In 2020, our prospects and customers face a digital environment oversaturated with many forms of content. From SlideShares and video clips to ebooks, there’s no shortage of what they’re being exposed to every minute on every channel. Creating content that can cut through this noise and engage a senior audience requires a tried-and-tested method that keeps in mind current demands on our attention spans. And B2B virtual networking events deliver.
Why B2B Virtual Events Are a Marketer’s Favourite Tool
Before we delve into how to make a digital event that engages the C-Suite, encourages engagement and results in real conversions, let’s look at why it’s the strategy of choice for so many marketers.
73% of B2B marketing and sales leaders say virtual networking events are the best way to generate high-quality leads. They allow you to engage a specific audience across the globe right from the comfort of their own desks. And you know that these leads are worthwhile. After all, these leads are giving you 30 to 60 minutes of their time, which shows a high-level intent. Through the right presentation, Q&A and polls you can engage them even further. Digital events themselves also have a lifespan beyond the live event because you can promote the on-demand version and have it sit on your site as ever-green content. So how’s it done?
Treat B2B Virtual Events Like Digital Experiences
At Chief Nation, we deliver and host 90+ interactive VIP events a year through our Chief Wine Officer – both live and virtually.
We like to think of these are digital experiences and the key principle of being able to get people in the room still applies. Your guests may be sat at their desk, on the train or even on their sofa but they are still giving you their time and you need to think of what it takes to get them to commit.
From running physical events around the world to our bespoke CEO.digital webinars, here are some tips on two crucial areas of running a digital event: content and timing.
Selecting Content That Resonate
The first thing you should think about when deciding to run a virtual event is a topic. If you’re not providing value to your audience, then you shouldn’t be running one. Here are a few other ways to create stellar content and structure for your digital event
Think about what questions your audience have: what are the challenges they are currently facing and what are the answers they are seeking?
If you’re targeting a senior audience, your prospective attendees are already experts within their field. So if you want to talk to marketers about AI, instead of talking about the effect the technology is having on their roles, why not talk about how they could be using it to improve customer experience and power conversational conversions.
Find The Right Speaker
Finding the right speaker/speakers is key not only to the success of your webinar but as a draw to get the audience in. As a vendor, having a sales title as your sole speaker will tell your audience they are likely in for a pitch. If you want to have a speaker from your organisation, choose someone with the same job title of those you’re targeting – someone that shares your audience’s challenges and goals.
The ultimate speaker is a customer or industry thought-leader that can draw in their own audience and speak with authority and expertise.
Keep It Conversational
It’s of the upmost importance that your speaker isn’t just good on paper. A great webinar is one that has you engaged throughout, not switching between tabs or quickly getting back to that email.
Whether your webinar takes the format of a slide-deck and discussion or live panel Q&A keep presentations visually appealing and discussion on-topic, informal and relevant to your audience.
Attendee participation, be it in the form of questions, live surveys or polls, is also a great way to keep your audience engaged and involved throughout.
How to Get Timing Right for B2B Virtual Networking Events
Another crucial aspect of running a digital event is in the timing, from picking the ideal date and time for your attendees to running your invitations programme…
When Should You Run Your Virtual Event?
Whilst your virtual event can live on past it’s live date as an on-demand piece, you want as many attendees on the day as possible. Stats consistently show that the best times to run them are in the mornings. For the highest conversion rates, schedule your event for 10-11am midweek.
How Long Should Your Virtual Event Last?
Stats vary when it comes to how long your virtual event should last, with some saying 30-45 minutes is preferable while others say 60 minutes is the optimal length.
Our view at Chief Nation is to look at the content. Is the topic sufficient enough to cover an hour’s worth of content or can it be condensed to half that time? Does your webinar include significant interactivity that means your audience need more time to ask questions?
Let your content dictate your webinar run-time, not the other way around.
Don’t Forget to Time Your Invites
The most challenging part of running a virtual event is getting your audience to attend. How you choose to promote your webinar and with what content is key but so is getting them at the right time.
Research shows that you need to run your invitation campaign for at least a month before and keep it running to the last minute, with 29% of registrations occurring on the day itself and 17% 15+ days ahead on average.
The time you send invites also matters, with sources suggesting the majority of registrations occur midweek between 10-11am.