For virtual events (and events in general), attendee engagement is the name of the game. Simply having a lineup of great speakers and compelling content isn’t enough – for virtual events, organizations and event executives need to take it a step further by creating buzz before, during and after the event is over. So, how can you create true engagement from registration page creation to event archive? Let’s dig in.

Before the Event:

Smart communications that promote the length, format, and event agenda.

In terms of promotions for your events, it’s always best to take a multi-pronged approach and promote it through every channel possible. And make sure you give yourself plenty of time to promote it. Based on the size and scope of your virtual event, promotions could start anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months out from the event date.

There’s a lot of competition in the virtual event space right now and your audience has a lot of events to choose from. When promoting your virtual event, think about what makes yours different and highlight the length, format, and agenda. In terms of length, attendees typically don’t have the same attention span for virtual events that they do for live events, so be cognizant of that and think of ways that you can offer shorter formats that offer as much/if not more value than an in-person event. So if the event would’ve typically been 6-7 hours in an in-person setting, make it 4 hours in a virtual environment to keep your audience engaged.

As for the event format, highlight the spaces, rooms, and functionality your virtual event will have. Talk about how your attendees can interact with exhibitors, connect with their colleagues through various networking features, listen to and connect with thought leaders and presenters through webinars and breakout rooms, etc. Highlight what’s in it for them, the value they’ll get out of attending and why being there is worth their time. Finally, clearly lay out the agenda for your event and walk them down the path in terms of what their day could look like if they attend. During the registration process, give your audience the ability to set their own agenda where they can decide, for example, the sessions they will be attending and the breakout rooms/workshops they will be participating in.

Be cognizant of what your attendees what out of the event.

Want to understand what your attendees are hoping to get out of the event? Simply ask. Surveying your audience will help you curate the experience for them. What does a successful event look like to you? What are three things you want to learn from this event? What type of networking features would you like to see? What types of professionals would you like to connect with and why? What do you like most about virtual events and what do you dislike the most? Their answers to these questions will allow you to personalize the experience and agenda for your attendees, which will result in superior engagement and virtual event ROI.

Have your attendees spread the word and reward them for it.

A great way to build buzz before the event is to have your registered attendees, presenters, and sponsors act as event ambassadors. Create a hashtag for your virtual event and then have them spread the word and promote it to their audiences, letting everybody know they’re attending your event and why.

Before the event, think about surprising your registered attendees by giving them some pre-conference swag – shirts, notebooks, pens, and coffee mugs all work well. It helps get your audience in the conference mindset and can help improve your registration to attendee ratios.

Give attendees a sneak peak of the event environment.

When looking at virtual event platform providers, ask them if they give registered attendees the ability to get a sneak peak of the environment before it actually goes live. Enabling folks to get into the platform pre-event and create/update their profile is a big plus. Also, giving registrants early access to certain areas of the event will familiarize them with the environment and enable them to be more efficient with their time the day(s) of the event. They’ll have a better understanding of how to navigate, interact and consume content. Like the pre-conference swag, providing this early access can increase excitement amongst your audience, improve registration to attendee ratios and help generate greater attendee engagement.

During the Event:

Great looking environments, compelling content, and high production quality.

It’s important to provide virtual event environments that flat out look good and are easy to navigate. Ensure that your platform is easy on the eyes and on brand, and can be customized with banners, logos, and advertisements. The right virtual event partner will give you the ability to choose your event theme (3D or 2D) and offer a number of room templates for your to choose from as well.

Content is no longer king…quality content is king. There are a ton of virtual and hybrid events in all industries right now, so it’s imperative that your event provides content that is highly valuable to your attendees. If your event is going to have an exhibition hall, ensure that your exhibitors are providing content that is relevant and timely. For your webinar sessions, make sure your presenters are exciting and have compelling stories to tell, and that they use the time to educate and not sell.

Speaking of webinar sessions, high production quality is mission-critical and the only way to ensure this is to test, test, and test some more well before the live date. Poorly produced webinars, videos, workshops, and breakout sessions can leave a bad taste in your attendee’s mouth and severely impact the success of your virtual event. For your webinar presentations within your event, it’s a good idea to look at the possibility of pre-recording as many of them as possible and broadcasting them as live events with live elements (Q&A, polls, surveys, chat rooms) the day of. We call these simulive webinars and it ensures that the presentations are well executed and deliver a top-notch experience for your attendees. When looking at which virtual event partner you want to move forward with, having this ability is a must.

Make engagement a two-way street.

One of the best ways to measure virtual event success is through attendee engagement, and the only way to achieve high levels of engagement is to make it a two-way street. Far too often, attendees go to virtual events and all they’re doing is watching presentations, videos, demos, etc. They’re watching, but they’re not doing anything. There are a number of ways to combat this:

  • Offer breakout rooms and workshops where attendees can engage, interact, and build relationships with like-minded professionals.
  • Create multiple chat experiences – text chat, 1:1 video chat and group chat.
  • Get real-time audience feedback through live surveys and polls. Understand what your audience likes/dislikes about the experience and use that as ammo to make your next virtual event even more engaging.

Incentivize your attendees for doing and being active within your event through gamification options like leaderboard, trivia, and scavenger hunt. In these instances, you’re urging your audience to engage and have meaningful interactions, and they’re getting rewarded on the backend with various giveaways and prizes.

Networking is crucial to event success.

One of the main reasons people attend in-person conferences is for the networking opportunities, and there are now multiple ways to truly make your virtual event a networking hub.

