In September we hosted our annual virtual event YOUniverse and learned strategies from marketing experts on how personalization can create moments that make your virtual event memorable. Our panel of event experts shared their best advice on how to enhance the attendee experience in virtual, in-person, and hybrid events.
Janna Erickson, Director of Field Marketing and Events at Domino Data Labs, hosted an amazing panel which included:
- Matilda Miglio, Director of Demand Generation at Dandy
- Amrutha Sridhar, Field and Event Marketing Manager at Goldcast
- Ashley Levesque, VP of Marketing at Banzai
- Mali Shimojo, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Global Events at HubSpot, and
- Genevieve Cashman, Strategic Account Manager at Staples
Our speakers agreed on a key learning from this last year. When it came to running all events virtually, our audiences showed us that they still want the same thing – connection. As Mali elaborated, “it’s important to keep the element of connection top of mind and think about how to build in those moments that feel organic, engaging, and inviting.”
Creating experiences through webinars
Ashley believes that webinars are a perfect way to connect with the audience since, “at their most basic and peeled back layer, they’re simply two-way communication channels and an opportunity to build relationships.”
People are experiencing webinar fatigue making it even more important to create a connection that makes the event worthwhile. Use your event to directly add value to your attendees lives and strengthen relationships. For example, host a webinar course and have people actively workshopping during the event. Be there to answer questions, critique landing pages, and help with strategy.
Incorporating gifting into your events is another way to marry the digital and physical worlds, and engineer meaningful connections with your event audience, such as sending personalized kits that connect to the event theme or activity.
Additional gift ideas that create a memorable experience include:
- Movie kits with a blanket and popcorn.
- Taco kits to make dinner together with your small team.
- Painting kits to accompany an artist series.
- Surprise gift cards for coffee or lunch to enjoy during the conversation.
“People don’t want tchotchkes anymore,” said Genevieve, “it’s becoming way more personal.” Virtual events offer something new – they bring us into each other’s homes. It’s more casual, informal, and a great opportunity to connect as real people.
Think outside the box
Virtual events are more than just webinars and live streams. Consider creating audio-only content in a podcast format and encourage your listeners to take a walk during the event and then come back to their computer for a live chat discussion or a digital meetup for networking. How awesome would it be to get a dog kit with a leash and a note that says to join the call while walking your dog?
Gestures as simple as setting up a bot to provide relevant welcome messaging to a repeat event guest are another way to surprise and delight your audience. For example, in the lead up to YOUnivers, Alyce’s Drift bot greeted relevant visitors with this simple message; “Hey we’ve seen you at YOUniverse before, welcome back!”
What does the future hold?
Amrutha recommends planning for a hybrid event future, mainly virtual with smaller in-person “micro events” that are regional with smaller capacity. A hybrid event strategy lets you create content in-person at an exclusive event and then stream it to reach many more people.
Want to learn more?
Check out the rest of the YOUniverse sessions, including our keynote with Sydney Sloan, CMO at Salesloft, about how to build stronger customer relationships and increase conversion rates by delivering moments throughout the customer journey.