Livestreaming is an exciting move for your organization and an opportunity to reach even more people. While you may feel energized about this change, your attendees may be cautious and apprehensive.
Follow these 6 steps to market your new jump into the technological age!
1. Define your offerings and goals
Before you begin your marketing efforts, you must know what you are selling. This should always be the first step of a marketing team, asking the questions. Below you will find a few examples of things to consider, be sure you are exploring your offerings from a micro and macro level!
- Are you offering on-site and virtual attendance options or, is this a strictly virtual event?
- When the attendee registers for the livestream, what do they receive? Is it access to (1) individual session, or will they receive the whole conference?
- Will there be access to slide decks or other resources for all attendees?
- Will attendees have the opportunity to receive credit or certifications?
- Would you personally register for this conference? Do the pricing and offerings match?
After you have defined all of the offerings, you can now begin identifying goals. Your goals can be as simple as a registration or monetary goal, or as complex and long-term as return registrations or ongoing community discussions. Your goals should follow the SMART guidelines. They need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The goals you set should also be organization specific. For example, your organization may need to make a profit off this livestream or it may need to build membership. Your goals will be used to measure success. Remember – success is not a one size fits all model; it is fluid and ever-changing!
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2. Create a Plan
Now you know what you are offering and how you define success, next you need to create your plan! When developing your marketing plan, it is important to consider, once again, macro and micro perspectives. Start by looking at the “bigger picture,” i.e., how much time do you have, what marketing platforms and methods are you planning to use, what resources do you already have, etc.?
It can help to create a timeline from now ending with your livestream event. Set benchmarks that will que you to check on your progress. You should ask yourself, “am I on target for my goals” regularly and then use you marketing plan to either maintain your current efforts or tweak aspects of the plan that are not working to successfully reach your benchmarks.
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3. Know your audience and their preferred communications
Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t speak your language and you don’t speak theirs? No matter what you are trying to communicate, the other person does not know the details, but rather only what they can surmise from watching your non-verbal communications.
The same idea is applied to marketing. If you are getting your promotions out on Facebook, but your intended audience primarily uses LinkedIn, you will find your audience may only be picking up portions of your message, and not benefiting from all the right information!
You also may want to take a look at your method of communication based on certain subgroups. For example, you may be trying to market to a specific organization that practices law in the United States, but that group has very specific sub-sets within itself. Younger age groups may get their information from Instagram, while an older age group may prefer email. Segmenting your marketing efforts and tailoring the messages to those sub groups will ensure that the right information is getting to the right people.
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4. Recognize what makes a livestream different
Livestreams offer a cost-effective and time-efficient way for attendees to obtain the same information without the hassle of travel and taking time off to be on-site. Many busy professionals prefer to multi-task during their day, and livestreaming your conference ensure they get the right content without turning they daily routine upside down.
Event recordings are a great way for registrants to re-watch the presentations later for a refresher, or they can visit the recording at a more convenient time.
Identifying your livestreams unique characteristics will help you market to attendees. Why is it important for attendees to register for your livestream? Is there credit associated for the presentations? Do they have to watch it live or can they still obtain credit watching the recording? Ask yourself, “why did we decide to livestream in the first place?”. Chances are you will find the reasons why your audience should register.
Once you have identified what makes a livestream different, market as you would for anything else, highlighting the products unique characteristics.
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5. Make it personal
While a lot of your marketing efforts can be automated, that will make the messaging less personal and easier to delete or ignore. When marketing your livestream, it is important to make sure that you are offering a personal experience, because that is one thing potentially lost when an audience member is virtual.
When you are in-person at a conference, the whole experience is more personal because you are experiencing it with all your senses. A livestream takes away a certain personalization, and it is our job to compensate with catering marketing and course offerings to them.
A few ideas to make the experience more personal:
- Ask for input: What does your target audience want to see, hear and/or learn? People love to know that their voice matters! How awesome is it if you ask to hear about a particular topic, and then it actually is presented on!
- Ask for feedback: Again, people want to be heard! If this isn’t your first event, ask the past attendees for their feedback, and entice them to come see their suggestions in action! The main difference here is that you are receiving reviews based off what you’ve already done!
- Create a Community: Learning online creates its own challenges, but luckily, technology can help. Allow your virtual audience to communicate with each other and their instructors through chat features in the course and discussion boards!
