4 Things You Should Know About Virtual Events

In our new normal, you’ve probably started to become comfortable with the notion of virtual events replacing tradeshows and conferences for the foreseeable future. 

We all know that maintaining a consistent lead funnel is important for growing your business. Virtual events are a great way to replace the leads you are no longer able to generate at events that are now cancelled. Virtual events however do come with their own set of challenges that you might not immediately think of.

Having recently exhibited at a virtual conference, here are 4 things you should know when exhibiting at or attending a virtual event:

1) Technology and Attire

With virtual events it should come as no surprise that you are going to need to enable the camera and microphone on your computer in order to engage with others. Think of it as a Zoom or Skype call. In our virtual conference experience we noticed some audience reluctance to share screens/microphones but for the most part we are all in similar situations and this is essential for effectively interacting with others. 

In addition, make sure that you dress similar to how you would for an in-person conference or trade show. After all, these are business events and we should look the part in order to help make a good first impression. Admittedly both screen sharing as attire might feel a bit unfamiliar, but that goes away fairly quickly.

 2) Branding Materials and Marketing Collateral

Most exhibitors are used to bringing physical marketing materials to events to distribute, but with that no longer being an option, you should be prepared to share all those same materials digitally. It’s fairly easy to create a digital version of a brochure for example and upload it to your marketing automation platform or content management system and generate a URL for it. We then recommend using a URL shortener to have a readily available and clean URL to share with others and this can really be done for all of your marketing materials you are looking to share.

‘Digital Booths’ is a relatively new concept and you want to ensure that you have high resolution copies of your logo as well as branded background images that can be used as backdrops (backgrounds) for your digital booth. The branded background should immediately speak to what your organization does and potentially what your core offerings are.

“Virtual conferences are a viable platform for lead generation and industry engagement. Run and managed well, virtual events can produce more leads in a more cost efficient manner.
– Kevin Butler, VP, Strategy

3) Preparing Your Team

If you are exhibiting, we recommend having three to four team members attend the event. Just like in-person events, you are going to want to have a couple representatives at your booth at all times to help start the conversation with anyone who drops by. You will also want to have a couple others who are attending the presentations and networking with others through the variety of other features available in these virtual event platforms.

Ensuring your team knows their roles and responsibilities ahead of the event is just as important as any regular event. It’s also a good idea to have someone ready to go as backup in case an unforeseen situation arises (internet issues, sudden unavailability, higher surge in both traffic than expected, etc.). All team members should have access to the same digital marketing collateral as well so that they can easily share it when needed.

4) Networking

The process of networking and obtaining lead information at physical events was always rather easy. It was as simple as having a conversation and then asking for their business card when the appropriate time came. Of course with virtual events we do not have that option. What’s great about some virtual event platforms is the organization hosting the event is actually able to provide you with all of the contact information for those who visited your virtual booth or presentation after the event is over. For anyone who has ever met a good lead at a trade show only to be told “Sorry I ran out of business cards”, this is a welcome change! (Note: obtaining full lead contact information from the virtual event organizer might not always be the case.)

What you should have ready to go for any of these events is a landing page specific to the event and form (powered by your marketing automation platform) connected to your CRM or calendar scheduling tool like Calendly. This will quickly allow you to share a link during a conversation and obtain the information from the lead you are looking to connect with post event for follow up. This will help eliminate the need to ask each person you interact with for their phone number and email address as well as the need to manually write or type that information out yourself.

In summary virtual events are a great, viable solution for lead generation and industry networking. It’s really about making sure you and your team are ready for the nuances that come with the event so that you can maximize the return on your investment and drive as many high quality leads as possible.

If you have any questions or need support in executing your marketing program, please contact us.