An experience-first approach is a human-centred approach that virtual event planners use to make an event more unforgettable and successful. Whether you are designing a virtual or a hybrid event, you should always lead with an experience-first event design using an online event platform. This human-centred approach is highly creative. It will ensure all your event participants get the most out of your event and remember it long after it’s over.
If you want to be remembered and make a lasting impression of your virtual events, you must take an experience-first approach during virtual event planning; otherwise, you’ll be one of the thousands of virtual events that just go on and are forgotten soon after they’re over.
Importance of an Experience-First Approach
The human experience is a very important metric. Several virtual event professionals in the UK are seeing an influx of “experience designers” in the event planning industry. The sole purpose of these designers is to humanize events more by creating an attendee-centric design that everyone is currently raving about. Experience design specialists take a deeper look at human experience when designing an event, so it is a lot more than just generic event planning.
Since the invention of virtual and hybrid events and the inclusion of technology and AI, generic events just don’t cut it anymore. The recent disruption caused by an experience-first approach was much needed. Large scale events must focus on experience if they wish to stand out.
Areas to Focus On to Employ an Experience-First Approach
When bringing an experience-first approach to virtual events, there are three key areas you need to focus on:
1. Event Attendees and Personas
Considering attendee experience during the virtual event planning process is a must. This includes determining the types of personas that will attend your event and what they aim to get out of your event. By creating personas, you will get deep insight into designing tailored experiences for each attendee. You need to gather your audience’s input on what they are looking for when designing your event. Designing an event with compassion around personas will keep your audience engaged and motivated while enhancing your marketing messages for each attendee.
Creating attendee personas is crucial to the individual experience and the overall significance of your virtual event. Don’t just assume that your event’s agenda offers what your audience wants – ask them instead. Check-in with your audience and see whether what you’re doing is still in tune with what they need. Once you determine who all will attend your event, you need to divert your attention to what they expect to get out of your event.
2. Event Objectives
Don’t just assume event objectives. Each attendee attending your virtual event will have a different objective. Since there will be multiple personas at your event, it means you will have to meet multiple goals and design your event to work towards those goals.
Before the planning process, identify audience goals. Get people to give their input on the objectives. Find out what they need to feel inspired. The more information and data you can gather about your audience’s objectives in advance, the more tailored your virtual event will be. Once you have your attendee personas and audience objectives locked down, you can focus on the third essential area: the attendee journey.
3. Journey Mapping
Take all the information you have gathered from engaging with your attendees in advance and build your event’s action plan around that. Begin by defining a clear mission, and use that mission to inform the structure of your event. We recommend starting the planning process with an agenda template, sort of like a map that moves participants and their personas through a journey.
Here is a sample template of a journey map:
- The “wow” factor – an entertaining and exciting keynote speaker to engage attendees
- The interactive component – using the hype around the “wow” factor, get attendees to engage with each other
- Action items – delivering the takeaways of the virtual event in a learning capacity
The template discussed above creates an engaging and exciting user experience and provides opportunities for each persona to return with what they came for memorably.
Journey mapping is an essential step, especially for hybrid events. When planning, think about the experience journey for your virtual attendees. Does your event support all personas? Does it enable them to engage with your online event platform however they want, no matter how they consume the content?
How Data Can Help You Measure Success
After you’ve developed a well-thought-out plan for an experience-driven event using attendee personas, objectives, and journey mapping, you must measure the success of your efforts. We all know that data speaks much louder than words in today’s era. If you use data to prove the success of your virtual event, you will be able to tailor your events based on that data in the future.
Below is a list of some popular event metrics that you need to consider when measuring success:
- Attrition rate: Track this metric for every event you host and note what changed. Did your efforts affect the percentage of participants who didn’t just register for the event but actually showed up? Did you land a better keynote speaker? Was your marketing campaign more effective?
- Engagement times: Track how long an event lasted versus how long attendees stayed in the virtual room. Observe whether there is a certain time of the day when people are more engaged. Use this information to curate your next event experience.
- Popular events: Was there an event that had double the attendees than all other events hosted by you? Figure out what made more people attend that event and then replicate what you did.
By taking an experience-first approach, you will be able to gather a lot more attendees who’ll be curious to check out what you have to offer. Unique, human-centred events can spread a lot of word-of-mouth about your company/brand and make people curious about what makes you special. If you create an experience-first event with SevenEvents virtual event planners, you are not only going to be remembered but will also stand out from your competitors.