- Create a personal email/phone marketing campaign: Provide your team with an email or script that has a few customization options. Those customization options could be a variety of reasons to attend or the session content/titles. When your team reaches out to attendees, they can pick from the provided options to personalize the message and make attendance more enticing.
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6. Get creative
Don’t be afraid to try new things! With the advances in technology, you can leverage so many more tools to make your event an exciting one to register for! Here are a few ideas
- Contests with prizes: Using a variety of technologies and platforms, you can make a game or raffle contest online!
- Harness the power of video: People love to see and feel excitement for the event; it makes them feel like they are part of it. Live broadcast on social media with your presenters, sharing excitement, or sneak peeks!
- Use the voice of your partners: Create a human connection by using quotes from past attendees, speakers, and team members in your various marketing efforts.
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Any marketing campaign takes time and resources to complete successfully, but using these 6 steps will help you better organize your efforts!
If planned successfully, your conference should attract a group of like-minded people and offer a unique experience that they can’t get anywhere else. Whether it’s a professional or academic conference geared toward associations or nonprofits, people are ultimately registering to network and learn from others like them.
Conferences are also becoming very popular to host, so it might take more than just a simple announcement to garner enough registrants. With ongoing technological innovations and modern event planning tools automating a good amount of manual tasks, it can be tricky to determine the best way to attract attendees.
A good school of thought is to always consider what your attendees want. According to Fonteva, your event management software can offer a wide variety of tools to empower your guests and give them more flexibility to optimize their own experience.
If you don’t know where to start, there’s no need to stress! In this guide, you’ll learn about the many ways you can go the extra mile, enhance your conference, and attract more attendees:
Learn the best ways to elevate your conference and ensure that your attendees have the best experience possible. Ready to clear up what your event guests want? Let’s get started!
1. Host a dedicated conference website.
Conference planning should start months before the actual event date. Once you have a good sense of the venue, vendors, speakers, and sessions, it’s time to announce it! To get the word out, you should develop an event marketing strategy.
A great way to kickstart event registration is to announce your conference online. While you’re likely already distributing an email newsletter and posting about it on your organization’s main
website, an effective way to make your conference more accessible and attention-grabbing is to create a dedicated website for it.
Many organizations will build a micro-site to promote their event and serve as a hub for all relevant details. This is an individual webpage that is associated with the main site but can function as its own entity. A page that is dedicated specifically for the event is beneficial since potential attendees are likely searching online to learn more.
On your dedicated conference event page, you can:
- Host all necessary details and event information.
- Accept registrations and sell tickets.
- Track leads and gain better insights into how people find your event.
- Sell merchandise on an eStore. For example, you can sell t-shirts as a fundraiser.
Make it easy for your guests to learn about your event and register. Additionally, guests can easily share the link with others and help spread the word! Read on to learn what to do once you get people on the website.
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2. Offer flexible registration options.
Even after you make your conference website aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, “shopping cart abandonment” can happen for many reasons. You don’t want your online registration process to ultimately turn attendees away. Luckily, there are a couple of steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
Take a look at your event management tools and consider how your online registration can be more efficient and better meet prospective attendees’ needs. For starters, it’s important that your registration form is branded and customized to your specific conference.
Many software solutions provide form templates to help event planners improve their registration process. While this is helpful, you should also ensure that you can tailor the questions. This means eliminating questions that aren’t applicable, making certain fields optional, and providing all necessary event forms and waivers.
In addition, it’s critical to empower prospective attendees to choose how they want to register for and experience your conference. Flexible registration options will boost the chances of registration completion. Here’s what you can offer:
- Varying packages and registration levels. Give guests the option to upgrade or downgrade their registration level. This means VIP status!
- Group registration. If you’re a manager and in charge of registering your entire department, don’t stress. With group registration options, one person can register multiple people without entering the same attendee data and payment information multiple times.
- Exclusive deals. Give special registrants, like individuals who recently made a large donation or are active supporters of your organization, deals like a discount or early-bird registration!
- Member perks. If your organization is a member-based association, offer member-exclusive perks. Whether it’s discounts or incentives, this is a great way to keep members engaged. Learn
more about this topic.
- Event series and multi-session selector. Ensure that your management tool can handle all types of registration, including a series of events where attendees register for them all at once. On the other side of the spectrum, you can allow users to pick and choose their desired sessions in a multi-session event.
The more flexible your registration is, the more members you will resonate with. Take a look at your event registration tool and consider all of the ways you can leverage it to make your registrants’ lives easier.
