About to come out with a new product, or showcase existing ones, that the market needs to know about? Looking for the most cost-effective way to reach a wider audience and get better engagement data on the backend, leading to increased sales of your product? Enter virtual product launches and showcases. If this type of virtual event is on your radar, here are some best practices to follow:
Make it Shine.
You have plenty of options now in the virtual event space, so go with a virtual partner that can make your product AND brand shine. At Elastic Solutions, we offer 3D and 2D experiences, but we’ve found more immersive 3D environments get audiences more excited about the event and lead to more engagement. Think of building an environment that enables your audience to go to multiple event spaces where they can learn about your product(s), watch presentations, interact and network with industry experts and peers, etc. Think about rooms like lobbies, auditoriums, networking café’s and product rooms. Make sure that you can have banners and displays that match your brand and can drive your attendees to certain areas of the event (or outside the event if you choose to). Your virtual event partner should have a strategy team that can help you build out an experience that entices your audience to dig in and participate.
Put an Emphasis on Engagement.
You will hear us say this a lot and for good reason – audience engagement is one of the best ways to measure virtual event success. It will also provide your sales force with a wealth of data to use in their follow-ups and will enable them to make smarter, more effective outreach. Remember, your audience is used to doing most of these events in-person and talking with peers and networking with them face-to-face. When you are thinking about audience engagement for your virtual product launch/showcase, look at the following pieces:
- Presentations – if you are going to have presentations as a part of your launch/showcase, which you should, look for presenters that are truly engaging. They can make a world of difference. Also, within your presentations you should have the ability for live Q&A, polls, surveys, resource handouts and peer-to-peer audience connection. Anything you can do within your presentations to get your audience touching their keyboards, do it!
- Networking – what does the networking experience look like? Your attendees should have the ability to chat with your company and other attendees (text and/or video chat), exchange virtual business cards, connect socially, email each other from the platform, etc. Put the myth that you can’t effectively network in virtual events to bed.
- Make engagement fun – including gamification options like leaderboard, industry trivia and scavenger hunts can make a drastic difference in meaningful audience engagement. And be sure to have nice giveaways in place for your most active attendees. We’ve seen many of our clients effectively execute virtual happy hours, enabling attendees to connect with one another in a relaxed setting post event. It does not have to be all business all the time.
Put a Priority on Appointment Setting and Product Interaction.
For product launches and showcases, we really like the idea of having booths dedicated to your products. Within these spaces, attendees can download content, view videos and on-demand presentations related to your product(s) and interact with booth reps, among other things. Regarding interacting with booth representatives, a few important notes:
- Staff your booth with true product experts that know the product inside and out.
- Attendees should have the ability to see available calendars and schedule time on the booth rep’s calendar.
- Having the ability for attendees to interact with your product experts multiple ways – text chat, 1:1 video chat and group chat – can make it more compelling for folks to enter your product booths. It can also provide them with more education on your product offerings and get them familiar with your team.
Extend the Shelf Life of Your Event.
Remember that one of the main advantages of a virtual event is that you can extend the shelf life of the content through on-demand archiving. You can essentially turn your product launch or showcase into a virtual resource center specifically for your product(s). As new content becomes available and as new releases of the product come out, you can add them to the environment and continue to drive folks to it. Very similar to webinars, we live in a Netflix culture and many of your prospects want to view presentations and download content on their own time. Keeping your event on-demand for a certain amount of time (all events on the Elastic Solutions virtual events platform come stock with 90 days of on-demand access) means it can continue to act as a marketing and lead generation channel for months to come. With that in mind, it is important to have a plan for how you are going to market the on-demand version of your event.
Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org