Virtual conferences just may be my favorite marketing tactic that I have clanging around in my tool box.
Through two online events that I’ve organized for my company, GroupHigh, I’ve been able to generate more leads for my sales team than any of my other strategies combined.
The recent Outreach Marketing Virtual Summit took place at the end of the September and was our best online event yet! It featured over 30 presentations from thought leaders in the marketing world, including Convince and Convert’s very own Jay Baer, while over 2,000 people tuned in to presentations throughout the day.
The sentiment on Twitter was pure awesomeness:
— Rachel David (@RachDavid) September 23, 2014
A lot of this was a result of finding the right conference hosting platform. In a previous event we used a tool that did not work well for us. In this one, we used VConferenceOnline which was phenomenal.
This tactic of brand recognition and consumer acquisition through virtual conferences encompasses two very strong principals of outreach marketing: First, it helps you find the right people at the right time and second, you position your brand as a resource for your consumers.
Who’s Doing It?
So other than GroupHigh, plenty of other businesses and niches and seeing success with virtual events. To highlight a few:
- Tech companies in the B2B realm like mine are doing virtual events to engage potential buyers and become known in their niche.
- Universities are doing virtual conferences with faculty and staff to present views and ideas on a subject.
- NASA has actually reduced their travel expenses by 21 million dollars, largely due to the fact that some of their largest in person events have turned in to virtual conferences.
- Social Media Examiner has an upcoming giant online conference for marketers to talk and learn about trends.
While virtual conferences largely live in the B2B realm right now, I can see them working their way in to a fun and effective B2C tactic as well. Think about fashion brands getting together and hosting a day of style trends and tips for fashion savvy consumers. Or foodie influencers collaborating to share an entire day of their favorite recipes, tips and brands they like most in the kitchen. Or crafting brands teaming up to do a full day of educational sessions with DIY enthusiasts?
Oh, yeah, the possibilities are endless…
Why Do Virtual Events Make Me Giddy?
Though I’m a huge fan of human to human interaction, an online conference is pretty darn close when the face-to-face events aren’t practical. The ability to tune in from anywhere is pretty cool. A treehouse, coffee shop, bed, bus station, or living room is very convenient – not to mention the elimination of wardrobe woes. I didn’t wear shoes all day at the conference I hosted and many people reported that they tuned in wearing pajamas.
— Julia C. Campbell (@JuliaCSocial) September 23, 2014
— Marqana Digital (@MarqanaDigital) September 23, 2014
Let’s talk money for a second.
These conferences cost drastically less money to put on, most are free to attend, and there are obviously no travel expenses involved.
One of many goals with all conferences is to have attendees, right? Virtual conferences boast more attendees—up to 5 times more attendees, in fact.
Not to mention that this whole not commuting all over the world to network is great for our mother earth!
Engage all Stages of Buying Process
With the ability to have multiple tracks, you can create an event that engages all educational levels and all stages of the consumer’s. Plan ahead to make sure you have the presentations to please a variety of people.
Through The Outreach Marketing Virtual Summit, I was able to get my brand in front of thousands of new marketers and communications professionals while simultaneously providing valuable information to our current clients. I received thank you emails and tweets from all stages of contacts.
What are your thoughts on the virtual conference model? Please share in the comments below, I love hearing from you!