How to Launch a Virtual Event for Lead Generation

You’ve heard correctly: Virtual events generate tons of leads.

How do virtual events generate leads?

While virtual summits offer the traditional benefits of trade shows (accelerating brand awareness and marketing your product/service), they also cast a larger net to your pool of prospective clients, have fewer time restrictions, and improve the quality of leads through data collection. It also doesn’t hurt that they save you a big chunk of change and time in the process!

Here is our step-by-step guide on how to launch a virtual event for lead generation so you can get a head start on planning yours today!

How do I Launch a Virtual Summit to Generate Leads?

Here, we break down the areas you need to focus on to launch a successful virtual event with the goal of generating more leads.

1. Create a Vision and Attract Industry Experts to Your Virtual Conference

To create lead generations, you first need an audience. Use the following tip to design a dynamic virtual event that incites participation from both sponsors and attendees.

  • Set a vision: Start out by asking yourself five key questions:
  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What are you offering?
  3. Where is your remote audience located (local, global)?
  4. When will you go live and for how long? Most importantly, why?
  5. What goals or sales targets are you hoping to achieve? (Use your tip sheet to help organize your thoughts).

Knowing the vision for your summit and the number of potential attendees is indispensable to have when approaching speakers and/or sponsors.

  • Attract industry experts to speak: Your next step is to invite industry experts. Not only does this help you attract a large number of potential leads, but it simultaneously allows you to create a lasting connection with experts in your industry. As an added bonus, your brand will be associated with industry expertise, which provides long-term ROI that goes way beyond the summit. Here are some great tips to consider when planning your agenda.
  • Find speakers who want to reach your target persona: Really narrow down your target persona and then find speakers who want to reach the same market.

 *Insider Tip: Pre-registering attendees will be a good selling point to speakers so you can give them an indication of their potential reach.

  • Host an editorially driven event: Multi Sponsor or Single Sponsor events can drive revenue for a virtual summit. Limiting the number of offers will help sell them up front.

2. Prepare a Solid Sales Demonstration

If attendees have registered for your virtual summit, you already have a list of qualified leads to pull from. This means, you better bring your sales A-game.  Try the following sales-minded preparation when planning for your virtual summit:

  • Create a sales demo: You have the undivided attention of a large group of potential buyers, so make sure your sales demo is ready! Having an informative and attractive sales demonstration can significantly speed up the sales funnel process and is much more efficient than taking several weeks of back and forth phone calls and e-mails.
  • Increase UX: Recent studies about UX clearly show us that 1) video helps persuade 73% of people to buy a product or service and 2) 8 out 10 consumers who signed up for emails from a brand over the past six months made a purchase based on what they received. Make sure your product is easy to access and understand, and that your sales demo has a great UX so you do not miss out on potential high-value leads.

3. Establish Low Barriers of Entry to Cast Your Net Wider

Virtual events trump brick and mortar events because of their inherent accessibility and low barriers of entry. Capitalize on this for more lead generation by doing the following:

  • Offer free or small admission: Encourage more people to join all over the world as well as more downloading/sharing of your content by making your virtual event free or available for a very small admission fee. This is the way to cast the widest net.
  • Create exclusivity by limiting access: With the wide net option, there is always the chance of 1) landing non-quality leads and 2) possibly making the event or content seem too broad or uninformative. Alternatively, you can charge a small fee for access to the event or just to specific content inside the event to propel interest, create an alluring exclusivity, and make some revenue on the side.

4. Enhance Lead Tracking Through Extensive Data

Lead generation continues long after the event closes its virtual doors. The data collected at virtual summits and conferences can help you nurture current leads and generate future ones. Here’s how to actually use it!

  • Use data to evaluate leads: We know that the success of a virtual summit is not merely based on the number of attendees, but rather on the more substantial stats: content views, volume and value of transactions performed, download volume, and the number of interactions with staff, to name a few. Analyze this data to gauge the quantity and quality of leads generated.
  • Discover what content is most valuable to nurture leads: You can see where participation spiked throughout an event and focus on gearing your content strategy in the future towards more of the content that your users find valuable.
  • Indicate quality leads to your sales department: Your sales team will thank you! From the initial data collected by visitors when they signed up to data-driven reports on attendees engagement throughout the event, your sales department will be able to glide through the lead qualification process and go straight to maximizing ROI.

