Under: virtual events
In a post on Skift’s Event Manager Blog today, Julius Solaris writes that we need a better business model for virtual events. “[These events] need to help brands keep the conversation alive while bringing in revenue. We risk losing track of the endgame if we get sucked into the vortex of free events without a solid business proposition for what we are doing.”
He gives six suggestions:
1. Decide whether you are a conference or a tradeshow.
2. Use a subscription model for ticketed events.
3. Build a community.
4. Reward live attendance.
5. Offer better content on demand.
6. Offer one-to-one meetings and networking.
Number two intrigues me. “One of the best ideas for ticketed events that happen regularly is to bundle them and offer subscriptions," Solaris writes. "As Netflix does with shows, planners should deal with events. Bundling creates more value than selling tickets for individual events.”
This strat ...
I wrote last week that there can be a lot to like about virtual events—global reach, access to more speakers, expanded Q&As. But one virtual events problem that’s not discussed as much—as say, the networking issue—that we don’t have for in-person events is getting registrants to actually attend. I mean, who isn’t going to Florida or California or Vegas after signing up and booking flights?
Reach for tough-to-get speakers. “For event planners, booking speakers becomes more flexible as well,” writes David Meerman Scott, who once keynoted a SIPA Conference. “Speakers (like myself) find ourselves booked out for events all across the globe, making it hard to squeeze in last-minute requests or adjust our schedules. With virtual events, we can deliver our content from a home studio. While speakers need to tailor their keynotes to create a unique experience specifically for the online medium, the added time of travel does not need to be a part of pre-speech preparation anymore.”
With publishers and media organizations still wary of charging too much for their virtual events—and some like this week’s Atlantic Festival charging nothing at all—sponsorships become that much more important to financial success. But should we be approaching sponsorships in the same way that we have for in-person events?
Two groups, Ricochet Advice and Bruce Rosenthal Associates, have partnered on a white paper to say no. Titled The New Sponsorship Model for Virtual Events, the report offers a new blueprint for recruiting your virtual event sponsors.
“During the pandemic, the traditional benefits offerings repurposed for virtual events are not likely to be of interest. The old way of courting sponsors has likely come to an end for most events and [organizations],” states the report. “An enhanced sponsorship approach that takes advantage of the unique characteristics of digital events to create better engagement between [ ...
In a just-released events survey, Sophie Holt, global strategy director, Explori, said: “Online and hybrid seem to have a complementary role to play alongside [in-person] events. Not only will they give reassurance to visitors who are concerned about safety in the short term, but still want to connect with their community, but they may also have an important role to play in bringing new audiences to established events.”
That was exactly the case for Pro Farmer’s first-ever virtual Crop Tour held last month, Joe May, their marketing and sales director, told me yesterday.
“It went really well. We went into it with no idea how well it would be received and were very pleased. We’re lucky enough to be part of Farm Journal, so their TV crew produced a really professional looking broadcast for us each of the four nights. We never had a live broadcast component before."
Necessity is proving to be the mother of invention once again, when it comes to events.
At the recent ASAE Virtual Annual Meeting, a big takeaway was to keep putting members/subscribers first. BIO (Biotechnology Innovation Organization) Digital took place in June with more than 7,000 participants from 64 countries and 28 time zones—“no small feat,” writes Associations Now.
“To foster a spirit of connectedness, BIO changed the meeting’s tagline from ‘Beyond’ to ‘Nothing stops innovation.’ Then, in advance of the conference, the group mailed all speakers a custom mug with the new tagline.”
What a great idea! Then speakers could have that mug visible when speaking at that event—and maybe other events. It was an added expense, but worth it because it gave speakers brand recognition onscreen that reflected togetherness, said Erin Lee, VP of marketing operations and customer experience a ...
If you’ve ever been to a live talk show—or even a taping—you might recall that they usually have a person come out to warm up the crowd. She or he might tell a few jokes and let you know how to engage and get involved—applause signs, audience participation cues. I recall this from attending The Late Show With David Letterman once—that and how cold the Ed Sullivan Theater was. Apparently David liked it chilly.
I read something this week in Associations Now that reminded me of that, in respect to virtual events, including webinars.
“It’s very important to bring a specific level of intention to your virtual event to help your audience understand how they can have the best experience,” said Beth Surmont, 360 Live media director of experience design, in a recent ASAE webcast. “Tell them how to engage. For example, submit your questions here. Raise your hand this way.”
Surmont offered four dime ...
On an American Society of Business Publication Editors webinar last week focusing on virtual events, Christine Weiser, content/brand director, Tech & Learning, a Future plc division, posted a sample agenda from one of the first virtual events they hosted this year. The agenda makes a chemical engineering flow chart look simple.
“I share this to say we did this, we survived, but don’t do this.” And she laughed.
The “conference had 7 tracks [and went] for 10 hours—exactly 10 hours, you can ask my colleagues—and it was very well-received. We had over 1,300 attendees. But this is not the place to start. This is where you learn your lessons.”
After learning their lessons, their events have been worthwhile. Since launching a series of virtual events in March, they’ve had over 4,100 registrants. “Events have been great to introduce our content and brand to a whole new audience,” Weiser said. ...
I mentioned this briefly yesterday, but a company called Nucleus has taken data from three virtual event benchmark reports to create some insightful infographics. Here are a few of their findings with comments:
58% of virtual events include some form of interactivity; the average attendee watches 68% of a session.
With all the distractions that we have working from home, some form of interactivity seems key to at least reaching that 68%. "Polling is the most interactive of the various Zoom features," said American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians Executive Director Bob Moore. "The chat function works well, but since not everyone has a question, polling is a nice way to keep all engaged." People like polls, especially if they're relevant and one-button easy.
59.8% have no specific virtual event strategy.
I thought BVR’s event strategy outline in my post yesterday is worth noting—a three-day event in September su ...
According to new virtual conference benchmarks from Nuclear Analytics, the average daily view time for a live virtual conference is 2 hours, 10 minutes and 56 seconds. In scheduling their upcoming Virtual Divorce Conference Sept. 9-11, Business Valuation Resources has scheduled days of 2 hours five minutes, two hours 10 minutes and 3 hours 20 minutes.
To add even more value to their event and keep within a reasonable daily view time, BVR has added bonus sessions both before and after the main event. So there’s a 50-minute conference preview on Aug. 27, and then three 100-minute, follow-up programs Sept. 17, 24 and 30.
It's a great idea. There are no ground rules to virtual events. As has often been said, we are all wading in uncharted waters. These sessions allow BVR to showcase even more good speakers and then also does something many experts recommend—keep the engagement and community atmosphere going.
“We f ...