Virtual & Hybrid Event Marketing Checklist: During & Post-Event Phases
If 2020 was the year that virtual events grew in prominence, 2021 is no doubt going to be the year that marketers take these digital experiences to the next level.
With virtual events now playing a more permanent role in our marketing strategies, success is going to be defined by who can captivate audiences and keep them coming back for more. That’s why it’s so crucial for marketers have a plan not only for how to deliver an engaging and relevant experience, but how to capture and navigate the valuable attendee data that those events provide.
The pre-event phase of planning your event marketing campaign is where you’ll define your event goals and objectives – laying the groundwork for delivering on overall business outcomes. But it’s during and after your event where the rubber really hits the road and transforms the planning into action.
Check out the second installment of our virtual event marketing checklist (with a few added tips for those of you who are considering a hybrid strategy) below, focusing in the during and post-event phases:
DURING – EXECUTION PHASE
✅ Protect and Inform your Team and Audiences. Oh, and have fun!
You’ve done the hard work of the pre/planning phase and now it’s time to execute.
- Basic but important: ensure that show runners and presenters show up / log on early to prep and test their AV equipment and connections.
- HYBRID: Provide messaging both online and on-site to all attendees regarding health and safety protocols. Do this well in advance so that your onsite guests know what to expect, and feel assured that you’ve taken all the necessary safety measures for the in-person experience.
- For online attendees, send the join links to them minutes before the event starts so they can easily find them at the top of their inbox.
- HYBRID: Make sure that all stakeholders know how and what to do with check-in, lead capture, and event engagement app data. Your event technology platform should segment and sync all data appropriately and send it where it needs to go.
- Hosts and moderators should provide audiences with an agenda rundown at the top of the program including when and how they’ll be able to interact with the speakers and other attendees.
- Use gamification in your engagement app to encourage attendees to interact with each other as well as your content.
- HYBRID: Hybrid formats open new possibilities up for matching live attendees with virtual attendees for event competitions, discussions and networking.
- For more complex events, consider repeating some of the live sessions at multiple times to accommodate virtual attendees tuning in from various time-zones.
- Have a social media manager in place to capture the event action and post it on platforms with an event specific hashtag that attendees can use when posting as well.
- Use your engagement app to gather survey feedback from all your attendees for post event evaluations and future programming. You might offer incentives for attendees that take time to give you this feedback.
- Swag and incentives are still effective at attracting your target audiences. Your on-site guests have shown their loyalty and interest in showing up, and as for your VIPs in the virtual audience, think about ways to include direct-mail gifts to them. Consider offering sponsors co-branding opportunities with your gifting strategies, which helps to offset this expense.
- During the event, have someone on your team checking in with your sponsors, partners and attendees to gauge their satisfaction and get feedback
- Remember to record everything. The recorded content can continue to be monetized and/or generate leads after the event is over.
POST EVENT PHASE – FOLLOW UP AND EVALUATION
✅ Send Follow-Up Communications, Review the Campaign with Stakeholders, and Calculate your ROI
- Follow-up with your attendees as quickly as possible, and with messaging that is relevant to their segmentation; whether they did or didn’t attend, whether they participated in an activity, and so on. With Certain, you can create as many segments as you want to personalize your communication, and any engagement data is captured and synced to your MA and CRM platforms.
- Expect to receive a lot of questions about the availability of recordings for on-demand viewing throughout the entire campaign, so have a delivery plan in place. In the promotion leading up to the event, you should have communicated with all attendees when, where and how they will receive the links to access the recorded content. Now is the time to deliver it!
- Many of your virtual attendees – some of them registering from far-off locations – will have registered with the intent of watching the content on-demand. On-demand viewing data is just as important to capture as the live attendee data so that you can see which target accounts are showing interest in your content.
- After the event, set a meeting with your sales team to review all target account attendee data and meeting notes. Determine the best next steps for communication. You should have a lead flow process in place and from this point forward, have more data to map where target attendees are in their buying journeys.
- Set a post-event meeting to debrief with your team about what worked and what didn’t with the event campaign, document what can be improved for the next event.
- Share all data promised to stakeholders. Did partners and sponsors come on board in exchange for attendee lists? Distribute the agreed upon lists to them asap post event.
- It’s always a good idea to send thank you notes to all speakers, sponsors, and anyone else who contributed to your event!
- HYBRID: If you haven’t already gotten survey feedback from your in-person attendees, make sure you do so now.
- Update stakeholders and attendees about when and where the next event will take place and move your segmented attendee list into their proper nurture tracks.
- Review your event goals and calculate your ROI. Were you able to achieve your goals? If not, document the reasons why. If you’re measuring sales opportunities influenced, check in later fiscal quarters to see how opportunities sourced from the campaign have progressed.
There you have it! A pre, during and post event checklist to help you strategize for your virtual (and hybrid) event campaigns. Oh, and one last thing: don’t forget to schedule in a little post-event R&R, you’ve earned it!
For more information on virtual engagement, and to find out how Certain can help you achieve your event goals, don’t hesitate to contact us here. In the meantime, we will update this list regularly and be back with more helpful content to help make your jobs easier. And be sure to join our growing list of members in our #EVENTS360 Event Marketing Group on LinkedIn for frequent event industry updates and conversations.
Kent W. Martin is a digital and event marketer by day, and an Italian lifestyle aficionado by night. He’s been running digital and field events at Certain since 2015 and currently heads up the #EVENTS360 Community.