Your Virtual Event is Over – Now What?


Capitalize on the Data and Content to Generate Memberships and Non-Dues Revenue

In a TSNN article today, ASAE announced registration had reached an all-time high for the 2020 ASAE Virtual Annual Meeting & Exposition, with the most registrants ever in the organization’s 100-year history. Held Aug. 10-12, the online event registered 14,108 association professionals, consultants and industry partners, 71 percent of which were first-time attendees. Nearly 3/4 of the professionals that attended the virtual event had never attended the live event!

I attended the virtual event for the first time in many years because it was free to attend as a member, I did not have to travel to the event, and I was interested in many of the education sessions offered.

Organizations have more data and content than ever from their virtual event to leverage. Now is the time to use it and continue to engage your members, non-members, first-time attendees, corporate partners, and new suppliers instead of disappearing from the market or starting from scratch to promote other events, products, and membership.

What are some of the ways you can use the data and content from your virtual event to reengage, convert new members, sell programs or products, and other objectives your organization is trying to achieve? Here are just some examples of what you can do with your data and content to drive membership and non-dues revenue:

  • Promote an upcoming webinar or conference to those that attended similar education sessions at the virtual event
  • Provide access to and continue to promote the recorded education sessions and keynotes to virtual attendees and members / prospects that did not attend the virtual event to continue engagement, collecting more data, and generating revenue year round
  • Did you capture additional demographic and buyer data on attendees’ virtual profiles? Use that data and the sessions / booths they visited to develop custom corporate sponsorship opportunities that can be promoted to highly targeted buyers
  • Promote membership to non-members by aligning your organization’s benefits and values based on the virtual sessions they attended and booths / other areas they visited to showcase your offerings and convert to members (i.e., if they visited several technology companies, make sure they know you offer a virtual marketplace buyers guide, etc.)
  • Promote a relevant publication or other product / service to members based on the virtual sessions and exhibitors they visited (i.e., if they attended leadership sessions, promote a relevant research paper / articles in your publication on leadership, etc.)
  • Target suppliers that attended the virtual event to convert them to a booth at the next live event or sponsorships throughout the year by showcasing the attendee demographics and interest data and options to cost-effectively reach next year’s live and virtual audience
  • Promote the next live event to virtual first-time attendees by tailoring your message with relevant education sessions and exhibitors based on their virtual behavior and the additional benefits of attending the live event

These are just some examples to capitalize on the data and content from your virtual event to drive new memberships and non-dues revenue all year long, as well as increase live event attendance every year. Reality is most organizations have this data and content from their live events but have not capitalized on it effectively.

Live events will come back, but attendance and booth space may not be at the levels achieved before COVID for quite some time. And, there will always be industry professionals and suppliers that do not attend a live event due to budget limitations, schedules, and many other factors. Providing a virtual offering is a great way to continue to engage with new professionals and suppliers, but the virtual event does not have to mirror the live event. Education is still the #1 reason professionals attend an event and offering the keynotes and education sessions to virtual attendees with some custom sponsorships for exhibitors can keep your costs low and return high.

Having a year-round marketing engagement strategy to send relevant and targeted content to participants after your virtual or live event is an even smarter investment, and one that will ensure an organization’s long-term event success and organization sustainability.


Karen Vogel

Karen is an accomplished marketing & business development leader who has launched, revived and managed industry-leading trade shows and conferences for Reed Exhibitions and consulted with dozens of trade associations, publishers, event organizers, and Fortune 500 companies to improve event financial, attendance, lead generation, and brand results over her 25 year career.

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