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3. Boost convenience with a mobile conference app.
A great way to attract more guests to your conference and keep them engaged on-site is to offer a mobile event app. With 96% of Americans owning a mobile device, incorporating a mobile app into your event can create a more connected and convenient experience.
Creating a mobile conference app doesn’t mean you need to contact a professional coder and start from scratch. According to this Pathable article, there is an abundance of event app providers that can help you create one for your conference.
However, depending on your event management tool, you might be able to provide a mobile event app within your existing solution. With a capable mobile event app, your conference guests can:
- Access all event details. It’s likely that your conference has a wide range of speakers, vendors, and activities. From the convenience of their mobile phones, let guests view important information like a timeline or the conference’s schedule.
- Contribute to a community forum. A mobile event app is a great place to host some sort of online forum or discussion board. Conference attendees can engage with each other and interact online.
- Receive urgent announcements. When you plan a conference, you can’t always predict speaker cancellations or other last-minute changes. Through the mobile event app, you can easily notify attendees of any updates.
- Contact customer service. Your attendees might have questions or need to talk to a staff member. Empower them to contact customer service through the mobile app so they can easily receive assistance whenever and wherever.
- Give feedback. As soon as your conference comes to an end, send out a survey through your mobile conference app. This is a great way to gain constructive event feedback while it’s still fresh in their minds.
A mobile event app not only creates a direct connection with your attendees but also provides them with intuitive tools to better navigate your conference. An optimized attendee experience is the best way to increase registration.
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4. Provide a conference schedule builder.
Conferences are packed with various learning experiences that aim to bring like-minded people together, so you’ve likely worked hard inviting relevant speakers and coordinating valuable activities and sessions.
For instance, if you planned an educational conference, all of your guests are likely academic professionals and work in some type of educational institution. With your event management tool, you can easily book speakers who are widely known in the academic world and provide multiple sessions hosted by education leaders.
To further attract attendees and make the conference experience as enjoyable as possible, let guests build their own conference schedule out of the variety of activities and sessions you’re hosting. This gives your guests ownership and control of their personal conference experience, ensuring that they’re able to enjoy the event.
Let conference attendees edit their schedules and access them from the mobile event app. This way, they won’t miss out on an activity and can check up on it whenever they need to. If there are multiple sessions that a guest wants to attend at once, it can be beneficial to do some on-site recording and allow attendees to view it after the conference is over!
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As you begin to think about your next conference, make sure you’re especially considerate about your attendees’ specific needs. Put in the effort to empower your guests and provide them with the tools they need to enjoy your conference the way they want. Good luck!
|CommPartners’ Peak User Group Conference started in 2018. After meeting clients face-to-face, and receiving positive feedback from participants, we knew this was something we wanted to repeat. So, we created a biennial, in-person learning and networking event that would bring together all the associates we work with within the eLearning space.
Now we have arrived at Peak 2020. Peak 2020 is a 2-day conference bringing together members from CommPartners’ growing community of clients, partners, and industry experts to network, collaborate, and learn. Enjoy a full schedule of Elevate LMS Training, Virtual Event Training, thought-leader presentations, and social opportunities with the thrilling backdrop of Nationals Park, home of the reigning World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals!
We designed this conference to specifically cater to prospective clients as well as current Elevate users using two educational tracks. Track A is more than just getting to know Elevate, it’s learning how to use the LMS to leverage your educational strategy. Track B focuses on getting the most out of Elevate, concentrating on creative and innovative uses for the LMS beyond what administrators might already be doing. These tracks are specialized to meet the needs of our learners, ensuring they have the tools to implement successful online educational programs.
If you have attended in the past, don’t expect the same content you saw at Peak 2018, says Kate Ratcliffe, Marketing Director, “as general technology is always changing, so is Elevate. We are going to highlight new features; we are going to highlight underused features”. Attendees will also have the opportunity to brainstorm with CommPartners’ team members to be sure they are best leveraging what they have learned throughout the conference within their organizations.
Whether you are already an Elevate user or you think it might be something you could use to enhance your education efforts, Peak 2020 has something to offer you:
What will you get out of Peak 2020?
