How to Get High Profile Speakers to Speak at Your Virtual Conference

Virtual conferences are great for lead generation and establishing thought leadership. These events have been replacing in-person conferences due to the fact we live in a pandemic world.

Not only are in-person conferences being canceled, but virtual conferences are thriving. They have the functionality of in-person conferences like vendor booths, resources libraries, networking lounges, and more. Better yet, virtual conferences are more affordable than in-person conferences and can generate more attendees.

However, your virtual conference can’t succeed without great speakers. So, in this post, we are going to explore every angle of getting the right speakers for your next virtual event. 

Why Do I Need High Profile Speakers?

In your marketing materials for your virtual conference, you need to include the speakers. If you get a well-known speaker, it’s going to make people more likely to sign up for your event.

Virtual conferences are all about thought leadership so having a seasoned speaker will ensure a great session.

Additionally, high-profile speakers have large social media followings. So, they can help you promote your virtual conference to their followers.

Assets to Create Before Pitching Speakers

There are a few ducks you need to get in a row before you start pitching speakers. These details include: 

  • Date of the virtual conference
  • When their pre-recorded presentations are due
  • Desired length of presentations
  • The theme of your event
  • Budget (if there is one) to compensate speakers

Having these assets in place before pitching speakers will save you a lot of time as they will weed out speakers who aren’t a good fit. 

What Attendees Expect From Speakers

When someone signs up for a virtual conference they want to be educated and inspired. So, your speakers must have the knowledge and experience to deliver great presentations. In order to find such speakers, you can vet them through webinars and even other virtual conferences that they may have participated in.

Attendees also want to feel engaged with virtual conference speakers. In order to achieve this, you need to have speakers ask questions during their presentation, engage on Twitter after their session, and even be available in the virtual networking lounge. 

Locating the Perfect Speakers

Lining up awesome speakers is arguably the most important thing you’ll do when putting your virtual conference together. Here are a few ways to find speakers who are the perfect fit: 

  • Contact bloggers you follow
  • Utilize LinkedIn
  • Tap into your happy consumers and ask them to present
  • Purchase targeted email blasts to invite speakers
  • Put up a request on HARO
  • Poll your clients and ask them who they would like to see as a speaker
  • Conduct a Google search to find thought leaders in your niche

Pitching Speakers

The most important thing when you are pitching speakers for your virtual conference is to personalize your outreach. State why you think they would be a good fit and reference content or virtual events they’ve done so they know you did your homework.

Most of us get hundreds of emails a day and tend to skim them so be sure that your pitch is short, sweet, and to the point. Give potential speakers the necessary details about your virtual conference and give them the rest of the details if and when they decide to present at your virtual conference.

Match Your “Ask” with your “Give”

Presenting at a virtual conference can be pretty time-consuming. Speakers have to create slides, practice their presentations, record their presentations, and interact with attendees. So, you can’t just ask them to be a speaker, you also have to return the favor and provide value to them.

Matching your give with your ask can be done a few different ways: 

  • Monetary compensation
  • The attendee list
  • Return the favor with a guest post or webinar for their brand
  • Let them have their own vendor booth
  • Tell them how many attendees they will be in front of for the promise of new followers

Keep Your Speakers Engaged for Future Collaboration

Once your virtual conference is over, it’s important to keep your speakers engaged so that you can establish an ongoing relationship with them. Thank them for speaking at your event and send periodic emails to them to keep in touch.

It’s also a good idea to share their presentations after they stream on social media and tag them so that they get some recognition and appreciation. 

Your Speakers Can Help Promote Your Event

One of the most effective and free ways to promote your event is to enlist the help of your speakers. They can promote your virtual conference in a variety of ways including:

  • Sharing the event on their social media
  • Emailing their contacts in their newsletter list
  • They can do a sneak peek version of their presentation

Final Thoughts

Your lineup of speakers can make or break your virtual conference. Be strategic on who you choose and keep open communication with them so that they feel valued and can help you promote your event.

High-profile speakers tend to have large social followings and if you use them in your marketing materials, they have the power to increase the number of attendees by a ton. Take the time to research and identify the right speakers and this will pay off in gold.

Do you have any strategies when it comes to lining up high-profile speakers for a virtual conference? We’d love to hear what you say in the comments below!

