It's likely that COVID-19 has forced you to rethink some of your 2020 marketing plans. Boosting visibility and coming up with creative ways to improve lead generation is a problem many businesses are currently struggling with now that so many live events have been canceled. There's no telling when, or even if, the conferences and trade shows you'd intended on attending will take place. The good news is that while there probably won't be any fully live events in your immediate future, you can still use creative live virtual events, and in some cases, even hybrid events, to boost your lead generation and experience a nice surge in revenue.
Do Virtual Events Help with Lead Generation?
The interesting thing about virtual and hybrid events is the sheer number of businesses who are finding that they're not just a "making the best of a bad situation" solution to generating leads during the pandemic. Both virtual events and hybrid events can be highly effective and cost-efficient forms of marketing. Benefits connected to virtual events and the online component of hybrid events include:
- A better ability to collect important information from attendees
- Everyone who attends online is actually a member of your target market and not someone who was dragged along by a friend or family member
- It's easier to identify the specific consumer behaviors of your attendees
- The ability to connect with a larger audience online
- Improved reach
- Shorter sales cycles
- The ability to quickly deliver high-quality information that consumers love
- The ability to utilize data-driven lead-generation tracking information.
Why Consumers Love Virtual Events
Many business owners are surprised by the positive response they get when they announce that they'll be hosting a virtual or hybrid event. There are several reasons why consumers love virtual or the online portion of hybrid events, including:
- The convenience
- They enjoy the ease of virtual interactions with like-minded attendees
- The content is usually concise, high-quality, and up-to-date
- Participation cost is usually low or even free
- The easy ability to follow up on topics or with people introduced during the virtual event.
Tips for Converting a Canceled Live Event Into a Successful Virtual Event that Generates Leads
At first, converting a live event into a virtual event may seem like a daunting process, but once you relax and explore all the possibilities, you'll find it's not difficult at all. Some of these tips will be applicable for the online part of hybrid events as well.Â If you were scheduled to serve as a guest speaker, take the speech you planned on giving and turn it into a webinar. The great thing about webinars is that it's the perfect platform for you to answer questions and really connect with listeners in a way that might not have been possible at the live event. The stronger connection increases the number of people who delve straight into your sales funnel. If you'd planned on putting on a demonstration at the live event, simply use one of the popular video apps such as BroadcastMe, Periscope, Livestream, or TwitchTV and stream your demonstration. After live-streaming the demonstration, make sure you continue to make the video available via all of your social media channels so that you attract viewers and drive them into your sales funnel. The great thing about videos is that consumers love them and are 39% more likely to share a video than any other form of marketing material you create. Panel discussions are always a big draw at live events. They attract a large crowd of people who could turn into leads, and it's fun to participate in a group discussion with like-minded experts. Once a live event has been canceled, invite everyone who was supposed to participate in the panel discussion to join you in a discussion forum/panel. It might not feel the same as sitting down at a table with the group, but in terms of lead generation, the discussion group is often more effective than the live panel group. You're not restricted by a lack of time, you can delve deeper into interesting topics, and you're free to share links that your fans will love.
The ROI of Creative Virtual Events
It's not difficult to measure your virtual or hybrid event's ROI but doing so requires that you:
- Create clear lead generation goals for the event
- Explore your options for virtual events providers and choose a provider that has experience working with the type of virtual event you wish to create and understand lead generation
- Take time to really get to know all the technology you'll use for the virtual or online portion of a hybrid event
- If you're intending to use stakeholders, contact them as soon as possible
- Use all of your current marketing resources and channels to promote the event
Each online event is unique which means measuring the ROI for each event will have some unique elements. Many businesses use KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the ROI of virtual and hybrid events. These include things like:
- Event registration/attendance
- Social media engagement
- Website traffic
- Changes in brand awareness
- Increased sale's funnel activity
- The number of hits each call-to-action link gets during the event
- Speaker engagement
The KPI's make it possible for the event organizers to determine the cost per acquisition of the leads they generated as a result of the event. Using high-quality web analytics tools allows you to collect pertinent data easily and use the data to measure the event's ROI.
Learn More About How You Can Use Virtual Events to Boost Lead Generation
Want to learn more about how you can use virtual and hybrid events to help with lead generation? Here at The Event Production Company, we're happy to help. Simply book a consultation and we can discuss your next event and how to make it a success. Alternatively, you can take a look at our latest eBook on making the most of your virtual event for maximum ROI. The Event Production Company has a long history of helping plan an assortment of physical, virtual and hybrid events that have turned into marketing masterpieces for businesses. It doesn't matter what type of event you have in mind, we have the tools, connections, and experience to help you organize it. The sooner you contact us about your upcoming event, the sooner you can sit back, confident in the knowledge that your event will start generating the leads you desire.