One of the best places to start is to create a networking café or lounge. These areas can offer attendees the ability to:

  • Participate in scheduled industry discussions and group chats. In a recent virtual event hosted on the Elastic Events platform, one of our clients offered ‘Lunch with the Founders.’ They promoted this as a session in the Networking Café where attendees could interact with the company founders and ask any questions they had for them. Attendees were able to sign up ahead of time for this session, and by doing so they were able to pick what they wanted for lunch and it was delivered to them right before the ‘Lunch with the Founders’ started. It was a huge success and really helped our client strengthen their relationship with their customers.
  • Connect with other attendees within the space through 1:1 video chat
  • Download and exchange virtual business cards, schedule meetings with their colleagues, and connect with them through various social channels
  • Move into breakout rooms that offer a more intimate networking experience

After the Event:

Offer a post event survey.

While the pre-event survey we mentioned above will help you curate a personalized experience for your attendees, a post event survey will help you (and your presenters, sponsors, and exhibitors) understand what your audience liked/disliked about the event and what you can do moving forward to continue to improve the event experience. Post event surveys have proven to be invaluable tools to improve webinar experiences for our clients, and they’re just as important for long-term virtual event success.

Take advantage of on-demand archiving.

The great thing about virtual events – and digital events in general – is that you can extend the shelf life of them through on-demand archiving. Events on our platform come stock with 90 days of on-demand time, but you can essentially archive your events for as long as you want. It’s very important to have an on-demand plan well ahead of time, as opposed to the event finishing and then crafting your plan. You want to ensure that your virtual event provider can get your event on-demand as quickly as possible so you can begin promoting the on-demand environment immediately. If you put as much emphasis promoting the on-demand version as you do the live event, your virtual event ROI will skyrocket.

Create virtual event highlights or ‘Best Of’ videos.

Often, short form content is the best type of content. One of the ways our clients are doing this post event is by creating event highlight reels or ‘best of’ videos. Have a great 45-minute session that you want to breakdown into a 4–5-minute highlight reel? We can help with this. Yes, you still want to make the entire 45-minute session available on-demand, but also offering a shorter version that captures key points makes it easier to promote and easier for your audience to consume. You can do this for all your presentations or just some of them, but it’s just another example of how your virtual event can continue to deliver value to your audience long after the live date.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

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For B2B marketers, lead generation is the name of the game. And not just lead generation, but quality lead generation. Like all other areas of the business, lead generation needs to be tracked and measured religiously to achieve long-term efficiency and success.

As we look at the 2nd half of 2021, here are the 5 most important KPIs for B2B lead generation.

KPI #1 – Qualified Lead Volume

The key word here is qualified. You get to decide what constitutes a qualified lead for your business, which is great. However, don’t cheat yourself. Be honest and ask yourself – what is the lead criteria that is the right fit for my business? Criteria like industry, sub-industry, revenue, title, certain pain points, etc. are common, but choose requirements that are specific to your offering and don’t settle for anything less.

Defining your specific criteria for truly qualified leads allows your organization to solely focus on leads that meet your requirements, as opposed to wasting time on ‘leads’ that are out of scope and don’t have any revenue potential for the business.

KPI #2 – Qualified Lead to Opportunity Conversion Rate

There’s a lot of talk in lead generation about conversion rates, but in this instance, we’re talking about the conversion from a qualified lead to a working opportunity. A sales qualified lead (which is what we focus on here at Elastic – we believe the MQL is dead) is a prospective customer that has been properly vetted, checks the right boxes in terms of lead criteria, and is ready to talk to sales and move into a sales process. However, this doesn’t mean that they automatically end up being a working opportunity that you can put a dollar figure against. After the lead engages with sales, a lot of things can happen – they learn more about the product and determine it’s not for them after all and doesn’t fulfill their specific needs; they end up going in another direction, ghost you and never give an indication why; or your sales team did a poor job of discerning what the buyer is trying to achieve and then articulating how your solution can help, and the lead is lost for good. Because of this, it is crucial to track which qualified leads turn into working pipeline opportunities. Marketers can then look themselves in the mirror to determine how they can improve on the frontend, and sales can do the same to determine how they can improve on the backend. Long term, it can lead to better sales and marketing alignment. When sales and marketing efforts are properly aligned, organizations typically witness 38% higher sales conversion rates.

KPI #3 – Revenue & ROI

Let’s be honest – the most important top-tier KPI you should track for any lead generation campaign is revenue. You can generate all the clicks and downloads, have all the qualified meetings, and send out all the proposals, but it’s all for not if it doesn’t result in revenue.

You must also take into consideration that anything worth doing well takes time. And because a well-executed, multi-pronged lead generation campaign is a process with various moving parts, you should plan to measure ROI over a longer period of time. Sure, there are certain lead generation tactics that prove out results quicker than others, and you want to double down on those. However, to holistically measure ROI across every channel you’re leveraging to generate qualified leads and drive pipeline, make sure you set proper expectations and give yourself enough time to accurately measure returns.

KPI #4 – Cost per Lead (CPL)

Cost per lead (CPL) is important because it tells you if your marketing and lead-gen activities are working or not. And because we’re in this to make a profit, it should never cost more to acquire a qualified lead or customer than the actual revenue you receive from them. A lead needs to be profitable from the very beginning of the relationship.

Calculating your CPL is easy. Simply add up all investments you’ve made to generate leads (internal/external resources, ad spend, software, etc.), and then divide that by your total lead number. And only include qualified leads when you’re calculating CPL. Remember, the key word to focus on for any lead generation campaign is quality. If a lead doesn’t meet your qualifying requirements, it’s not a lead for your business.

KPI #5 – Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value (CLV) measures how valuable a customer is to your business over the lifespan of the relationship. A lot of organizations fail to properly track the lifetime value of a customer, and that is a huge mistake. They’re too shortsighted and aren’t looking at the bigger lead generation picture. CLV will help dictate:

  • The type of leads/customers you want to get in front of and acquire.
  • How much you can put into your marketing budget to acquire your desired customers.
  • Which channels to leverage to get in front of your targeted leads/customers.
  • Which products/services you promote to your targeted audience.

