Most executives feel, right now, that virtual conferences are expected to stay, at least for a few years if not longer. For obvious reasons in terms of accessibility, cost savings, environmental footprint, etc., virtual events have a lot going for them.
Some things don’t change in a virtual environment, content is still king. But what you may not have thought about is how to create memorable experiences during your virtual conferences. You may be surprised at how easy you can mimic some live conference experiences using low tech and no tech tools.
Virtual conferences have been quick to adopt technical tricks for their participants, our team has already helped clients with the following low tech items:
- Creating Conference Theme Concept & Brand Deck
- Creating Social Media Graphics
- Creating Email Drip Campaigns
- Custom PowerPoint Templates
- Custom Digital Backgrounds
- Chat Rooms
- Unique Emojis
- Digital Stickers
- Designing Digital Agendas
We are also seeing many low tech or no tech items helping make virtual events more successful and enjoyable to attend. Tangible experience kits create better engagement for people who are separated by computer screens and hundreds of miles.
Recently we helped our partner, PeakMade, curate no tech daily experience kits that would engage their team members during their annual conference. Ideas included daily notes with a gift card to order lunch delivery, a daily wearable item including t-shirts, socks and hats, and some sort of sensory and experience item to interact with others during the virtual conference.
“Much like everything else, we had to take a new approach to our sales and marketing sessions at PeakMade’s annual conference,” said Ashly Poyer, Vice President of Sales at PeakMade Real Estate. “Benson was a huge part of our success! Benson helped us create a hands-on experience for all of our virtual attendees during our Peak Experiences Powered by Benson session by producing and distributing merch kits that connected our pre-recorded session to an in-the-moment experience. This moment was an unexpected surprise that helped our team feel connected.”
Attendees were asked to register and submit their address – especially since so many people are working remotely. They also entered various clothing sizes and other preferences as needed so we made sure they could wear and use what was sent to them. Packages were bundled and labeled into daily boxes and shipped in one large box before the beginning of the conference. A personalized email was sent with tracking information to help build the anticipation of something fun being delivered soon.
Each morning, attendees were asked to open a box and participate together in the activity or wear the custom apparel item. As the day went along, everyone was able to engage with each other over the items included and stay active during the virtual conference.
Additional fun ideas that have been a big hit included a Happy Hour kit with drinkware and cocktail recipe cards and physical comment paddles to respond while on screen. These paddle cards made for a fun way to interact during sessions.
To ensure continuous engagement during a presentation or seminar, a virtual conference organizer could involve surprise boxes or gifts for those who remain active. For example, asking questions during a Q&A or providing feedback after a session ends. With fun, spur of the moment interactions, you can keep participants engaged and then ship them a surprise box that they can show off during the next virtual video session. Depending on the item’s perceived value, it should create a sense of urgency for everyone else to stay involved so they can get the next surprise box!
As you think about ideas for your next virtual conference, these no tech kits are also an opportunity for you to consolidate sponsorship giveaways into a single shipment. We recently executed this with one of our partners, receiving all items at the Benson warehouse and repackaging into one package with a detailed note. Our partner was excited about this for multiple reasons: it lessened confusion for their team members, added to the experience, and eliminated the distribution of their personal address to multiple vendors.
We know everyone is ready to get back together in person. Until that happens, we are ready to help curate special, low tech packages that create a memorable and engaging experience for your virtual conference attendees.