One of the numerous aspects of life that changed dramatically over the course of 2020, is how the business community perceives events and related networking. Of course, online events existed for a long time, mostly in form of webinars, conferences, and networking meetups that often accompanied larger in-person events and mostly targeted people who couldn’t attend those. But today, almost all business events, large and small, are going virtual. Everything from international conferences with tens thousands of attendees to workshops and meetings for small- and medium- sized teams is now online. With growing competition in the space, it’s getting critical to make an online event stand out and be remarkable. With that in mind, let’s dive into some ideas on how to make virtual events unique and memorable.
How to Make Virtual Events Unique: Why is That Important?
Interest in virtual events in 2020 is obvious. Below is a screenshot from Google Trends tracking the number of searches related to this term. No matter what industry or niche your business is in, in many cases you will need to consider virtual events as part of your business development strategy. Those can be:
- – conferences
- – webinars
- – networking and “happy hour” events
- – business meetings with partners and clients and even
- – team meetings
Marketing and sales people are getting better and better at running those. By mastering different platforms, coming up with the set of metrics to track event performance, implementing newly developed online event best practices they make their event world class. At the same time, the competition is growing as well. The moment you come up with a webinar or a conference idea to support your service or product, you can be sure that competitor is planning something similar.
That’s where the concept of event uniqueness comes in. While content and platform are important, no matter how useful they are, speak to the customer’s mind, emotions can make the event memorable. As Maya Angelou famously said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
How to Make Virtual Events Unique: Emotional Check List
So, you want to make your event memorable. Of course, first you take care of the content itself and technical aspects, such as accessibility and uptime of the event broadcast. But once those are figured out, it’s time to think about uniqueness. And that’s where personal touch can be your winning strategy.
What can you consider a personal touch for event attendees? We bet on personal interactions, answering questions, and, of course, gifts. Let’s talk all of them in details!
1. Interactions between attendees
Mostly, we experience our emotions as a result of interpersonal interactions. During physical events it’s quite easy to attain. Even while listening to a keynote speaker, we subconsciously monitor our surroundings, exchange emotions with our neighbors. It’s as if we breath in an event’s atmosphere. It’s harder when it’s virtual.
You need to consider how to let your attendees have some interactions with other visitors. Many online event platforms offer breakout rooms and sub-chats. Of course, those require some additional time on the event schedule, and you need to account for that. But once people have a chance to introduce themselves to others, exchange their thoughts and opinions on the content of a webinar or a presentation, they will engage much more emotionally with the event.
2. Q&A: another piece of in-person interactions
The more interesting the content you present, the more questions and comments it will provoke. Be ready to answer these questions by scheduling a Questions and Answers sections in your event timeline.
Not only is it interesting for other attendees to listen to as well. It also represents a chance for your brand to become more connected to those interested in it. Start answering questions by addressing the people who asked by name. Ask for the follow up questions. If possible, allow people to voice their questions and have some video time too.
3. Gifts for Virtual Events
What could be better than receiving a surprise gift? While swag bags with gifts and souvenirs for in-person events are quite common, an online event that you run can get an unexpected twist if you arrange a gift basket to arrive at your attendee’s door just in time for a virtual event!
One of Gift Baskets Overseas’ corporate clients reported extremely positive feedback from online conference attendees who received gift baskets from them as event organizers. They decided to go with delivery in advance, and sent a basket with a note asking recipients to open the gift during the presentation. Because of the rapidly growing demand, we launched this new dedicated category of gifts for event marketers to choose from (see our Virtual Events Gifts page) for their international attendees.
Be mindful about selecting your event gifts. Those can include something relevant to the presentation topic, branded with your company’s logo, and take the interests of the attendees into account. If your audience is international, consult gift specialists regarding appropriate and culturally accepted norms for their location.
Now You Know More About How to Make Virtual Events Unique. What’s next?
If you are interested in making gifts part of your virtual event strategy, visit Gift Baskets Overseas Corporate service.
If you are interested to learn more about virtual engagement, we recommend our recent blog How To Stay Top of Mind for Customers in Difficult Times.
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Director of Digital Marketing and Strategy for GiftBasketsOverseas passionate about all-things digital, travel, and wellness. Natasha covers some corporate topics and data analytics and research for the GiftBasketsOverseas blog.