Lead generation is a non-stop engine, and it needs to be constantly tracked and traced. There are a ton of KPIs out there to measure lead generation effectiveness and it’s impact on revenue performance, but it’s important to find ones that work for your business and processes.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

“When marketing get back to normal…”. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that from marketers over the past several months. And to be honest, it annoys me. We all want to get back to our normal, pre-pandemic lives outside of work and the world is now opening back up enabling us to do so. That is a GREAT thing. However, business (and marketing in particular), has changed for good and that’s also a GREAT thing because it needed to change. Yes, businesses will go back to some of the things they were doing before, but they’ve realized there are better ways to work and be more efficient across the board. Here are three reasons why B2B marketing is NOT going back to ‘normal.’

  1. B2B Buyers Have Changed Forever – your buyers prefer this new digital reality. They got used to buying and researching online during the pandemic, and they prefer it. B2C buyers have been shopping online for years, so it was just natural that B2B buyers would eventually take the same approach. A recent McKinsey study found that 70-80% of B2B decision makers prefer remote interactions and digital self-service over in-person meetings. It’s easier, costs less and is more efficient from a scheduling perspective.

    Your buyers are willing to make larger purchases online as well. In that same McKinsey study, 70% of B2B buyers stated they are willing to purchase items online that cost more than $50,000. Another 27% of buyers said they feel comfortable making purchases of more than $500,000. They’ve been going further down the buyer’s journey without interacting with sales and they like it. It’s been a more efficient, seamless experience for them. With that in mind, it’s absolutely critical that businesses build quality content that matches where their targets are in their buying journey. Simply creating content to create content isn’t good enough anymore. It must be different, relevant, timely and personalized. This is essential for marketers and brands to create true competitive differentiation moving forward.

  2. Events Have Moved into the Virtual and Hybrid World – bigger audiences, more touch points, better analytics and engagement metrics…all done at a fraction of the cost. Yeah, virtual events are here to stay. In March and April of last year when everyone was looking to replace their cancelled in-person events, virtual events were seen as a substitute. Now, after 15 months of realizing all the benefits that well executed virtual events bring to the table, marketers now look at them as an additional digital channel they must use to educate, engage and acquire new customers. They are no longer a substitute, but rather a critical piece of the modern marketing technology stack.

    Now that the world is opening back up, that inevitably means that in-person events are about to return…but they’ll never be the same. Smart event marketers will be adding digital extensions to any physical events they execute moving forward, and this is where hybrid events come into play. Even though in-person events are coming back, there are many people that won’t feel comfortable travelling and attending in-person conferences for the foreseeable future. There are others that simply won’t return to physical events because they now believe virtual is the way to go. However, those same folks are still potential buyers so it is very important to have a hybrid event strategy that enables you to connect with them virtually. The key thing marketers must understand with hybrid events is that even though you now have two audiences to engage with – in-person and virtual – it should still be treated as one event with equal experiences for all. This is not easy to achieve because there are a lot of moving parts involved, but working with the right virtual/hybrid event partner can help you nail it.

    Event budgets are now going into three buckets – virtual, hybrid and in-person – and this isn’t going to change. Digital events have driven incredible ROI and are going to continue to see mass adoption. Interested in understanding what it takes to execute world-class virtual events? Watch our recent on-demand webinar – Decide, Plan, Execute: A Guide to Successful Virtual Events.
  3. B2B Customers Started Receiving B2C Customer Experiences – for the last few years B2B marketers have significantly improved the customer experience, but overall they lagged behind their B2C counterparts. The Amazons of the world have taken customer experience to another stratosphere, while B2B organizations have historically taken a more conservative approach to technologies and strategies that foster great customer experiences. The pandemic, however, forced B2B marketers to put an extra emphasis on the customer experience at a time when customer engagement was crucial to success (and staying afloat in some cases). They have shifted their focus to the following and their buyers/customers prefer it:
    • Engaging their audience with not just content, but interactive content that is timely and relevant. Moving away from static formats – think case studies, whitepapers and reports – and towards interactive formats that provide better insights and more engagement data on the backend.
    • Tracking customer behaviors to personalize the content experience and more effectively nurture customers through complex B2B sales cycles.
    • The realization that they are marketing to human beings, not businesses. They have not only personalized their marketing approach…they’ve humanized it.

What are your thoughts on how the B2B marketing landscape has changed? We’d love to hear from you!

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers generate better leads and drive more pipeline, is hosting a webinar – The Six Principles of Creating Memorable Digital Event Experiences – on Wednesday, May 26th at 1:00 PM Central.

“For marketers, especially event marketers, the game has changed and digital events are the new normal,” said Jason Stegent, Founder and President of Elastic Solutions. “Organizations no longer look at them as replacements for cancelled in-person events, but rather as an exciting new digital channel that will enable them to engage their audience more effectively and drive greater revenue. With that in mind, there are certain things that absolutely must be done for your digital events to be memorable and keep your audience coming back for more. This webinar will break down what is needed from event conception to on-demand archive to create digital event experiences that generate next-level engagement and true competitive differentiation.”

Among other things, attendees will learn:

  • The six principles needed for creating memorable digital event experiences
  • How to pick event formats and environments that will generate greater traffic and improve attendee engagement
  • Why engagement is the name of the digital event game and what tactics to use to get your audience touching their keyboard at a frantic pace
  • How to use video to make your sessions more impactful, make 1:1 connections and networking more personable, and improve event ROI
  • Why ‘Hybrid’ is no longer a buzzword and best practices for creating digital extensions of your in-person events moving forward

The webinar will end with a live Q&A. Click here to Register Now!

If you have any questions about this webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We hope you can join us on May 26th.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers extend their reach, generate better leads and drive more pipeline.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic marketing services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.

