How To Work A Virtual Event (Be Ted! Not Ned.)

Virtual Events—they provide all of the great networking and branding opportunities of in-person events without the hassle of travel or dressing up. In fact, you can still be present in your office without losing a full day of productivity, all while reaping the benefits of a first-class educational and networking event.

We don’t think it gets much better than that.

Throughout the event, you’ll have opportunities to meet attendees, share your expertise, swap contact information, give away educational materials, and participate in post-presentation discussions.

Here are some tips to get the most from your virtual conference sponsorship. By knowing what to expect and taking the time to prepare, you’ll be ready to take full advantage of everything these online events have to offer.

Preparation is Key

Be Ted!

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At every conference, there are always one or two booths that win the popularity contest. They have the best and coolest giveaways, most attentive staff, and they just seem to give off an air of awesomeness that attracts visitors in droves. If you want to be a virtual conference rock star, you need to prepare like a conference rock star.

Give some serious thought to the materials you’d like to provide visitors to your virtual booth (check out this post for what your booth could look like). Do you have whitepapers, presentations, or videos to make a great impression? If you’re coming up empty, the time to pull something together is now. Your goal should be to create a rich resource of tools and materials for conference attendees.

The Big Day

Just as you would for an in-person conference, you want to arrive early. Find your booth by clicking on your logo at the top of the intro plaza screen, or by entering the exhibit hall and clicking on your booth. Flexible booth staffing options make virtual events easy for your reps. Can’t man your booth all day? No problem! We have a real-time email feature that allows attendees to contact you even when you are not there. We do suggest being in the booth at various times throughout the day, (because let’s face it, talking to a “real” person trumps email any day!) BUT – now you can come & go as you please without feeling restricted by booth duty!

Greet folks who visit your booth and converse with them about, well, them—their marketing efforts, as well as their current challenges and goals for the future. The public chat feature within your virtual booth is the best way to engage in these conversations. You also have the option of holding private conversations by hovering over someone’s name and selecting the chat option. This is most appropriate when something comes up that you’d like to address privately.

It’s also important that each staff member sets up his or her personal profile prior to the event. Simply select the my profile tab at the bottom of the screen and voilà!

To get the most from your conference experience, consider the following tips:

Be Ted!

Not Ned.

 
 
 
  • DO staff the conference with two or three team members—one to stay in the virtual booth and the other to mingle and participate in networking lounge chats.
  • DO include your company name in your screen name. This will help attendees recognize your brand affiliation and make it easier for them to find you later on.
  • DO be sure to include an avatar or photo of yourself to accompany your profile.
  • DO get creative when it comes to contests and giveaways.
  • DON’T post anything in the public chat that you don’t want everyone to see. Everything entered into the public chat stays in the public chat—good, bad, or ugly.
  • DON'T post sales pitches in public chat areas like the Networking Lounge, or be overly slimy in personal chats. Because...ew.
  • DON'T forget to stock the Resource Center with tasty downloads, especially since they continue to be available for on-demand attendees later on.

The After Party

Now that you've got your list, it's time to start your follow-up plan. Let's be clear; these aren't leads in the traditional sense. These are names of people that may or may not have attended an event that you sponsored. It's possible they stopped by your booth (score!), and it's possible they downloaded one of the aforementioned tasty items you supplied to the resource center (score again!) But it's also possible they didn't do any of these things. Be mindful of that and treat the names as such.

For your post-event marketing, here are some of our suggestions on what to do next:

  • Booth visitors who engaged in conversation:  let the sales rep follow-up directly with a call or      email. Whatever tickles their fancy.
  • Booth visitors & content downloaders who did not chat: flag for warmer follow-up marketing acknowledging their hand-waver status and perhaps being more proactive in asking if they would like sales contact.
  • Attendees who did not interact with sponsor: “Hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did. In case you didn’t get a chance to see our booth, we offered some great free content which you can download here…” (Include a link to access your content.)
  • Registered/did not attend: “Looks like you weren’t able to attend the live event, but hopefully you can catch it on-demand. We were a sponsor and had our own great content available including (INSERT ONE OF THOSE VALUABLE RESOURCES HERE) which you can get directly from us here…”

Patience, grasshopper.

Nurture these leads like a fine wine, or a slab of aging cheese. Be sure to treat them according to what action (or lack of action) they may have taken, and give them time to get to know you and your product.

Your virtually fabulous event liaison,

Courtney