leads Email campaigns Participation/signage in partner exhibits Post-event surveys New product announce- ments Speaking opportunities White papers White papers Lead capture Promotional incentives“BMA members Promotional incentives Giveaways / incentives are knowledgeable Offer to meet a rep on-site Product launch Pre-event survey Webcast from the booth about social media, (ask what they want to Customer meetings/ so we have to take see on-site) hospitality things beyond the customary and deliver new ideas and applications they haven’t seen yet. The program Live Marketing developed allowed the content and education from our event to live on and be shared with the rest of the marketing com- munity that wasn’t able to attend.” —Business Marketing Association © Live Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. 5
  • 6. 7. Train Your Staff The results of thousands of studies on exhibit effectiveness show the performance of the booth staff affects booth efficiency more than any other single factor. Even if you’re host- ing a virtual event, ensure your team is on board with the mission, objectives, and the program’s strategies and tactics through a pre-event meeting/strategic briefing. Your staff are great at meeting one-on-one with prospects. But they aren’t used to the unique demands of events. From only having a few seconds to en- gage and qualify prospects, to the potential to interact with more guests in a few days than a year of sales calls, a pre-event meeting and strategic briefing is the perfect time to polish“We have your booth staffers’ skills. Whether they’re event newbies or seasoned veterans, it’s worth historically reviewing do’s and don’ts with a training program too. struggled with booth staff enthusiasm and effectiveness, and 8. Measurement the training Live To clearly demonstrate the event’s success, measurement is critical. Before the event, make Marketing provided plans to document—in a tangible way—the value of your program. Don’t get so carried away increased our lead with creating an exciting or emotional experience that you lose sight of your end result and capture by more your overall objectives. than 300% from the During the event, if you’ve delivered on the above, you’ll have prospects interested in your previous show.” offerings. To ultimately make sales, capture attendees’ qualifying information in a way that —Tomax Corporation allows sales to follow up appropriately. Gather the right details (like specific areas of interest, timeframe for purchase, and budget considerations) to make leads meaningful for sales. And post-event, demonstrate a strong return on investment to key stakeholders by communicating specific results achieved compared to your “SMART” objectives. “Live Marketing helped to establish measures that are meaningful; especially to senior management, to justify our Return on Investment and drive business equity for all of our brands.” —Nestlé Purina © Live Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. 6
  • 7. If your events aren’t generating enough leads andsales; if your event programs aren’t delivering theresults you’re looking for; if you’re looking toincrease your business by making your eventsmore engaging…then contact Live Marketing formore information.Our blog: www.livemarketing.com/blogTwitter: www.twitter.com/livemarketingFacebook: www.facebook.com/livemarketing Live Marketing 351 West Hubbard, Suite 805, Chicago, IL 60654 www.livemarketing.com | 312.787.4800