Everyone loves a good story! If you make the stories about your business and your customers interesting and tell them in a way that connects your prospects to the stories, you greatly improve your effectiveness in selling your products and services. They can feel the experience of the value your business delivers. In this article, we will share some B2B virtual event ideas to better tell your brand’s story.
During the past two years, the importance of using virtual events to tell the stories of how customers solve business challenges has taken a giant leap. One-on-one visits to offices and in-person tradeshows are no longer automatic options for storytelling. It’s thus critical to find a way to capture the attention of prospects online and keep them engaged.
Add Fun to Your Presentations
When the pandemic struck in 2020, many businesses started relying more heavily on virtual webinars, conferences, and trade shows to tell their stories. A key factor in the success of these events is to make them fun and light-hearted. For example, you can play music during breaks to entertain attendees and stop the music to signal when the break is over.
“Including music and videos is key because you want to avoid just having someone talk for 30 or 60 minutes,” says Josh Milne, Owner of Joshua Milne PR. “To make the audience feel like they are attending an in-person event, engage them by allowing them to ask questions and to chat with each other. People like to give their insights, and by allowing them the opportunity, they will participate more actively rather than checking email and other stuff on their devices.”
More Control Over the Narrative
Compared to in-person events, virtual presentations also give you the ability to facilitate audience interactions more effectively. You can coordinate who will speak and who will ask questions so you have control over the narrative that emerges. If the audience posts 10 questions, for example, pick the three for which you know the answers will benefit the discussion most.
When coordinating a virtual event, it’s also important to bring in all the required skillsets, using resources with experience in their role. In addition to a host and the presenter(s), who will focus on the messaging delivered to the audience, this includes a moderator who will interact with the audience and help them participate. You also need a technical resource to help anyone in the audience who is having connection issues.
You may even want to provide the host and the presenters with technical support—just in case they can’t connect properly. For major virtual events with large audiences, it also makes sense to assign backup resources in case something goes wrong with a device or a connection used by a host or a presenter.
“All of these roles take practice and the ability to learn from mistakes,” Milne says. “Attendees will let some things slide, knowing the technology can be a challenge. But there’s a line that if you cross it, it will look like you are not prepared.”
Combining In-Person and Online Audiences
A company that presents an interesting use-case for using virtual events to tell a story, is PTZOptics, a manufacturer of robotic pan, tilt and zoom camera solutions for video production and live streaming. The company leveraged a hybrid model to hold an event at the StreamGeeks Summit. The topic was, appropriately enough—live video streaming.
The audience included 250 in-person attendees and about 650 online attendees. The company hosted the event at a high-end hotel and charged for admission. The revenue collected from the event enabled PTZOptics to actually turn a profit.
Paul Richards, the Marketing Director for PTZOptics and the author of The Virtual Ticket, says PTZOptics believes in combining one-way streaming broadcast experiences with two-way collaborative environments like video conferencing. “Live streaming is very engaging and has huge distribution opportunities on social media,” Richards says. “And services like Zoom allow in-person and remote attendees to join breakout chat rooms and to network with each other.
Giving Audiences the Choice to Participate Passively or Actively
When audiences can easily share their perspective and ideas with each other, it allows stories to take on a new meaning. “It’s important for hosts to engage audiences and to use technology that creates a professional presentation,” Richards says. “Content that is seen and heard clearly while delivered using the art of storytelling will get people’s attention. The story can deliver value that educates while also entertaining the audience.”
Another key aspect of one-way broadcasts is that each member of the audience has the flexibility to participate passively—they don’t have to turn on their camera and microphone. As they hear things that provide value, they can then choose to elevate themselves to active participation.
“The ultimate mission is to invoke transformations within the audience,” says Richards. “Create an unforgettable experience to inspire them to participate.”
That unforgettable experience that Richards refers to is particularly powerful in virtual settings. Attendees can easily share what they experience with just a couple of clicks, and before you know it, your story goes viral! Use some of these B2B virtual event ideas to help make that happen.