4 Common Questions We Get About Hybrid Events

 

It has been a little over a year, but the world is still adjusting to functioning during a pandemic and the events industry space is no exception. In fact, 89% of companies have reported that they cancelled in-person conferences because of the pandemic and replaced them with virtual conferences.

Just like there was a pivot when the pandemic started, now that people are getting vaccinated, we are seeing a new pivot. And the new norm for the events industry is hybrid events.

What Exactly is a Hybrid Event?

The simple answer to this question is that hybrid events bridge the best of both worlds of in-person and virtual conferences. This approach has allowed brands to reach a wider audience.

Taking it a step further, it’s important to note that hybrid events offer unique experiences for both the in-person components and the virtual components. A common mistake is that some brands stream their in-person presentations online and call it a hybrid event. So, while hybrid events bridge the two worlds, they also treat them separately to foster high engagement rates and provide a great experience for all attendees. 

What Makes a Hybrid Event Stand Out?

Let’s discuss the basics of what makes a good hybrid event since it’s a relatively new concept.

  • Hybrid events embrace audience engagement. For the in-person potion, it’s easy to get attendees to participate and network. Gleaning from what we know about virtual events, attendees can be engaged with polls and Q&A sessions.
  • Hybrid events should be insightful. There definitely have been brands who create conferences for conferences sake and this mentality needs to be changed. Key takeaways and opportunities need to be conveyed to get people to sign up for your event. 
  • Hybrid events need to prioritize speakers. High profile and interesting speakers are what sparks the interest of a potential attendee. So, allocate enough time to identify and recruit speakers and feature them on all of your event material. 
  • Hybrid events should be flexible and offer attendees a variety of in-person and online sessions that attendees can choose from. Many event planners use multiple tracks in the virtual part of the event so that attendees can choose their topics.

What Goals Do Hybrid Events Accomplish?

One thing that people love about events in general is that they accomplish many goals within one strategy. Hybrid events achieve more than only in-person events or only virtual events as hybrid events can reach more people. Check out the most common goals we see and determine if you would like to accomplish these same goals for your own brand.

  • Thought leadership
  • Lead gen
  • Monetization
  • Brand awareness
  • Networking
  • Reusable content

What Are the Next Steps For Me To Host a Hybrid Event for My Brand?

Have we gotten you excited about hybrid events!? If you’re ready to get moving on your own such event, here is a list of your next steps so that you can pull off a hybrid event with smashing success. Note that from ideation to the day your event takes place, you should give yourself at least 3 months to execute it properly.

  • Brainstorm a name for your event
  • Pick a location for the in-person portion
  • Choose a platform like vConferenceOnline to stream the virtual portion of your event
  • Create a landing page where you will collect registrants
  • Reach out to thought leaders that align with the theme of your event and recruit them to present
  • Make a marketing plan to promote your event

Have you attended a hybrid event? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!



A Virtual Conference Checklist

We are so passionate about virtual events here at vConferenceOnline because they are the best lead gen strategy that we’ve ever seen. However, to reach the fullest potential, a virtual conference must be well organized and strategic in all steps to pull off this type of event.

Because we’ve helped over 1,000 brands host a virtual event, we have it down to a science. In order to support your next virtual conference, here is a checklist you can print off, hang on the wall and use it to organize your event.

Planning

Don’t get ahead of yourself and start promoting your event without having all of the details in place.

  • Name your virtual conference
  • Get a logo designed for your event
  • Write a tagline for your event
  • Choose the date(s) it will stream
  • Hone in on your budget
    • Budget for conference platform
    • Budget to promote event
    • Budget to pay speakers (optional)
  • Determine if you want to have vendor booths
  • If having vendor booths, do you want to charge?
  • Determine goals for your virtual conference
    • Target number of attendees
    • Number of qualified leads
    • Decide how many speakers you want
    • Establish if you are doing the event for lead gen and/or monetization
  • Make a list of speakers that would appeal to your target consumers

Organizing

Once your details are outlined, it’s time to do some actionable steps to pull off your virtual conference.

  • Pitch potential speakers
  • Create a landing page for your event’
    • Presentation timeslots 
    • Speaker bios and headshots
    • Lead capture form
  • Set up the workflow and emails that go out to people who register for your event
  • Make a marketing plan for your conference
  • Build out the virtual environment
    • Conference halls
    • Vendor booths
    • Resource library
    • Networking lounge
  • Create resources for speakers

Promoting

A good rule of thumb is to start promoting your virtual conference 6 weeks before it goes live.

