This post was contributed by Regpack.
Virtual events are in more demand than ever. With COVID-19 encouraging most of us to stay home, more and more large events are getting canceled as organizations scramble to figure out the best ways to convert those experiences into digital ones.
While things may seem bleak for event organizers, remember that we’re also living in a time of great innovation and advances for technology. There are tools and software solutions that can still enhance the attendee experience, even when the event is purely virtual.
These days, it’s pretty easy to build out a capable toolkit to help you create and manage virtual events for every step of the process, from the moment users see your online registration to the surveys they’ll get as they sign off from the event. Even better, each online process and digital action is a data point that you can collect. The more data you have, the easier it is to plan future events and engage your attendees!
To ensure you get those virtual event registrations and keep attendee satisfaction as a top priority, consider the following data-driven best practices and tips:
- Reach out to the right people
- Provide easy online registration
- Personalize the registration form
- Analyze the data
Don’t let social distancing completely derail all of your plans. Keep in mind that others are also missing out on experiences and you’re in a unique position to incorporate data-driven efforts and virtual experiences to make the best of the situation. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
1. Reach out to the right people
When any organization attempts something new, like transitioning events to a purely virtual experience, your audience might be a little wary of it. People tend to trust things more when there’s a good history and reputation to support it. And in times of uncertainty, people are going to be more careful about where they’re choosing to spend their money.
To jump-start awareness of your virtual events, your best bet is going to be your current database. According to this article, 64% of marketing executives “strongly agreed” that using a data-driven marketing strategy is crucial. To ensure that your outreach goes as planned, complete a data audit to get rid of any inaccuracies before acting on it. This way, you know you’re basing your strategy on relevant, correct information.
Then, find constituents who have either attended several of your past events or who registered for an event that was canceled. These are great prospects who might be interested in checking out your virtual event.
A dedicated email marketing tool is key, especially with more people feeling lost and uncertain about the current state of the world. For example, if your virtual event sessions have their own unique Zoom link, your tool should automatically recognize that and allow you to filter your attendees by the link and communicate specifics to them via email.
A good idea is to segment your audience to those initial prospects and send them perks to encourage registration. For instance, to those whose previous event was canceled, give them credit toward the replacement virtual event with information on the program changes, or give them a discount code for future events.
2. Provide easy online registration
With more people staying home, it’s crucial that you take the time to review your online registration process. Many organizations lose potential attendees during registration, whether it simply takes too long or is too complicated at first glance.
Instead of turning to general registration platforms like Eventbrite, this is the best time to invest in a dedicated software solution. According to Regpack, a capable event registration tool not only provides a space for people to register but also streamlines the entire process and can best collect and manage all your attendees’ data!
From the moment a person finds out about your virtual event, you should use your tools to guide them to check-out. Consider these top tips:
- Embed the event registration form on your website. Your website is the first place people look when they want more information on your virtual event. Make it easy for people to find the registration form so they can sign up!
- Brand the form to your organization. This not only keeps the experience streamlined but ensures your regular event attendees know that the same level of care and attention was placed into your virtual events.
- Customize the questions and fields. Ensure that you only ask the questions you need and effectively capture data points with a capable registration tool.
Ensure your registration form is asking the right questions. After all, each field and question answered is also important data for your organization. This way, you can better understand your attendees and work to make the next virtual experience even better.
3. Personalize the registration form
As discussed in the earlier section, an overly complicated and long registration form can turn away even the most interested users. To further encourage registration, consider a software solution that can personalize the registration process to each user with conditional logic capabilities.
Conditional logic works by prompting the registration form to change based on data inputted by the registrant. Questions and fields can automatically be added and deleted to ensure the registration process is unique to the user. For instance:
- If a user clicks a specific attendee type (standard, VIP), conditional logic will automatically add the necessary fees to their cart.
- If a user is eligible for various discounts, the price will automatically reflect that.
- If a user answers a question in a specific way, an email is sent out automatically in response.
It’s always a good idea to make the process as easy as possible. Personalization efforts with data is not a new concept. It will help you better connect with constituents and incentivize them to complete registration for your virtual events.
4. Analyze the data
Another data-driven strategy to increase registration for your virtual events is to analyze your registrant data so you can customize your offers and programming to meet your audience’s needs and wants. When all your processes are happening online and virtually, it’s also way easier to collect that data. There’s data from your online registration, from your email marketing efforts, data from polls and surveys, and even from engagements between your guests.
The more data collected, the easier it is to understand how well your virtual event is doing. Many of the top event management solutions will let you either analyze your own data or will analyze some of it for you. This way, you can compare how certain outreach tactics did and which aspects of your virtual event garnered the most positive reactions.
Look for a solution that also lets you filter each applicant by any data point. The more data you collect, the easier it is to notice trends or commonalities between your registrants. For instance, you might realize that there’s a surge of younger people attending your virtual events. From there, you can tweak your outreach strategy to focus on that audience further.
Data analytics is important for all organizations, especially now. Ensure your tools are equipped to handle all the processes needed for virtual events and can integrate the information with your main database. It’s better to figure this out now, than later on.
Even if we weren’t in a global health crisis, data-driven practices and strategies are always going to be the best way to go. Invest in capable and dedicated tools and make sure you’re doing all you can to prioritize the attendee experience. Good luck!
About the Author:
Asaf Darash, Founder and CEO of Regpack, has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and investor. Asaf has built 3 successful companies to date, all with an exit plan or that have stayed in profitability and are still functional. Asaf specializes in product development for the web, team building and in bringing a company from concept to an actualized unit that is profitable.