When launching a new product or service, you owe it to your team, investors and audience to make it a success.
In Australia and New Zealand, a blog post, a press release, and social media posts are all necessary assets to help get the word out about your brand’s next big step. But these simply don’t generate the same impact as an event.
When executed correctly, a launch event generates excitement and gives customers and media opportunities to interact with the creators. The anticipation and interactions often help form positive impressions and increase momentum.
In this guide, we’ll explore:
• Why run virtual events?
• How to host a virtual launch event
• How to unlock the full potential of virtual events
Why run virtual events?
As exciting as it can be to hold a product launch event in theatres, convention halls, or rooftop terraces, it may be more advantageous for your brand to host the event virtually.
Increase audience reach
Only a handful of brands have a following dedicated enough to fly across the country to attend the latest launch. Attendance goes way up when all the audience has to do is click a link, attendance goes way up. You can now spread awareness to customers wherever they may be located.
Ensure the best speakers participate
Even with the incentive of an all-expenses-paid trip to your city, some guests simply won’t be able to fit your event into their busy schedules. By making the event virtual, their three-day commitment becomes a 15-minute appearance, which is far more feasible and appealing to those high-powered, in-demand influencers that can bring extra attention to your event.
Chats, polls, and other interactive elements allow the audience to actively participate in the action without disrupting the show’s flow. Their real-time reactions are an invaluable resource. It’s a valuable way to get to know your audience better for future ventures.
Renting a venue is expensive. The space is almost always costly, but there are additional, sometimes hidden costs to consider, like guest travel expenses, catering staff, AV support staff, stage design, printed materials or gift bags. Virtual launches may still require some professional assistance, but the labour and associated costs will be significantly lower.
Screenshot from the Pearl Nano live product launch video. Live product launches are a great way to generate hype for your company’s latest and greatest innovations.
How to host a virtual launch event
If you’re ready to engage customers worldwide and create some buzz around your upcoming release, follow these steps to create an unforgettable virtual event.
Plan your story
How do you get the audience excited? How do you make this event memorable? What would you like the media to say after the event? It all starts with figuring out what you want to say.
Thankfully, you have unique value propositions for the latest release. The key is to break down those value props into a compelling, digestible message.
Organise your production team
Because of its lightweight, flexible nature, a virtual event can be run by a three-person team. These three key roles are:
- Producer - Responsible for ensuring the video, sound, and live stream are working correctly, creating and switching between various video layouts.
- Talent and content producer - Responsible for booking guests, organising the run-of-show, managing content, and coaching speakers and guests.
- Live moderator - Responsible for answering questions in the chat, asking questions, publishing polls, and managing other interactive elements involved in the launch.
It is possible to spread these responsibilities across a larger team. But as long as you have these three critical roles filled, you’ll have everything you need to run the event smoothly.
Get set for success
Providing high-quality webcams and microphones to presenters can elevate sound and vision quality. Alternatively, there is a way to get high-quality video and audio with everyday tools that’s easy for speakers, guests, and producers. Epiphan Connect can turn any ordinary Microsoft Teams meeting into a virtual studio. When Epiphan Connect is added to a Microsoft Teams call, the meeting participants’ audio and video – as well as the screen share – are isolated into stable streams.
Not only do producers get high-quality, isolated video and audio to work with, but they can also rest easy knowing speakers and guests won’t have to do any setup. They join the meeting just like they’ve done millions of times before. And once they’re in, they’re ready to go live.
Attract your audience
YouTube, Facebook Live or Linkedin are all excellent platforms that make it easy to attract your audience. Take a look at your social media accounts. If you have a big Facebook audience, then stream to Facebook Live. It’s as simple as that. If there’s no clear-cut platform choice, you can choose to multi-stream.
Create every asset you think you’ll need to dazzle the audience. It should include:
- Graphics and lower thirds to make the final show look professional
- Layouts of the different speaker views
- Supporting media like intro videos, slides, diagrams, and anything else that may help tell your story
- A timer to add a sense of urgency
- Giveaways and prizes
- Polls, questions, and other interactive elements
As you’re creating this content, be mindful of how long it’ll be once you go live. Overstuffing a launch event is a common and critical mistake. The punchier your event is, the stickier it’ll be in the minds and memories of the audience.
Practice makes perfect
The difference between a good virtual launch event and a great one is determined by how much rehearsal you undertake.
It’s essential to take as much time as possible to iron out technical issues on the production side, ensure speakers are comfortable and confident with their points and setups, and that the overall show isn’t too long. Be prepared to make changes to ensure the show will be a winner. Create a detailed running sheet (see image below) that accounts for every second of the event and its inclusions.
Follow-up and provide video-on-demand
Virtual events can have extended effectiveness thanks to their accessible nature. Anyone with a link can feel like they are a part of the action, even if it’s been months since the event occurred.
While the live show is great for those who can attend, the video-on-demand of the event’s stream might get ten times the views with the right promotion, keywords, and tags. Send out follow-up emails and post links to social media to ensure you take advantage of the longer shelf-life this format affords.
Unlock the full potential of virtual events
Product launches are special occasions that don’t come around too often. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply the strategies and tips discussed above to other virtual events. They may not require the same level of planning or promotion, but any virtual event can help galvanise customers into a real community.