  • Create graphics for social media
    • LinkedIn
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
  • Utilize both paid and organic posting on all of your social channels
  • Pre-write social posts and email copy for your speakers to leverage to their audience
  • Purchase email blasts from like-minded brands
  • Research digital newsletter slots
  • Email your brand’s network of contacts
  • Incentivise attendees to invite their connections
  • Write guest posts on high profile blogs linking to your conference landing page
  • Publish a press release about your event

Post-Event 

After your event streams, your work isn’t done as you can still leverage your event after it takes place.

  • Publish recording of your event
  • Email out the landing page for recording of presentations
  • Create a lead nurturing program for everyone who registered
  • Analyze data/goals
  • Send thank you notes to speakers

If you want some actionable virtual events insights, we are hosting a virtual conference about virtual events best practices on June 29th and we’d love to see you there! Sign up for free here.

How to Foster Engagement During Your Next Virtual Event

 

With a plethora of virtual event technology, consumers expect to be able to interact with brands digitally and the best way to meet consumers where they’re at is through virtual events.

One of the best ways to gauge event success is to track engagement. The more engaged attendees are, the higher the chance of them converting from a lead to a sale. So, it’s crucial to sprinkle interactive elements throughout your virtual events.

There are many types of virtual events and you can read all about them here. One thing that all of the event types have in common is that there should be built in features to encourage engagement between attendees and brands.

To make sure your next virtual event is a smashing success, consider the following strategies which will help foster higher engagement rates.

Pre-Event Communication

Don’t wait until your event streams to interact with attendees. Get people excited about your virtual event by keeping up conversation about it on email and social media.

Marketing your event: When marketing your event, utilize speaker headshots, topic themes, etc. to make it an event that people will want to attend. Always mention that if they have a time conflict, the event will be available on demand so that they will sign up regardless of their schedules. 

Interact with attendees before the event: Once people sign up for your event, keep the communication going to build excitement. Drip emails leading up to your event and encourage attendees to invite their friends and/or coworkers to your event. Lead with messaging about key takeaways, your top speakers,etc. 

Polling

Polls are arguably the most popular way to foster engagement. Asking questions during the event and discussing the results in real-time sparks curiosity and incentivises attendees to stick around. 

Ask questions that are multiple choice so you can quickly display data in a digestible way. 

Plan your polls strategically because they will offer great data to be used in blog posts, social messages, etc.

Be sure to pick a platform with polling functionality like ours!

Vendor Booths

Not only do vendor booths provide a way for you to monetize your virtual events, but they also are a great way for attendees to interact with your brand and/or other brands that sponsor your virtual event.

Vendor booths in virtual events have the same functionality as in-person booths. Attendees can stop at the booths and chat with staff via text chat or video chat. It’s a great way to add a humanized element to your events and generate new leads and sales.

Networking Lounge

Take advantage of networking lounge functionality to interact with attendees in an organic way.

Unlike a vendor booth where attendees expect to talk about your brand, the networking lounge is a more organic way to foster engagement. When networking with attendees, be sure to stray away from sales pitches and instead, have humanized conversations with them.

Gamification

Spruce up your event with gamification to encourage engagement. The form of gamification we do a lot here at vConferenceOnline is to create a points system to reward attendees for completing certain items. Points are often awarded for visiting vendor booths, attending whole sessions, asking questions, etc.

Keep in mind that a little bit goes a long way. So offering prizes of $50-$100 gift cards to Amazon will really ramp up the amount of engagement you see at your next virtual event. After all, who doesn’t like a little fun and competition?

Social Media

It is smart to have event interaction take place within your platform and on social media. When attendees post on social while attending a virtual event, their friends and followers are likely to join in and this leads to new attendees.

Designate a hashtag for your event so that you can follow the social conversations.

Q & A Time

Whether you’re doing a webinar or an all day summit, be sure that presenters leave time at the end so that attendees can ask questions. Encourage questions and they can be asked in the event platform or on social media.

Attendees want to gain as much knowledge and strategies from virtual events as they can, so make them feel part of the event by allowing them to weigh in with their questions. 

