We now live in a digital event world and virtual events continue to be a key digital channel that marketers use to engage, educate, and generate leads for their business. With that said, sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics and remind ourselves why virtual events are so valuable and advantageous in the first place. Here are the five main advantages of virtual events.
1. They are more cost effective than in-person events.
Not only are virtual events more cost effective for the organization hosting, but they’re more cost effective for your attendees as well. Think about everything that goes into hosting an in-person event and how expensive they are. Virtual events have been proven to cost 80-85% less than physical events. Now think about the cost involved in attending an in-person event and everything that entails – travel, hotels, entertainment, time away from the office. There’s a lot of economic uncertainty right now and travel, entertainment, and physical events are typically first on the chopping block for budget conscious executives. Virtual events offer you a budget friendly alternative to stay in front of your target audience and drive revenue for your business.
2. They are more time efficient.
Again, the advantage is realized by the host and attendees. The main reason people don’t attend in-person events is because they can’t justify the cost and time away from the office. Let’s face it, going to a conference can be a time killer for your audience. They’re gone for 3-4 days and then they get back to the office and find themselves behind. That’s obviously not an issue with virtual events since people can attend from anywhere on any device. Additionally, creating a virtual event is more time efficient than creating an in-person event. The average virtual event takes 6-7 weeks to plan and execute, while an in-person event can take 2-3x longer on average. Think about all the time you can save, and increase in efficiency you’ll realize, by going virtual.
3. They offer greater reach with less restrictions.
No need to worry about hosting an event that is close or central to your target audience. With virtual events, your reach is limitless. Yes, you still want to have folks attend your event that meet your ideal profile, but you’re not limited by geography. You can 10x your attendance by going virtual, providing you with more opportunities to engage, educate, and create meaningful relationships that convert into revenue for your business. I know I may sound like Captain Obvious here, but I believe organizations lose sight of just how many restrictions in-person events have compared to virtual events.
4. They are more measurable.
Getting a list of registrants, attendees, and scanning a badge simply isn’t enough. And guess what? That’s all you get for most in-person events. By going the virtual route, you gain 360-degree visibility into everything your audience is doing and how engaged they are – how long they’re in the environment; spaces they visit; sessions they attend; content they view and/or download; questions and interactions they have; connections they make; how they respond to polls and surveys; how satisfied they are with the overall event, etc. What you can measure with the right virtual event platform is head and shoulders above what you get from in-person event data. Going virtual will provide you with a deeper understanding of what matters to your target audience, enabling you to market more efficiently and sell smarter to them. The end result? Better leads that convert to revenue, providing you with significantly enhanced event ROI.
5. They have a longer shelf-life.
With in-person events, more often than not they are over when they’re over. Most organizations don’t do a good job of capturing certain elements of their physical event and making it available for on-demand viewing and engagement. Virtual events can be archived for months (events on the Elastic Events platform come stock with 90 days of on-demand archiving), continuing to act as a marketing resource and lead generator for your business well after the live date(s). Many of our customers like to turn their virtual events into virtual resource centers that are updated with fresh new content and educational material on a weekly or monthly basis. To get the most out of your on-demand virtual event, it’s important to have a multi-pronged promotional strategy in place well ahead of time to ensure you get significant on-demand traffic. Doing so will increase your virtual event ROI that much more.
Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org