How do you use Virtual Events today and what’s the general format?
To be able to supply our hospitals, we need to consider different ways of engaging with external audiences to increase awareness about blood donation and recruit new donors. We need 5,000 donations every day. And every donation can save up to 3 lives.
To do so, our Business Development and Events team organise multiple events across the country to engage and register people from different locations and backgrounds. However, during the pandemic, we had to think about new ways of interaction as Events were cancelled.
As Blood donation wasconsidered as essential travel, we decided to implement a virtual webinar to support attendance at the donation sessions. Procreation helped us to create a bespoke website where we could:
- Schedule virtual presentations to talk about blood donation
- Invite external and internal audiences through the platform
- Track attendance
- Collect data following GDPR processes
- Interact virtually
- Book individual consultation after our webinar for private settings assessment
- Update and customise the platform easily and efficiently in line with our campaign updates
How did you deliver events before the pandemic?
Before the pandemic, our events would organise face to face events in public areas, shopping malls, festivals, corporations, communities…etc…
What was the main reason for delving into the world of Virtual Events?
Virtual Events was one of the only way for us to engage with Corporations and communities. As everyone was shielding or working from home, we thought it would be a good way to interact with future donors in a way that was never done before.
What was your first experience of running a Virtual Events before working with Procreation and what was the primary challenge you faced?
We trialled a virtual presentation using Zoom and Microsoft Teams. However, we faced the following issues:
– those platforms are not NHSBT branded.
– we could not embed a quiz to make the presentation engaging
– quality of the videos embedded in the presentation were not good enough.
– difficult to track how many people are in the event and facilitate follow up
– a lot of prep/event coordination to make sure all runs smoothly
– no support team able to answer our query in an efficient way
How did you find Procreation and what made you decide to work with Procreation?
We did a thorough research and organise a few calls with different companies to select which one would suit our needs.
Procreation took time to listen to our queries and understood exactly what we were looking for.
They came back to us in a short period of time with options and examples for us to understand how it would work.
What was the solution that Procreation proposed?
Procreation proposed a bespoke branded virtual platform with the following options:
- Created a URL for our webinar platform: easy to share
- Ability to embed videos/pictures/presentation in the presentation
- Log in details for every attendee, allowing us to forecast events footfall and follow up with no-show (all respecting our GDPR requirements)
- Interactive quiz/poll embedded in our presentation with click through options for our attendees
- Individual consultation options: attendees had access to a calendar with available slot after the presentation. All will be able to book themselves just in a few clicks, and this will be updated into our calendars.
- Possibility to update videos/pictures/presentation anytime we need
- Possibility to extract virtual footfall
What were the key benefits and advantages of working with the Procreation platform for your Virtual Events?
- Easy to use after training, really intuitive
- Branded platform: professional and great marketing tool
- Access to attendees’ information: easy to do follow ups
- Virtual events are smooth and video quality not affected
Can you briefly explain the support provided by the Procreation team, and how important this is for delivering your events?
- Weekly meetings to discuss updates and next steps
- The team is thinking out of the box, offering solutions adjusted to our needs
- Quick turnover and great availability
- Procreation offered options adjusted to our cost range.
What has been the feedback from your team/presenters/practitioners using the platform?
- People needed training to use the platform. After being trained, access is easy and moving around the platform really intuitive
- 2 practitioners can join the call at the same time. Really easy to run the presentation and pick it up in case of drop out (internet connection)
- Having one URL where you can control everything is much easier. You do not need to log in Zoom, open your presentation, get your videos ready…etc… Everything is in one place. You can log in anywhere and run the presentation even from your phone if necessary.
What has been the feedback from attendees of your Virtual Events?
- Attendees sometimes were reluctant in signing up to access worried to receive Marketing messages.
- Our attendees loved the layout of the platform and the fact that it was branded
- Sound and video quality are amazing
What are the key learnings for you and NHSBT from running virtual events?
- Blood donation is a sensitive topic, and it was not easy to convert our attendees into appointments in the future.
- Running Virtual Events during Covid was a challenge as people faced virtual fatigue
- Presentation/Webinar: it is crucial to be engaging to keep your audience involved and interested.
Would you describe the shift to virtual as a positive experience and are there key opportunities that didn’t exist before, that do now, which resulted from this change?
It was definitely a positive outcome from an organisational point of view. We learned a lot about engagement and behaviour online, and offered a new way of working.
People that attended our webinar/presentation loved it, and it was a success in that sense.
Bearing in mind our products and goals, the Virtual world is not the best way to engage with our audiences unfortunately. Blood donation is a sensitive topic and people appreciate to have a physical 1-2-1 approach as it feels more personal.
Good marketing tool to interact with youth audiences.
Looking to the future, are there plans to continue to use Virtual Events in the post-pandemic world, and if so why?
As mentioned earlier, based on our result, the virtual world for blood donation recruitment might not be the best approach for us. However, thanks to Procreation we learned new ways of working and implemented new techniques internally and externally.