Do you have any additional strategies that brands can implement to increase engagement at virtual events? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

The 7 Different Types of Virtual Events You Need to Know About

 

It’s no secret that the state of the planet has led to a huge pivot from in-person events to virtual events. While it’s understandable why so many brands are jumping on board to virtual events, this has led to a saturation in the online events space. So, it’s your job to breathe some creativity and engagement into your new events strategy.

Here at vConferenceOnline, we have been helping brands like yours host virtual events for over 10 years and want to offer you some insights on the different events you can host to engage attendees, generate leads and close deals.

Research shows that virtual events are cheaper to execute than in-person events and have the ability to reach a wider audience. In fact, since so many brands have hosted virtual events after the pandemic started, many companies report that virtual events are here to stay even when the world goes back to normal.

To inspire your next event, here are the 7 types of virtual events that we see and some tips on how you can host such an event successfully. 

Webinars

What is it?: Webinars are the most popular type of virtual event. They are composed of 1-5 speakers and can reach an audience that spans the entire globe. The goal of these events is to educate, promote thought leadership and to generate leads. The average webinar lasts 1 hour and leaves time at the end for questions.

Pro tip: Utilize polls and a Q & A period to maximize the engagement during your webinar.

Roundtable Events

What is it?: A roundtable event consists of multiple speakers weighing in on a topic in one session. There is a moderator to make sure everyone gets heard. Usually the goal for this type of event is to generate new leads and establish thought leadership with intelligent discussions. 

Pro tip: Don’t incorporate a sales pitch into your event. Consumers are smart and can spot a sales effort in seconds. Be sure you’re adding value and your event will go swimmingly. 

Conferences and Summits

What is it?: A virtual conference aka a summit lasts for 1-3 days. This type of event features a variety of speakers and more attendees than the other types of virtual events. Conferences and summits usually aim to incorporate all the functionality of an in-person event. This includes conference halls, virtual libraries, networking lounges, vendor booths, and sponsors. 

Pro tip: After your conference runs, make the sessions available online to attract new eyeballs and generate leads on an ongoing basis. 

Trade Shows

What is it?: Virtual trade shows feature vendor booths and presentations that showcase a product or service. Networking and lead gen are central themes to these types of events. Usually the vendor booths have webcam functionality to humanize the feel of a virtual trade show.

Pro tip: Monetize your trade shows by charging vendors to be part of your event. Keep in mind that you need to show value to these vendors which usually comes in the form of how many attendees are signed up for your event. This means that the monetizing component comes after you start marketing the event and signing up attendees

Employee Hiring and Training

What is it?: From job fairs to recruit new talent to team building in a virtual world to training a large amount of employees–virtual events are a great way to engage with your workforce. In an increasingly virtual world, brands need events like this to maximize the potential of their workforce. 

Pro tip: Productive employees result from great communication and humanized interaction. The more you can bridge the gap from a desire for in-person communication to the reality that business is done remotely, the more talent you will harness from your employees. 

Workshops 

What is it?: Virtual workshops are all about education and providing value to the people who join your event. Oftentimes, the thought leadership and teaching is extremely enticing to attendees and they’re willing to pay to attend these types of events.

Pro tip: In order for attendees to get value out of your workshops, limit signups to a small group so that you can give customized strategies to the attendees. This will make your workshop feel exclusive.

Fireside Chats

What is it?: Fireside chats have gotten really popular in the startup space and are compiled of a moderator and a speaker or speakers. The goal with these types of virtual events is to reach potential consumers in a humanized and conversational way.

Pro tip: Find a moderator that resonates with your target consumers. They need to know the questions to ask and interact at an engaging level with the speakers. 

What is your favorite type of virtual event? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!



10 Virtual Event Statistics and What They Mean for Brands

Adjusting to new norms a year after the start of the pandemic has brought some drastic changes when it comes to engaging with target consumers and canceling in-person conferences.

A massive amount of companies panicked in 2020 when they had to cancel their in-person conferences. However, now that time has passed, the panic has dwindled and virtual events were here to save the day.

Here at vConferenceOnline, we make decisions based on data and some say we are kind of data nerds. With that said, we have rounded up 10 juicy virtual event statistics and are offering key takeaways based on data. Hopefully this helps you to plan a successful virtual event. Let’s dive in!

In 2020, 73% of event planners successfully pivoted their in-person events to virtual events (Event Manager Blog)

Key takeaway: 73% is a large number and it’s a relief to see that they are reporting success when it comes to virtual events. Many people don’t realize that virtual events have the same functionality as in-person events do including monetization, networking lounges, multiple conference halls, vendor booths, and more.

