virtual event clv

Increasing the customer lifetime value of your virtual event attendees starts with creating a great experience for them from the moment they register for the event, to actively listening to their feedback during the event, and engaging with them post-event with bite-sized content in the form of blogs, webinars and podcasts. As Merit’s marketing data expert says, “Engage, excite, explore: engage with your clients across multiple touchpoints; excite them with nuggets of valuable content gold; explore ways to provide them with new connections that enhance your value to them.” 

It’s one thing to conceptualise a virtual event and a whole other thing to get attendees to sign up for your event. When it comes to garnering virtual event sign-ups, the first question that brands typically ask themselves is; are we targeting our existing attendees, or are we targeting new attendees?  

Statistics show us that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, whereas that of converting a prospect to a customer is 5-20%. So, if your answer to this question is both, you’ve got quite a task in hand to make your event a success. 

Why Virtual Event Organisers Must Go Beyond One-time Customer Acquisition 

There’s a cost associated with your virtual event and typically marketers tend to calculate something known as a customer acquisition cost to determine how successful their event marketing campaigns have been. But, simply calculating CAC is not enough. It’s also important to understand and calculate the CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) to drive better business decisions. 

What is Customer Lifetime Value?  

CLV is a metric used to determine the net profit you incur from the customer’s journey with your brand. Measuring CLV can help you make better business decisions in several ways; 

  • It can help you recognise how long a customer is staying with your brand 
  • It can show you who your loyal customers are 
  • It can help you identify which parts of your product or service suite your customers are interacting with the most 
  • It can give you an insight into when you are losing customers and find out why 
  • It can help you forecast revenues and build a more customer-centric business  

While the reasons we have mentioned above cut across products, services and sectors, the same is applicable for virtual events as well. For example, measuring CLV in events will help you determine what outcome your attendees are looking for from attending your event, and improvise accordingly. It could be industry-specific insights, networking opportunities with peer groups, a chance for them to showcase their skill or brand, and so on.  

In the last few blogs, we saw how the world is moving from live to hybrid events, and different strategies brands can adopt to attract attendees to their hybrid events. We’ll now look at what you need to do pre, during and post-event to increase the customer lifetime value of your virtual event attendees.  

5 Ways to Increase Customer Lifetime Value of Virtual Event Attendees 

We bet most marketers agree that customer experience goes right on top of the list in ways to retain a customer for the long term. Customer experience doesn’t just limit itself to the customer liking your product or service, but it extends to how they feel about your brand, and how comfortable they are interacting with you.  

In the events space, customer experience is like a wheel – it continues in a cycle pre-event, during the event and post-event, and continues until you plan your next event.  

Keeping customer experience at the core, let’s look at the different ways you can increase your CLV.  

  1. Build anticipation pre-event  

One of the biggest advantages of the digital age is that all your past content is available at your disposal for future use. You can edit and repurpose your digital content in various formats, such as audio and video bytes and short content pieces to drive more engagement for your virtual event.  

For example, instead of telling them how great your event is going to be, you can show them how it was the previous year by creating bite-sized videos of insights from past speakers. You can then promote these videos via email or through social media platforms.  

Alternatively, you can create promotional posters to build anticipation for your event, release event details, like speaker line-up and event perks (such as a closed-door meeting with speakers) during intervals.  If your upcoming event speakers have a great social media presence, you can collaborate with them to encourage attendees to sign up for the event. 

Merit’s Take: “Show, don’t tell” is an approach that’ll really work in building up anticipation and creating FOMO! Remind past attendees what they experienced the last time, SHOW them what is in store for them this year.  

  1. Know your audience 

To know which digital platform works best, you need to know which category your attendees fall under. In 2020, 5WPR released a report which revealed that millennials and the earlier cohort of Generation Z(18-34 year olds) are the ones to be most influenced by Internet influencers and social media influencers on Instagram and Facebook. The older age groups are seen using other mediums like YouTube.  

So, when you are planning to launch a digital marketing campaign for your event, it’s important to understand who your attendees are and which platforms they interact with the most. A more targeted approach can yield better results.  

Merit’s Take: Knowing your audience is critical both in terms of what kind of content and experiences they like and in terms of where they may interact with your brand on social media. Getting your “audience data” right is critical. This is especially important for events that attract tens of thousands of attendees.  

  1. Invite the early birds with perks  

When you open for event registrations, have a series of campaigns in place to encourage attendees to register for your event at every stage before the event day. For example, you can start off by offering steep discounts on early bird bookings to invite more registrations. Then, you can have a second round of campaigns offering perks like discounts, coupons or special event-day meet and greet and so on. 

Merit’s Take: This is a proven approach when it comes to event registrations. Think out of the box and innovate. We’ve seen event organisers even offer “bring a friend free if you register by a particular date” type of early bird offers that work like a charm in certain cases.  

Listen to your customers 

In the earlier blog, we spoke about the importance of collecting attendee data and event feedback in driving better ROI. These metrics can go a long way in helping you understand what your attendee is looking for in your event, and how you can design a more relevant and engaging event in the future. For example, you can find out which sessions your attendees spent the most time in, how they interacted with your sponsors, what they liked and felt could be improved about your event and such.  

Merit’s Take: Garnering feedback and planning event agendas by analysing past data is a great way to increase your CLV.  

Drive engagement post-event  

You want to create a top of mind recall for your attendees so that they remember what they gained from the event, and are eager to register the next time around.  

You can do this in many ways. For example, you can give your attendees access to recordings from the event, release video and audio content snippets on digital platforms to continue engaging with your attendees, initiate brief interactive sessions or webinars with speakers on specific topics that your attendees most engaged with, build blogs around topics discussed during the event, and so on.  

Merit’s Take: Customer Lifetime Value is about delivering value, on an ongoing basis. It is an ongoing relationship you maintain with your audience over several years, through content, commerce, and community. 

In conclusion  

Creating a great customer experience is at the core of keeping your customers with you for the long term. With existing customers, building strong relationships and meaningful engagement can in turn encourage them to spread word about your brand/ event. With new customers, these strategies can be a great way to entice them into starting their customer journey with you. 

Merit Group’s expertise in Marketing Data    

At Merit Group, we partner with some of the world’s leading B2B companies. Our data teams work closely with our clients to build comprehensive B2B marketing contact lists that provide a direct line to their target audience be it for increasing CLV for virtual events or ROI for digital marketing campaigns.  

If you’d like to learn more about our service offerings or speak to a marketing data consultant, please contact us here:

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