TECHNOLOGY

How to Host a Successful Virtual Event to Help Your Business Survive Digitally

The coronavirus pandemic has compelled us to avoid large gatherings for the sake of everyone’s health. As a result of this, many trade shows, conferences, and events have to be either canceled, postponed, or converted into virtual events like a live webinar. Some of the big events that have been impacted are:

  • Adobe canceled its annual live summit and confirmed to move the entire event online. 
  • Facebook has canceled its Annual Market Summit which was going to be held in San Francisco and about 5,000 people were supposed to gather for that. 
  • Google News Initiative global summit and annual news conference are canceled due to the outbreak. 
  • The Mobile World Congress - the biggest smartphone conference of the year planned to happen in Barcelona, is canceled after major companies including LG, Amazon, Sony, Ericsson, Facebook, Nvidia, MediaTek, Sprint, and Vivo pulled out of the event because of the coronavirus outbreak. 
  • A conference about business and technology - EmTech Asia held in Singapore is postponed in August and many other big events have been canceled due to the growing impact of the coronavirus

Now is the time to create a plan to host an online event using webinar marketing techniques that can help your business survive digitally with lead generation in this critical time. A virtual event is not limited to a conference with thousands of attendees but it can also be a small Q&A session with your audience. Many opt to initially provide free webinars to fill up their sales funnel but a paid webinar can also work favorably for B2B marketers.

Whether you have an event already in mind or you’re looking for ideas, this article will guide you in crafting your webinar marketing strategy and constructing a webinar funnel. Not just for now, but building an online community is the long-term success factor for your business. So, let's get digital.

Understand Your Audience

To plan a virtual event you need to have a clear understanding of your audience’s general psyche. For this, you need to get answers to how tech savvy they are, what subject areas in your industry are they most interested in, which platforms they use actively, what types of offers appeal them more, etc. You can conduct a survey to get answers to these questions or also start a discussion forum with your audience as an alternative. Your webinar marketing strategy should use this data to chart out the audience's journey.

Visual Decoration

Just like live conferences, virtual event planning comes in many formats. It could be a seminar with one person taking the stage, or it could be more like a trade show or workshop. The key ingredient is to create a unique experience that makes the event more meaningful to the audience. Your landing page will serve as a stage for your webinar marketing agenda. A webinar landing page that is easy to understand in vital is converting inquisitive visitors into webinar registrants. Use large fonts, high color contrast, and provide captions for visuals wherever needed in presentations. You can handover the creative design part of your landing page to a design firm to create a personalized theme that will captivate the audiences’ minds. However, keep in mind that this should represent you as a brand as well in order to reap the benefits of your webinar marketing efforts. Event planning software will help you create a unique user experience with an attractive background and an easy-to-use navigation system for both the organizers and remote guests.

Choosing a Software Platform

Thanks to video streaming services an important part of webinar marketing and hosting virtual events to remote webinar attendees is much easier. Webinar software like Cisco WebEx, Zoom meetings, MegaMeeting, Google Hangouts, Facebook, and YouTube Live are some of the ways to visually connect with your audience for the event. Every webinar platform has some different factors that serve a different purpose. If you want to be a thorough webinar host, you can try free trials offered by each webinar marketing tool to understand and test the technical functionalities to ensure a successful webinar. This webinar tool will carve the customer journey and deliver a digital experience for viewers. You can even opt for an evergreen webinar or automated webinar for a future webinar.

Speaker of the Event

Who will be speaking at the webinar? Well, it’s your choice but the choice should align with your overall webinar strategy. You can hire an influencer, knowledge expert, or even an in-house staff member who has a command on the subject and can answer questions from the audience. The person should also have the ability to speak clearly, should be comfortable with the camera, and have the ability to manage time effectively. You can also plan an event with two hosts who have a strong rapport and can respond and manage the audience in a smart way.

Event Promotion

Remember: effectively promote it and they’ll come for the event, especially when you offer value and a good incentive to your online attendees. Keep at least one unique selling point that your event has to give your audience and make sure to reflect that in your event marketing plan. It can be anything like the guest speaker, your topics, skill-sharing opportunities, or networking. Share event details across all suitable platforms like social media sites, email, run paid ads, etc. and invite them to attend the event. Video marketing works well on social media platforms so you can drop videos with introductions of speakers, their work, behind-the-scenes efforts, or anything that will create and maintain the buzz. Your content marketing efforts and social media marketing plan will have to fit into your webinar marketing strategy seamlessly so that your Facebook ad for the event and other social media promotions will be seen by your target audience. As there are many ways to promote a virtual eventresearch it, or get in touch with a Deck 7 webinar marketing specialist to guide you through the best timing, content strategy, and other webinar promotion tips.

Tackling Technical Issues

Virtual events are no exception to glitches. Before rushing to start the event, check if everything is running properly. Test your internet connection, and inform your host to do the same. Prepare a backup of your slide deck and every needful document in case you miss any, or it gets corrupt. Take an extensive trial before the event, identify the problems, and be ready with solutions. The webinar registration process should be a smooth one that merges seamlessly into the webinar presentation. All your hosts and online guests may not be experts in solving technical issues, so prepare an e-book or notes to give them as a solution. You can arrange technical support online for an upcoming webinar, this ensures it is easy to find and anyone can ask for help and get it immediately.

Engage Your Audience

Make an effort to engage your audience in your next sales webinar. If you create opportunities for them to respond then surely they are going to engage in your event. You can do this easily, e.g. you can encourage them to ask questions through comments or chat boxes. This makes them participate in the conversation. You can also encourage your attendees to live-tweet, participate in polls and quizzes so that you can focus on the main event. You can also can hire someone to handle this activity.

Before the events start, you can take suggestions from your audience for a suitable time and date to organize the event. If you are aiming for a global event then make sure it is not colliding with something else so that you can improve your chances of increasing webinar attendance. If you choose to provide a webinar recording via a blog post for those who were not able to attend, you have a chance to reach a much wider audience with your existing webinar content. Webinar marketing does not need to necessarily end when the webinar ends.

Takeaway

A live streaming event is more doable than ever today for any marketer, especially in this digital information sharing age and content marketing takes precedence. Take advantage of this technological breakthrough for your next marketing webinar to build your audience using a comprehensive webinar marketing strategy and make your brand a household name. You can approach Deck 7 for virtual event promotion using various platforms and you will not be disappointed by the results. Also, share your inputs on how you are coping with the news trends in virtual event promotion and growing your business.

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