Let me be clear: most of the time virtual event technology gets a big ‘thumbs’ up from the folks that leverage them the right way. However, some people are turned off by the notion of using the technology, and more often than not the reasons for it are completely avoidable. If you’re thinking of leveraging virtual technology for any type of event (tradeshow, user group conference, product showcase, partner expo, training, etc.), and you’re seeking advice from some of your peers with firsthand virtual experience, don’t be surprised if you hear the following:
- “We tried it and it didn’t work. We couldn’t drive any traffic to it” – The #1 reason that virtual events of any kind don’t drive the traffic you’re looking for is simple – it all comes down to content. It’s no different than a physical event. If the content is garbage and doesn’t entice people to take time out of their busy schedule to attend, then your attendance numbers will be garbage. Just because it’s online and more readily accessible than a physical event, doesn’t mean that you can take a half#$$ approach to content generation. If organizations spend as much time building quality content for virtual events as they do physical events, they’ll reap the benefits for a longer period of time and so will their attendees. I guarantee it
- “The support we received the day of the event was terrible’’ – Valid. There are people that I speak to everyday who’s organizations are tailor-made to leverage virtual event technology. The problem is some other vendor in the space recognized that about five years ago and did a terrible job of supporting the client the day of the event, forever leaving a bad taste in their mouth regarding virtual event providers. If you’re investigating using this type of technology for your organization, make sure the software provider has some skin in the game as well. Don’t give them all the leverage. Put clauses in the contract that protect you if your virtual environment goes down, stalls and isn’t supported the way it should be
- “Our market isn’t ready for that type of technology” – 100% wrong. There might’ve been some truth to this 5-7 years ago, but not now. Everyone’s getting content from their smartphones and tablets, and organizations within every vertical market imaginable have mobile, video and social media as key components of their go-to-market strategy. Traditional ‘good ole’ boy’ networks such as Oil & Gas, Healthcare and Financial Services are changing the way they access content. And vertical technology caters to this changing content landscape. Who says you need to fly across the country for ongoing education when you can get it on your laptop, iPhone or iPad? Why fly your experts all over the country for the sake of promoting that brand new product, when you can do it in a consolidated online environment that gives you the results you’re looking for over a longer period of time?
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Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of ElasticSolutions. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org