Being clear about a virtual event’s key performance indicators (KPIs) from the onset of event planning is essential to its success.
KPIs determine the metrics for measuring an event’s impact, and setting them ahead of the planning process can help develop strategies that will drive the event’s success.
Event organizers base KPIs on the goals they’re aiming to achieve. Therefore, for a typical virtual event, your KPIs can be like the ones below:
- Expanded reach and increased attendance – Exceeding a previous event attendance benchmark.
- Content engagement – Offering event sessions that resonate with attendees to foster a sense of excitement.
- Interaction and networking – Increase in exchanged private and public messages, 1:1 video calls, group chats, and other interactions during the event.
- Brand awareness – Maximum brand awareness for sponsors and exhibitors on the event platform and mobile event app.
- Lead generation – Increased lead generation for event sponsors.
- Increased ROI – Maximizing ROI from the event.
You can have additional KPIs or less depending on your event and organizational needs. However, what matters most is the strategies you create to achieve them. Using the KPIs above as an example, we can consider the following strategies to achieve them:
- Event Promotion Strategy
- Event Content Engagement Strategy
- Event Networking Strategy
- Event Sponsorship and Revenue Strategy
- Event Follow-up Strategy
Read on to learn more!
Event Promotion Strategy
An effective event promotion strategy is required to expand your event reach and increase attendance. The following suggestions can help attract huge attendance to your event:
Identify your target audience
Consider the profiles of past event attendees and attendees of similar events, then create an attendee persona profile. For example, you might find similar trends within some occupations, industries, geographical location, and interests. Use this information to target potential attendees in your promotion campaign.
Create an attention-grabbing event page
Create a well-branded event page that highlights your event’s benefits, the speakers, and the unique event experience you are offering. You can also include a short video where your event speakers share what to expect and pique attendees’ interest for the event.
Use multiple channels to reach out
Send out your message to potential attendees using email marketing, social media promotion, a press release, direct mail, and other channels. You can also ask past attendees, sponsors, partners, and speakers to help spread the word.
Event Content Engagement Strategy
Event content is one of the key offerings of a virtual event. You should find great speakers who have experience engaging audiences in a virtual setting. Also, plan your content delivery format to attract maximum engagement from attendees. There are two key ways your team can deliver content in a virtual event setting:
Live webinars: These are presented in real-time directly on the virtual event platform, rather than being previously produced and streamed during the event. Live webinars offer the opportunity for one-way interaction where a speaker speaks to the listening audience. It can also work for a discussion-style presentation where a speaker can interact with attendees via their webcam.
Pre-recorded webinars: These allow both speakers and the audience to interact while the content is being streamed. This is done by using embedded interactive tools like live chat, polling, and Q&A. You can use these tools during live presentations as well.
Event Networking Strategy
Networking is an essential part of any event, and technology can provide the experience in a virtual setting. Below are some ways to provide your attendees with a quality networking experience during your event.
- Break out sessions
- 1:1 Video Calls
- Group video chats
- Public discussion forums
- Mobile event app
Group breakout sessions and group video meetings allow for more depth of discussions within a smaller group unit. Because of this level of interaction, attendees can initiate and participate in richer discussions and human interactions. 1:1 video calls bring interaction to a personal level and lead to deeper connections. Public discussion forums provide additional talking points which can further increase interaction between attendees.
Tip: Dedicate specific sessions for networking so that attendees know that it is part of the event agenda. Also, provide a mobile event app for mobile engagement and give attendees on-the-go access.
Event Sponsorship and Revenue Strategy
Your organization can generate revenues from ticket sales, merchandise, and offering additional content for purchase. However, sponsorship and exhibition are a key component in generating more event revenue. Provide premium sponsorship value by offering maximum brand awareness and lead generation opportunities for sponsors. Below are some ideas to consider:
- Platform banners
- Virtual exhibition halls and virtual booths
- Pre and post-event email communication
- Inclusion in in-event communication and push notifications
- Match-making algorithm (match attendees profile with sponsors and to help sponsors find leads)
You can also consider offering dedicated sessions to sponsors during the event and offer them sales opportunities.
Event Follow-up Strategy
Create a solid follow-up strategy to keep in touch with attendees, facilitate interaction, generate additional revenue, and collect feedback. Consider the following suggestions:
- Review event analytics to unlock data insights
- Send out post-event surveys to get additional feedback from attendees, speakers, and sponsors
- Re-purpose virtual event content and create additional content for sale
- Keep the event platform open to build a year-round community
Use the information gathered from the event analytics and feedback from post-event surveys to plan a better strategy for future events. The post-event stage of your event is as important as every other stage because what you do at this stage can help you maximize the gains of your event and increase ROI.
After your event, look at the metrics and compare them with your KPIs to determine whether your event strategies effectively reached your goals. If not, reconsider your strategy and find out what can resonate more with your target audience.
Christina Tomlinson is the VP of Marketing & Events at Pathable. With over 8 years of experience in the event industry, Christina prides herself on her creativity, passion for people, and ability to create memorable experiences. Before joining the Pathable team, some of Christina’s experience includes directing a team as the Associate Director of Events for a DMC in Austin, TX and marketing, planning, and executing brand events as the Regional Event Manager at a corporate experiential agency. Through her years of experience, Christina strives to remain a thought leader in her industry, and places a high value on evolution and growth in the events space.