For large virtual conferences, most event planners need more than 6 weeks to promote their event. (Markletic)

Key takeaway: You can’t have a successful event without attendees so promoting an event should encompass a lot of effort. 

90% of virtual event organizers use surveys to measure attendee satisfaction. (Markletic)

Key takeaway: Be sure to pick a virtual event platform that has interactive functionality such as surveying your attendees. 

84% of event organizers report that they spend less on virtual events than in-person events. (Wild Apricot)

Key takeaway: The silver lining of living and operating business during a pandemic is that companies are realizing that virtual events are a positive change. Spending less on these events means that many companies will still do virtual events even after the pandemic passes.

76% of event planners report that email is the single most effective way to promote a virtual event. (LAI Live)

Key takeaway: Promoting a virtual event is crucial and email is key. Of course you’ll send emails out to your network, but it’s also smart to get your speakers to email their lists about the event and a lot of event planners even buy email blasts to promote their events.

80% of virtual events are free to attend. (Bizaboo)

Key takeaway: To boost the number of attendees it is smart to make your event free. Many companies who host virtual events do it to generate leads and you’ll get more leads if your event is free. There are other ways to monetize your virtual events such as charging sponsors.

80% of marketers say that virtual events reach a wider audience than in-person events. (Bishop. McCann)

Key takeaway: Since virtual events have the ability to reach more people, event planners are happy with the shift from in-person. 

85% of companies who have hosted virtual events believe they are here to stay. (Any Road)

Key takeaway: After experiencing virtual events compared to in-person events, the majority of marketers will continue to offer these events long after the pandemic is gone.

The virtual events industry is expected to grow to $400 billion by 2027. (Eventus)

Key takeaway: The virtual events industry is experiencing explosive growth and this growth will continue for a long time. There also is a great opportunity to monetize your virtual events with sponsors.

65% of event planners that pivoted to virtual events during the pandemic had no experience hosting virtual events. (Event Leadership Institute)

Key takeaway: Don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated when it comes to hosting a virtual event. Here at vConferenceOnline, we have success coaches who help you with every step of pulling off a successful event. There are also a ton of free resources at your fingertips to pull off a successful event. Just be diligent! 

Have you come across any virtual events data to share with us? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Monetizing Your Virtual Conferences

Virtual conferences have dramatically increased in popularity in a Covid-19 world. However, we’ve been helping brands host virtual conferences for over 15 years and have helped over 1,000 brands host virtual events. Over the years we have observed what works and one of the things we see a lot of is brands monetizing their virtual events.

In this post, we will explore how to monetize virtual conferences based on tangible evidence that we have gained from learning through our customers. There are many different ways to monetize virtual events successfully and we are going to go over all of those.

Over half of our customers have monetized virtual events in some way successfully. Some do it to offset the cost of executing a virtual conference to break even and some do it to make revenue. So, let’s dive in!

Put the Pieces in Place to Make Your Conference Appealing

Monetization doesn’t happen right away. You need to organize a virtual conference that looks appealing to sponsors and attendees. Once the right pieces are in place, you can start monetizing it. Don’t know the pieces to put in place? Here is a list: 

  • Event theme
  • Goals need to be defined
  • Create a timeline
  • Recruit speakers early
  • Create a landing page with speaker headshots and brand logos with a teaser blurb of what people can expect from your conference
  • Pick the date that your virtual conference will stream
  • A plan for vendor booths
  • The marketing plan for maximizing the amount of attendees you will have

Define Your Goals to Determine How to Monetize

Our customers come to us with a variety of goals they hope to achieve with virtual conferences. We’ve helped people with a variety of goals and coach them on how to create a conference that achieves these goals. Here are some common goals that we see and the type of event that accommodates these goals: 

  • Thought leadership: In order to position your brand as a thought leader in your industry, hosting an event with expert speakers is in order. Find the best speakers and leverage them to get like-minded brands to pay for a vendor booth at your virtual conference.
  • Networking: Interacting with attendees who are also potential consumers is one of the most common goals that we see. Make your event free for attendees so you maximize the amount that you have and monetize your event through sponsored commercials that play in between presentations. Emphasize to your attendees that they need to check out the networking lounge so that you can interact with them.
  • Make a profit: Some of our customers cite their main goal of making a profit. If this is you then you should consider charging attendees, charging for vendor booths, charging speakers to present, and charging for commercial style clips in between presentations.
  • Lead gen: Another common goal we see a lot when it comes to virtual conferences is lead gen. In order to gain a lot of new leads you’ll want to make your event free to attend. But, you can monetize by charging presenters to speak and/or charging for vendor booths. 

