How to Host a Virtual Event
With social distancing being the new norm, B2B marketers are getting creative. Hundreds of conferences and events have been canceled, leaving marketers looking for out-of-the-box ideas to meet prospects, raise brand awareness, and above all generate leads. That’s where virtual events step in.
What is a Virtual Event?
A virtual event is an interactive event that meets online, instead of in-person. This can range anywhere from a webinar, to a live Q&A, to a full-blown conference. While there are many different forms a virtual event can take on, most marketers agree it’s an effective way to reach a wider audience.
Why Host a Virtual Event?
All events are essentially a way for B2B marketers to draw prospects to their brand. By having relevant, interesting content and good keynotes, you can use a virtual event as a PR tool to draw awareness for your company. You’ll further promote your brand’s name out into the world and will be seen as a thought-leader in your space. Most importantly, virtual events can play a huge role in lead generation. By collecting the contact information of those who register or attend, you can add many new leads to your database for your marketing or sales team to follow up with relevant information.
You can also repurpose most of the content from the event for other marketing efforts. Break up some webinars into shorter pieces you can post on your site, or turn conversations into blog posts.
Due to Covid-19, marketers don’t exactly have any choice but to hold events online instead of in-person and are having to change their strategy. However, hosting a virtual event doesn’t necessarily mean that it has less value. An added benefit of online events is that they are much cheaper than in-person, due to not needing event space, travel, etc. This can greatly help you reduce your costs from your already stretched-thin budget. You’ll also be able to reach a much wider audience than you would in-person. Many companies may not have the budget to send employees to an event, which means you could be missing out on a lot of good prospects that may not be able to attend due to this. Someone watching from their home, however, can cost a company next to nothing.
How to Plan Your Virtual Event
Now that you’ve made the decision to host a virtual event, it’s now time to plan and take action. One of the first steps should be choosing your topic. Go for something that is relevant to the COVID-19 era of business. It’s changed the way most companies do business, and they’re interested in learning how to adjust to this. Make sure your topic is also valuable to your target audience, and something that they can’t find anywhere else.
It’s best to plan for it as you would an in-person event. With both, you’ll need to promote and engage your attendees. You do not want to run the risk of no one attending or your attendees getting little value. When it comes to promoting your event, think of what channels you’ll use. Social media and email campaigns are effective ways to make your target audience aware of the event and interested in attending it. If you’re using Twitter specifically, make sure to live tweet throughout the event and use a hashtag to make it easy for people to find the conversation. You’ll also want to think of how to engage your attendees. Asking questions throughout and allowing participants to leave comments with questions or ideas of their own is key to keeping their attention and provoking thought.
Ways to Host Your Virtual Event
There are many different mediums with which you can host your virtual event. Think Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, etc.) Make sure to research each of these to see which one makes the most sense for the event that you’ll be hosting. There are many different platforms created especially for live events that are worth exploring. Bonus points if it allows you to have the ability to ask questions in a chat feed.
To Sum It All Up
In this COVID-19 era we’re living in, B2B marketing is going to be different, so we all need to learn how to adapt. With in-person events no longer being a viable option for the foreseeable future, marketers have begun to realize the importance of virtual events and their impact on marketing strategy and lead generation. With the right planning, content, and engagement, hosting a virtual event will be a game-changer for you and your company during this time. Now that you’re ready to plan your virtual event, connect with LeadCrunch to learn how we make it easy to drive registrations.
Interested in learning other ways to boost your marketing strategy during COVID-19? Check out this 5-Step B2B Marketing Plan for Covid-19.