We have all participated in an extravagant event at some point in our lives. Be it as students scouting universities at an Education Fair, college graduates looking for jobs at a Job Fair, employees sourcing talent at a Career Fair or as entrepreneurs showcasing our business’s top products/services at an expo.
The internet has catalyzed the evolution of many things and trade-shows are no exception. More and more companies, institutes and governments are resorting to digital events to reap the benefits of their convenience, reach and budget friendliness. Market Research Media states that the virtual event market will grow from $14 billion in 2018 to $18 billion in 2023.
Although a lot has changed, the purpose driving trade-shows has remained constant:
- Marketing your business and its offerings
- Generating leads for conversion
The revolutionary technology behind virtual events satisfies both these purposes. Although the achievement of the first is seen by many as intuitive, through social media promotion, virtual booth space etc, several marketing and sales executives struggle to see the fulfillment of the second.
Since generating leads is crucial to generating revenue and marking your event’s success, here is an overview of how your event can do just as well, and often even better, at generating leads after going virtual.
1. Generates Massive Reach
Your virtual event can accommodate a much wider audience by removing all geographical restraints. Important stakeholders who could not have attended the event for in-person interactions can now easily login and start engaging with you. You can go beyond your local audience to potentially a global one which can skyrocket your business. After carefully choosing the category of event that best suits your purpose and target audience, you can ensure a bigger and more diverse event attendance and naturally, a larger pool of lead prospects.
2. Shortens the Sales Cycle
At a virtual event, visitors are exposed to your service, are given a demonstration and undergo negotiation there and then within minutes. This significantly accelerates the sales funnel which otherwise could have stretched into weeks. By registering for the event, visitors also pre-qualify themselves long before the event takes place. Attending your event can take the place of a first sales call — moving prospects through your sales funnel faster.
3. Doubles as a Marketing Channel and an E-commerce Platform
The dynamicity of a virtual event opens up quite a few options. If you’re looking for a wider audience and higher volume of content download and sharing, you can setup an event with low or no participation costs. This widens the net you cast and catapults chances of lead generation.
Alternatively, you can charge a small admission fee along with a fee for access to specific content like presentations or live webinars. This can bring in additional revenue whilst bringing some exclusivity to your event. The VIP access vibe can work well in your favor if it resonates with your corporate values and the target audience you are looking to attract.
With a virtual event, it’s obvious that you can seamlessly market and position your products to relevant audiences. What tops this is that if required, you can integrate an e commerce engine enabling visitors to buy products there and then which allows you to generate revenue in a short amount of time.
4. Delivers Information through Interactive Content
People love real-time communication and this also applies to their professional interactions. According to The Social Habit and Jay Baer, 32% of users who have ever interacted with a brand on social expect a reply in 30 minutes or less. Therefore, live videos, tweets and webcasts are becoming increasingly popular. Virtual events are designed for such interactions through instant chat, social sharing, on-demand webinars and live Q&A sessions.
Webinars themselves are great opportunities to develop leads as you can share freebies (like e-books) with visitors to warm them up and then position benefits in an environment with very few distractions.
These tools help extend your event’s reach and loop in more participants. They also build a lead nurturing environment where someone is always available to answer a prospect’s query through the convenience of digitization. People are more likely to engage with you if you take the guesswork out of the process and virtual events help you achieve this leading to more conversions.
5. Enables Data-Driven Lead-Tracking
Post-event reports can shed a lot of light on the event’s performance. They pinpoint statistics like:
- Number of attendees
- Content views & download volume
- Number of interactions
- Volume and value of transactions performed
- Number of applications dropped
These figures can be used to uncover crucial insights. They can help in improving content for the next event by showing you what worked and what didn’t. For instance, you can identify where participation spiked in your webinars and develop related content to keep participants tuned in during your next event.
These figures are helpful in gauging both the quantity and quality of leads generated. The reports also furnish data collected from visitors at registration for your sales team to pursue. A data-driven approach based on visitors’ level of engagement in the event can be monumental in determining the sales stage that they lie in. This eases the lead qualification process and maximizes event ROI.
6. A Virtual Event is not a Onetime Affair
The best part of going virtual: your engagement does not have to end with the event. You can keep the doors to the virtual event open for days after its scheduled time has passed. This allows your content to be available for consumption, storing and sharing for much longer. Even if your reps are not available to immediately answer the queries generated by late arrivers, you’ve still left the door open for an additional stream of prospects to access your event and reach out for a transaction.
Also, since you retain contact information of prospects and registrants even after the event, you can send educational/promotional material to them and convert them into valuable leads
With virtual events, the options for lead-generation and lead-nurturing are endless. If you clearly present the message you wish to portray and match this message to your event and audience, you stand a very high chance of turning attendees into valuable prospects. Have you noticed the recent mushroom growth of professional seminars and virtual fairs around you? Now you know why that is.