Turning Virtual Events Physical with Virtual Audience Engagement Tools

Published by Jenn Neal on

Turning Physical Events Virtual and Virtual Events Physical: Content Creation in a Digital World

Taking a look at how physical custom boxes can help drive virtual audience engagement and collaboration while allowing you to repurpose content in a wide variety of ways. Don’t miss these virtual collaboration tools.

Table of Contents:

TIP: How to Create Virtual Audience Engagement Tools

TIP: How to Physically Connect with Your Customers in a Digital/ Pandemic World

  1. Consider the context

    is this for onboarding, an event, customer retention?

  2. Awaken the senses

    Think of items that awaken all senses – touch, taste, smell, visual, sound

  3. Box it up

    Include these items in a custom designed box

  4. Personalize

    Include a personal note

  5. Snail mail

    Send in the mail – it’s like Christmas for your customers!

How to Physically Connect with Your Customers in a Digital/ Pandemic World
How to create virtual audience engagement by going from physical to digital

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Creating Virtual Audience Engagement

In this podcast, Mark and I talk about his transition from the corporate world to being an online marketing entrepreneur. Mark went to work in corporate after completing his MBA at Duke in 2012.

We discuss why it took him so long to make the leap from corporate to what he really wanted. He really wanted to be an entrepreneur. It took him a bit to make the leap, because he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do specifically.

Outreach Boxes

Today, Mark is a digital marketer who also specializes in helping companies put together outreach boxes. We talk all about the boxes in this podcast and why they’re so important in a digital business space.

Next, a deep dive into why community and ideas matter for aspiring entrepreneurs. And, we talk about the learning curve going from corporate to entrepreneurship. As they say, perfect is the enemy of the done!

Jenn Neal

Jenn Neal on Content Creation in a Digital World

Every time we go to Costco, we have them use the boxes. 

A personal note from Jenn Neal on making virtual events physical


Because once we get home and unload all of the groceries – the boxes are the bestest ever toys for our two savannah cats!

And this morning, it was run jump into the box, stay in while it slides across the floor and slams into the wall and then run back across the house to do it again!

Funny enough, my guest on this episode of The Content Toolbox loves boxes almost as much as my cats… though he’ll hate that I made a comparison between him and cats! 😂🤣

How Live Events Have Gone Virtual

Really though, we’re talking about how live events have gone virtual… and how to make virtual events stand out, plus creating amazing customer experiences with custom boxes. 

Now that live events have gone virtual.. create amazing customer experience with custom boxes.
Now that live events have gone virtual.. create amazing customer experience with custom boxes.

Check out this episode – you won’t want to miss out on how Mark Stern is applying his corporate skillset in this virtual world of ours. 

Episode #10 – Turning Physical Events Virtual and Virtual Events Physical: Content Creation in a Digital World

– The “Repurpose Those Boxes” Jenn

Mark Stern

Meet Mark Stern

Mark Stern is a serial entrepreneur and founder of the Custom Box Agency, Virtual Social Box, and Rough Streak Digital.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Mark was a 1-rated (top tier) strategy consultant at Deloitte Consulting, the world’s largest consulting firm.
Mark holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He is a five-time Spartan Trifecta holder, SXSW Start-up Mentor, and life-time lover of tacos and BBQ. Mark currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Custom Box Agency

Creating virtual collaboration tools for online events – Content Creation in a Digital World

How to Enhance Virtual Audience Engagement

Before the pandemic struck, the digital world existed in a bubble of its own. Physical events, such as live meetings and conferences, allowed people to interact with each other face-to-face rather than through their screens.

It’s a new game. New rules, new situations, and new environments.
It’s a new game. New rules, new situations, and new environments.

With the increase in the number of virtual events, though, there is a growing need to bring back some of the lost physical elements in order to enhance lead generation. Therefore, the real challenge confronting entrepreneurs is improving audience engagement in virtual events.

