Business-to-business (B2B) marketers say events drive more engagement with customers than search and social efforts, and more than half of them rely on in-person events and trade shows to drive conversions. But with no safe way to gather as the pandemic wears on and with no definitive end in sight, now’s the time they must rethink and retool the foundation of their marketing or revenue strategy. To help, here are other effective channels that can drive customer engagement and conversion in lieu of physical events and four ways B2B marketers can succeed during COVID-19 by getting in front of registered audiences now:
- Consider Digital and Offline Alternatives: With events scrapped for the short term, what should Plan B be? Webinars, according to Demand Gen Report: One-third of marketers found webinars to be one of their most valuable content formats, and nearly two-thirds of consumers are willing to spend 20-60 minutes watching a webinar. Pivot and monetize a digital version of your physical event. But remember – with the influx of live and prerecorded webinars right now and because participants are likely suffering from webinar fatigue, rethink your content delivery beyond the typical webinar format to truly stand out from the crowd. For instance, create backgrounds your participants can use while on a Zoom call (so many types are available, from Hallmark Channel to Star Wars to Disney themes and more!), conduct an interactive demonstration of your product, or do a live stream event to make your presentation more personal. Or reach your intended audience with customized direct mail and use unique, visually appealing formats to grab their attention.
- Repurpose Content: Record your webinars; then use the content later to promote future events across all your advertising channels. Or host webinar recordings on your site to help drive traffic and capture new prospects. Registrants will likely appreciate the flexibility in consuming content – whether it’s attending the live webinar, viewing the recording at their convenience, or scanning their email or scrolling through social media later for your quick takeaways and tips.
- Collect Quality Data: Focus on data collection and your long-term strategy, such as how you plan to put your data to use. Virtual events give you multiple touchpoints (Q&A, polls, quizzes, comments, etc.) to connect with and engage current registered customers, so use this channel to keep registrants up to date and up to speed on your event and your plans. Gathering all this rich data right from the start can benefit you down the line too. For example, you can use the data to create a solid invitee list to use for future in-person events, once they can get back on the calendar again when the pandemic is over.
- Measure, Compare, Contrast: Look at the shift from in-person events to virtual events as an opportunity and measure well. What’s your data telling you? Is your marketing working? Find out how effective in-person events and virtual events are and how they both affect your bottom line. Put key metrics in place to get a pulse on engagement from virtual efforts. Then compare and contrast those results with past in-person events to identify improvement areas and potential cost savings.
Want even more ways to reach and communicate with your audience in these times of uncertainty? To learn all our best practices for working and engaging virtually, check out our free remote work resources, a webpage dedicated to all our remote work webinars, tools, articles, cheat sheets, and more – designed just for you. To discover how to navigate and adapt your marketing strategy to the ever-changing pandemic in both the short and long term, download our Marketer’s Guide to COVID-19. Lastly, to get insightful digital advertising advice and guidance, the latest trends or a helping hand when you need it, reach out to us.