Today many marketing executives are seeing degrading results from their campaigns. Traditional marketing techniques are rapidly being supplemented and even replaced by new channels.
While more cost-effective than physical marketing events, virtual events offer another huge advantage: detailed information. As opposed to physical events, where often the only lead data consists of business card content, virtual events enable marketers to track and evaluate every move of each attendee within the environment, resulting in highly qualified sales leads.
While many marketers recognize the value of qualified leads, not all know how to leverage a virtual event for optimum results. Here are a few best practices.
1. Pre-Event Imperatives
Content is king. Make sure your content is fresh, and schedule speakers far in advance. Sprinkle the best speakers throughout the day to increase the chances of attendees staying longer. And, it is very important to leave breaks between sessions to encourage attendees to visit the exhibit hall.
- Keep registration simple. In your online outreach, use an event registration page or microsite as the landing page when prospects click through to details on the virtual event. Because a long registration form is a barrier, limit the information required to four or five fields.
- Promote the event on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Both sites provide target group segmentation, which can be very granular. The more locations you leverage, the higher the chances that your event will appear in organic searches on the Web.
- Provide an easy way for attendees to place your event on their Outlook calendars, and send two reminder e-mails—the first should be one week before the event, and the second should arrive one day before the event.
2. Make the Most of the Event
- Keep sessions short, around 15-30 minutes, to give attendees time to browse around, answer e-mail or most importantly, go to the virtual exhibit hall. Push attendees directly to the session sponsor's (or speaker's) booth after a session concludes.
- Engage with attendees in a creative way. Hold surveys, polls, group chats and networking sessions to allow the exchange of ideas among attendees to better assess their interest in specific products, ideas or themes. Create a contest or treasure hunt to encourage attendees to tweet or blog about the event.
- Staff adequately. Fortunately, booth duty at virtual events simply means asking co-workers to spend time at their computers chatting with booth visitors about their interest in your solutions. Booth staff also should take care to point visitors to videos, white papers, data sheets or other collateral.