Generating quality leads often comes down to the experiences you create for prospects as they interact with your brand. Entertaining experiences engage prospects. And when they engage, they more fully understand the value your products and services deliver.
So when the marketing team then turns those prospects over to the sales team, there’s a much greater chance of converting the leads into opportunities. And those opportunities can eventually lead to closed deals with a much shorter sales lifecycle.
Virtual experiences proving more effective than in-person events
While virtual events have become more common in the past two years, in many cases, they also prove to be more effective than in-person events at generating quality leads. A great example is a product launch produced by AtlasIED, a global electronics manufacturer that provides audio solutions for business environments.
The event took place in 2020, just a few months after the pandemic hit, when in-person events were not an option. AtlasIED had planned the launch of a new family of products (Atmosphere) for three years and hoped to present the products at InfoCom 2020, which was canceled due to COVID.
As Gina Sansivero (VP of Marketing and Corporate Communications) looked to an alternative, live-streaming virtual event, she faced the challenge of audiences who had experienced fatigue due to too many video conferences.
“We needed to run the virtual event in an engaging way to get prospects and customers excited and to want to attend,” says Sansivero
Keeping products a secret increases curiosity
For starters, AtlasIED rented a theatre in St. Louis and hired a production crew. They also brought in an emcee well-known to the industry—Tim Albright of AV Nation. Albright helped promote the event to his audience, and his involvement got people more curious.
Other key players included AtlasIED product engineers to answer questions and provide product demos as well as integration partners to talk about how the new product family works with their product lines. But perhaps the cleverest tactic was not telling the audience what the new product family was. AtlasIED decided to keep that under wraps until the event.
“Normally, we give the press and select customers a sneak peek, but in this case, we kept the new products a secret,” says Sansivero. “Instead, we used images that gave a hint but still kept what we planned to announce a bit of a mystery, and this drove a lot of registrations.”
AtlasIED also catered to the press by providing a special Zoom link to a press conference conducted right after the launch. “This gave the press direct access to our product experts and integration partners without the full audience being there,” points out Sansivero. “Where the press is an important component of our marketing strategy, giving them their own time was vital.”
Event, lead & demo costs all decrease dramatically
In comparing the virtual event to the previous in-person conference, Sansivero shared that the cost per lead was 50% less for the virtual event. “And our cost per demo from the virtual launch was about 25% of what it was at InfoComm in 2019,” Sansivero adds.
The cost to produce the virtual event was also about 20% of the AtlasIED InfoComm budget, and 60% of those who registered attended the virtual event. “We registered more people than we scanned at our booth the year before,” says Sansivero. “Everyone who registered is a lead and had some interest in hearing what we have to say.”
The virtual event approach also allowed AtlasIED to rate the interest of those who registered, depending on whether they attended the event, and how much time they spent logged into the virtual event. “This helps AtlasIED know who to focus follow-up activities on.
“It’s more difficult to figure out our returns at an in-person conference,” says Sansivero. “People tend to spend less time with you in your booth, so there’s less retention of your messaging. At a virtual event like ours, we capture their attention for a full hour.”
Having the event in a theatre also made attendees feel like they were at a real event. AtlasIED hired a crew to handle audio, video and lighting, and they set up the product showcase on stage with a big screen behind speakers. “This made it feel like a live show,” says Sansivero. “The only thing attendees could see was the stage as we presented a choreographed experience.”
Names & email addresses not enough
If your business finds it challenging to generate quality leads, a virtual event like the one AtlasIED produced just might do the trick. It’s not enough to simply collect names and email addresses at busy in-person events where it’s difficult to get more than a couple of minutes with prospects. You need prospects to fully engage to qualify them as warm prospects and to accelerate the sales cycle.
Entertaining virtual events give you the perfect opportunity to achieve this objective. They not only increase engagement but also allow you to more accurately measure engagement. Armed with this information, your sales team will be much more likely to convert your prospects into customers.