Has COVID-19 resulted in canceled and postponed trade shows for your organization? If so, you’re probably coming up with a plan to stay in touch with your network and keep your marketing efforts going. While your trade show marketing may be on the back burner, we want to help you continue to succeed.
One tactic that you might be considering is taking your interactive marketing effort online. Although in-person marketing is irreplaceable, many organizations have found the next best thing at this time to be virtual events.
If virtual events are uncharted territory for you, you’re probably in the same boat as a lot of other organizations leaning on this trade show marketing substitution. Live streaming can be overwhelming, especially when you’re planning to do it on a high scale. Having the attention of prospects, clients, and other viewers all at once can be a great interaction tool – just make sure you’re well prepared so nothing goes wrong!
Here are our top 8 live streaming tips for those who are beginning to lean on virtual events at this time!
1. Figure out how you’re going to promote itIf you’re hosting a virtual event, you’ll have potential access to a global audience. The possibilities are endless for how many viewers you can reach. A good start is to reach out to your email lists and share your event link, giving them an option to RSVP.
Depending on your audience type, you’ll also want to find other platforms to promote your virtual event. Don’t forget to promote it on your social media and website too!
2. Do a test runDoing a test run ensures that your equipment is all functioning correctly and that you won’t run into any problems when you go live. You can never be too prepared when it comes to live streaming since you really only get one shot!
Even if you do go through a trial run, equipment can fail when the real time comes. If something fails, then your entire event could go dark. Be sure to have backup gear such as cables and monitors.
Test out your upload speed to ensure bandwidth availability. If you don’t have consistent upload bandwidth, your live stream may not be available to view for your audience.
Test out the acoustics and find any way possible to minimize room noise. If your audience can’t hear you, how are you supposed to have a successful online event? Testing acoustics and your audio settings beforehand will make sure you’re good to go and sound crystal clear to your audience.
3. Monitor your streamThis is an easy thing to do, but also an easy tip to overlook. Monitoring your stream from an external display will allow you to see what your audience is seeing in real-time.
You could even task a team member with viewing and engaging your virtual event through an external display. This way, if audio syncing seems off or a frame isn’t viewing correctly, they will notice instantly and can alert you to get the problem resolved as soon as possible. This valuable perspective will be an added safety net to make sure things are running as planned throughout your event.
4. Keep your eyes on the cameraThis tip is extremely important for fostering a connection with your audience. You, or whoever is hosting, should be looking into the camera rather than at the monitor.
Your eyes need to be looking into the camera so that viewers can look back into your eyes as well. Eye contact allows people to feel more connected! If you are spending most of your time looking at yourself on the monitor, viewers may feel disengaged. There are lots of distractors to take your audiences’ attention away from you, don’t let a lack of eye contact be one of them!
5. Respond to comments throughout the eventResponding to a comment live rather than waiting to respond to comments at the end of your event brings so much more value to your audience. Why? Because for someone to feel as though they are talking to you in real-time, makes them feel important. Making your audience feel heard and see that their thoughts and feelings matter will keep them on your side when faced with other options in your same industry. It creates brand loyalty!
Speaking in real-time also makes audience members feel a connection because that’s how real conversations work. When you ask a question or make a comment face-to-face or over the phone, the person you’re speaking to responds directly after. Boosting engagement during your event will keep your audience interested!
6. Use a professional backdropNo matter where you’re working amidst the COVID-19 social distancing efforts, be sure to have a professional backdrop. This means, if you’re working from home, some type of branded background would be sufficient to keep your live streaming efforts looking professional.
A branded banner stand would be a great option if this is the route you decide to take. Banner stands are lightweight, cost-effective and easily set up. Be sure that the lighting looks natural
and overhead lighting isn’t too harsh.
7. Stream to more than just one platformDon’t feel constricted to just one live streaming platform! Using additional platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube is an easy and effective way to reach more viewers. Just remember that additional encoding puts more stress on your processor. Be sure that if you do this, you are using a powerful encoder for multi-streaming.
When promoting your event, make sure your audience knows that they have different options to stream. This way, if they’re more familiar with using one over the other, they’ll be more likely to interact and engage throughout your virtual event!
8. Decide the best way to capture leadsAs a B2B marketer, lead generation is likely one of your top priorities. Be sure to find ways to gain information about your online event attendees.
One interesting idea could be offering a link to a chat room or a number to call directly after your virtual event comes to an end. This way, those high-quality prospects who are interested in learning more or talking next steps won’t have to wait to get an email from you and speak down the road. Speaking to prospects right after the show while information is fresh in their minds is a great way to seal the deal.
Transforming your trade show marketing efforts into a virtual event can feel like a whirlwind. Hopefully these live streaming tips can help you come prepared and have a successful online event! Reach out to Skyline Exhibits if you need any more direction for your online marketing during these unprecedented times!