Maximizing the ROI from Virtual Events
What can B2B businesses do to maximize the ROI of producing virtual events & webinars? Here are some tips for marketers.
Virtual events have become a primary means of communication to clients in the business world. We wanted to learn more about how B2B businesses can to measure success from a webinar to better-define their ROI.
Basic pre-event marketing
Ryan Queenan, Marketing Director, Mad*Pow says he takes a similar approach to pre-event marketing as he does with in-person events. Email and social media promotion are the first to be deployed, and whenever possible, he partners with organizations in the specific vertical or industry to co-market through bartering.
“We send our speakers our own images and social media kits and ask them to promote it in their own circles,” he adds. “Our own digital development team invites closer contacts to attend the event as well.”
Enhancing your platform
Gilles Bertaux, Co-founder and CEO at Livestorm, says companies are starting to transition from video conferencing to video engagement platforms.
“These next-gen video conferencing platforms with special features are designed to boost engagement during internal and external events and maximize ROI,” Bertaux says.
“Interactive features like questions that can be upvoted, audience polls, and chat tabs enable prospects to have a participatory conversation with businesses and brand representatives. This, in turn, helps keep the brand or business top-of-mind when the prospect is later making a purchasing decision.”
Being able to forge meaningful connections with audiences tends to yield powerful customer loyalty. When customers are engaged on an emotional level, they are highly poised to become not just passive consumers, but avid fans, Bertaux says.
Market Research: What Do Technology Buyers Want from Virtual Events?
This type of loyalty reaps a very long and profitable ROI.
Another benefit of video engagement is that it is an excellent way for businesses to understand their customers.
“They can do this directly, through the event itself (conducting polls, etc.) and indirectly, through analytical reporting features in the software,” they said.
“These insights enable businesses to improve their products or services and design a more efficient and profitable path to purchase.”
Enhancing your content
Chris Savage, CEO and co-founder of Wistia, says B2B audiences have to sift through a complex subject matter that is full of terms or products they don’t fully understand.
A webinar is a perfect vehicle to teach people about larger industry topics and how a product can be useful to them. Webinars are also useful in that they can address any part of the marketing funnel.
Savage provides a few tips to maximize the ROI of webinars:
Think of a webinar as a TV show. A webinar doesn’t have to be boring. And it shouldn’t be. Bring personality to the webinar presentation by adding in videos throughout to animate the content so it’s not just a person talking the whole time. This will add a dynamic level and will help keep viewers engaged and interested in viewing more of the brand’s webinars.
Host webinars as evergreen content on your website. A webinar’s life doesn’t end after recording. Brands that add the video to a landing page as evergreen content can help gain more views and increase ROI. This helps make it easy for people to navigate a brand’s webinar archives. Alternatively, brands can host individual webinars on blog pages to add more context to their video presentation.
Write a blog post or series around webinar topics. Blogs are a great way to repurpose webinar content, while also communicating nitty-gritty details — like step-by-step instructions — that are hard to remember after watching a video. And, they can be a relatively low-lift.
Record a podcast with a webinar guest. Remember, great webinar content can be reused as podcasts, and webinars are an excellent gateway for finding new podcast guests. A great way to continue the webinar conversation is by inviting people involved in the event — whether internal or external — to join the podcast.
“It’s no secret that the pandemic forced businesses to pivot in the way they communicated,” Savage says. “While Zoom meetings generally work for employee communication, they aren’t as effective for customer communication. Expectations have shifted and customers want more options and personalization in the way they consume content. One way: live streaming!”
Live streaming events offer a unique opportunity for brands to show their expertise in real time and build trust through a shared communal experience.
A few tips to maximize the ROI of virtual live events:
Give viewers the ability to connect after the event. If you’re looking to have your virtual event replicate an in-person event, give people the ability to network afterwards. Hosting a coffee chat or happy hour via Zoom can give people the opportunity to discuss the virtual event and connect — similar to how they would in real life. This will not only help to continue the conversation, but it can help increase ROI.
Promote on social media pre- and post-event. You can’t successfully have a live stream event without building hype. Create some social media buzz by teasing short video clips of the event and releasing bursts of content. This promotion will help create a sense of excitement and mystery around the event, encouraging people to tune in.
Repurpose event content. Don’t let the live stream content go to waste after the event. The best way to continue increasing ROI is by repurposing content. Whether it’s compiling a blog post that talks about key takeaways from the event or publishing survey results, repurposing event content is a smart way to continue highlighting a virtual event, even if it’s passed, and generate more interest.
After the event
Queenan provided us with valuable self-examination questions for companies putting on webinars and other virtual events.
“I ask myself: Did it make us look good? Were the speakers of high caliber? Did everyone put their best foot forward in terms of content? Is the sales team actively engaged with attendees?” Queenan says.
“After the event, we tend to send out surveys to the attendees to make sure they liked the content, which is really useful for future event planning.”