The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected many businesses and their marketing strategies. If you planned on hosting an in-person event like a conference, trade show, or networking event, it’s probably been canceled or delayed.
For many companies, hosting or attending in-person events are a great source of lead generation. As many as 19% of B2B marketers said that in-person events were their top source for securing leads.
So what can you do when you can’t attend or host events anymore? You move them online!
There are many benefits to hosting virtual events. After in-person events, webinars and online events were the second top source for securing leads for B2B marketers. Since you can’t host in-person events, online events are truly the second-best option.
Let’s break down why and how online events can work for you.
In-person events can be costly to host and attend. Travel expenses, swag, and vendor/venue costs can quickly add up and might be too much of a burden for your budget.
With virtual events, the costs are significantly lower. Hosting an event can go from thousands of dollars to hundreds with affordable webinar platforms like Zoom, Crowdcast, or GoToWebinar.
Since costs to host are lower, the tickets or registration also becomes more affordable too.
More People Can Attend
When tickets are more affordable, and you don’t have to worry about venue capacity or food and beverage, more people can attend either locally or from around the world. Especially since they no longer have to worry about their travel budget. They can simply turn on their computer and be there!
Webinars Can Convert
If you think you can’t capture the audience’s attention with online events, think again. Research shows that 20-40% of webinar attendees turn into qualified leads.
People are online more than ever, and if they take the time to sit down and listen to your presentation, they are definitely interested in what you have to offer. Creating a webinar is one way to get leads since some people have more time to watch a webinar.
You Can Repurpose Content
Since we are moving your event online, you can consider repurposing the content into other mediums.
Here are some ideas to consider on how to repurpose your online event:
- Record the online event for replay purposes. Some people may not be able to attend live but are willing to watch a replay.
- Individual events can turn into workshops you can sell on-demand
- Restructure online talks into actionable blog posts
- Create shareable social media graphics of quotes, stats, and other key points from the event
How to Turn an In-Person Event Into a Virtual Event
Now here is the part that people struggle with when moving to a virtual event: How do you keep your audience engaged?
Let’s go over some in-person events and how you can quickly move them to a virtual event that keeps your audience interacting with the content.
Summits: Speakers can opt to have a video presentation over a webinar. You can make this engaging by having virtual breakout rooms for discussions among attendees. (Zoom is one tool that has this feature). You could also have a moderator for breakout rooms to get the conversation going.
Trade Show Booth: If you found lead generation through trade shows, you might want to tweak your current inbound marketing strategy to be more engaging. Consider creating a product demo video. 80% of people have more confidence in purchasing after viewing a video demonstration and being able to ask questions live.
Event Speaker: Did your event get canceled, and you’re no longer giving a speech? You can still share your opinion and establish yourself as an industry expert. You can host Instagram Lives to share your expertise. You can even bring in other guests to create a panel discussion. Instagram Live has a feature that enables you to bring on a guest, and you both appear in a split-screen view.
Networking Opportunities: Some people purely go to in-person events for networking purposes. You can still give attendees that opportunity. Some ideas include hosting a social networking hour on a video conference call or set-up a private Facebook or LinkedIn group for attendees.
Live Q&A: Q&A is often a considerable part of in-person conferences, and it’s essential to give the attendees that same experience virtually. Don’t forget to engage with your audience and ask them to participate in the chatbox. Research some questions they may have in advance and hook their attention by promoting how you’ll be tackling those questions.
What Are Your Thoughts About Virtual Events?
Virtual events are great opportunities to engage your audience and help your conversation rate. A little creativity can go a long way into creating a virtual event that your audience loves.
Have you attended any virtual events lately? What did you like or dislike about it?