This was a special panel event coordinated by our online events sponsor and friends at BrightTalk that was put together to talk all about virtual events.
The panel consisted of Daniel Waas of AppFolio, Darin Berntson of Utah DMC and Ryan Smith of SaltStack, and Morgan Cantrell of BrightTALK was our moderator.
2020 has been a wild year so far and because of the pandemic, holding events at convention centers is just not going to happen. In order to combat this, companies have been looking into holding virtual events to drive more demand.
Ryan Smith notes that he has noticed a couple positive elements that have come from virtual events that you don’t always get at the standard trade show events. He specifically goes on by saying that the approachability to people that are usually in high demand such as executives of companies has become easier. Usually executives have different schedules and are not always able to show up to events and trade shows. But with the virtual events, they are a lot easier to get a hold of and be able to hold conversations with.
One important thing that Ryan touches on and what he thinks makes a great virtual event is providing that face-time for these high demand people. Listeners and followers want to be able to pick their brain and be able to ask as many questions as possible, so providing that key element with virtual events is very important to execute.
Creating Content That Inspires, Stands Out, and Generates Business
Ryan Smith continues on about how successful virtual events come down to the company being able to create and provide content that inspires, stands out, and generates business overall. So what are the benefits of holding a virtual event in 2020?
Daniel Wass from AppFolio shares his thoughts on how the change we have had to embrace has actually turned out to be a very positive one. Daniel and AppFolio have been able to generate business with the help of big associations and sponsors to hold a high value virtual event. They reached out to these associations letting them know what they were wanting to do, and that they would do all the work to get it going. The only help they would need is to help get the message out to their audience in order to drive that business towards the virtual event. By getting a stamp of approval from these associations and sponsors, it gives companies like AppFolio credibility and recognition from their audience. It also helps them stand out if they were to hold other future events.
A few key points worth sharing:
- Find the ideal mix of presenters to win the trust of prospects and customers. This includes reaching out to associations and executives that have a lot of experience in their field, are well known, and have a lot of value to share.
- Promote through the right channels so you are presenting to the right audience. This is an important point that Darin touches on. Finding associations and co-sponsors that aren’t competitors, but have a similar audience is key in reaching out to the right audience for these virtual events. Not only does this help with obtaining the right audience, it also generates more people tuning into the live event as well.
Companies save a lot of money when they hold virtual events because they don’t need to invest in a booth or any other materials that they would need for trade shows and convention center events. They use the money they save and put it towards an ad campaign via LinkedIn and Facebook ads, as well as their newsletters. By doing this, they hope to be able to drive engagement towards their virtual event. Talk about a huge win in a rough economic situation.
How to Define Success Through Virtual Events
Daniel talks about how reach is the number one thing to measure when it comes to a successful virtual event. Through the help of associations and co-sponsors, driving a total of 500+ attendees or more shows a business’ value along with the quality information and value they are providing back to the people who attend the event.
Driving engagement and getting the attendees to tune in for the whole event is also another issue to solve in order to have a successful virtual event. Holding quality conversations and keeping your audience engaged is the final takeaway in defining a successful virtual event. Following up with registrants and attendees after the event also shows a whole other side of professionalism. Giving your attendees resources to the topics that were discussed and copies of the presentations provides value as well.
Virtual events for companies are going to be the new normal for a while, so it is important to understand what we can do as brands and companies to stand out and provide value to our followers.
The key takeaways from this DMC Panel are as follows:
- Work with partners and associations/sponsors to carry out an event
- Get the word out to all possible audiences
- Give the attendees the opportunity for Q&A with the speakers that are running the event.
- Provide as much audience engagement as possible
- Follow up with attendees and provide resources to them based on the discussions during the virtual event
We hope you enjoyed this recap from June 24th. Be sure to check out our Utah DMC online events page so you can join us for the next one (or watch any past online events)
Want More Detail? Enjoy The Replay Below!