By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect
In 2020, companies and businesses turned to online events as an alternative to in-person events due to COVID-19. With those who previously held face-to-face events, 4 in 5 or 78% of people converted to online. Although online events were successful, people are starting to feel burnt out from them.
According to Activate Marketing Services in partnership with MarketingCharts, 9 in 10 or 90% of Demand Gen marketers agree that buyers are becoming fatigued with online events.
We all had to pivot last year to replace in-person events (tradeshows, association and industry meetings) … and most of us tried to fill the gap by replacing them with some sort of online/virtual event. With buyers becoming fatigued, and that will only be growing, companies are starting to redirect their focus. Instead, high-quality lead programs have risen up the ranks when respondents were asked to choose their top 3 options. That being said, companies are starting to focus more on content and engagement with their audience.
This doesn’t mean virtual events are going away anytime soon. Although I don’t know about you, but most of the online events I attended were pretty much busts.
What does your company have planned for the remainder of the year? Any in-person events? I know I’m scheduled to attend at least half a dozen trade shows between now and the end of the year and I can’t wait to continue to see people “live” and in person!
by Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect
As more companies are utilizing webinars as part of their overall marketing strategy, there are some critical steps to help maximize success. ON24 has some great resources on their website, including their step-by-step webinar best practices guide.
Here are some key highlights from their five steps:
1) Planning and Strategy: This includes setting your goals and identifying your audience, developing your team and creating killer content.
2) Driving Registration: It’s important to plan ahead. Email is essential. While other marketing tools help widen your reach, 80% of webinar registration is generated by email promotions. Don’t forget to simplify the registration form. Only ask for the basics and don’t scare registrants off by asking for too many details.
3) Before Your Webinar: Design a presentation that resonates. Keep slides clean with no more than three bullet points per slide. Make sure your team is equipped with the appropriate audio and video technology.
4) During Your Webinar: Your presenter should be well-rehearsed, energetic and engaging. Also, invite your audience to get involved by using polls and surveys and take advantage of feedback during a Q&A.
5) After Your Webinar: Having the right “on-demand” strategy will ensure your webinar lives on. But, also make sure you follow up with the attendees and have an effective post-webinar strategy in place.
There are a lot of moving parts that go into putting together a great webinar. It takes planning, people and technology, all working together to create the perfect event. What are some of your webinar best practices?
Want more content on the topic of webinars? Visit these blog posts.
Marketing Minute: Preparing for a 2021 Without In-Person Events
10 Tips to Ensure a Successful Webinar Targeted at the Professional Tradesmen
Webinars are an Option for Continued Learning
By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect
As we are all challenged with navigating our businesses through the realities of COVID-19, we’ve noticed that a number of the trade media have been nimble in responding to the “New Normal.”
We had the opportunity to speak with several publishers in our B2T (business-to-trades) industry to learn how they were adapting to this new environment. The following is part four of our five-part series.
SGC Horizon is a leading diversified media, content, marketing, data and events company serving the residential and commercial design and construction markets. The company has a collection of leading publication brands, including ProBuilder, Pro Remodeler, Building Design+Construction, Products, ProTradeCraft and Construction Equipment.
We spoke with Jeff Elliott, SGC Horizon Regional Sales Director and Principal.
Since 2018, one of SGC Horizon’s key initiatives is ProCONNECT, a series of events that bring leading building industry professionals together with top building product manufacturers for a day-and-a-half of confidential one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects and explore solutions.
ProCONNECT is not just another trade show. ProCONNECT’s unique, one-on-one format and manageable size of up to 100 attendees and sponsors creates just the right environment for truly effective problem solving, high-level networking, and efficient use of attendees’ valuable time.
“ProCONNECT is kind of like ‘speed dating’ between key target audiences of builders and building product manufacturers,” said Elliott. “Since we launched ProCONNECT, our 12 events have produced more than 5,000 one-on-one meetings.”
Connecting Pros Virtually
“When COVID-19 hit, we were in the midst of holding an in-person ProCONNECT event for the multifamily market,” said Elliott. “It was held right when the pandemic was starting, and only three people canceled. We received positive reactions with productive meetings and great leads.”
Once the country started closing down and live events became impossible, SGC Horizon quickly responded to the new normal. “We knew that allowing people to connect virtually and engage in substantive discussions was going to be a valuable service we could provide,” said Elliott.
The company immediately launched Virtual ProCONNECT. “Keeping the health and safety of our audience members and building products customers in mind, we can keep connecting builders and manufacturers in an effort to establish and grow long-lasting partnerships—all from the comfort and safety of their home offices,” said Elliott.
The virtual ProCONNECT format brings traditional event ideas right to a home office. The event opens with an opportunity for attendees to ‘e-meet’ and continues with one-on-one private Zoom breakout meetings to discuss future projects and partnerships. Manufacturers meet with at least 16 builders over what amounts to a total of eight hours over two half-days.
ProCONNECT Produces Tangible Sales Results
ProCONNECT events have proven to be highly efficient for both attendees and sponsor companies.
“At a time when people are finding it impossible to meet in person, ProCONNECT is giving them an opportunity to keep their businesses moving along, said Elliott. “It’s a really good investment, where you can actually measure the marketing ROI and tie it back to orders. The feedback we are getting has been great.”
For more information on future ProCONNECT events, visit: https://sgchorizonproconnect.com
To read more of the series or more about the effects of COVID-19 in the B2T industry:
How the Trade Media is Adjusting to the “New Normal” of COVID-19: A Conversation with Babcox Media
Throughout COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, Professional Tradesmen are Essential as Ever
Even During a Pandemic, Influencers in the Trades Build On: Part One
By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect at Sonnhalter
Periscope, Meerkat, Hangouts, YouTube Live, etc. are all names that are appearing more and more in social media marketing news. Many in the B2T (and B2B) space may not even be familiar with those names, or have heard them and wonder what they are.
At the end of the day all of these apps and services do basically the same thing: Live video streaming.
The concept of livestream is by no means new, we’ve been doing live webinar and video conferences for years. The transition of livestreaming from desktop to mobile for more than just FaceTime and Skype is what’s making these services newsworthy.
Here are a few applications where live video streaming can be beneficial to your business:
2. Meetings (for shareholders, employees, partners, etc.)
3. Large public announcements (product launches and large announcements)
5. Virtual press conferences
7. Live Q&A sessions
8. Focus groups
Obviously many of these applications are cross-functional. Livestreaming can be an effective way to get everyone in one place in a business or industry that can be geographically scattered.
The service you select for livestreaming depends on your needs and capabilities, including:
- Your audience size
- Mobile device capabilities
- Public vs. closed audience
- Interactivity needs
- Recording needs
I personally recommend recording anything you stream live, even if it’s a closed meeting. Keep a library of your videos for your own records, to share with anyone who missed the event, for later promotion on YouTube or Vimeo, to provide as a resource and for reference for various content development needs.
If you’re hosting webinars, services such as GoTo Webinar, WebEx and others are probably still the best option as they are primarily for screen sharing of presentations. For live Q&A events or virtual press conferences, Hangouts and YouTube live may be best, but apps like Meerkat and Periscope also work. Meerkat and Periscope can be great options for streaming presentations via mobile devices at an offsite location.
Regardless of the service you use to live stream, here are a few tips for an improved experience for your audience:
- Make sure audio is clear
- Keep the video device stable
- Start streaming before the event officially starts and end after the event ends
- Incorporate your livestream into your social media promotion
- Make sure users can easily access the stream
- Record for future use
Do you have experience with livestreaming? What tips would you share?