How to Succeed With Virtual Events in Spite of COVID-19

March 16th, 2020

COVID-19 has businesses making some hard decisions. In our digital age, companies can still get work done outside of the office—but we’re missing out on crucial opportunities to meet with customers face to face. With events going digital, here are a few tips to help you host successful virtual events and gather authentic customer feedback as part of a comprehensive events strategy. 

Maximizing Your Virtual Event Success

After producing a host of successful TrustRadius webinars, we’ve learned that how a virtual event is produced can make a big difference in attendance and overall success. 

When you go digital, you have to think about how to engage attendees differently. You’ll want to keep your content fresh, interactive, and concise. No one wants to sit through 90 minutes of keynotes. You’ll also want to prioritize making your event more collaborative and interactive wherever possible. 

Here are a few options that can help level up your digital event strategy:

  • Video Conferencing Tools: With the rapid move to all things virtual, finding the right video conferencing/meeting tool is paramount. Don’t settle. Read what real users have to say and find the tool that’s best for your needs.
  • Collaboration Tools: While there are myriad collaboration tools that help remote teams and digital events thrive, two of our favorites are Miro and Mural. These digital whiteboard tools allow for real-time creative brainstorming and would be great for a breakout session.
  • Event Management Platforms: engaging clients in the presentation platform or your video stream will be vital for digital event success. With TrustRadius and Pendo, it’s easy to add pop-ups and CTA’s to the digital event experience.
  • Direct Mail Automation: To make virtual events more hands-on, check out vendors who can deliver branded items directly to your digital event attendees.
  • Twitch: While normally used for “gamers,” Twitch is where millions of people come together live every day to chat, interact, and make their own entertainment together. Us marketers love a great hack – so why not host your event on Twitch?

Driving Customer Feedback at Virtual Events

Virtual events offer the opportunity for companies to share their messaging and educate prospective and existing customers—but they often lack the opportunity for the audience to talk back and offer their own insights. Here are a few proven ways to invite authentic customer feedback as part of your digital events strategy. 

Ask For Reviews In Your Event Emails

With the pivot to digital events, email is more important than ever. Since your event emails are already scheduled to go out, re-purpose them with a CTA to write a review. Adding in a text call to action or even an image with a clickable CTA can get your ask right in front of your target audience.

In an effort to further support your feedback-gathering efforts, TrustRadius can also send a dedicated email campaign on your behalf to event registrants or clients. On average our campaigns see a 5% conversion rate—in other words, 5% of email recipients write publishable reviews that pass our rigorous content quality standards. Vendors who run review generation campaigns on their own typically see a lower response rate.

Drive Reviews Within Your Event Platform

During digital sessions and keynote presentations, you can enable in-platform or in-app notifications that invite attendees to write a review. You can also work with presenters to include a slide about writing a review at the beginning or end of the presentation. What better time to engage a user to write a review than while they are in-session? 

TrustRadius offers a Pendo recipe integration that allows you to easily include a “Write a Review” pop-up from directly within your event platform. You can access the Pendo recipe integration details from within the TrustRadius vendor portal.

Host a Review Contest

At every event, there’s always a Passport program or contest where attendees have to complete certain tasks to get swag or be entered to win a prize. Just because an event is digital doesn’t mean you can’t keep that tactic going. 

Including a contest or promotion with your digital event will help further engage attendees. Writing a review is an easy yet valuable task for customers to complete. As for prizes, we’ve found that gift cards are an easy contest incentive to deliver digitally.

Utilize Surplus Event Swag

It’s likely that your event teams carefully sourced and selected the perfect swag for upcoming events. Now that those events are digital, what are you planning to do with the swag? 

One way to engage registrants is to go old school and send their swag through the mail. Since they can’t be at the event, getting an event-related package will help create some good will, positive brand reinforcement, and keep your product top of mind. Adding in a postcard with information about writing a review is also a great way to gather feedback from clients you’re missing at an event. 

Here’s the postcard our clients typically use: 

Don’t Forget Digital Ads

For large user conferences, digital ads are already a part of the marketing mix. Why not target attendees with messages around the event going digital? Targeted ads asking attendees to write a review can help create another touchpoint for your brand that won’t feel repetitive. Think of it like a kiosk, banner, or poster at an in-person event. Asking for feedback has a feel-good factor that doesn’t feel as much like advertising.

Enable your Field Team

Your field teams are already working virtually with customers and prospects on a daily basis. Now that most larger events have been transitioned into digital, it may be a great opportunity for your ground team to get creative with extra personal outreach to their accounts. Providing your field team with the right messages and CTAs about writing reviews is a great way for them to show their partnership to customers.

At TrustRadius, we agree that the current health restrictions are the right way to go for all of our health. We hope that these tips will help you make the most of this challenging situation. 

To get real-time analysis of these trends before our next weekly blog update, attend our free, no-strings-attached webinar on Thursday, April 2 at 12:30pm CST

TrustRadius CEO Vinay Bhagat will dive into the details with Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing. You’ll get hard-hitting data and industry-leading market analysis with absolutely zero followup.*

*We pledge to not treat you as a “lead,” meaning that you will not immediately get follow-up emails or calls from TrustRadius.*

To sign up for the free webinar, click here: