Your team has spent months – sometimes years – brainstorming, testing, and perfecting a new product that’s about to turn your industry on its head. Now with the release on the horizon, you owe it to your team, your investors, your audience, and yourself to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work with a product launch event.
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 buzz as an event.
When done successfully, a launch event generates hype and gives customers, as well as the press, opportunities to interact with the creators. The anticipation and interactivity often help form positive impressions and demand-generation momentum.
So let’s find out how you can drum up some excitement ahead of your brand’s next big release and delight customers around the world with a virtual product launch event.
Why your next launch event should be virtual
As exciting as it can be to browse around for theaters, convention halls, or rooftop terraces, it may be more advantageous for your brand to host the event virtually.
Only a handful of brands have a following dedicated enough to fly across the country to attend the latest launch. When all the audience has to do is click a link, attendance goes way up. You can now spread awareness to customers wherever they are.
Flexibility for guest speakers
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 finger on the pulse allowing you to get to know your audience better for future ventures.
Renting a venue is expensive. The space itself is always costly, but there are additional, sometimes hidden costs to consider, like flying guests in, catering staff, AV support staff, stage design, printed materials, or gift bags. Virtual launches may still require some professional assistance, but the labor and associated costs will be significantly lower.
Hosting a virtual product launch event
If you’re ready to engage customers worldwide and create some big buzz around your upcoming release, follow these steps to create an unforgettable virtual event.
Workshop the story you want to tell
How do you get the audience excited? How do you make this event memorable? What would you like reporters to say after the event? It all starts with figuring out what you want to say.
Thankfully, by now you have unique value propositions for the latest release. The key now is to distill those value props down to a digestible, compelling message.
Tip: A/B test this with friends. Tell them about your new product in different ways and gauge their interest, excitement, and understanding. Make tweaks to your pitch based on their reactions or follow-up questions.
Organize a production team
Because of its lightweight, flexible nature, a virtual event can be run by a three-person team. These three essential roles are:
- Tech producer. Responsible for making sure the video, sound, and live stream are working correctly, create and switch between various branded layouts on video.
- Talent and content producer. Responsible for booking guests, organizing 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 interactivity.
It is possible to spread these responsibilities across a larger team. But as long as you have these three key roles filled, you’ll have everything you need to run the event smoothly.
Set presenters and guests up for success
If you have the budget available, it’s worth shipping capture cards to presenters so they can connect professional cameras to their computers. The average, built-in webcam just can’t compare to the image quality of even an old DSLR. The same goes for sound. If you can send an $80 condenser mic to speakers, it’ll be worth it because the quality will be exponentially better than the built-in microphone. These upgrades add production value, which will help communicate your message more clearly.
If there’s no budget or time to ship out these upgrades, don’t panic. 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 that can be ingested by any production tool.
Not only do producers get high-quality, isolated video and audio to work with, but they can also rest easy knowing that 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.
Find your audience
YouTube or Twitch? Facebook Live or any of the myriad, virtual event platforms? These may seem like tough decisions, but there’s typically an obvious answer.
Take a look at your social media accounts. If you have a big Facebook audience, then stream to Facebook Live. Simple as that. In the event there’s no clear-cut platform choice, it is possible to multistream to multiple sites.
Create the content
Now the event is starting to take shape – you have your story, your crew has been assembled, you have your tools, and know which platform you’ll be streaming to. The key now is to see how all the pieces fit together.
Create every asset you think you’ll need to dazzle the audience. This 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 critical mistake. The punchier your event is, the stickier it’ll be in the minds and memories of the audience.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
The difference between a good virtual launch event and a great one is largely determined by how much rehearsal time you have budgeted for.
It is essential to take as much time as possible to iron out any technical issues on the production side, make sure speakers are comfortable and confident with their points and setups, and that the overall show isn’t too long.
Be prepared to rework or cut segments, change the order, and walkthrough some technical information you may take for granted. It can be a difficult process with tough decisions, but it’s better to wrestle with it now while no one’s watching.
Sample run-of-show table
Promote, promote, promote
While you’re finalizing the show in rehearsal, give yourself plenty of time to promote the event wherever possible. Create LinkedIn or Facebook ads, tweet about it, and reach out to media and influencers. Tease giveaways and prizes, create a sense of FOMO. Whatever you can to spread the word, do it.
No matter what your promotional strategy looks like, make sure it’s easy for customers to RSVP. For example, if you send an email announcement to customers, provide them with a one-click signup to reserve their spot. Fewer hoops to jump through means more RSVPs and better engagement on the big day.
Follow-ups and VoD
There’s a certain “you had to be there” to an in-person launch. Even if it’s recorded, when it’s over, it’s over. Virtual events, on the other hand, tend to be a little bit more permanent 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 you went live.
While the live show is great for those who can attend, the video-on-demand of the event’s stream might get 10 times the views with the right promotion, keywords, and tags. Send out follow-up emails, post links to social media, and leave no stone unturned to make sure you’re taking 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 kinds of virtual events. They may not require the same level of planning or promotion, but any virtual event can help galvanize customers into a real community.
All it takes is your creativity. And with Epiphan Connect and Microsoft Teams, you’ll be able to execute your vision from anywhere with trust in the stability and ease these tools provide for virtual events.