man giving a presentation on a computer screenNothing beats the energy, inspiration and connections found at live events. But for now, while quarantined and planning your way forward, take advantage of the many available virtual event platforms to supplement your programming. Just as Zoom has changed weekly staff meetings, these platforms will help you through this transition phase—and they feature plenty of bells and whistles to engage your audience. Here are five positive outcomes from hosting virtual events.

  1. Open the “Doors” to More Attendees and Additional Savings | Startups, smaller businesses and international prospects can find the admission and travel costs of attending trade shows and conferences prohibitive, but a virtual event lowers those costs and allows you to benefit from new connections with their unique perspectives and next-gen ideas. Of course, your company also saves on the costs associated with hosting an in-person event. And no one in the office is left behind due to budget considerations.
  2. Attract High-Demand Speakers | Here’s your opportunity to bring the insights of industry leaders and changemakers to your event. It is far easier (not to mention more affordable) to seek commitments from top speakers when they can reach your audiences via a quick video or pre-recorded presentation.
  3. Generate and Track Great Leads | The path from initial contact at an in-person event to an actionable lead for your sales team can introduce a few detours. Somewhere between the venue and your company’s offices leads can get lost. Virtual event systems manage data collection to make tracking leads more seamless. What’s more, they can produce analytics quickly. Not only does this make it easier for your sales team to follow up with prospects, analytical reports can track buyer behavior and hint at where your lead may be in the sales cycle.
  4. Develop a Post-Event Product | Your virtual event can live on, long after the memories of an in-person event fade. Use recordings of your speakers and sessions to share and use as a lead generation tool.
  5. The Technology Just Keeps Getting Better | Virtual event technology continues to evolve. Now attendees can enter virtual 3D event spaces, where they can explore trade show booths, view live webcasts and connect with other attendees in chat rooms (translations services are even available!). Everything is downloadable, too, making it easy for attendees to obtain exactly the information they’re looking for. Start your research with these suggestions from the web-based SourceForge, check out the latest from Whova or read PCMA’s takeaways about the apps-based platform Run the World.

If you’re ready to add some virtual programming to your upcoming events calendar, be sure to factor in an appropriate lead time and ensure that you have relevant content and the right team in place to implement your vision. You can help make the temporary shift to virtual more palatable to your attendees by adding value like extra sessions, Q&A opportunities and unique offers.

For more timely marketing insights from Dana’s president, Lynn Kaniper, read “Post-Pandemic: What Will the Travel & Hospitality Industry (Have to) Look Like?”—then reach out to Lynn at 609.466.9187 ext. 117 or to continue the conversation. And stay safe out there!

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