Once you have honed in on your goals, it’s time to explore the options you have to monetize your virtual conference.

The Rundown on Charging Attendees

We see a lot of companies charge attendees for their virtual conferences. It’s very doable but it yields a smaller amount of attendees. So if your goal is lead gen, this is not a good option for you.

A good tactic to try is to offer some presentations and features of your virtual conference for free and then have a premium ticket option for attendees to purchase where they have access to more presentations and resources. It’s a balanced approach and we highly recommend it. 

About half of our clients have charged attendees and they usually charge $300 or less per ticket. If you plan to do this, make sure that your landing page and marketing materials convey a lot of value.

Commercial Ads Are Always an Option

Commercial ads are simple to incorporate and are an easy way to monetize your virtual conference. 

When making your conference schedule, leave 5-10 minutes in between presentations to play commercials.

After you start getting attendees to register and you have an awesome lineup of speakers, pitch the commercial slots to like-minded brands who would want to be in front of your attendees.

Charging for Vendor Booths

Vendor booths are arguably the best way to monetize a virtual conference.

Our platform offers the functionality for attendees to do video sessions with the booth owners and allows them to be super engaged.

Consider offering your vendors a slot in your virtual conference lineup so that they can encourage attendees to visit their booth.

Speakers and How to Make it Appealing for Them to Pay to Present

Charging speakers to present is a little less common than the other monetization strategies that we’ve explored but it’s doable.

If you’re going to charge speakers, you have to make your virtual conference extremely valuable. You need to set aside the marketing budget so that you can gather thousands of attendees. You should also consider offering them a robust package like a vendor booth to compliment their presentation. 

If you are going to charge speakers, it’s smart to offer them the list of attendees who view their presentations so they can email them and spark a conversation. 

Offsetting the Cost of Producing a Virtual Conference

While virtual conferences are cheaper to produce than in-person conferences, they still come with some costs. You need the budget for a virtual conference platform as well as a marketing budget to promote it. We see a lot of people monetize pieces of their virtual conference to break even with the costs of running a successful virtual conference. 

How Virtual Conferences Compare to Monetizing In-Person Conferences

View virtual conferences as the new norm and think about how they are replacing in-person conferences. The virtual conference environment was created to mimic in-person events.

Think about how in-person conferences are monetized. Attendees pay for tickets, brands pay for booths and there are sponsors providing swag. Virtual conferences can accommodate all these components and cost a lot less to produce. Win-win.

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to break even and offset your virtual conference costs or make a profit, there are a few ways you can monetize your event. From charging attendees to vendor booths and more, you have a lot of options.

Be sure to outline your goals before deciding to monetize your event and create a virtual conference plan accordingly.

Do you have any tips or insights when it comes to monetizing a virtual conference? We would love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Powering the Sales Funnel with Virtual Events

 

In a world of Covid-19, virtual events are the new norm and companies are changing gears and adapting virtual events into their strategies. However, here at vConferenceOnline, we have been helping brands with their virtual event strategies long before Covid-19 happened. Because of our experience, we love weighing in on how you can make the most out of virtual events and help you ensure that your virtual events are living up to the fullest potential.

One of the biggest benefits of virtual events is that they can power all stages of the sales funnel. From thought leadership to lead gen, virtual events are here to stay. 

Traditionally, marketing was responsible for generating top of funnel leads and sales was tasked with converting those leads to sales. It was a very disjointed process. Over the past few years, we are pleased to have observed, marketing and sales are working more closely together and are making a more seamless buyer’s journey. Now that both parties are more involved in every stage, we see more brands gravitating to virtual events because these types of events appeal to every stage of the sales funnel. How cool is that!?

How Virtual Events Support Your Sales Team

Virtual events should be created from your buyer personas. Spend some time with them and work backward from your buyer personas to the type of event and topic of event that would best speak to these personas. This ensures that you’ll be boasting thought leadership to the right people and generating qualified leads.

