Alternative ways to B2Beat the impact Coronavirus is having on live events

Ledger Bennett Insights, Revenue

Where does organic social sit in the marketing funnel?

In the wake of growing concern over the Coronavirus pandemic and with swathes of people self-isolating and/or being unable to travel, many of our clients are feeling a significant impact on their live events. We’ve had countless messages and calls from clients asking what the best course of action is if an event has to be cancelled or attendees start to cancel as a result of Coronavirus risk.

As we all know, events are a significant investment from both a financial and resource point of view, and they’re critical to generating new leads through face to face interaction. Covering the entire buyer journey, from awareness to conversion, events not only create the opportunity for sales to run meetings back to back in one venue and generate marketing qualified leads, but they give subject matter experts a fantastic platform to showcase their knowledge and insight.

In spite of the current global catastrophe, businesses can’t just grind to a halt and become a casualty of global panic. Target companies will continue to need to invest in their products and services that will help them grow and transform. You still need to pay wages, increase brand visibility, generate new leads and ultimately continue to grow your revenue – with or without Coronavirus.

In light of this, we’ve developed some ideas for how your business might redirect its energy away from face to face meetings and events, to a decidedly digital focus. And who knows, it might just be a perfect storm for legacy behavior on doing events ‘because we’ve always done them’ and ‘sales like them’ to shift?

Corona-proof activity

With the saving of budget due to not building stands, not flying staff or even customers to the event or putting them up in hotels, not taking days away from their business – what tactics could you take advantage of to patch up this big hole in your marketing calendar and your revenue funnel?

In this digital day and age, there’s no reason a live event can’t be broadcast via digital channels. We’ve created a guided plan to taking your face to face event online and achieving lead objectives from your computer:


Laying the foundations

  • Map out your event schedule and identify any speaking slots or content that can be recreated digitally
  • Contact all relevant stakeholders and get their agreement to run a digital alternative
  • Give the sales and marketing team a clear plan on the approach and objectives of the project.

Run a live event online

  • You can still be live, even without an event, there are so many channels available to do that now.
    – YouTube
    – Facebook Live
    – LinkedIn
    – Webinar
    – Live podcast recording
  • Build an event hub where all your event content is housed. Introduce a live chat so attendees can get in touch with you directly.
  • Create videos to run through online demos, product information or industry insight and upload to the hub.

Overcome the fear of being live and start talking about what you know about.  Subject matter experts can talk about what they were going to cover in the event seminars.  Live interviews with industry influencers can be run. Surgeries, Q&As, even event giveaways or competitions you might have had lined up can be transferred to old fashioned postal.

Distribute valuable content with a podcast 

With a lot of people stuck at home, it’s the perfect time for them to find some time to engage with great quality content.  And who doesn’t love a podcast?! The beauty of them is you can create them anywhere, on a mobile phone, iPad or laptop.

  • Plan a podcast strategy
  • Consider what topics you were going to cover at the event and map out a series of interviews or new product launches via a podcast
  • Create a themed series – give it a name, get people stuck at home to start recording and start sharing. This could be the opportunity you needed to start a brilliant new channel. 
  • Build an online hub for all the content to support the blog theme.  Spin off the podcasts into blogs, videos and more.

Direct Mail and Direct Messaging

You still need to create an impact, so why not take the opportunity to message directly:

  • Send an invitation to your online event or podcast series 
  • Promote a new video or written content from your event 
  • Invite prospects to a 30 minute 1:1 with an expert.  It’s likely they’re at home so it’s a good time to try this. 

Think creatively about how to reach people when their options for travel are limited:

  • Package up your best client case study and product information and get it on their desk either at work or at home.
  • If you can, why not send them some flowers or a mini hamper to their home to help them get through self-isolation. It will get you noticed and ensure they remember you!

Other ways to generate leads

There are so many alternatives to events that give an opportunity to share knowledge that might result in a lead

  • Run live surgeries and phone-ins 
  • Create a video demo and send it out gated 
  • Make the podcast content hub gated 
  • Set up a live chat Q&A
  • Run a webinar on your event sub-theme and encourage people to register
  • Pick up the phone, the timing right now might be great when people are at home, and would value some more human contact


Conclusion

There’s no point sitting on your laurels wishing things were different. The most successful among us, the agile businesses who respond well to change will endeavour to embrace this latest hurdle in their business journey, seek out new opportunities presented to them and take pleasure in being forced to think creatively and do things differently.

Holding your nerve at a time like this is imperative to future success, and to limit the impact on your revenue engine longer term. It’s about thinking differently and finding every opportunity to continue to thrive in the face of adversity.

If you need any help or guidance don’t hesitate to get in touch – just don’t turn up at our office! 🙂

Other blogs that may interest you