Online Events attract x2 more delegates than physical events – but can they replace the physical?
For many tech vendors the cancellation of their exhibitions and events have left a big hole in their pipelines, and unsurprisingly, many of our clients have switched their focus and budgets away from physical events to webinars. In turn, we’ve seen a spike in our event attendee generation team being directed to seek delegates for webinars.
The number of registrations is just the start of the journey! We’ve identified the 3 key components that ensure your events deliver ROI.
Based on the events we’ve been involved with in recent months, here’s a few observations we can share that differentiate how webinars are performing versus physical events and some tips for getting the most from the “New Normal” – there I said it!
1. Increased Numbers of Attendees
When we are calling out into a well-researched audience, our agents achieve around twice the number of registrations we typically get for physical events.
Clearly the amount of time a delegate needs to clear in their diary to attend a webinar is much less than a physical event and the convenience factor also plays a big part in this increased response level.
So, webinars are attracting increased numbers of registrations!
Our event clients want to maximise attendance and with webinars, unlike filling a room, there’s no limit on numbers!!!
A key tool to boost registrations is outbound calling – however, invariably, when we engage a clients target audience, we frequently find the client has been inviting a contact who has ‘gone-away’ or isn’t relevant to the event! We of course then navigate to the appropriate contact – naturally however, they haven’t registered because they aren’t aware of the event invitation!
A number of clients have been frustrated by GDPR governance regulations limiting their ability to email invitation material to none opted-in contacts.
You can be GDPR compliant having us deliver outbound calling using both legitimate interest and having us seek permission to engage when beginning our call. This allows us to engage an audience that from an email invitation perspective may have been out of reach.
2. Disruptive Content
This part is largely over to the client but it’s really important that the content of your online events is relevant and engaging.
There’s naturally a lower rate of commitment associated with attending an online event – booking travel and blocking out a morning in the diary for a physical event needs a much greater degree of commitment. So while the registrations and attendance is initially high to an online event, feedback we’ve had is that there is a relatively high drop out rate during events of 20-30% – e.g. the phone rings, the Amazon delivery person makes their daily drop off or whatever. Easy to get distracted.
Content therefore is king – sandwich your own talking heads between high value speakers e.g. 3rd party commentators, independent consultants, regulatory body spokespeople, subject matter experts and customers. We see the appetite to attend rocket when we are calling out for new event registrations if the client has these sorts of speakers lined up.
Without the captive audience effect of a physical event, even greater attention needs to be paid to delivering high value content.
3. Effective Follow Up
This is the stand out issue when switching to webinars and online events. Without the option for sales to mingle with delegates in person during coffee breaks and lunch there is limited scope for ‘organic’ sales/prospect interaction to take place.
The solution we’ve initiated with clients is a much more structured post event follow up process.
Within 48 hours we deploy an outbound calling process on behalf of the client to engage all delegates, thanking them for attending, but seeking a 30 minute timed/dated ‘feedback’ session with a client sales person using a Teams/Zoom invitation.
This provides a hardened platform for a more detailed exploration of what drove the contacts attendance and, of course, if there is any potential for further engagement.
This is the point at which all the enormous effort you’ve put into the whole process is monetised!
So in summary, the happy discovery is that if you get your audience correctly identified, webinars and online events can work extremely well – however, to properly maximise value, a very structured and diligent follow up process should be deployed to ensure as many 1:1 prospect/sales discussion can take place post event.
Interested to hear of your experiences transitioning to online events?