This thought leadership, lead gen, lead nurturing and brand interaction powers all stages of the sales funnel for your team. Many of our clients report to us that virtual events are the best thing that has ever happened to their marketing and sales programs.

Promote Your Event to The Fullest Potential

In order for your event to power all stages of the sales funnel, you first need to spread awareness and promote your event. This is marketing’s job and sales will appreciate you for it. Because, afterall, your event can be awesome but you need attendees to make it a success. So a solid promotional strategy is in order! 

Here are the strongest ways that we’ve seen brand’s promote their virtual events over the years and hopefully this can help your brand promote your event to its fullest potential:

  • Email your database of customers and leads and invite them to your event
  • Purchase email blasts from sources that are compiled of your target consumers
  • Create sponsored social posts on LinkedIn (other sponsored channels don’t convert as much as LinkedIn so this is a smart use of your budget)
  • Equip speakers to promote your event to their contacts by pre-writing messages for them to use on their social channels and in emails
  • Purchase online newsletter spaces from thought leaders your buyer personas follow
  • Share organically on your brand’s social channels a few times per week
  • Work with industry influencers to promote your event
  • Write guest blog posts for like minded blogs that talk about your virtual event

Top of Funnel

Virtual events pivot your brand as a thought leader in your industry. This is easily done with virtual events because your target consumers will admire the initiative and this builds brand trust.

Stay away from pushing people with sales demos and strategies of the like. This stage is all about thought leadership and brand awareness.

Mid-Funnel

This part of the funnel is all about generating high quality leads. Once the event is over, you can look at your data and qualify the “sales ready” leads for your sales team. Meet with sales and come up with a game plan on how to best convert these leads into customers. It’s all about keeping the  momentum going after your virtual event.

Bottom of Funnel

Virtual events help close deals. Syphon off the leads that are closest to closing and invite them to an intimate workshop where they can interact with your brand. Or, plan ahead and incentivise current consumers to speak at your conference and talk about their experience with your brand. Equip sales with presentations like these that are available on demand and can convert a lead into a sale.

Another strategy for bottom of the funnel is to have members of your sales team interact with attendees during the event. It’s smart to have a booth and let attendees come to you so as to not come across as pushy.

Setting Up an Efficient Drip Campaign

Because a lot of what you will be working with when it comes to your collaborations with sales, it’s crucial to set up an efficient email drip campaign for all of the event attendees. This will identify who is a lead and not only that, but who is a strong lead.

A good rule of thumb is to drip your attendees 4 thought leadership resources like blog posts and eBooks and then the 5th email can be a light sales pitch to uncover the strongest leads. Once this sequence has been achieved, sales will take over from there.

Final Thoughts

Virtual events serve many purposes, but the most common use case we see are events with B2B brands to generate leads and establish thought leadership. These types of events will power all stages of the sales funnel–unlike any other marketing tactic.

Work closely with sales to carve out an efficient customer journey and reach your target consumers. Create an efficient drip campaign and let sales take over once a lead is ready.

Have you powered your sales funnel with virtual events? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!





Keeping the Momentum Going After Your Virtual Event

So you hosted a virtual event and you earned a bunch of leads, but now what?

In order to not lose the momentum you gained with your virtual event, there are strategies you can implement to make the most out of your post-conference engagement.

Afterall, most event organizers host virtual conferences for lead gen and to establish thought leadership. And as you probably already know, virtual events are a lot of work. Don’t let that work fall short by missing the chance to maximize the power of post-event strategies.

Based on our extensive experience helping brands like you host virtual events, there are some success stories that we’ve seen brands implement to keep the momentum going even after the virtual conference is over.

Offer Your Sessions On-Demand

People get busy, last minute meetings take place and things come up that make attendees miss some or all of your virtual event.

Making the sessions available on-demand offer a way for attendees to watch your virtual event on their own time.

It’s smart to gate on-demand sessions with a lead capture form so that you can keep generating leads even after the event is over.

Email all of your contacts (attendees and non-attendees) with the landing page of all of your virtual conference sessions.

Nurture Your Contacts

Once leads have been generated from your virtual event, don’t expect them to convert into a paying customer without a little nudge.

Drip them thought leadership emails once per week for four weeks. Then on the fifth week, you will have established brand trust and familiarity so you can email them a soft sales push.

Simultaneously, while your team is organizing your virtual event, you should start developing thought leadership resources to utilize in your email drip campaign. Such resources include blog posts, eBooks, case studies, white papers, etc. The goal is for you have these resources lined up so you can start nurturing your new leads right away.