(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers generate better leads and drive more pipeline, has posted their latest on-demand webinar – Decide, Plan, Execute: A Guide to Successful Virtual Eventsand it’s ideal for event marketers and producers that are looking for virtual event best practices.

The webinar, hosted by Elastic Solutions Founder & President, Jason Stegent, takes a holistic approach to virtual events from registration page creation to event archive. Among other things, on-demand attendees will learn:

  • How to build a requirements list for your virtual event and pick the right technology vendor that fits your needs
  • Why setting goals for what you want your virtual event to be is crucial, and the steps you need to take to reach those goals
  • How to properly promote your virtual event to get the numbers and quality attendance you’re looking for. Think webinar promotions on steroids
  • What a typical virtual event project plan entails, the best way to deliver against that plan and how to build the ideal project management team
  • What can and needs to be executed ahead of the virtual event; live day execution and everything that entails; and how to properly extend the shelf-life of your event with the perfect on-demand plan

The session ended with a fast-paced, informative Q&A session.  Click here to register for this awesome on-demand webinar!

If you have any questions about this webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers extend their reach, generate better leads and drive more pipeline.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic lead generation services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.

Oh my, how B2B lead generation has changed. And guess what? It has changed forever. The organizations that have been willing to pivot and adapt during COVID have seen success, while the ones that have been resistant to change are struggling big time. Moving forward, here is what it will take to win the day when it comes to B2B lead generation:

A Digital Event Plan

Webinars and virtual events have been here for a long time, but due to COVID they have obviously seen mass adoption over the last 13 months. In-person conferences and events will come back – they are starting to in certain parts of the world – but the in-person event experience won’t be the same for the foreseeable future. They will be less frequent and smaller in size for the most part, so it will be extremely important for businesses to continue to reach their audiences virtually. This will be done through virtual events, hybrid events (a mix of in-person and online, aka physical events with digital extensions), and webinars. We have a number of clients that have told us their user group conferences, symposiums, partner summits, products launches/showcases and roadshows will be done virtually moving forward because that is how their audience now prefers to engage and they’ve seen better event ROI by going the virtual route. We’re also seeing a significant increase in the number of webinars that businesses are executing on a monthly and yearly basis. Webinars simply offer a more cost-effective and measurable way to reach and engage your audience on a consistent basis. The key is producing webinars that actually bring value to your audience and not letting them become ‘just another webinar.’ If you’re wondering what it takes to execute world class virtual events of all kinds, watch our latest on-demand webinar – Decide, Plan, Execute: A Guide to Successful Virtual Events.

ABM and a More Targeted Approach

The lockdown has taught organizations that ABM and a more targeted approach isn’t just for large organizations anymore. It’s for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The spray and pray model is out and targeting industries, key accounts and specific personas is in. To effectively penetrate these accounts and get in front of your ideal buyer, competitive differentiation will be key and the best way to do that will be through persona-specific messaging and compelling content that speaks to where your prospects are in their buying journey. Think of content formats like webinars, targeted virtual events, videos, benchmark reports and eBooks that drive better engagement and provide more buyer intent data on the backend. Content is no longer king…QUALITY content is.

Enhanced Reliance on Outsourced Demand and Lead Generation Experts

Many B2B companies have relied on traditional sales-centric lead generation models for too long. Need to generate more leads and close more business? Just hire more salespeople. The pandemic has forced businesses to work remote and many of these businesses have plans to stay remote moving forward. Executives are finding that ramping up and expanding remote, internal inside sales and lead generation teams isn’t easy. They’ve had challenges with properly training new hires and, as a result, the time to value hasn’t been there and their pipeline has suffered (virtual training and onboarding environments are a great way to solve this challenge, but that’s a different blog for another day). Due to this, there has been an enhanced reliance on outsourced demand and lead generation partners that have industry expertise and teams that can be ramped up in weeks, compared to 6 months or longer for internal teams, and business leaders are seeing the value (and cost savings) that outsourced lead generation brings to the table. If this sounds like you, look for partners that can take a multi-pronged approach to lead generation and can engage your prospects a number of different ways – outbound, inbound and everything in between.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

About to come out with a new product, or showcase existing ones, that the market needs to know about? Looking for the most cost-effective way to reach a wider audience and get better engagement data on the backend, leading to increased sales of your product? Enter virtual product launches and showcases. If this type of virtual event is on your radar, here are some best practices to follow:

Make it Shine.

You have plenty of options now in the virtual event space, so go with a virtual partner that can make your product AND brand shine. At Elastic Solutions, we offer 3D and 2D experiences, but we’ve found more immersive 3D environments get audiences more excited about the event and lead to more engagement. Think of building an environment that enables your audience to go to multiple event spaces where they can learn about your product(s), watch presentations, interact and network with industry experts and peers, etc. Think about rooms like lobbies, auditoriums, networking café’s and product rooms. Make sure that you can have banners and displays that match your brand and can drive your attendees to certain areas of the event (or outside the event if you choose to). Your virtual event partner should have a strategy team that can help you build out an experience that entices your audience to dig in and participate.

Put an Emphasis on Engagement.

You will hear us say this a lot and for good reason – audience engagement is one of the best ways to measure virtual event success. It will also provide your sales force with a wealth of data to use in their follow-ups and will enable them to make smarter, more effective outreach. Remember, your audience is used to doing most of these events in-person and talking with peers and networking with them face-to-face. When you are thinking about audience engagement for your virtual product launch/showcase, look at the following pieces:

  • Presentations – if you are going to have presentations as a part of your launch/showcase, which you should, look for presenters that are truly engaging. They can make a world of difference. Also, within your presentations you should have the ability for live Q&A, polls, surveys, resource handouts and peer-to-peer audience connection. Anything you can do within your presentations to get your audience touching their keyboards, do it!
  • Networking – what does the networking experience look like? Your attendees should have the ability to chat with your company and other attendees (text and/or video chat), exchange virtual business cards, connect socially, email each other from the platform, etc. Put the myth that you can’t effectively network in virtual events to bed.
  • Make engagement fun – including gamification options like leaderboard, industry trivia and scavenger hunts can make a drastic difference in meaningful audience engagement.  And be sure to have nice giveaways in place for your most active attendees. We’ve seen many of our clients effectively execute virtual happy hours, enabling attendees to connect with one another in a relaxed setting post event. It does not have to be all business all the time.

