Blog Post

Social Distancing? Here Are Some Online Alternatives to In-Person Events

March 6, 2020

Well-being and individual health have rapidly become a focus for experiential marketers as the containment of the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) gets underway. While some events may be altered or cancelled, it doesn't mean your lead capture and consumer targeting must come to a halt.

Consider some of these strategies and tools that will help you maintain business continuity, especially if your planned, in-person events may not be an option at the moment.

Use Online Gamification.

Games, sweepstakes, and prizes not only engage consumers, they can be played from wherever there's an internet connection. Here are some tools that can be easily deployed:

     - Raffle/Sweepstakes/Prize Tools
     - Gaming/Product Trivia Microsites
     - Engagement Technology API (to integrate any technology with your reporting platform)

Pro-tip: Make sure these tools match your brand's look and feel, creating an experience that is just as consistent online as it would be in person.

Engage Virtually.

A livestream event lets you share your message with consumers no matter where they are, and the upsides to this platform are abundant:

     - Capture consumer data before a live product reveal or viewing an on-demand webcast
     - Get undivided attention from consumers who have chosen to engage
     - Repurpose video content for marketing throughout the year
     - Travel time and expenses aren't an issue
     - Create an authentic experience by asking/answering questions

Event microsites can integrate livestreams or drive pre-registration before online events, and they reduce any difficulty in using third-party branded options while making you look good.

Be Social.

Put social media to work for you and engage with consumers using a platform they access multiple times a day.

     - Use Social Augmented Reality to create customized, shareable photos
     - Exploit the live video feature of social media platforms and integrate with data capture so you can target leads
     - Leverage social media channels to drive registration to online gamification

Social media has the reach and the platforms to engage with consumers; the only thing you need to add is a platform to segment and target.

Events Will Be Back.

Being nimble and flexible is simply part of being an event marketer. If everything always went as planned, the job would be easy.

Leveraging an online strategy is an important component of experiential marketing, and at the moment it makes sense to rely on that strategy to maintain a productive event lifecycle.

The virus threat will eventually vanish, but you can't turn off lead generation activities in the interim. Otherwise, it will be an incredible challenge to restart. An online strategy here or there, right now, will keep your brand top of mind and the sales funnel filled.

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