Conduct a Survey

People like to give their opinions. Sending out a survey to all of your virtual event attendees makes them feel involved and it will give you valuable insights into the event you hosted.

Consider gamifying the process and each person who fills out the survey is entered to win a $250 Amazon gift card to increase the number of people who fill out the survey.

It’s also smart to publish the results of your survey and send it to all of your attendees so that they can read about how their peers answered the questions.

Write Wrap-Up Content

Many people who host virtual conferences find themselves with an awesome plethora of video content from the speakers. Don’t let these sessions live in limbo and instead, utilize strategies that leverage all of the presentations.

Here are some ways to make the most out of your virtual conference sessions: 

  • Create a video with your top 5 favorite presentations
  • Offer the sessions on-demand
  • Write a blog post with the best tips as learned from the speakers

Tag Your Presenters on Social

We mentioned offering the virtual events sections on-demand. This allows you to share them on social even after the conference is over. Tag the presenters in these social posts and they’ll be sure to re-share them.

Do you have any tips on keeping the momentum going after a virtual event? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

How to Boost Virtual Event Registrations

So you want to host a virtual event. From small events like one-person webinars to all-day conferences with 20 speakers–your virtual event deserves leverage and the maximum amount of attendees.

Lining up speakers and organizing an event is a lot of work. And if you put in a lot of effort, of course, you want a lot of attendees to be part of your awesome virtual event. There are other events occurring that compete with your event, so you need to stand out.

In this post, we will explore both paid and organic strategies to boost attendees for your next virtual conference. 

Allocating Enough Time

When you are working on your virtual event timeline, it’s crucial to allocate enough time for you to promote your event and for attendees to plan for it.

For a large event like an all-day virtual conference, budget 6 weeks from ideation to launch day. If it’s a smaller event like a single webinar, plan 4 weeks ahead of time.

Leverage Your Speakers

Great speakers will power your virtual conference. Secure these thought leaders before you start promoting your event so that you can leverage them.

Headshots of your speakers on your landing page and marketing materials will make your target consumers want to sign up for your event.

Additionally, your speakers are a powerful asset in getting attendees. Help them share the details of your event on social and email. When you write the copy for the influencers, it makes it super easy for them to share your event.

Convey Value

When marketing your event, you get a very small amount of time to convey a lot of information.

Create a landing page for your event and feature headshots of your top speakers, logos to brands participating and of course, the details of the event laid out cohesively. 

Determine what questions and pain points your conference can serve. Flip the pain points on their heads and utilize this information for marketing verbiage.

When marketing your event, use messaging that makes your target audience feel like they need to register right away. Messages like “the price will increase tomorrow” or “there are a limited amount of spots left”  will create a sense of urgency.

The Power of Email

Our brands that have hosted virtual events have had more success with email marketing more than any other strategy to promote a virtual event.

In fact, 76% of marketers report that email is the single most effective way to drive event registrations.

Tap into your own network and invite them to your event. Explore email blasts from like-minded brands. Email blasts can be a dedicated email or a space in their online newsletter.

We recommend that you use 75% of your virtual event promotion budget on email.

Your Social Media Strategy

Second to email, social media promotion is an important asset to your virtual event marketing plan.

Post organically on your social media channels about your event. Start promoting as soon as your speakers are lined up and post on each channel every other day leading up to your event. Analyze which posts are the most successful and put some budget behind them. It is also smart to track the effectiveness of the speaker-generated posts and consider putting money to boost those as the third-party social proof is what your target consumers want.

Gamify the Process 

Contests are fun and you can leverage gamification to drive virtual event registrations.

Consider doing a contest for both your speakers and your attendees to see who can get the most signups. Offer the winner a $250 Amazon gift card. This will be worth the power of authentic content.

Consider the Cost

It’s tempting to charge attendees to sign up for your virtual event. However, if your goal is lead gen, you should make your event free to attend. A free event means more leads so take that into consideration.

If you are hosting an event to make revenue, be mindful of the cost to attend. Look to like-minded events and get a pulse on the industry standard in terms of what it costs to attend similar events. 

If you want to offset the cost of your virtual event, consider charging vendors and sponsors.

Have you hosted a virtual event? We’d love to hear how you boosted registrations in the comments below!