- Learn about Elevate LMS strategies and best practices
- Make sure you are getting the most out of your current Elevate system or learn how your organization could benefit from an LMS
- Hear about the latest online education trends from community experts
- Pick up tips and tricks to keep your education program relevant and engaging
- Earn CAE credits for your participation
- Networking opportunities Engage fellow CommPartners’ clients to network and share ideas
- Participate in fun activities such as dugout tours, batting practice, and have a picture taken with the world series trophy
- Enjoy an evening at the ballpark with CommPartners’ staff and colleagues
Peak 2020 will be July 30-31, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Register now until March 26, 2020, for a “Pre-Season” discount. Please visit the Peak 2020 website for all the details. We are looking forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C., this summer!
Cristyn Johnson is the newest addition to the CommPartners team. She may be a new name to some clients, but she no stranger to Elevate or CommPartners. Cristyn is a former client who has joined us as a Client Development Manager. She told me a little bit about her position, what it was like to transition from client to team member, and what unique perspectives she brings to the table.
JR: What is your job title, and what will you be doing for CommPartners?
CJ: I am a Client Development Manager. I will be working with all existing clients – that includes Elevate, content capture, live-stream clients – helping them optimize their systems, brainstorming new ideas and initiatives they might be excited to embark on, and making sure they get the most out of our services.
JR: Exciting! What aspects of your new position are you looking forward to the most?
CJ: I am a huge professional development and learning nerd, so I am really looking forward to learning about all of the really cool projects and initiatives our clients are doing or could be doing with CommPartners.
JR: How about association education? What makes you excited working in this space?
CJ: I get really excited when other people get really excited about learning.
JR: Sounds like you’re in the right industry! So, you have the unique experience of coming to CommPartners as a former client, can you speak to what that transition was like?
CJ: In my previous position, I was managing our Elevate platform. As the position grew, I found myself drawn to helping others use the platform more effectively, think critically about how they use the platform, and how the end-users use the platform. So, it seemed serendipitous when this position at CommPartners became available where I could similarly help other Elevate administrators across the platform.
JR: Do you think that experience has given you a unique perspective you can use in your new position?
CJ: Absolutely! I think the association world is very unique with so many dynamics and strategies and ideas, and having that deeper knowledge is going to help me make more informed recommendations to clients. It also means, we can have a certain level of insight that we didn’t necessarily have before, new initiatives or new products can have an added association perspective built into the way they are created.
JR: Now that you’re working for CommPartners, what makes us unique compared to other online education companies you have worked with/have experience with?
CJ: CommPartners takes the time to listen and get to know all of our clients, and I felt that interaction when I was on the other side as a client too. That goes a long way in the association world because a lot of them are not-for-profit entities, other companies can write them off as a faceless name in a crowd – you don’t feel that with CommPartners.
JR: What’s a unique element of Elevate that really excites you?
CJ: Elevate has a module called Connect. It is a great way to connect all your users within your LMS. Where on a discussion board the conversation just kind of ends, the Connect Module allows you to create an interactive community with all of your Elevate users. Users can talk and share resources beyond single product interaction.
JR: Bonus question round! What is one movie you can watch over and over and over?
CJ: Slums of Beverly Hills!
Cristyn is looking forward to working with our clients to make sure they are getting the most out CommPartners’ products and services. If you have an idea you’d like to try out within your education services or feel like your education toolbox could use a refresh, contact Cristyn.
She is ready to find a new way to engage your learners or maybe better leverage what you already have.
Cristyn can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (443) 539-4858.
Event Feedback: Beyond Attendee Evaluations
Organizations of all sizes and interest groups can benefit from hosting or sponsoring live conferences and events. They help you connect your people with each other and with information. They’re also a great way to learn about the latest and greatest tools for your business, build your network, and foster community among industry professionals.
Creating an unforgettable event experience requires, first and foremost, establishing standards for success. What does a great event look like, and how will you know how yours measures up? Collecting feedback from conference attendees is an important part of defining the results of your event. This is true whether you’re hosting a live in-person conference, virtual event, or hybrid with a livestream component, as is increasingly popular among associations and nonprofit organizations.
Evaluations, sometimes called “evals” for short, are but one method to collect attendee feedback. We’ll explore a few other ways to gauge the impact of your event or conference:
1. Live Polls
Imagine for a moment that you could capture feedback instantly and use that information to change the course of your event mid-stream. What would it mean if you could harness that real-time data and apply it to drive engagement among your audience, while they’re still onsite/online?
Live polls are a unique way to get feedback from conference-goers that can empower you to take action in the moment versus waiting until your next event to apply the learning.