Put a Priority on Appointment Setting and Product Interaction.

For product launches and showcases, we really like the idea of having booths dedicated to your products. Within these spaces, attendees can download content, view videos and on-demand presentations related to your product(s) and interact with booth reps, among other things. Regarding interacting with booth representatives, a few important notes:

  • Staff your booth with true product experts that know the product inside and out.
  • Attendees should have the ability to see available calendars and schedule time on the booth rep’s calendar.
  • Having the ability for attendees to interact with your product experts multiple ways – text chat, 1:1 video chat and group chat – can make it more compelling for folks to enter your product booths. It can also provide them with more education on your product offerings and get them familiar with your team.

Extend the Shelf Life of Your Event.

Remember that one of the main advantages of a virtual event is that you can extend the shelf life of the content through on-demand archiving. You can essentially turn your product launch or showcase into a virtual resource center specifically for your product(s). As new content becomes available and as new releases of the product come out, you can add them to the environment and continue to drive folks to it. Very similar to webinars, we live in a Netflix culture and many of your prospects want to view presentations and download content on their own time. Keeping your event on-demand for a certain amount of time (all events on the Elastic Solutions virtual events platform come stock with 90 days of on-demand access) means it can continue to act as a marketing and lead generation channel for months to come. With that in mind, it is important to have a plan for how you are going to market the on-demand version of your event.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

There are three things we know about webinars:

  1. As of mid 2020, more than 65% of B2B marketers were using webinars to generate leads and drive pipeline. This number will only continue to grow as digital events are the new normal.
  2. Webinars (and virtual events) are THE most effective content marketing tool to educate, engage and generate qualified leads.
  3. Poor attendance is the #1 reason why companies give up on webinars. How can this be fixed???

To fix the webinar attendance problem, we first need to understand what causes poor webinar attendance. Considering that executing webinars and helping our clients drive pipeline everyday is what we do, here is what we know:

  • Most webinars simply are not properly planned.
  • There is a lack of an audience and/or the audience is not the right one. Webinar campaigns, many times, are not going after the right targets.
  • The market is flooded with webinar topics and registration pages that are untimely, repetitive, and boring.
  • Promotional schedules are inadequate with no creativity.
  • There are not enough tools being used during the webinar to get the audience engaged.
  • There is no on-demand plan and organizations are only putting an emphasis on the live webinar.
  • The wrong tools for the job and previous webinar disasters are having a significant impact on overall webinar campaign success.

With that said, what needs to be done to generate more webinar traffic and better leads at the end of the day?

A 6-8 week project plan is crucial – we recommend four weeks of promotions for webinars, so you need to tack on at least two weeks in front of that to plan out the topic and messaging and put the registration page together. Watch this on-demand webinar, The Ideal 8-Week Webinar Project Plan, for an in-depth look at what your plan should entail.

Hit your target – ensure that your webinar message is going to the right people. I cannot tell you how many folks we speak with that say their webinar registration and attendance reports are littered with targets that don’t make sense for their business. List integrity is crucial for any content marketing campaign and webinars are no different.

A registration page’s purpose? To get registrations – your registration pages need to be highly customizable; tell a compelling story and let folks know the value what they will get out of attending your webinar; be optimized so people can save them to their calendars and share them through social media channels; only request the information you need. The more fields your audience needs to fill out, the more likely they are to jump ship and not register at all.

A multi-pronged promotional approach – we recommend a 4-week promotional schedule. Email is still the best and most efficient way to generate webinar registrants and we suggest sending as many as four dedicated email blasts promoting your webinar. It should be front and center on your website and you should send out at least one press release to whatever industry you are targeting. If you have partners that have access to the audience you are looking to penetrate, leverage them. If you have budget to advertise with industry publications and think tanks that make sense, put together a promotional plan with them. Leverage every social channel where you have a targeted presence and make posts on a weekly basis leading up to your webinar. Finally, offer a giveaway of some kind that compels the first 50 or so folks to register and attend. Amazon gift cards and things of that nature typically work well.

Your webinar’s over, but not really – let’s face it: the overwhelming majority of organizations don’t give their on-demand webinars the attention they deserve and that needs to change. We live in a Netflix culture and there’s been a tremendous upward shift in on-demand consumption of webinars. Your customers and prospects want to watch webinars and video content at a time that is convenient for them and having a post-event promotional plan is important to overall webinar success. Do not judge your webinars on the live day attendance only, but rather judge how much traction each of your webinars get over a 6, 9 or 12-month period. Great content will be relevant for a long time. That is why we recommend promoting your on-demand webinars with the same tenacity that you promote your live webinars with. Finally, your on-demand webinar is an awesome piece of content that can be used to create other pieces of content. You can pick out the best parts of the webinar and put together a brief, 5-7 minute highlight reel that is easier and more efficient to consume for many folks. You can take the message from the webinar and re-purpose into a blog, white paper, or eBook. You can also use the engagement metrics your received from your webinar – questions asked, responses to polls and surveys, content downloaded, chat transcripts, etc. – to help dictate the focus of your next webinar that will be timely and important to your target audience. The possibilities are endless.