5. Leave Virtual Event Open Past Publishing Day to Generate More Leads

Here’s the biggest perk: Your event doesn’t have to be limited to just one day. Here is how going virtual enhances your engagement and boosts your possible leads.

  • Keep event open longer: Keeping your event open for days after the live broadcast can substantially increase the number of times your content is seen, downloaded and shared.
  • More attendees, more data: More attendees rolling in overtime means more:
  1. Information you can collect further down the funnel.
  2. E-mails to send valuable information to.
  3. Data on engagement, and finally,
  4. HIGHER ROI.
  • Create a sense of community: You can host a year-long event that creates a sense of community for attendees and enables the development of a content hub of valuable information for your clients.

Time restrictions are non-existent when you go virtual – you just have to choose what style best represents your brand.

Take the Next Steps to Launch Your Virtual Summit

Now that we’ve learned all about how virtual events can generate quality leads and sales, are you ready to make the most of virtual events? Here are your next steps to a successful event:

The team here at 6Connex lives and breathes virtual events, so we understand why companies invest the time and the money. One of the most obvious benefits—and the one that often drives companies to try a virtual event for the first time—is cost savings. However, almost every company that tries a virtual event discovers many more benefits and reasons to integrate virtual environments into their regular communications with prospects, customers, partners and employees.

Content may be king, but for many virtual event producers, it’s all about the money. Whether you are a demand gen marketer with a big pipeline goal or a media company trying to monetize your audience, virtual environments can open up a world of new ways to put dollar signs front and center.

THE APPROACH

HELLO Voelkel IT is a German company that advises larger organizations how to effectively use online tools to communicate better. The company had previously resold a local German Virtual Event platform when they came to 6Connex. Voelkel IT took what started out as a client relationship and launched what is now a thriving business endeavor.

The initial discussions focused on how to re-launch the Voelkel IT’s Virtual Events offer. Both sides wanted a solid offering for the German market, and both were prepared to invest resources to adapt to the local market.

Since the launch of the partnership 6Connex and Voelkel IT together have launched a Virtual Event for the German market that was run by Voelkel IT. The event was a success and lead generation kicked-in immediately after the event.

6Connex was prepared to listen to what is needed in our local market, and have assisted us with integration of German Software Tools inside of the Virtual Event.”
– Jürgen Voelkel, CEO, Voelkel IT

THE RESULTS

Established Credible Voice

The strategy was to lead by example by creating a Virtual Event where sponsors were invited to participate. Since Jürgen had already presented a successful Virtual Event he was able to clearly showcase the vast benefits and a few of the kinks that he encountered.

Generate Direct Business

By creating his own Virtual Event, Jürgen was able to generate direct business and direct profits.

Strong Lead-flow

Attendees were quickly intrigued by the virtual platform’s instant access to various content, webinars, training rooms, and social media/networking tools. Participants from all over the globe were astounded by their capacity to view a live format from the convenience of their desktops, tablets, or smartphones.

Repeat Business

Within 6 months of launching the initial Virtual Events with multiple clients, Voelkel IT’s clients whose initial license expired extended their contracts for a new 12-month period. The ability to effectively communicate product information, training, and education has proven immeasurable to business development. Virtual Events reselling offers these capabilities and more.

“Working with 6Connex we have been able to listen to the local market and become a strong voice in the German Virtual Events industry. 6Connex has proven to be a partner that delivers the platform, but also assist us on the business side of our partnership to make sure that Voelkel ITK are a competitive player in Germany.”
– Jürgen Voelkel, CEO, Voelkel ITK

“We knew from the start that we didn’t want to go in with a view to implement a US vision in Germany. Working with local partners like Voelkel ITK allows us to be responsive to needs in different markets.”
– Mike Nelson, CEO, 6Connex

THE GOAL

The partnership with 6Connex set out to re-establish Voelkel IT in the German market. The strategy was to lead with example and create an event where sponsors were invited to participate.

The goal with the initial event was to establish Voelkel IT as a credible voice for German companies to come to for advice on Virtual Events.

The long -term goal with the initial Virtual Event was to create a strong lead-flow for direct business with companies wanting their own Virtual Event.

