Do you remember when “events” was synonymous with “personal events”? We also. Marketing has changed a lot in a short time. Now, virtual events are number one on event marketers’ radar. And despite our nostalgia for traveling and seeing people in person, they work surprisingly well and only get better.
Indeed, virtual events are shaking attendance records. For example, over 500,000 people attended Adobe’s virtual summit this spring, about 16 times more people than we expected to attend the event live. In the first 24 hours alone, visitors saw 22,600 hours (2.6 years!) Of video.
And Adobe is not alone. Companies everywhere and in different industries are getting great results. Even when in-person events return, most marketers plan to keep virtual events as a key element of their overall event strategy. More than 80 percent of marketers are facing more online events in the future.
This post covers 10 reasons marketers love virtual events – and 6 technologies you’ll need to make them happen.
1. Production costs less.
It’s common sense. Virtual events cost less – often much less – to plan and run than personal events. They don’t require spending on travel, hospitality, or venues. As a result, the ROI can be significantly higher than that of in-person events. More than a third of marketers say the average cost per participant in virtual events is between $ 500 and $ 1,000.
You can invest the money you save in planning even more virtual events. Or, you can use some of your extra money on unique gifts and fun activities like a meal cooked together or a chocolate tasting.
2. You spend less time planning and promoting.
Without the need to move people, products, and physical displays, virtual events can often be delivered faster than personal events. On average, it will take you three to four weeks to plan a virtual event, while it will take you six to eight (or more) weeks to plan a face-to-face event. In a survey of nearly 3,000 marketers, more than half said that planning a small virtual event can only take two weeks.
3. They are easier for the participants to fit into their life and schedule.
Traveling is a logistical challenge for busy executives – and for everyone who has responsibilities at home and in the family. This means that most people attended fewer events than they wanted. Now with so many events going virtual, more people are broadening their virtual horizons and attending more online events than ever before.
4. They can connect you with prospects from all over the world.
When it comes to personal events, geography is always a limiting factor. However, virtual events can attract attendees from all over the world. If you are a global company, or even thinking of becoming a global company, this is a huge benefit.
5. They are suitable for very focused conversations.
Since virtual events are cheaper and allow you to draw from a geographically diverse pool of participants, focusing events on niche topics has become much more profitable. You can impress potential customers with your knowledge and stand out from events that just skim the surface. Attendees attending a tightly focused event are more likely to take your product or service seriously.
6. You generate a lot of data and insights.
Filling out survey forms after in-person events can be problematic. However, it is worth finding out how attendees experienced your event. Virtual events give you a more detailed overview of how attendees are engaging with your event.
Most event platforms record every session and interaction. This data is invaluable to sales reps helping prospects and marketers develop new events and campaign strategies.
7. You address top-class speakers and C-level moderators.
It is difficult to find great speakers for your events because these people are always in high demand. You may not even be able to get a C-level manager or VP from your company, especially if they have to travel to your event. But when you take away the need to travel, you open up many possibilities.
For example, it is much easier to book a 90-minute virtual keynote than a multi-day visit. Likewise, virtual event presentations can be pre-recorded, providing much greater planning flexibility for busy presenters.
8. They are much easier to scale.
Most in-person events can only be as large as the venue in which they are held. In fact, many events end with long waiting lists. However, virtual events can be scaled as large and as fast as you need them – especially if you are using a dedicated streaming platform instead of a video conferencing service.
9. You can develop as quickly as your products.
When you need to convey important product or service news to your customers and prospects – and you want to do so in an interactive environment – a virtual event can be a great solution. Instead of waiting until you have lots of new product updates for a single big launch, you can experiment with more frequent, more targeted launches.
10. They can help you create pipeline events faster.
Because you can incorporate diary technology into your virtual events, you can easily set up follow-up calls while your event is still on. This means you can qualify leads faster and speed their journey through the sales funnel.
The event technology you need to be successful
Virtual events are both an art and a science. You need creativity to come up with amazing topics and formats that will captivate participants. However, you need technology to efficiently plan, promote, and run your event – especially if you want to host multiple events throughout the year or have a small marketing team.
The six solutions you will need to manage a growing calendar of virtual events include:
- A marketing automation platform
- An interactive webinar / live event platform
- Social scheduling and amplification tools
- Live chat and conversation marketing
- An event and workflow management platform
- Marketing Attribution Tools
All of these technologies are especially important when you work with multiple teams around the world. Julie Martin, Adobe Senior Director of Corporate Events and a key contributor to the Summit event, said, “It takes a village to produce Summit, but it takes more villagers to get Summit online. Since this was the first time Adobe Summit was created on Adobe.com, the team included not just Adobe spokespersons, expert marketing, demand generation, PR, executive communications, social, creative, BU product and marketing professionals, but that too Web team. Engineering, analytics and UX designers. “
The technology helped the Adobe Summit team work together, break silos, and stay on track. To learn more about how you can deliver great virtual events – and what technologies can help you do that – check out our eBook titled Starting Virtual Events That Stand Out, Scale, and Soar.