Digitization has transformed global business relationships. Today, B2B interactions and communications take place virtually. The manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, vendors and buyers equally benefit from the transformation of businesses into an online marketplace. But, in order to strengthen business relations, organizations host exclusive B2B virtual events. Similar to an in-person business event, a virtual event enables event organizers, exhibitors, and attendees to gather online to discuss current industry trends.
But how would you host engaging B2B virtual events? In this text, we will be discussing a simple process of hosting business events as a beginner’s guide. Although we all have attended a business event at some point in our lives. It may be a conference, exhibition, workshop or simply a seminar. But hosting the event online and marketing the brand worldwide demands careful planning and execution.
Let us first consider a list of business-to-business events hosted by organizations worldwide.
- Trade show
- Product launch
- Sales events
- Networking events
- Award/Dinner nights
Basically, B2B events are hosted to facilitate business interactions among the stakeholders. These interactions benefit us with business lead generation, professional relationships, sales pipelines, brand awareness, customer retention and global recognition.
Tips for B2B Virtual Event Planning and Execution
When going virtual, make sure you focus on the digital aspects of the event. Your online audience is probably expecting a beyond-reality experience. So naturally, you need to step up the game and plan a virtual event that becomes the talk of the town. Plus, it drives business from across the globe. So begin by determining the purpose of your event and adhere to a careful execution process.
Define the Purpose and Goals
Why do you wish to host B2B events? The question inquires about the very purpose and agenda of your business event. Defining the purpose of hosting the event would turn you in the right direction and help you determine the expected key performance indicators. For instance, when hosting a virtual conference, you must identify
- Who can attend?
- What are the possible outcomes of business networking?
- Who can benefit from the B2B interactions?
- How would you drive online leads?
- How would you convert the leads?
- How can you sell more?
In order to host a successful business event, we need to determine its specific goals. With a virtual event platform, you put yourself on the map and attract a global audience. So make sure you display your products and services in a way that would grab attention to encourage attendee networking and engagement. Be it a virtual trade show, exhibition or business conference, do not deviate from the goals you wish to achieve. Here’s a list of virtual B2B event goals
- Spark discussions
- Foster professional relationships
- Global networking
- Educating audience
- Global Recognition
- Establish an online community
- Building customer relationships
- Driving leads
Decide on the Event Type
Today, businesses widely host B2B networking and sales events. The events help companies with a global representation of their products and services. As a result, a global professional network is earned with maximized leads. Although with virtual events, businesses build a strong sales pipeline that benefits them in the long run. Also, an online presence promises business profitability, expansion and increased revenue.
There are many event options available for businesses aiming to tap a global B2B network. So firstly, you need to decide on an event type. Your options depend on the goals you wish to achieve. Take, for instance, you wish to earn global leads and make more sales. In this case, a virtual trade show or virtual product launch is the most suitable option for you. Or a virtual exhibition is equally important when showcasing your products and services to an international audience. Hence, virtual representation helps attract sponsors, exhibitors and other brands.
- Conference: Helps network and engage with businesses operating globally
- Trade Show: Helps win potential leads by connecting exhibitors with buyers
- Exhibition: Allows expanding market reach by showcasing products and services
- Networking events: Helps build B2B professional networks with international brands
- Product Launch: Introduces your new product line to a global market
Check out a guide to hosting virtual trade shows.
Personalize the Virtual Venue
Remember, when hosting a virtual event, you must focus on personalizing and designing the environment. Unlike physical event, your attendees are signing into a virtual venue. So captivate your audience with a 3D-designed virtual environment from the entrance, reception, and lobby to the halls.
Interestingly, a virtual platform allows businesses to design their B2B networking environment with complete branding. For instance, you can design branded lobbies, exhibitor booths, halls and more. The exhibitor booths are elevated with the company logo, slogan, theme and colours to create a branded environment. Essentially, your trade show booth designs should display the complete branding so that attendees can interact with each brand separately. That is how you win the loyalty of stakeholders.
