A study conducted recently indicates, “92% of respondents plan to incorporate virtual events into their event strategy after COVID-19.”
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes in the arena of event marketing.
In-person marketing events, like conferences and trade shows, have been cancelled to comply with safety norms and curb the spread of the disease.
Events, such as these, are essential marketing endeavors for lead generation and conversion. Consequently, B2B field marketers are looking for new ways to fill pipeline quotas and reallocate their marketing budgets.
To create buzz and keep potential leads engaged, they are rapidly leveraging virtual presentations, webinars, and conferences, in the wake of travel and meeting restrictions.
Going Virtual in Times of Crisis – Key Benefits
Virtual events allow organizers, attendees, and sponsors to interact and engage in a remote environment.
The biggest advantage of a virtual event is that it has the potential to generate a larger number of qualified leads with relatively lower expenses. Hence, there is a significant reduction in the cost per lead.
In the light of the ongoing pandemic, field marketers are rapidly turning to digital platforms as these offer several other benefits over in-person events –
|Factor||Physical Event||Virtual Event|
|Set up time||12-16 weeks (or even more)||4 weeks|
|Costs||Extremely high: Involves expenses related to travel, hotels, food, venue, set up, logistics and what not.||Atleast 5 to 10 times cost effective|
|Resources||Needs a huge cross-functional team and extensive resources for planning and execution||Your marketing team and/or agency partners can run the whole show|
|Audience reach||Limited to people residing close to the event location. Involves cancellations and travel hassles||Reach people across the globe|
|ROI||Cost per lead is very high and it’s difficult to measure ROI||Delivers huge quantifiable ROI and reduces cost per lead|
- Cost-effective – As mentioned above, virtual events are less expensive. Organizers save money in terms of venue, set-up, staff, travel, attendees’ meals and hotel, and much more. This results in lower costs per lead.
- Time-saving – The time spent in planning and organizing virtual events is significantly less. Also, they do not require any travel. Participants can attend the event right from the comfort of their homes.
- Wider reach – While there is a capacity constraint when it comes to in-person events, virtual events know no-bounds in terms of audience reach, as –
- Attendees from around the globe can start the event instantly at the click of a button;
- Moreover, they can jump on and off the event, whenever they desire;
- Planners can expand their audience by sharing the link to the event on their website and other social media channels.
- Versatile – Whether it’s a thought-leadership conference, a simple webinar, a town hall, a sales pitch, or even a full-fledged seminar, marketers can choose the scale and the type of event they want to organize. They can make the event interesting and interactive by inviting guest speakers from all over the world, offering different language options, etc.
- Shorten sales cycle – Since virtual events are faster-paced, it is easier to build connections and generate demand quickly.
- Measurable results – It is easy to measure the results of a virtual event as –
- Attendees are constantly online, so they can answer real-time polls in-between sessions. This enables the organizers to collect feedback and quickly gauge the effectiveness of the event;
- In the case of virtual events, every action of the attendee is trackable. This includes sessions attended, queries asked poll responses, etc. Such intelligence can help marketers with important decisions for lead generation, content strategy, and sales and marketing priorities;
- Additionally, marketers can complement past data from in-person events, with participant data generated from virtual events to further refine their sales strategy.
Hence, virtual events have become the popular go-to approach for B2B field marketers across organizations.
How to generate maximum ROI from virtual events?
The returns from a virtual event are measured in terms of lead generation and conversion. To conduct a successful virtual event that maximizes the ROI, marketers must follow a systematic approach that consists of the following steps –
- Outline the strategy – Before planning the event, marketers must define their strategy in terms of the agenda, topics to be covered, number of sessions, target audience, expected volume of registrations, etc.
- Set up the right marketing technology – After outlining the strategy, it is important to choose and set up the right digital platforms to host the virtual event. In a market bubbling with options, selecting the most appropriate technologies for advertising, promotional videos, campaign outreach, and campaign workflows is the key to organizing an effective virtual event.
- Create impactful content – Content is king. Stellar content is a crucial component of the pre, during, and post-event strategy. Promotional videos, event-centric landing pages, presentation decks, and social media posts enable marketers to garner a larger audience for the event.
- Drive registrations – No event is meaningful without the participation of the target audience. Marketers must utilize an aggressive multi-channel promotional strategy to drive registrations for the event. Website pop-ups, targeted emails, event-specific ads, social media campaigns, warm calls, and LinkedIn posts are the ways to generate maximum outreach for the event.
- Get the logistics and contingency procedures in place – Marketers must ensure that the team members are briefed properly, the technology is in place, and there are appropriate backup plans ready in case anything goes awry. This is imperative to conduct the event smoothly.
- Post-event engagement and conversion – The job of a marketer does not end with the culmination of a virtual event. It starts there. Marketers must nurture potential leads with the right post-event campaigns to ensure that they stay engaged and convert over a period of time.
Thus, the right approach goes a long way in generating interest, conducting successful virtual events, and enhancing revenue through lead conversion.
We, at The Smarketers, are helping B2B clients build comprehensive strategies for virtual events.
We were recently approached by a Fortune 500 Industrial Automation company to host a closed-door virtual summit that engages senior decision-makers and drives lead conversion. Despite a limited time frame, we successfully orchestrated and delivered a smooth ROI-driven event within 3 weeks.
And the results? Well, the client was able to generate 300+ qualified sales opportunities in four weeks, at less than a fraction of the cost required to host a full-fledged in-person trade show.
Consequently, the ROI shot up significantly and the cost-per-lead reduced by 90%.
So,if you want to execute a virtual marketing event from the ground up, or need more information about the same, contact us and we will be glad to assist you with it.
The world of marketing is evolving and is on the verge of a complete transformation.
While virtual events like webinars are not new to the marketing world, the pandemic has certainly spiked the volume of such events being conducted by the organizations.
As marketers host online events to bridge the engagement gap created due to canceled events, they must also consider the possibility of a hybrid marketing environment post Covid-19.
Due to the obvious benefits of hosting digital events, offline and online events are expected to move in tandem with each other after the pandemic is over.
While virtual events cannot replace the human touch of in-person events, they do attract a larger audience at lower costs.
Hence, organizations must optimize their marketing efforts to survive in the new normal, with the expectation of a permanent overhaul in the event marketing space in the future.