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Virtual Events for Marketers: Top Tips

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Make the most of your virtual events with these top tips.

Marketers are having to compete for attention in an ever more crowded environment, with 76% of B2B marketers producing more content in 2016.

As a result marketers are having to reach decision makers in ever more targeted campaigns, with ever more pressure to improve on ROI.

One of the key ways in which marketers are starting to improve their targeting and increase their reach, without increasing the associated cost, is through virtual events.

So, what is a virtual event?

Virtual events can range from small webinars, (one-to-many), right through to large-scale webcasts with attendees from around the globe and several speakers and presenters (many-to-many). They can encompass a simple in-house webinar to communicate a change in policy or messaging right the way through to professionally created and managed white-label events with dedicated landing pages and custom branding.

Why use a virtual event?

Quite simply, virtual events enable marketers to reach out to audiences in a way that they have never been able to do before.

They enable marketers to reach their audience wherever they are in the world (without having to pay for the cost of travel), to easily share resources, increase brand awareness, measure engagement levels during, and after the event and to gain deeper insights into their target customers.

Did you know that 62% of B2B marketers use some sort of virtual event for content marketing?

 

But, perhaps the most convincing statistic as to why marketers need to start using virtual events? It is the most effective B2B marketing tactic outside of a face-to-face.

Virtual events of various kinds are the most effective B2B marketing tactic outside of a face-to-face.

So, how can you make the most of your virtual events and really start smashing those targets?

 

Top tips for marketers using virtual events

Here are six  top tips to help you make the most of your virtual event.

#1 – Know what you’re talking about

It might sound obvious, but the first thing to do before embarking on starting any virtual event is to know what you are talking about.

This isn’t just a case of knowing your subject matter but, more importantly, knowing topics your audience are interested in.

Having picked your topic, chosen your speakers, planned out what you are going to say,  decided on how you are going to promote your event and when it is going to take place it is time to…

 

#2 Decide what type of virtual event you need

Deciding to go in-house or professional is not just a case of cost. You need to first look at what you want to achieve with your webinar.

As a marketer you know that simply putting your CMO in front of a webcam and letting them talk is not going to cut it.

You’ve already gone through the planning stage, decided what content you are going to lever and lined up your speakers you now need to decide what you want the outcome of your webinar to be.

Do you want to increase brand awareness?

Communicate clearly to internal stakeholders? Or do you want to attract and engage prospects?

 

#3 – Decide to do it yourself or go professional

This is really key. You need to decide whether or not you have the in-house capabilities to host a virtual event that will really engage your audience.

The first thing you need to consider is how many people will be attending. If it is a case of less than ten, none of whom are key external or external stakeholders then you’re probably alright to go it alone. If it is more than that or the audience involves key stakeholders then it is probably time to start looking at a professional solution.

This will give you the ability to create custom branding for your webinar, gain technical support – no one wants the screen to freeze halfway through a key presentation, we’ve all been on those calls – have a comprehensive understanding of who is registering for your webinar and really drill down into the post event reporting.

Remember, if you do decide to go professional and gain insights in to who is attending.

 

 

20 % of attendees will register during the last 48 hours, and up to 15% on the day of the event itself.

 

#4 – Get your brand out there

You’ve got your topic, decided how to promote it, decided on whether or not to go professional, now is the time to use your virtual event  as a chance to promote your brand – subtly.

How?

Through choosing to add custom branding to it.

This can encompass everything, right through from landing pages to the actual event  itself when it goes live.

 

#5 – Get interactive

Throughout your event you need to keep your audience engaged.

By offering options such as chat, holding polls, asking questions and generally interacting with the people taking part you can not only build a better relationship with your audience, but also gain valuable insights into where they are in the their buyer’s journey.

 

85% of webinars use  Q&A tools

38%  use social sharing

22% offer polls

10% involve surveys

4% let participants collaborate  

4% let participants chat

#6 – Analyse everything

Analyse everything. Absolutely everything. Before your event, during your event and after your event (we will touch on the last point later).

Through looking at who has signed up to your event and how they are interacting with your content you can accelerate leads through the funnel, perhaps even through to sales.

Seeing if a prospect is engaging heavily with one particular piece of content for example can enable you to push them another, related asset or even just get sales to give them a call and talk through their experience of the event and how your company can help them.

 

#7 – Don’t skimp on the reporting

Once your event is done, don’t skimp on the reporting. Look at what went wrong as well as what went right.

Consider how many attendees you were able to attract, how many stayed until the end, what could you have done to make them stay longer?

What were the results of the polls and surveys that you ran?

By looking at all of these details you can refine your proposition and make the next event even more of a success.

 

Takeaways:

 

  • Plan, plan and then plan your event some more.
  • Look at your in-house capabilities and decide if you need professional support.
  • Analyse everything, before, during and after the event.

 

Join us on Wednesday, 25th January 2017 at 12 GMT to hear from leading marketing strategist, Mark Bornstein how to make your own webinars more interactive, engaging and insight driven.

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About the author

Helen Lancaster, has a career spanning 18 years in the IT and Telco sectors spending time at Canadian giant Nortel Networks, US manufacturer Avaya and UK Telco Kcom. Her roles over the years have included various commercial positions in sales and marketing - including four years in Madrid in Spain - leading to her current position of Head of Marketing for Northern Europe at Arkadin. Helen has a passion for data, and all things digital.

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