Delivering Virtual Events for your Target Market

Posted by: Sophia Duplin

 

If you are looking to promote your company, product or service and engage your target market in a virtual event without the need for physical presence, then it is important that you know who they are and what they are looking to get from attending. You must understand their needs and goals when attending your virtual event, whether that is for professional training and development, networking or to earn a certification.

 

In this blog, you will learn about:

 

Virtual events are a perfect way for professionals and entrepreneurs alike to take their business, organization or career training directly into the hands of the people who need it most – without ever leaving home.

 

By understanding what drives your target market and what they hope to achieve by attending your event, you can ensure that they get the knowledge and networking opportunities that suit them best and will help you to tailor content accordingly.

 

What do they want? What will they gain from attending? How can you make sure the content aligns with their expectations? How will you make sure to curate speakers who align with these goals?

 

There are several things you will want to research and know about your audience before you begin to plan your content, curating speakers and designing the flow and experience of your virtual event. These include your target market's:

 

  • Demographic
  • Goals for Attending
  • Professional Industry
  • Career Position and Trajectory
  • Goals & Reasons for Attending (i.e., professional development, networking)

 

What is Your Target Market's Demographic?

To understand your target audience's demographic, consider these attributes

 

Age - From what generation are the majority of your attendees? Are they mostly millennials, Gen X or Baby Boomers? This will help you know how and where to target them for event registrations & promotions, how technically savvy you can expect them to be when interacting with your event platform and conclude what their background and experience level might be.

 

Geographic Location - Where is your audience tuning in from? Will this be a global event?  You need to understand where your audience is geographically so you can plan out logistics like: what time and day will you be scheduling your event? Will you need a translator? Will you require a platform with CART accessibility & closed captioning functionality?

 

Income Level - Income level is important to gauge so you know how to price event tickets. If this is an affluent demographic, then you can expect to plan a multi-day, multi-track virtual event with top-notch speakers, networking sessions and expensive ticket prices. If you understand that your audience may not have the resources to pay for expensive ticket prices, be conscious of this as you book out speakers and plan out the scope of the event. However, if you know you will not be able to charge high prices for tickets, there are several ways - like finding sponsors, exhibitors and event partners to help cover costs and maintain a profit margin.

 

Education Level - If your event is around continuing or professional education, it is critical to know what level your audience is already at. You do not want to be delivering introductory content to a group of niche experts, and vice versa. Understand where they are at and take the content one step beyond that.

 

Occupation - Knowing their occupation is an essential, baseline piece of information - especially if you are delivering some sort of professional development or continuing education event. You want your content to be aligned with their career trajectory and relevant for their industry.

 

Ethnic Background - You want to understand your audience and where they came from. What particular experiences have they had? How can you include a diverse set of opinions, perspectives and experiences into your content delivery? You should also make note, especially with global audiences, of what may or may not be considered culturally appropriate. 

 

Researching and understanding the demographic of your audience is very important to get some baseline knowledge on who they are as people, however it is merely first step in understanding your audience and delivering a virtual event that is delivered exactly for their needs and goals.

 

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What are Your Target Market's Goals?

Identify the knowledge and skills you want your audience members to walk away with and understand how that aligns with their goals for attending. Knowing your desired outcome will help you strategically plan content, curate speakers and design workshops and breakout sessions around those needs.

 

Are you centering your event content around:

 

  • Training and development?
  • Professional or continuing education?
  • A niche, particular topic?
  • Best practices within your industry?
  • Connecting better with clients?
  • Networking?
  • Certification delivery?

 

Does your audience want a tangible indicator that they attended your event (ie: a certification or continuing education credits)? Is your audience looking to grow their network by connecting with industry thought leaders or other professionals in their field?

 

You need to consider what your audience's career goals are. Are they here because they are required to get annual CLEs (Continuing Legal Education Credits) or CMEs (Continuing Medical Education Credits)? Are they here because they are trying to dig in deep to industry insight and learn new skills to earn a promotion? Or are they here to simply grow their network?

 

 

 

What are the Psychographics of Your Target Audience? 

Understanding the psychographics of your target audience will allow you to dig deeper into how your audience thinks. These attributes of someone’s character include:

 

Personality - Are your audience members outgoing or shy? Are they thinkers or are they do-ers? Are they self-starters and entrepreneurial? Are they detail-oriented or focused on the larger picture? 

 

Attitudes & Behavior - What attitudes are they coming into your event with? Are they excited to learn the content or are they forced to be here? Are they willing to engage, ask questions and participate in chats and breakout sessions or are they more likely to sit back and watch passively? Do they already trust your credibility or do you still have to establish it? 