Maybe you have a major keynote speaker scheduled to take the stage in the afternoon, but general session attendance was poor earlier in the day. Before the big afternoon keynote, you could call attendees’ attention to a poll (using email or your event app) about what topic they’d most like to see from the upcoming speaker. Or have them vote on two impromptu topics and have your speaker lead with insights gleaned from the poll results as an icebreaker.
Or, better yet, your speaker could incorporate a live poll into his or her presentation. This gives your audience a part to play in the experience and helps connect them to the speaker’s message— both can positively impact their overall perception of the event. You’re engaging them, making them part of the experience, and showing them that you care about what they think.
Structurally speaking, a survey is basically a group of polls. It’s a set of questions with predetermined answer options that help you collect and organize feedback from your audience. Surveys are frequently used in pre- and post-event contexts to help event planners analyze the impact of the event on attendee perception.
Do your people feel differently about your organization or brand before they attended their last breakout session than they did when they arrived on Day 1? Did they attend your conference to get insights they can apply right away to their business (pre-event), and were their expectations met (post-event)?
Surveys can be used across your event in as many innocuous ways (was the coffee hot enough?) as indicative ones (how likely are you to enlist our services in the future?). By focusing your questions around key indicators of success you’ll capture the right data to help you improve with each event delivery.
You’re halfway through Day 2 of your event and everything onsite is going great. Then you look around and, all of a sudden, you see your attendees are completely distracted. They won’t look up from their phones and the presenter you’ve invited to speak knows it. Instead of taking this cringeworthy moment as a failure or a fluke, consider it an opportunity. Make a game of it!
Another burgeoning method for engaging attendees and collecting their feedback at events is through gamification. This is a concept born out of the human desire to play while learning (yes, even at work) and technology’s power to enable that behavior.
Challenge your people to a friendly competition to see who can complete their session surveys the soonest. Offer a prize to the top five people who visit the greatest number of sponsors. Watch as the number of private meetings booked increases after you incentivize peer-to-peer and attendee-expert networking. Encourage them to team up with colleagues and spread the word.
These are just a few examples to engage the audience at your next event or conference. Be sure to check out EventMB Studio’s “15 Ideas to Collect Feedback at Events” for other creative ways to find out what attendees really think about your event.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maggie Greene, Pathable, Inc.
Equal parts voracious reader and passionate writer, Maggie is an expert in communication principles and practices that help drive positive impact for business. As Marketing Manager for Pathable, Inc., she’s customer-obsessed, results-oriented, and dedicated to celebrating the value of highly customizable event app and web solutions for event planners across industries around the globe.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present at the 2019 Higher Logic Super Forum, on the topic of community-based learning. At the start of the session, I discussed the difference between training and learning. I suggested that training tends to be one dimensional or instructional, in support of a specific process or job with a singular path towards the end goal. Learning can be described as a multi-dimensional approach, that links educational experience and work performance. It focuses on personal qualities and situational decision making. Too often online education programs that fit well into the learning space are structured as training. The problem is, there is little space created for engagement, conversation and sharing of ideas and this leads to minimal learner to learner or learner to instructor engagement.
A way to address this situation is to create space for sharing of ideas, reflection and connection among participants. This was one of the initial goals when we formed a close partnership with Higher Logic to bring learning and community together as a single offering. While we have had some success achieving this on a macro level with an integrated user experience (UX), a single menu structure and seamless integration, we have not had great progress on a content level.
In my talk yesterday, I made the case that if you are offering online learning that is enhanced from a collaboration among participants, an integration of your community and LMS on a program level makes a lot of sense. Here are three benefits of integrating discussions within your online course, virtual conference or webinar offerings:
- Your community members have already taken time to set up their profile and participate in the community. They can now leverage that presence to engage fellow learners in a more focused way. Adding online education to their participation makes them more active and creates synergy between the two platforms, therefore increasing participation.
- Satisfaction with a course will be enhanced when there is the opportunity to share ones ideas or thoughts with other learners.
- Adding discussions provides a continuum of what is learned. It provides participants the opportunity to continue with the topic once the course is completed.
Recently, CommPartners enhanced its integration between Higher Logic’s Community and CommPartners’ Elevate LMS. Is it time for you to make this a priority in 2020?
If you have questions on how to move forward with community based learning, contact Meghan Gowen, VP of Client Development at email@example.com