Are you using the right tool for the job? – at the beginning of any webinar strategy, it is imperative that you pick the right webinar vendor. A poor webinar experience at the beginning could doom your webinar campaign for a long time to come. Ensure that your webinar solution is browser-based and does not require downloads or plugins that have been known to impact attendance by as much as 25%. You need to be able to have the ability to customize your registration page and webinar interface so it reflects your brand and makes your audience want to engage. Speaking of engaging, make sure your platform offers plenty of ways for you to drive and measure audience engagement – live Q&A, live chat, social sharing, resource downloads, surveys, polling, the ability to schedule appointments. Finally, be comfortable that you have a support team that can get you up and running immediately should a technical difficulty arise. With any piece of software, eventually something will go wrong (it is unavoidable) so it’s crucial to have a vendor that places a huge emphasis on customer and technical support.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers generate better leads and drive more pipeline, hosted a webinar in late January – Demand Generation Megatrends for 2021 – that had tremendous attendance and is now available on-demand.

The webinar, hosted by Elastic Solutions Founder & President, Jason Stegent, explores the top B2B demand generation trends that will generate quality leads, drive pipeline and close more business in 2021. The following four megatrends were covered in-depth:

  • Mass adoption of virtual events, hybrid events and webinars as a way to generate more meaningful digital engagement
  • The continued ascent of ABM
  • Quality content will be king and will accelerate competitive differentiation
  • More personalized outreach, based on better data and insights, will win the day for B2B sales and marketing teams

The 35-minute webinar ends with a fast-paced Q&A. Click here to view it on-demand.

If you have any questions about this on-demand webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers extend their reach, generate better leads and drive more pipeline.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic marketing services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenging year, but at the same time it has taught us how to adapt and find new ways to drive results both personally and professionally. The same holds true for B2B marketers. Many of their plans were turned upside down around mid-March and they had to find new ways to stay on plan and still hit their goals. Watching the marketing community pivot, and pivot quickly, has been an impressive thing to see. As we look into 2021, how are B2B marketers planning out their year? Where is their budget going and why? We believe these three big ticket items are going to be top of mind for them in 2021:

1) Looking at events through a different lens

We all know that events have changed, most likely forever. Yes, in-person events will eventually come back, but even when they do the event game has changed and because of that the way marketing departments plan out their event budgets is going to be drastically different in 2021. Their budget will drop into the following buckets:

  • Virtual Events – for the last nine months of 2020, virtual events have seen a resurgence. They haven’t been this in demand since the recession of 2008 when travel and event budgets were slashed across the board. The main difference is this time virtual events are here to stay. In our recent webinar – 2021 Lead Generation: Virtual Event Domination – we talk about all things virtual, including how the overwhelming percentage of event budgets will go to virtual events in 2021. The technology and the ability to connect more effectively with your peers in a virtual environment has greatly improved, and because marketers have been forced to leverage virtual events with in-person not being an option, they’re seeing the benefits firsthand – they’re safer, more cost effective, more measurable, have longer term lead generation impact and generate better ROI than in-person events. Virtual events will see even greater adoption with B2B marketers taking a ‘digital first’ event strategy next year.
  • Hybrid Events – when in-person events eventually come back with some level of consistency, most likely in the 2nd half of the year, the smart organizations will have digital extensions of those events. Hybrid events cater to both crowds – the folks that will be attending in-person and the folks that are staying at home. A large portion of professionals are going to shy away from in-person events for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean they’re not buyers. Putting together a hybrid event format enables them to still engage and consume your content from the comfort of their home, office or wherever they might be. As you look at potential virtual event platforms for 2021, but you know you want to execute some physical events as well, make sure the providers you’re speaking with have the ability to help you execute hybrid events. Like virtual only events, hybrid will see mass adoption next year
  • Smaller scale in-person events – when they do come back, in-person events will be at a much smaller scale initially. It is hard to believe that folks will jump right into physical events that have 5,000, 10,000 or more people in 2021. The events will be smaller scale and more personal, but that could be a very good thing for many organizations. Some of the complaints about large scale physical events is that they are difficult to navigate and organizations/brands can get lost in the shuffle. Because of that, many marketers have felt for a long time that they weren’t generating enough awareness and quality leads from physical events which led to poor ROI. These smaller scale events will be safer and enable organizations to connect with their customers and prospects on a more personal level, leading to better pipeline and revenue growth as a result.

2) ABM will be a force to be reckoned with

ABM (account-based marketing) has been around for a good while, but just recently have companies started to do it right. In 2021, we believe ABM will become one of the dominate strategies for leading B2B marketers. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Marketers are revenue generators now – the days of marketers generating large amounts of soft leads and saying, “look at me, I’m killing it!”, are gone. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are a thing of the past. B2B marketers are heavily tied to revenue now and thus their focus must be on strategies that drive qualified pipeline and revenue growth. The economic impacts of COVID have forced companies to tighten budgets and focus on campaigns that are targeted, more personalized and generate higher quality conversions.
  • Better customer retention – ABM isn’t just for acquiring new customers, it’s also a way to improve the customer experience and retain existing customers. It’s a lot more costly to bring on new customers than it is to keep existing ones. ABM offers a more personalized touch that keeps your customers engaged and turns them into brand ambassadors.

