How to fix virtual events relies heavily on what we all love about events.
What is that? The energy? The people? The learning?
Or could it be the swag? Let’s stop for a second and talk about swag. Think back to how many times you have seen attendees line up for a bag giveaway to collect freebies (and other collateral.)
We can’t deny that swag is popular and drives crowds to your space. We know they don’t generate quality leads, but they do create excitement. Content may be king, but swag is the jester who makes us smile. Plus, who doesn’t love a present?
Virtual events are a means to connect with your audience, but they lack physical touches that drive deeper levels of engagement. EDE wants to help you change that. Let’s add that physical, tactile experience to create an emotional experience and help fix virtual events. How do we do that when in-person events are on hold?
THE POWER OF UNBOXING!
What is unboxing?
If you haven’t heard of the rage that started in 2013, it is as simple as it sounds. Unboxing is the unpacking of products. If you aren’t sure of the popularity, check out some of the viewing #s on Ryan’s World. He has a single YouTube video with over 2 BILLION VIEWS! It’s beyond a phenomenon.
Unboxings are more than product reveals. They are a performance. They are about the experience as much as it’s about what’s in the box. If done right, unboxings create emotional responses that event marketers dream about.
Forming emotional connections solely through content is challenging. Hopefully, your content brings value to attendees, and they are learning about what’s new and next; those are fundamental parts of any event. For obvious reasons, what virtual events severely lack are physical, tactile experiences. We’re all sitting in our own homes, witnessing events on a mobile device. Adding a physical experience can push your event from a moment in time to a moment over time—the ultimate goal and most significant challenge with virtual events.
Here are our top 4 reasons why unboxing will drive engagement and brand love, helpoing you fix your next virtual event.
First Impressions Matter – in the world of virtual events, there are fewer touchpoints between your brand and the attendees. That’s why it’s critical to create a tactile, hands-on experience. Make sure the swag arrives the morning of your event or even the day before. We also recommend providing an incentive to record and share the experience on social media.
Create a VIP Feeling – virtual events rarely have unique features. No matter what you’re doing, in the end, it is video-based content. Your attendees are likely sitting at their desk (or couch or dining room table) watching from their laptop. Adding an unboxing experience will create a unique feeling that will elevate your brand in their minds. You will outshine your competitors who are relying on content alone.
😊 Organic chatter can add an avalanche of content to help market your next event and excite industry influencers. There is no better way to sell an event than by having your most ardent fans brag about how awesome it was!
How to Create the Experience
Now what? How do you get started? There are 6 key steps that you need to consider when creating an unboxing experience.
PACKAGING FILLER – you can always go with packing peanuts or bubble wrap to keep costs down, but this is another touchpoint to tell your story. Choose something that speaks to your brand.
TISSUE PAPER – Building anticipation is an essential aspect of unboxing. One extra layer can add that extra excitement.
PRODUCT PRESENTATION– if you’re going to go through the effort of creating an unboxing experience, make sure the curated look of the contents is done right. This is your chance to create a lasting impression, to surprise & delight. Make sure it’s something that will motivate attendees to capture the experience and share it with their networks.
WRITE A PERSONALIZED NOTE– depending on your event’s size, this can be automated to some degree. We suggest using a cursive font on a printed message to give it a personal feel.
INCLUDE IMPORTANT INSERTS – entice attendees to earn rewards by sharing their experience. Whether it’s a free consultation or 15% off their first use, it’s worth the investment to maximize shareability.
For more information about the contents of an unboxing experience, check out ShipBob’s blog all about Unboxing Experiences
Now that you know the why and how of creating an unboxing experience let’s discuss measuring impact!
What (and How) to Measure Impact
It may sound hard to measure an unboxing experience, but it can be easy with a few added details.
DON’t FORGET THE NUMBER – Every event should have its own dedicated # which includes event name, theme, or both. And that # needs to be included in your unboxing materials. The # will give you the metrics needed to prove the effectiveness of your campaign. You may need to invest in social media monitoring tools to get the most out of your measurement, but several free tools are available. The 5 main metrics to track are:
- The volume of hashtag mentions
- The volume of interactions your hashtag accumulates
- Social media reach of mentions containing your hashtag
- The most influential authors
- The most interactive authors
For more information on hashtag measurement and what these metrics mean, go to – https://brand24.com/blog/hashtag-metrics/
CREATE A MICROSITE– microsites are a great way to create an event community and share the unboxing experience. Bonus – they are also inexpensive to produce! Whether it’s through email follow up, a QR code, or a website link on the insert, driving attendees to the microsite is important. Once they get there, make sure you include a brief survey to gain valuable nuggets of information. The amount of time you ask for from attendees should be directly related to the size of the incentive. Hopefully, since you are already putting together a kick-ass unboxing experience, they’ll be inspired by your efforts.
What can a survey do for your measurement?
- Brand Sentiment – before your event begins, EDE recommends asking survey questions, on a scale of 1-5, about how they think and feel about your brand, product, or service. It is a great way to gauge your brand in the marketplace. Then, at the end of the event, or post-unboxing experience, you ask the same set of questions. The difference in responses is You can then use that information to compare with the survey after the unboxing experience. Then you will have a clear, measurable piece of information to share on brand sentiment.
- Brand and/or Product Awareness – get specific on what you’re asking about in terms of brand or product awareness. The survey can give you feedback in a few areas and help gain a better understanding of how attendees felt pre-and post-event.
- Sales and Marketing Insights – determining the quality of your leads is key. If you can glean specifics on annual spend, how much they need your solution, and how quickly customers are looking to implement a new program, it will motivate your sales team to follow up quickly.
There you have it! The what, why, how, and ways to measure success. We also included some unboxing resources provided by the folks at Shopify. If you’re interested in talking about how to design the experience and fix your next virtual event, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.
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