Now that live events have gone virtual... it's important to stand out! Create amazing customer experiences with custom boxes
Creating a digital event experience with virtual collaboration tools

Adding the Physical Touch to Events

Introducing swag bags is a popular way to boost audience interaction. SWAG stands for Stuff We All Get.

These boxes typically contain an assortment of promotional and gift items to make an online event more interesting for the attendees. Here are some tips that can help humanize your virtual conference:

Welcome Boxes for Virtual Audience Engagement

You can email a welcome box to the attendees a few days before your online event to build anticipation. These boxes can contain the following items:

  • A note with clues about surprise guests
  • Memorabilia, such as pens, schedule or a notepad
  • Headphones
  • Stickers and labels
  • Clothing and apparel

Snack Breaks

Physical events often include snack breaks where refreshments are served to the attendees. You can try to replicate this experience during virtual events by sending swag bags filled with snacks and refreshments to the attendees.

Make sure you intersperse the online event with short breaks to allow people to enjoy the snacks you mail them. Edible items that the snack bags can contain include candies, chocolates, coffee sachets, and tea bags. You can personalize it by including a small postcard with a message from the sponsor. 

Weekly Gifts

This is a useful strategy if you plan to deliver a series of conferences spread out over a number of days. You can send daily or weekly gift packs to attendees to increase their excitement.

If the virtual events are scheduled on a weekly basis, you can send swag bags every week. On the other hand, if they are scheduled daily, you can mail a package containing separate envelopes to be opened on different days.

Surprise Envelopes

The envelopes can include hints about surprises that the audience can unlock by visiting your website or social media pages during a specific time interval. Besides enhancing the audience’s engagement, this strategy can also prove to be an effective way of increasing conversions.

Benefits of Adding the Tangible Element

Giving something to the audience is a great way of motivating them to interact during the virtual event. It boosts brand reputation and improves relationships with customers. Here are the top three benefits of adding the physical element to virtual events:

Boosts Virtual Audience Engagement

When the attendees receive physical items, it will boost audience engagement by helping them feel a stronger connection with your brand.

Swag bags are goodwill gestures that are bound to be appreciated by your audience. It will help boost two-way communication between the guest speakers and attendees rather than having the audience listen passively.

Builds Memorable Connections

While in-person conferences are irreplaceable, sending swag bags to attendees before virtual conferences is a good attempt to bridge the gap between the speaker and attendees.

Gift items, such as stickers and clothing, are often durable, helping you create a lasting impression in people’s minds. Items such as headphones and notebooks not only help people listen to the conference and make notes but they can also be used for other activities later on.

Better Brand Awareness

Complementing virtual conferences with physical giveaways makes people aware of your brand. For instance, sending tee-shirts or hats with your logo printed on them can serve as effective marketing tools.

A human touch can enhance virtual audience engagement by making the attendees feel more in tune with your brand and assure them that they made the right choice. Boosting brand awareness by adding a physical touch to virtual conferences is an especially useful strategy for new companies seeking to penetrate the market.   

Don't be afraid. Your biggest limiting factor is you.
Don’t be afraid. Your biggest limiting factor is you.

Final Word

The virtual platform was previously used to complement physical interactions but is now becoming the primary way for businesses to interact with prospective customers. While virtual events are cost-effective, it takes substantial effort and creativity to make them as impactful as physical events.

When you decide to send physical memorabilia to boost virtual audience engagement, make sure you do not compromise on quality, as it would reflect poorly on your brand. The key is to assure the audience that you care about them rather than just worry about your marketing drive.

How to Repurpose Your Video Content for all Your Social Media Platforms to Drive Consistent Leads and Sales 24/7

Content Repurposing and Resources to Get Started

Offline marketing to create virtual collaboration

So now that you’re in the know, how are you planning to use physical products as virtual collaboration tools in your business or next online event?

1 Comment

Jenn Neal · December 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm

We are currently using two custom boxes to go with our programs – what are you using?

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