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Ways in Which ON24 Expanded Pop-Up Event Presence Through Virtuality

November 16th, 2020 Andrea Bartman

When B2B marketers hear about pop-up events, they usually think of one-day events at a nice venue or — at the very least — a free lunch. But pop-up events don’t need to be limited to a physical space, they could be in the form of an online pop-up shop event. Truthfully, they can be as broad and diverse as the event planners can imagine.

Pop-up events provide event marketers with the opportunity to create something that attendees want to be part of, whether that’s an experiential event, like a guided tour through an office or plant, a wine-and-dine meetup to discuss industry trends, an at-home virtual cooking class hosted on a platform that wants to show you what it’s capable of or even an online pop-up shop event. They’re flexible marketing opportunities capable of connecting with audiences in nearly any industry.

So how does an online pop-up shop event fit into your marketing mix? Well, they’ll need to be targeted to a geographic region, but capable of reaching your total addressable market in the area.

That means being able to incorporate a mix of virtual and physical attributes. And we think we hit on a pretty good formula for mixing the two. Here’s a quick guide to how we made pop-up events work for digital marketing — even in a socially distant era.

Why Pop-Up Events Are for Marketers

A webinerd and her community dancing happily in a virtual circle

For our purposes here at ON24 in 2020, online pop-up shop events are virtual events for regional audiences to discuss how digital experiences can enhance their marketing strategy and mix. It’s an opportunity for B2B professionals in certain cities to connect with colleagues and discuss an industry-specific, relevant topic.

Our pop-up events started as physical meetups. We held several pop-up events in major cities around the U.S. and Sydney, Australia, geared around specific topics like breaking through the digital noise, webinar best practices and driving digital engagement.

Incorporating Digital Experiences Into the Pop-up Experience

We thought these online pop-up shop events were a big success. But to connect with as many folks as possible, we also recorded each session and made them available for viewing on our platform after. That way, folks who missed the pop-up could still consume the content.

But, as the COVID-19 global pandemic shut in-person meetings down, we had a conundrum: shutter all the planned events or find a way to bring targeted physical events online.

So, we went all-in and scaled our pop-ups to a virtual environment. By opening up our pop-ups to a virtual experience, we could cast a wider net within a geographic region and connect with more prospects.

Taking Pop-Up Events Further

Other organizations could take the in-person/virtual pop-up combination a step further. For example, specific industry topics may be relevant to certain areas around the world, so an online pop up shop event could be tied to that topic and region while also including attendees from across the globe because travel logistics don’t need to be considered.

Pop-ups could also be tied to a larger virtual conference, with small groups gathering together for discussions and presentations (provided social distancing rules are relaxed, of course).

How We Ran, Then Digitized Pop Up Events

Get Granular with Your Targeting

In 2019, when we were hosting in-person pop-up events, we focused our promotional materials on local audiences. We used social media tools that helped us to target audiences in and around the geographic locations of the pop-up events. We also created email blasts to past webinar participants, clients and business partners based near the pop-up’s location.

Have a plan for digital

Though the in-person events do not offer on-demand capabilities, we created virtual experiences, downloadable materials and social connections for attendees to view after the event completed. This was also highlighted in follow up communications for registrants who were unable to attend the event.

Offer Incentives

Though our awesome topics are enough reason for people to attend, we thought it best to offer a few incentives to sweeten the pot, just in case people weren’t quite as excited about the events as we were. Through our email promotions, we encouraged participants to attend with a free lunch and an Uber discount code.

Get Targeted with Your Digital Experiences

Once COVID-19 changed the way the world does business, we moved our in-person pop-up events online. Certain topics, dates and times were geared toward specific regional audiences with a complete virtual experience for attendees. These experiences were fully interactive and included webinars, targeted landing pages and on-demand content libraries.

Bring Your Incentives Online

We promoted these events through targeted social media posts to audiences in the relevant regions and created email blasts with more details and registration links. The attendance incentives for these virtual pop-ups were remote-friendly with UberEats cards. With a complete virtual experience, everything was easily transitioned to on-demand viewing once the event completed.

Whether pop-up events remain virtual, shift back to face-to-face meetings, or a combination of the two remains to be seen. No matter the approach you choose, both pop-up strategies are completely scalable for increased participation and multiple locations. Both in-person and online pop up shop events met targeted attendance rates and generated increased interest from the specific industries.