In 2020, event organizers realized that they could save money and multiply their reach simultaneously. How? By complete accident. Exhibitions, conferences, trade shows, career fairs, all moved online to survive the pandemic. But they didn’t just survive – they flourished.
Virtual events provided people the means to conveniently attend any event from their couches. They didn’t have to travel for the event or bear with charged crowds, struggling to hear the speaker. How amazing are headphones?
For organizers, it was even better. They saved money without having to rent auditoriums and exhibit halls, or pay for food and printables. On top of that, they could reach more people through the internet and offer clearer visuals and audios.
So, what about product launches? They, too, moved online.
Little changed in the content of product launch announcements. You’re explaining the problem, you’re talking about the need for your product, and you’re explaining its merits.
But, the entire atmosphere was completely different. t’s a camera that you stare at, instead of a packed auditorium. And your audience is sitting at home, plugged into their screens. For such a disconnected arrangement to work, you need to take certain steps to bridge the gap between you and your audience.
This article will explain how you can do that.
1. Provide an immersive experience
The whole point of a product launch is to hook people in and get them excited from the get-go. If you aren’t setting the mood with an equally exciting interface, your audience is going to lose interest very soon.
To truly nail a virtual product launch, you need to provide an immersive and holistic experience. Now, how do you do that?
Host your virtual event in a realistic 3D event space that imitates real life lobbies and auditoriums. If there are multiple areas that attendees can explore, visualize those areas by creating different rooms that are all accessible through a central lobby. Make them easy to locate and clarify what attendees should expect from each. Animated attendees moving around in the lobby and interacting with one another also adds a nice realistic touch.
In this way, a visually rich experience helps attendees feel that they’re attending the event in person. Such 3D event spaces also have natural spacing for banners and standees that you can utilize to promote your brand and product.
2. Promote your virtual product launch online
For all kinds of events, aggressive promotion is the key to high attendance. If you’re organizing a virtual product launch, you need to promote your event with a comprehensive targeted campaign.
What this means is finding your target audience, personalizing your marketing campaigns for them, and then sending them out via digital channels such as email. With email users expected to reach 4.1 billion in 2021, it’s the best place to advertise events. That’s why you need to send out event promotions to your email lists, first and foremost.
The second channel that you need to target is social media. Drop hints on all your social networks a few weeks in advance, suggesting “something new is brewing”. This will build anticipation, making your audience curious and more invested in the contents of your product announcement. Then, once people start looking for your posts, reveal the event details, and ask users to register through your event link.
When the event is around the corner, say a week or two away, send email invites and offer a registration link. Make it more convenient for them to attend by offering them the option to add the event to their calendars.
Don’t just stop here. Most people who sign up for the event will forget about it soon after. So, diligently send out reminders. The first one should go out a day before the event, and the second one, an hour before the event.
3. Enable attendees to experience the product
Another way to enhance the attendee experience is to offer them a feel of the actual product. While this is often easier to implement with in-person events, you might still be able to extend the experience virtually.
If you’re in the technology industry and are launching a new software tool, create a booth to host trials for it in your virtual lobby. You can make a few key modules accessible or show the main interface. A product simulation or a video of it in action could also provide attendees a feeler of the real deal.
4. Take audience input and encourage engagement
Now, here’s where virtual events get a bad rep. Most people who’ve attended a virtual event will say that the experience was very disconnected and disengaging and about 50% of event planners say that their biggest frustration is matching live engagement with virtual events.
One-way communication is always a recipe for disaster in virtual product launches.
To avoid this mistake, provide your audience with engagement avenues and encourage interaction. Get your audience invested by offering a live Q&A session so they can directly connect with the speakers. A lot of questions pop up in product launches so make sure that you’re providing a platform to answer those.
You can also send invites to your mailing list to book one-on-one meeting slots with you for demonstrations or questions. And if people are unable to avail these, offer an interactive booth in your 3D event space that allows attendees to ask questions and get more information.
This audience input is also beneficial from a product development perspective. Feedback from your audience will help you better understand what potential users are expecting and what are some future enhancements that you need to look into.
When done right, virtual product launches offer a much more convenient way to interact and exchange information. You don’t have to manage scores of attendees rushing to the same booth or distracted representatives.
5. Partner up with influencers
To increase your digital reach, partner up with thought leaders and influencers in your niche for your virtual product launch. Influencer marketing works wonders for product launches as Influencers boost event visibility (and credibility) by lending their audiences to your event.
Invite influencers to host at your event or indulge in a speaking session, where they offer their insights. You should also ask your partners to promote your event through their social channels and announce their appearance, ensuring greater reach.
ZoomInfo, a marketing solution, does this well by partnering up with influencers in the digital marketing industry like Neil Patel and Jay Bear for their annual Growth Acceleration Summit.
If you’d like to take things up a notch, offer speakers early access to your product and ask them to share their experience at the event. Industry leaders are trusted sources and their approval could mean a lot of business for your new product. And for the attendees, the event offers a convenient way to interact with their idols.
6. Experiment with games or freebies
To further up your engagement game, delve into gamification or freebies!
Games at any event are a great way to spice things up. You can arrange a scavenger hunt full of clues related to the new product, that lead them to booths where they have to talk to representatives or learn about product information like pricing information or product features. The prizes at the end could be early access or product giveaways. With stakes like those, your audience would pay more attention to the speaker.
You could also use a spin wheel or a lucky draw of sorts to give out freebies to attendees. People love freebies, especially when they can get them without having to leave the house. Here are some of the options:
- Free vouchers or discounts
- Early access to product
- Cash prizes
- Product merchandise (digitally delivered merch like wallpapers, or mailed merch like keychains or notebooks)
Read more: 8 ideas for a successful virtual product launch
When done right, virtual product launches can be even more exciting than their in-person counterparts. As long as you’re making a good use of your digital resources and taking the time to answer queries and engage with your audience, you’ll be able to get a lot of eyeballs on your new release.
Just be sure to advertise extensively, create immersive event spaces, provide an interactive experience, both with the product and your team, and experiment with games. And in this way, your audiences will be looking forward to all your future events!
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