Giving Your Online Meeting or Webinar the Ritz Carlton Experience
A truly memorable experience involves all five of the senses: touch, smell, hear, see, taste.
Of course you can achieve this with physical conferences, but an online meeting?
With digital, the experience is limited to hearing and seeing (but if you’re creatively clever, you can incorporate all five senses…read on for details).
So the question becomes: how to use audio and visual to make the digital experience one to remember?
If you’re planning a digital conference of sorts, it should be treated – and planned for – as a full-on physical conference experience.
This post assumes you’ve already done your due diligence like knowing your target audience and researching and planning to make the content exceptional. Because if you don’t get the basics right and your content sucks, you’re not about to get any rave reviews, even if you did put out the proverbial red carpet for your guests…
So, how do you give your online meeting or webinar the Ritz Carlton experience by using only two of the five senses?
Give a taste of things to come
Expectations for your online meeting all start with the landing page and registration process.
You may be wondering what a landing page is: it’s the online page you’ll send traffic to when promoting your event. This is an example of a webinar landing page:
If you get your landing page creation right according to these tips by Sujan Patel, master of landing pages and search engine optimization, not only will you generate more excitement, but you’ll increase the amount of people who want to attend your event.
Incorporate all five of the senses
Image Credit: WCGWorld
All awesome events are remembered because of how the people who attended them were made to feel.
The Ritz Carlton gets this more than any other hotel in the world. In fact, the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center says that, “Feelings are facts to customers, and every time you interact with a customer …, you are making an emotional impression. You may do everything right on the surface; i.e., use the customer’s name, fill out correct paperwork efficiently and even remember to smile. However, if you neglect to connect on a more emotional level, you will not achieve true engagement.”
So the question is: how do you incorporate all five of the senses to connect online meeting or webinar participants on a more emotional level so that you achieve true engagement for your brand?
Well, here’s a quick idea that can double-up as a marketing ploy: send participants something they can taste, smell and feel before, or during the conference. For instance, a sweet note with a luxury tea bag and a cookie to be used as a snack while they participate…imagine their delight?
It’s all about thinking out of the box and getting your creative juices flowing.
While you wait…
If you use an online meetings platforms, the waiting room and it’s accompanying music (if wanted) is included.
In a brick and mortar style conference, participants would network and chat amongst themselves while they waited for the event to begin, so for your virtual event, consider allowing them to chat amongst themselves while waiting for the presentation to begin.
Or think of something your attendees can do while they wait, and make it something awesome. It could be to show quotes from relevant well-known people, music in the background, or funny video clips.
The red carpet welcome
When you arrive at a spectacular event, you expect a warm welcome, perhaps a glass of champagne and a tray of hors d’oeuvres.
You obviously can’t do that for a digital meeting, so what can replace the red carpet welcome, digital fashion?
Without putting too much thought into it, at the time your webinar or online meeting is due to begin, you could try creating a visual representation of a red carpet on a welcome screen.
Keeping your target audience in mind, brainstorm ways you could extend a “digital red carpet” welcome to them.
Entertain and delight
Why not treat your online meeting participants as if they were at a physical event, and plan entertainment and delightful moments for them?
For instance, use a theme, and why not get a comedian or musician on board for a 10 minute stint to set the mood? Or partner with a relevant, well-known personality to do the presentation. That’s good for marketing too.
Engage and hook
The meat of a webinar or online meeting is the reason your attendees have joined, so make sure your content is top-notch, otherwise despite all the bells and whistles, you could still ruin your reputation.
In order to keep people engaged, you can’t expect them to sit and listen through an hour of a monotonous voice. Just as a presenter moves around on stage to keep eyeballs, so you need to use digital tools to keep eyeballs on your presentation. Use polls, ask questions, and use tools like whiteboarding and sharing your desktop with participants. Here are 4 cool ways to engage your audience.
Find out how to create engaging presentations.
Every exceptional host sends their guests off with a gift, and so should you after your online meeting.
It’s normal for organizers to send a link to participants after the webinar so that they can download the presentation or notes, but you can do more to make that final surprising thrust. How about a gift in the form of a relevant free download, trial of something, etc.?
Your gift must be something that’s a truly value-add, delightful bonus to your target audience.
Granted, it’s not the easiest task thinking up ideas to delight your attendees, and it takes some creativity to birth new stuff, but you’ll certainly be remembered for being the first.
It’s experiences that create a brand worth talking about, and ultimately, that’s what it’s all about: a brand experience that gets spoken about, so that the result is more business.