De-risking virtual events has become an increasing concern for many event organisers over the last 12 months so we thought we'd share five of our most successful best practices to help you do just that.
In a board meeting about six months ago we were talking about some of the biggest challenges and objections that were coming up with our target prospects. This naturally led itself to us taking the 80,000 ft view and looking at the virtual event space as a whole where we identified that many events and marketing managers had been "burned" by digital technologies and suppliers over the last 12 months.
Some of the biggest challenges we were hearing on a consistent basis were:
Lack of communication during the project build ie."You say you want this and it's complete pot luck with what you end up with on the day"
Having minimal control over the management of the content.
Lack of communication and support during live events.
Technology failing and not doing what they have been told it does and there were no back-ups in place.
It was at this point one of our advisors stated "No experience is better than a bad experience" and that stuck with us. With this in mind, we immediately began to focus on addressing each one of these concerns. Here are five of our most successful implementations to combat these concerns:
Introduction on pre-event test links
Every organisation is configured slightly differently, with each having their own corporate firewall, VPN, and security settings, which in turn increases your element of risk. This is particularly emphasised when working with 3D platforms because they will use unusual file types like GLB/GLTF files meaning some security systems could see this as a threat. The last thing you want when hosting an external event is to lose some of that precious contact time you have with your audience because they can't access your event.
The introduction of our test links allowed our clients to run preliminary tests to ensure everyone could access the technology beforehand. They are usually sent with the welcome email anyway so it really is no extra effort on the event organisers part to include the link. Some of our clients leveraged this further, and turned it into an additional gamified teaser (touchpoint) by adding quiz questions or custom branded games to get people excited for the main event.
Ultimately though it allowed our clients to flag any attendees that might potentially have trouble accessing the experience and gave us a head start in fixing any accessibility issues beforehand, instead of firefighting on the day.
Personalised onboarding and support materials
When we first started building out the documentation to support our clients through the onboarding process and with their events we spent weeks of time creating a super long manual of what every feature does and how to troubleshoot any issues, ultimately overcomplicating the whole process.
We figured that as amazing as the platform was, the feedback we were getting was "there really isn't much to get", which in itself we thought was great! One of our main focus areas was to design the platform to be simple and easy to use, for both attendees and organisers. That meant that you were no more than two clicks away from doing anything or getting to where you needed to be on the platform or dashboard, unlike our encyclopedia of supporting documentation where you could easily get lost down a rabbit hole (kinda like going on Wikipedia... 😅).
Turns out we could onboard clients in just under a 30 min walk-through call where they would not just learn how to create, manage, and run reports on their micro-events but it was also enough time to reassure them and give them the love they needed to know that we were only at the end of an email if they needed us.
Supporting materials now consist of 3x personalised company video tutorials:
For organisers - how to setup, create, manage, and report on events (3mins)
For hosts - how to control the room and stream content to attendees (3mins)
For attendees - how to move and interact with objects in the room (2mins)
The lesson: information is only useful if it's digestible. Make it crispy.
Organiser Content Management System
With two out of three of our founders having a background in events prior to building Mixed Reality Rooms they were very familiar with the scenario of last-minute changes occuring and therefore we looked at ways we could gift that control back to event managers.
By building our very own content management system (CMS) which is a fancy word for a library that people could upload their presentations, videos, pictures, and documents to, it enabled them to make changes to their event space whenever they wanted, whether that be minutes before the event or during. By allowing them to take control of the content in the room they were able to make changes instantly and not have to wait for us (even though we pride ourselves on our speedy response times!). Moreover, it's quite fun being able to put up content and brand your own 3D world! Nevertheless, as a supplier we are always on hand to support them should they request it.
Intercom (direct support chat for attendees)
When hosting lots of micro-events or larger conference-style events there will always be the inevitable fire that needs putting out. This is true for virtual as much as it is in-person, the only difference is that in-person you feel much more in control with being able to help the attendees. We wanted to increase the transparency between us, our clients, and the attendees and be able to offer help within "two clicks".
Introducing Intercom allowed us and our clients who were supporting the event to directly respond to any attendee questions within seconds rather than the alternative of emailing a support email if they need help. Emotionally for attendees we also found the it increased event stickiness because they knew someone was working on their problems there and then to help them, limiting drop off.
Whatsapp Groups for Event Organisers
Communicate where your clients do. What we found is that even though many digital solutions support direct chat many of the conversations that happen among attendees and event organisers still happen via whatsapp.
Now beyond offering direct support for attendees through intercom we offered every event and marketing manager we worked with direct access via mobile to an account manager.
There will always be an element of risk when hosting events, in-person or digital, but the most frequent challenges are different and therefore require different solutions. Virtual events are more accessible, making it's easier to get people to attend but with that comes a greater expectation that they will receive fast support when things go wrong. It's important that the chosen platform you use provides you with the communication tools needed to allow them to receive that help.
About Mixed Reality Rooms:
Mixed Reality Rooms brings B2B companies closer to their accounts by making it incredibly easy for them to create personalised and gamified micro-events. Reach out today if you'd like to talk to one of our team about the benefits of setting up a personalsied and co-branded space for every B2B relationship.