Why more events should be virtual

Derek Ng  /  Apr 03, 2020

A few months ago, the world was a very different place. Even though business is more digital than ever before, there were still a lot of face-to-face sales meetings, creative brainstorm sessions, lunch-and-learns, and—of course—events.

Today, as we all know far too well, the game has changed. If you can’t do it virtually, you probably can’t do it at all.

And since there’s plenty of bad news scrolling through our feeds, here’s some good news for businesses: we have the tools to take so much of what we do, including events, and make it virtual.

Even better: virtual events come with tons of benefits. More data. Closer connections with your attendees. Instant access to all your promotional materials—without the printing costs.

We’ve already raved about how much we love virtual events and we’ve already talked about how to plan yours. So today, let’s dig deeper into why you should be seriously considering virtual events—even after the crisis passes:

Give customers some good news—and build your brand at the same time

With newscasts, social feeds, and email inboxes full of dire warnings and bad news, we’re all on the lookout for good news.

Give us funny stories of walking in on conference calls in your tighty-whities, heartwarming stories of shelters where every dog has found a foster home during the pandemic, and creative ways that we can still access the things we love right now, and you’ve got yourself some brand ambassadors for life.

In other words, good news is even better in bad times. Anything that makes us feel—in day-to-day life or our work lives—that things are moving forward is going to feel pretty damn good right now.

And finding out that your favorite event isn’t canceled—that you still get to hear that inspiring keynote from your favorite author or that marketing case study from a firm you admire or that in-depth workshop you’ve been looking forward to? That’s pretty damn good news. Not to mention that if you get on the virtual event bandwagon now (as opposed to this summer and fall, when we’re likely to see everybody getting on board), your brand is going to stand out. One snippet of good news in an avalanche of the nerve-racking.

Home in on qualified leads

Whether you’re running the event or setting up a virtual booth, one of the big benefits of going online is that you have more data about who you’re talking to. On a platform like Intrado, when a prospect walks up to your booth, you’ll see their name and title—a feature that makes it easy to identify qualified leads, get those leads to the right person on your team, and start the conversation already knowing where their customer journey might start based on data you have on other similar prospects.

Reach more people

One of the big wins for virtual events is that more people can attend. And I don’t just mean because of space restrictions. Where a physical event may be impossible or impractical for some because of travel time, travel costs, and more expensive tickets, a virtual event skips over all the hassles and cost of travel—an especially appealing change for international attendees. In many cases, you can also lower ticket prices and attract an even wider audience.

Offer exclusive content to the right people

Since you know instantly who is approaching your booth, it’s also easy to tailor your content for them. Have a high-value prospect? Offer them a free copy of your normally paywalled book or an invite to an exclusive webinar.

You can use this strategy to target specific prospects or just make all event attendees feel special with access to something people outside the event don’t get.

Pay less to exhibit

Speaking of lower prices, exhibitors will probably also pay less for not only conference space but on-hand staff, catering, security, etc. Less cost means more exhibition opportunities for you and more exhibitors for event planners.

Deliver collateral in an instant—without any printing costs

In-person conferences mean plenty of printing—and it’s not that unusual to run out of some collateral. Online, this just won’t happen. Every brochure, business card, white paper, tech spec break-down, and other collateral piece you’ve created is at your fingertips, ready to be passed along to prospects with the click of a button—and no printing costs.

Attract better speakers

Another benefit of not requiring travel? Your speaker pool just grew by leaps and bounds. If your dream speaker can videoconference in from Australia or Norway or Hong Kong, that’s a lot simpler and less costly than flying them into Minneapolis or Omaha or Austin.

Stay ahead of the curve

If virtual events weren’t on your radar before, they should be now. And if you need help figuring out how to run your own, exhibit at one, etc.? Well, that’s what we’re here for. Let’s talk.


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