3) Quality content will be king

We’ve all heard the saying ‘Content is King.’ In our eyes, quality content is king and that’s true now more than ever. In the current environment it’s more difficult to catch the attention of buyers, so B2B marketers have to be savvy about the content they create (think buyer-centric content that educates) and how they promote it and deliver it. Here are the vehicles that will get your message and quality content to your targeted audience the right way:

  • Email marketing – it looks like the remote workforce might be the new normal, with many organizations finding out they can be just as efficient working from home. Because of that, smart email marketing strategies will be a must. However, these emails will only be effective if they are offering prospects and customers something of value…
  • Videos, webinars and virtual events – organizations will move away from static content and instead lean on content that is more engaging and provides better insight into buyer behavior. Short-form videos that tell a story and educate will continue to be huge in 2021. Webinars and virtual events, as highlighted earlier in this blog, will see even more adoption in 2021. They are content hubs that enable B2B marketers to interact with their customers and prospects a number of different ways, and they offer more insight into buyer needs/wants than any other form of content marketing. This insight will lead to more personalized/smarter outreach, better conversions and significant revenue growth.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers generate better leads and drive more pipeline, is hosting a webinar – 2021 Lead Generation: Virtual Event Domination – on Thursday, November 19th, 2020 at 1:00 PM Central.

“For obvious reasons, the event marketing landscape has changed and this has had a drastic impact on lead generation as a whole,” said Jason Stegent, Founder and President of Elastic Solutions. “COVID-19 has forced organizations to pivot away from in-person events, which historically have taken up a huge chunk of their marketing budget, to virtual events and webinars to get in front of their customers and prospects. What they have found is that virtual events generate greater traffic and more measurable engagement than in-person events, resulting in better event ROI. Because of this, we believe virtual events are going to dominate lead generation in 2021. They’re not a flash in the pan”

Among other things, webinar attendees will learn:

  • Why virtual events generate more ROI than traditional in-person events
  • How you should plan for your 2021 online events based on size and scope
  • Best practices to drive significant engagement for virtual events, resulting in higher quality leads and more revenue
  • Why going the HYBRID route has to be a part of your 2021 event plan. Think digital extensions

The webinar will end with a live Q&A. Click here to Register Now!

If you have any questions about this webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We hope you can join us.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers extend their reach, generate better leads and drive more pipeline.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic marketing services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.

Virtual events have made a tremendous rebound in 2020 for obvious reasons, and guess what? They’re not going anywhere. Faced with no other option for the last 7 months, organizations have been forced to take their events online (or cancel them altogether) and are clearly seeing the benefits that virtual event providers have touted all along – they’re more cost effective; they can drive more traffic; they’re more measurable and allow for better post-event follow-up; and in this day and age, they’re a heck of a lot safer. With that said, virtual event success doesn’t come easy. Certain items must be in place and steps have to be followed to realize the event ROI you’re looking for. Now let’s dig into the 5 Keys to Virtual Event Success.

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan – for whatever reason, there’s a tendency for folks to think that just because an event is online it doesn’t need a proper project plan. That couldn’t be further from the truth. At minimum, we believe there should be an 8-week project plan for virtual events, but that can change based on the size of your event. If you have a larger scale event with more rooms/spaces and more content, you should look at 10-12 weeks. We’re coming off of a sizeable virtual event a few weeks ago that had a 14-week project plan against it. At the end of the day, virtual events are events and need to be treated as such.
  2. Determine the experience, and vendor, that fit your needs – I know this sounds incredibly obvious, but it’s a very large piece of the equation. Do you want a truly immersive experience that offers a ton of different ways for your audience to engage and connect? Or are you looking for a series of Zoom meetings over the course of 4-5 hours? In our opinion, a virtual event is not a series of Zoom meetings or GoToMeeting sessions. It IS an environment where your attendees can experience different event spaces, watch sessions, download content, engage with experts and network with their peers. Also, think about the support you want the day(s) of your event. Do you want your internal team to manage all of the technical details, or do you want your vendor to handle the technical aspects of your event to ensure everybody is able to attend and view the event with no issues? These are very important decisions that will have a direct impact on your attendee experience.
  3. When possible, pre-record your sessions – pre-recorded and simu-live webinars are becoming the new norm…and that’s just for one-off presentations. When you look at a virtual event that could have a lot of sessions, you want to limit the amount of 100% live webinars. Pre-recording your sessions limits the amount of live day streaming, which in turn decreases live day stress. It also gives you peace of mind that your presentations will be perfectly executed and gives your attendees the value they signed up for. Of course, there are instances where live sessions are completely unavoidable and that’s okay. We’re not saying your sessions can’t have live components – we want them to be as engaging/interactive as they can be and some form of live element (see live Q&A, polls, surveys, chat) will increase audience engagement. We’re just saying pre-recording whenever possible is going to give you a better end result.
  4. Think outside-the-box – virtual events are the perfect forum to get creative. They are the ultimate content marketing tool. Think about how you want to make your content available – through webinars, booths, resource centers, networking café’s, product showcases, etc. Additionally, think about how you want to enable peer-to-peer networking. Can they network within booths, within sessions or anywhere within your virtual event? The right virtual event provider will not only provide you with a lot of these options, but also be willing to customize event spaces and functionality to fit your needs.
  5. Have an on-demand plan – yes, you want to drive large numbers to your live virtual event. You want live day engagement and interaction. However, unlike in-person/physical events, you can extend the shelf-life of your virtual event through on-demand archiving. It’s very important to have an on-demand plan ahead of time. Do NOT wait until the event is on-demand to put your plan together. If you promote it and position it the right way, your event can become an on-demand virtual resource center that will continue to educate and engage your audience, while increasing your overall event ROI. This is something that you simply can’t do effectively with in-person events, so be sure to take advantage of it.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

The last thing I want to do here is beat a dead horse, but let’s face it – the Coronavirus is having a massive effect on B2B events and B2B event marketers. SXSW just cancelled their March event last week. Facebook cancelled their event. Google cancelled their developer conference. Oracle, SAP, RedHat and many others have either cancelled or postponed what many see as industry critical events. Side note – even the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) was cancelled on Sunday and I’m a huge tennis fan! You get the picture, it’s a mess out there. If you want to see the lineup of B2B tech events that are being cancelled or postponed, here is a good resource for it.