“We knew from the start that we didn’t want to go in with a view to implement a US vision in Germany. Working with local partners like Voelkel IT allows us to be responsive to needs in different markets.”
– Mike Nelson, CEO, 6Connex

THE APPROACH

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) has implemented multiple Virtual Conferences for its members to provide ongoing information and training. NEHA targets anyone in the environmental/public health arena, addressing specific environmental and public health topic areas. Subjects can be from anything having to do with environmental/public health, such as air quality, food, water supply/safety regulations, daycares, pest control/mosquito abatement, etc. NEHA contacted 6Connex about implementing a Virtual Conference to allow participants instant access to pertinent information.

THE RESULTS

833

Total Attendance

7317

Total Content Views

4250

Total Webinar Views

1985

Total Booth Entries

7 hour

Average Attendee Duration

TRACKING

Implementing the NEHA Virtual Event allowed environmental health officials to track how information was received. Capturing initial registration details informed department leaders how often their participants were interacting using statistical analytics.

“Utilizing the Virtual Conference platform allows us to reach a diverse audience from around the US, and provide cost-effective education and networking opportunities to remote and rural areas.”
– Christl Tate, Programs & Partnership Development, NEHA

THE GOAL

6Connex set out to create an online event where participants from all environmental health vantage points can receive professional development ad training in areas that affect various environmental and public health sectors. In addition to offering training and networking, attendees can get detailed information on state and local regulations and guidelines. The ability to drill down into very specialized areas of environmental subjects is not easy to achieve in a traditional, physical environment because of budget limitations. For example, many topics in last January’s Virtual Conference focused on recreational and aquatic health facilities. With its convenient innovation, the 6Connex Virtual Environment allowed NEHA to reach more participants without having to consider travel expenses.

“Utilizing the Virtual Conference platform allows us to reach a diverse audience from around the US, and provide cost-effective education and networking opportunities to remote and rural areas.”
– Christl Tate, Programs & Partnership Development, NEHA

THE APPROACH

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) has a history of conducting training and technical assistance webinars for its members to provide ongoing information and training to Chronic Disease practitioners. Each month, participants would call in to hear presentations from specialists regarding various Chronic Disease topics. To further educate and engage state departments and share information from the CDC, NACDD contacted 6Connex about orchestrating a virtual event. This would allow participants to instantly access pertinent information when the CDC does not have the resources to offer on the spot technical training. As a result, the NACDD was able to offer live webinar sessions embedded into the conference platform.

“Professional development and workforce development is a vital part of our day-to-day work.  Being able to provide valuable content virtually helps us to offer training and technical assistance in a cost-effective and innovative way.  Our organization works to ensure that educational content is easily accessible and engaging for the audiences. The virtual conference serves (NACDD) as an innovative and cost-effective venue/platform that allows collaboration between state leaders, decision makers and practitioners working in environmental health and chronic disease prevention.”
– Stephanie Mathews, MPH Public Health Consultant, NACDD

THE RESULTS

TRACKING

Implementing the NACDD event virtually allowed public health officials to track how information was received. Capturing initial registration details informed department leaders how often their participants were interacting using statistical analytics.

“The virtual conference event allows us to feature all the elements and benefits of a live conference event at a mere fraction of the cost. In addition, we can host a secondary virtual event long after the main event has occurred. The options are limitless. The 6Connex Virtual Platform far exceeds many of the other online virtual platforms I have seen. 6Connex’s Virtual Environment offers the most realistic interaction and aesthetics. Their features and options are the perfect way to engage audiences.”
– Stephanie Mathews, MPH Public Health Consultant, NACDD

“In the midst of travel restrictions and budgetary constraints, having the ability to provide professional development opportunities virtually has been a tremendous advantage.”
– Stephanie Mathews, MPH Public Health Consultant, NACDD

SHARING CONTENT AND TRAINING

The NACDD was able to efficiently share valuable information content areas to its 6,000 participants across all states. Engaging State Health officials in important chronic disease discussions made them more aware of potentially broader, related public health issues. This was seamlessly achieved through 6Connex’s Virtual Event Platform.

Even with the transition of moving away from traditional dial-in webinars, attendees responded well to the convenience and ease of the virtual event platform’s instant access to various content, webinars, training rooms, and social media/networking tools. Participants were astounded by their capacity to view a live format from the convenience of their desktops, tablets, or smartphones. Additionally, materials were accessible from any location with the ability to watch and review as often as necessary.