 

Values - Know your audience’s values to determine the brand voice, rhetoric and language that you use for promotional materials and during presentations. You want to make sure your content and delivery is appropriate and resonates with your audience. 

 

Interests / hobbies - Consider what your audience is interested in outside of whatever virtual event you might be attracting them towards. This might help you think creatively when producing your content - you can use their interests and hobbies to make metaphors during presentations, hire entertainment for intermissions and know where to advertise your promotional materials. 

 

Lifestyle - Understanding your audience’s lifestyle will help you schedule and plan out your content as well as manage expectations around what you can receive from them. Are these part-time workers looking to attend a couple hours of an event to grow their network and advance themselves professionally? Are these busy executives who barely have the time as it is to participate in the event? Are these budding entrepreneurs who will do anything to learn, experience and ask questions? Are these doctors and lawyers who spend many hours a week in their career and are mandated to keep up with continuing education - squeezing in a webinar during their lunch hour? 



 

Assessing Your Target Audience

You want the information and data on your target audience to be tried-and-true. There are a few ways to make sure you are assessing your audience accurately and getting the detailed and exact information you are looking for. 

 

Send Out Pre-Event Surveys 

When attendees register for the event, consider sending surveys to their emails so you can capture data directly from them. You can ask them about their goals for attending, expectations and even some questions about their demographic. Let them know that you are using the data to tailor the event more specifically to their needs and interests. 

 

A/B Test Messaging on Promotional Materials

A great way to see what type of messaging resonates with your audience is to A/B test the promotional materials you put out. If one type of messaging is clearly resonating more than the other, use that info to tailor the narrative you surround your event with. 

 

Evaluate What’s Already Working

Have you delivered virtual events in the past? The attendee data you captured, whether it is good or bad, can tell you a lot. Consider reaching out to attendees of past events as well and as for feedback. The more data & feedback you can capture and examine, the better you will hone in on what your target market wants. 

 

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If you are unsatisfied with the survey capabilities and data capture of your current virtual event platform, consider checking out BeaconLive - a highly capable and configurable virtual events platform. 

 

 

Methods for Tailoring Content

The following are some examples of how content could be tailored for different audiences:

 

 

Adjust the length and time of your event 

If you feel as though you are targeting busy industry professionals who barely have time in their schedule as it is, consider hosting an event for a few hours in the middle of the day. However, if you are delivering an event with top-notch speakers, access to exclusive materials and industry insight and constructive opportunities for networking, then you will definitely want your event to go longer. Evaluate your value propositions when scheduling event hours and expecting time and attention from your audience. 

 

Whether you choose to deliver a multi-day, multi-track event with thousands of speakers, or a one-hour webinar during lunch hours, you will definitely need to be clear about the time commitment you are expecting  from your attendees. Be sure to provide an agenda on registration pages as well as at the beginning of your event. 

 

 

Configure Interactive Features

Going back to attitudes and behaviors, you will want to understand how engaged they will be with the event content and with the interactive event features you provide. Event organizers often see an increase in engagement if they provide opportunities for attendees to ask questions through a chat channel, instead of requiring them to speak in front of the entire audience. 

 

Boosting engagement is always a good thing. Work with your virtual event platform provider to incorporate features like live polling, Q&A chat rooms, private chats between audience members and speakers, etc. 

 

 

Organize Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions can be very powerful - use them to your advantage! There are likely several different types of audience members that are going to participate in your event. If you provide several different tracks, with speakers on niche subjects, you will be able to tailor to the interests and goals of many different people. 

 

Give your audience members the power of asynchronous learning - allowing them to pick and choose which event tracks to sign up for and participate in. Offering several tracks to choose between will allow audience members to take more control over their learning experience and be more engaged with the content. 

 

You can also use attendee data to automatically place certain members into specific breakout rooms for round table discussions about the event material. You can strategically place audience members together who you think might be interested in networking with each other or have something valuable to offer each other. 

 

 

Incorporate Tangible Takeaways

If you understand your audience members’ goals, you can decide if it is more enticing to your audience if you provide them with a tangible takeaway from your event. This could come in the form of a certification or continuing education credits. It could also be a free e-book or industry data that you’ve compiled. 

 

Offering some sort of tangible takeaway from your event will help with event promotion and registrations, but will also provide your audience members with a value-add that will continuously remind them of your event and your brand and the experience you provided them. 

 

 

 

If you have any other questions about how to reach your target market through virtual events, reach out to us at BeaconLive. We are experts in delivering professional, fully-managed and customized events for our clients on our highly capable and configurable platform. We tailor every event exactly to the customer’s needs and can work with you to plan, execute and manage an event that is geared exactly for your target market. 

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