With all this event hysteria, virtual/online events have come to the forefront again. Organizations are scrambling to put a digital event structure in place because, regardless of the coronavirus or any other pandemic, they still have an audience and they need to be able to give their audience what they want. With physical, in-person events not being an option right now, they’re turning to virtual events, online events and webinars as the main way to meet and engage their prospects and customers. All of this reminds me of two prior events that forced B2B marketers to look at physical event alternatives – the 2008 financial crash and the 2014 oil bust. In 2008, the first items that were slashed from the budget were travel, entertainment and thus, events. I would argue at that time virtual events had the biggest surge they ever experienced. In 2014, oil and gas marketers had to find alternative ways to meet with their audience. The good ole’ boy way of shaking hands at conferences and racking up big expense reports was no longer an option. We then started to see more oil and gas companies leverage virtual events, webinars, webcasts and all sorts of online events to market to their base.

It shouldn’t take a time of crises, however, to put an online event strategy in place. Too many companies dedicate most of their budgets to physical events and too often the ROI is just not there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked an event marketer how their physical events are working out for them and I get the response of “they’re okay.” When I proceed to ask why they keep investing so heavily in something that is just ‘okay’, I typically get the following:

  • “If we don’t show up or exhibit, people are going to wonder why we’re not there.”
  • “If we don’t have a presence, our competitors are going to get all of the leads.”

I call complete and total BS on both. The main reason most companies continue to invest in physical events more than anything else is because it’s what they’ve always done. There’s a resistance to digitally transform their event structure. They don’t want to step outside of their comfort zone and change the event narrative. I’m not saying to scrap physical events. I get that they need to be a part of the mix, but they need to be scaled back to make room for alternatives that have less barriers, are more measurable and more often than not give you more bang for your buck. Enter online/digital events.

When you think about planning your next event and all the money it’s going to cost, ask yourself if it would be better for you, your company and your customers/prospects if you did it via an online event or webinar. Is it really necessary to rent that space for $20k, pay for everyone to get there and pay for everyone to eat/drink, when you could’ve done it all online? Couldn’t that lunch and learn at the Marriott (with that brutal banquet food) have been a two-part webinar series? Again, I get that physical events need to be a part of the marketing plan. However, the smart marketers are going to ensure that every physical event has a digital element (see hybrid events, on-demand event webinars, on-demand virtual events) and are going to ramp up their webinar and online event game significantly moving forward. Online events are for everyone, regardless of industry, and there’s never been a better time to look at them as your go-to event option.

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

It’s no longer a buzzword, but rather a necessity for B2B organizations that want to get and stay ahead of the competition. Once thought of as a tactic for only large enterprises, companies of all sizes are starting to play the Account-Based Marketing (ABM) game. Spray and pray is out and a targeted, more personalized multi-pronged approach is the way forward (see Elastic’s Four-Pronged Approach to ABM Success).

Here are 10 stats that prove ABM is more than ready for the big stage:

Higher ROI – Research by ITSMA found that 87%of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM outperforms every other marketing investment.

Pipeline Impact – Marketing leaders are more tied to revenue than ever before, and because of that their main goal with any new marketing initiative is to generate revenue. In a study by Demand Gen Report and LeadData, 54% of marketers cite “influence pipeline” as their primary ABM metric.

Deal Size Increases – in a study by SiriusDecisions, 91% of companies using ABM were able to increase their average deal size, with 25% of respondents stating the increase being over 50% or larger.

ABM Maturity – According to Pardot’s State of ABM, 24% of companies reported having ABM programs that were well underway or advanced. Another 45% said they just started. Only 7% said they have no plans to start an ABM initiative

ABM Budget – According to Pardot’s State of ABM, the average percentage of the marketing budget that would be dedicated to ABM was 29%

Better ROI than Other Marketing Initiatives – 97% of marketers say ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing initiatives, according to SiriusDecisions

ABM=Revenue – Companies using ABM generate 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts

More Opportunities Created – According to Gartner, ABM programs show a 70% increase in the number of opportunities created

ABM Aligns Sales & Marketing – According to Demandbase, 83% of marketers say ABM increases engagement with target accounts, making the marketing and sales process more efficient overall

Marketers Want Better Leads; Enter ABM – ABM’s rise has largely been attributed to B2B marketers who were not satisfied with their more traditional lead-gen programs. According to Crowd Research Partners, improving the quality of leads remains the top priority for a majority (68%) of B2B marketers. Only 16% of these folks are actually happy with the effectiveness of their lead-gen programs

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ jstegent@elasticroi.com

(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar-based marketing solutions and strategic lead generation services that help B2B marketers drive more pipeline, is hosting a webinar – The Ideal 8-Week Webinar Project Plan – on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 at 1:00 PM Central.

“We believe webinars are the ultimate marketing tool to educate, engage audiences and drive more pipeline for B2B organizations,” said Jason Stegent, Founder and President of Elastic Solutions. “However, too often webinars aren’t given the respect they deserve from a planning perspective, and because of that a lot of marketers we’re speaking with have been disappointed with their webinar ROI. From concept creation to event archive, this webinar will review what an ideal 8-week webinar project plan looks like and outline what organizations can do to dramatically improve their webinar programs moving forward.”

Attend this 45-minute webinar if you’re looking to:

  • Understand how to more effectively project manage your webinars from A-Z
  • Drive more registrants, attendees and on-demand viewers
  • Make your webinars more engaging for your viewers, resulting in better leads to hand off to sales
  • Launch a webinar strategy and you want to understand what it takes to do it the right way

The webinar will end with a live Q&A. Click here to Register Now!

If you have any questions about this webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We hope you can join us.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar-based marketing solutions and lead generation services that increase target audience engagement, generate more qualified leads and drive greater pipeline results.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic marketing services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.