Virtual events are here to stay, pandemic or no. 2020 is the year people unlocked the potential of the virtual world when it comes to delivering all sorts of live experiences across the globe. And yet, with all concerts, conferences, workshops, and the like that have transpired on the internet over the course of the year, it’s safe to say that not all events are created equal. Some organizers manage to close the gap even in a virtual space, and some manage to widen it further.
Although many factors come into play, one big difference between successful and not-so-successful events is this: merchandise. The charm of freebies and event-related goodies will never lose their impact regardless if your event is personal or virtual.
Creates a Semblance of Normalcy
For one, merchandise gives attendees a feeling of normalcy. If there’s one thing that people appreciate most in the new normal, it’s bite-sized pieces of the old normal they used to enjoy. Remember how people used to line-up for event shirts, caps, and flags in sports events and concerts? That’s a pre and post-event activity that has become part of the entire experience, and no matter the inconvenience, people do miss it.
Shirts are favorites for virtual events. There’s nothing like seeing other people in the same shirt to establish that they’re part of a bigger audience. Making this available either as a freebie or as purchasable goodies is a great way for them to relive that feeling, especially once they’re wearing your apparel during the event.
On the organizer’s part, shirts are merchandise with diverse options for quality and affordability. Making them yourself is also a feasible idea with equipment like insta graphic systems. Since health protocols will persist until the pandemic is officially over, it could be the more cost-efficient alternative for all your future events.
Any event’s success isn’t solely reliant on what happens on the main show itself, and this is especially true with virtual events. The buildup to the day is crucial to ensure that people will attend and that they’ll be acting as your marketing arm by posting stories on Facebook, photos on Instagram, and updates on Twitter. The same applies after the event, wherein their feedback will either enhance your branding or dampen your chances of getting attendees for your next show.
This is where your merchandise steps in to hype people up about your upcoming event. They’re more likely to look forward to it because they have something to wear or use specifically for that concert or conference.
Amplify the excitement through raffles available only to those who purchase specific merchandise. You can also have a contest for the best selfie with your event apparel, flags, bags, mugs, or whatever it is you want to sell. Incorporating these to your countdown can enhance your marketing efforts and attract more attendees.
Improve Brand Awareness
When you do the aforementioned strategies for hyping up your attendees, you improve your brand awareness even before your event. Should these marketing strategies be expensive or unavailable for your event, don’t worry—the merchandise itself will suffice to extend your brand’s reach.
Focus on merchandise that your attendees can use in their daily lives and design them in ways that will make them appealing to your target market. When people wear your shirts, caps, and mugs, the design should catch the attention of people who are into your brand’s core business, may it be music, art, or sports.
As for your buyers, you can rest assured that most of them are likely to develop patronage for your brand because they have your merchandise. They already feel like they belong, so if you keep up the excellent service and client satisfaction, they wouldn’t have any reason to look elsewhere.
Use Merchandise Wisely
At the end of the day, however, your merchandise can only be as effective as your ability to maximize it. Research how event organizers are creating and distributing theirs. Include reminders on the packaging for them to sanitize the merchandise before using them. Best of all, include them in your marketing to create impressive returns for your investment. The more strategic you are about the what, whys, and hows of your merchandise, the better it’ll serve its purpose.