The Return of the In-Person Event, Part Two

In Part One of this post, we looked at why B2B companies are rediscovering their love for in-person events. In this part, we ask where that leaves webinars and consider how to make your boutique in-person event shine.

What now for webinars?

Let’s get one thing clear: webinars aren’t going away soon. Yes, in-person events have some terrific advantages— chief amongst which is their attractive conversion rate. However, this doesn’t mean that webinars will soon be yesterday’s news.

Webinars have a potentially global reach, and that’s something that very few in-person events can achieve. The size of their audience can, in some circumstances, massively outweigh the webinar’s lower conversion rates. Not that B2B webinar conversion rates are too shabby: one estimate is that 20 -40% of attendees turn into qualified leads. That can be a lot of new prospects joining the sales funnel. Webinars are particularly useful when clients are geographically distributed.

Webinars and in-person events don’t need to be an either/or choice. The key is for the marketing team to clearly identify their goals and then employ the best tool for the job. It’s even possible to combine the two by hosting an in-person event, but making some, or all, of the content available by webinar. This model certainly works for B2C enterprises in fields such as personal development and coaching.

Regardless of the format, the eventual return on investment depends on how successfully the event is run. Based on many years of experience, we have a few tips to offer.

Seven quick tips to running a small in-person event

  1. Define your objectives. Obvious, we know, but vital. Everyone involved needs to be clear on what you’re trying to achieve.
  2. Have a structure, and share this with the attendees. People generally dislike uncertainty: give them a roadmap through the process and they will thank you for it.
  3. Be mindful of attention span. Extended periods of listening are tough, so consider breaks, changing speakers, hands-on activities (if appropriate and so on). Events shouldn’t be gruelling.
  4. Know your audience. Your audience’s interest will skyrocket if you can address problems relevant to them. So why not ask them beforehand? Gather what information you can and make use of it.
  5. Be generous. The delegates have given up their own time and their company’s to attend, so don’t give them nothing but a sales pitch in return. Solve problems, give tips, spend time.
  6. Consider expert help. An experienced agency can help you with any or all stages of the event process.
  7. Above all, plan and practice. Great seminars and events rarely happen by chance.

In person events and webinars are the Dynamic Duo of marketing. Which one plays Batman and which one is Robin will depend on your campaign objectives, customer profile and business model.

For support with webinars, in-person events and just about any other form of B2B marketing, please get in touch. Specialising in the tech and IT sectors, and with over two decades of industry experience, we’re confident we can help.