Back to Basics—What Are the Benefits of Virtual Events?
Oct 9, 2018 11:52:00 AM
Transportation, hotels, production crews, equipment rental, staffing fees, creative services, content creation, and food and beverage services are just a few of the line items that make in-person events so expensive. A marketer running a customer conference will invest a large sum in venue costs alone. If you host a global sales kickoff, you can expect that airfare and hotel costs will consume a huge portion of your budget.
Virtual events offer a massive cost savings. Instead of paying venue charges for specific dates, you purchase an annual license to use the virtual event platform as often as you like. Many costs, like transportation and food and beverage, are eliminated entirely. Cyber security company SonicWall reported a savings of 80% when it hosted a virtual sales kickoff instead of a physical event, making it an obvious choice.
Once you eliminate travel costs, the number of people with whom you can connect expands dramatically. Free of time and place restrictions, you can reach more prospects and partners with regular live events inside a virtual environment. You can take a regional event to a global audience by offering a follow-the-sun agenda or offer new training programs to your entire employee base, regardless of tenure, level, or location.
This broader reach means more connections, which can lead to other benefits like an increased sales pipeline and higher employee satisfaction. Reaching more prospects, customers, partners, or employees adds immense value to your virtual event.
Reaching more people is great; making deeper connections is even better. With its visual appeal, an online environment can immediately engage your audience, and offering a wide range of content and activities can keep them engaged longer.
Every virtual environment includes one-on-one, small group, and public chats. Live presentations include polls and interactive Q&A sessions. Gamification lets attendees earn points and prizes for specific actions like chatting with reps or visiting booths. Each activity builds upon the next, giving you a more complete picture of attendees and each attendee a deeper connection to your company and your content.
Unlike a single webinar where time is limited, a virtual environment encourages connection over the course of a day, a month, or a year. Once you launch a virtual environment, you “own the building” and can use it again and again, providing unlimited opportunities to connect with your audience.
For sales enablement, that may mean bi-weekly leadership updates and peer best practice sessions. For prospects, it can be quarterly product updates or weekly ask-the-expert sessions. Each time attendees visit the virtual environment, they join the specified activity and then begin to browse, learn more, and engage more. Regular recurring activity can become an invaluable touchpoint, helping you move your audience towards your desired goals.
Unlike in-person events, virtual events allow you to track almost every action attendees take. It’s as though you can follow prospects at a conference and note each booth they enter, what datasheets they touch, what questions they ask, and which keynotes and breakouts they attend.
This real-time data is a powerful tool to measure success and plan future programs. Connecting directly to marketing automation tools can translate to almost immediate campaign follow up as well as offer easy access to specific data points for measuring KPIs and reporting to executives. Each virtual event program allows you to get to know your prospects like never before while tracking ROI like you’ve always wanted.
One of the things we love the most is hearing from clients what they love about virtual environments. Many mention the benefits detailed above, but with each new program, we learn more about what makes virtual events work for a wide variety of businesses.
We’d love to brainstorm to help you identify the specific benefits virtual events can offer your business. Stay tuned to our blog to learn more, or reach out to brainstorm with us today.
This blog is part of our “Back to Basics” series, designed to help you learn the fundamentals of virtual events and environments. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out, and soon you’ll be a virtual event expert.