THE GOAL

6Connex set out to create an online event where Chronic Disease specialists can receive professional development and training not only in specific areas of Chronic Disease, but in the public health arena as well. In addition to offering training and mentoring for NACDD members, the goal was to educate policy makers and state leaders by enabling partnerships with specialists. The 6Connex Virtual Environment made it possible for attendees to view information at their conveniences without having to budget in travel expenses. This was especially beneficial for hard to reach areas affected by US territory travel restrictions.

There’s more to choosing than comparing price

With a half dozen virtual event and environment software platforms on the market, how do you know which platform is the right one to go with? In the absence of third-party virtual event platform reviews, this article will help you do your own homework and choose a provider wisely—considering more than just price and what’s in their brochure.

Imagine choosing a hotel as a venue for hosting an on-site tradeshow or conference. You wouldn’t think of selecting a hotel without a site visit to observe firsthand how easy it is for attendees to get to the hotel, the quality of the hotel infrastructure, the level of staffing dedicated to helping you and your guests, amenities, and more. The same—if not greater—attention to detail is required when selecting a virtual event platform provider.

There are around a half dozen virtual event and environment vendors on the market. The vast majority are new, small start-ups with very limited investment in technology and staff. Since the service is fully hosted by the vendors, provided as “software as a service” (SaaS), the following criteria will help you dig into the behind-the-scenes details that can make a big impact on functionality and user experience. It’s easy to compare price, but you really want to make sure that the business is viable and reputable, the technology is reliable, flexible, and easy to use, and there is sufficient staff available to help you after the sale and ensure there are no technical issues when your event goes live.

We’ll delve into how to investigate eight specific categories when choosing a virtual event platform:

  • Service
  • Device and Browser Compatibility
  • Innovation
  • Configurability and Branding
  • Security and Privacy
  • Performance, Scale, and Reliability
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Webinar and Content Agnosticism

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Introduction

Over the past few years virtual events have emerged as a new channel for companies to connect with prospects, customers, partners or employees, regardless of time and location. Virtual events have become an integral component of the corporate marketing mix, helping innovative companies to extend their brands, energize their communities, and generate a steady stream of qualified leads. Marketers are eagerly tapping into this new tool.

Virtual events take place within a highly interactive, online environment with rich content, multiple locations, live chat rooms, and webcast sessions, all accessible to an audience once they have provided basic registration information. Often the look and feel of these spaces borrow from physical events, setting the stage for intuitive and smooth navigation. Layered on top of the design are a variety of actions, ranging from 1:1 or pubic chat to social channel interaction to content consumption to direct calls-to-action.

Because they can track every click by a potential prospect to highlight specific interests, virtual events can generate highly qualified leads for the organizers, allowing them new avenues to reach a broader audience. The audience wins by quick and easy access to company content, product experts and a peer community, from the comfort of anywhere, on any device.

You can define your event type by its scope, size, and objectives. Common categories
include: product launch, job fair, user conference, earnings calls, town hall meetings, pharmaceutical dinner meetings, etc. But a product launch in one company may look different in another, and event variables such as speakers, sessions and content will ultimately define your event.

If you’re thinking about “going virtual” for the first time you’re probably also wondering where to start. This virtual event playbook is designed to help guide you towards success with suggestions and tips across all types of virtual events, regardless of industry or use case.

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Virtual-Environments

The first HTML5 virtual environment platform, 6Connex Virtual Environments include a wide range of features designed for innovative and engaging programs.

Download our datasheet for full details on all the included features, such as:

  • Mobile and Cross-Platform Functionality
  • Security & Scale
  • Social Networking & Connection
  • Gamification
  • Engaging Presentations
  • Rooms & Spaces
  • Registration
  • Reporting & Metrics
  • Entitlements & Attendee Groups
  • Administrative Tools
  • Multilingual Programs
  • Learning Management
  • Service & Support

Looking for new ways to expand revenue beyond dues?

Are your sales reps feeling challenged selling sponsorships for face-to-face events? Are they competing with new online media sources who serve your same audience?

Today’s association executives need to identify new sources of revenue that complement rather than compete with their traditional offerings. Virtual events and environments may offer just the right solution.

Download the datasheet to learn more about opportunities with association virtual events & virtual environments.

Harness the power of virtual events to connect with a global audience