The virtual platform allows you to personalize the virtual venues with:
- Company representative animated avatars
- Branded exhibitor booths
- Replica of office space
- User-friendly 3D designs
- Help desks
Create a Content Strategy
Once you have decided on the type of event you wish to host, it is time to work on a content strategy. When hosting B2B virtual events, it is important to work carefully on the digital aspects of your event. For instance, setting up a virtual exhibition online would demand complete branding and visualization of your products and services. You see, people respond more positively to businesses with strong branding and communication. Also, make sure your exhibitor booth shares content on product demos, catalogues, downloadable documents, case studies and more. So that your audience is informed about the business they are to invest in.
Likewise, if you plan to host a virtual conference, make sure it is a blend of webinars, speaker sessions and fun activities. Again, it is to ensure that your audience is well-informed, educated and entertained throughout the online conference. You can make your conference more engaging with live roundtable discussions, quizzes, Q&A sessions, polls etc.
Overall, the content may be streamlined as follows:
- An introductory video on the landing page
- Complete branding of the virtual environment
- Downloadable documents shared in the resource vault
- Display of product demos and catalogues
- Live or recorded webinar sessions
- Remote keynote speaker sessions
- Breakout rooms for networking
- Live roundtable group discussions
- Live alerts and notifications
But, make sure your event segments are well scheduled. Like, schedule time so that everyone can attend the webinars, speeches and panel discussions. Note that the content strategy for your business event would create an uproar in the marketplace. So let your attendees leave well-informed, engaged and immersed within your business.
Pick a Suitable Virtual Platform
Once you have carefully planned your B2B networking or virtual sales event, it is time to partner with a platform that commits to your needs. You need a platform that promises you the following:
- Global reach
- Professional business relationships
- Global sponsors and exhibitors
- 24/7 support backup
- Higher return on investments
- Live to track event progress
But, most importantly, filter a platform that strengthens your digital presence. No matter what type of event you wish to host, your virtual platform should be well-versed in all realms. For instance, look for a platform that offers:
- Customization and personalization
- 3D graphics and animation features
- Complete branding solutions
- Live chat and interaction options
- Profile matching system
- Social media channel integration
- Multiple exhibitor booths at the hall
- Platform crowded with animated avatars
Live Attendee Engagement
Engaging professionals online is the biggest hurdle with your virtual B2B event. We are all familiar with zoom fatigue. Like, it is difficult to keep the audience interested and engaged in a zoom meeting. So to make their online interaction worthwhile, we must incorporate an effective networking and engagement plan. For instance, each exhibitor booth must be represented by a company rep avatar who attends to user queries. A live chat option is also available at each booth for the attendees to engage in direct conversation about your offers.
Likewise, many more options are available to engage the audience. For instance, your B2B virtual events are made interactive and engaging through the following:
- Easy to navigate platform with guided buttons
- Informative reception desk with a company rep
- Live text, audio, or video chat options are available
- On-demand, live or recorded webinars sessions
- Interactive speaker sessions with live Q&As
- Profile search options with live chat integration
- Online quizzes and polling available to encourage participation
- Informative and essential materials shared in the resource vault
- Roundtable discussions are held in groups to build professional relations
- Meetings rooms encourage industry peers to discuss deals
- Showcase of products and services with real-time sales options
Incorporate Fun Element
Since your audience is facing each other from the laptop screens, it is your duty to add a fun element for them. Make sure it not strictly a formal interaction as it might bore them. People are especially interested in online events when it offers them a bit of relaxation and fun other than work. For instance, you can incorporate engaging activities such as:
- Online games
- Breakout room
- Happy hour
- Standup comedy
- Tea breaks
- Quizzes and polls
Promote Your Event
When hosting a virtual event, it is important to spread the word out as much as possible. It is just as important to market your virtual B2B event globally as you would promote your in-person event. But make sure you run pre and post-event marketing campaigns. Pre-event promotions call for direct action from the target audience. It requires them to register for the event. Nowadays, email marketing is considered a great approach to reaching your target audience personally. You can share insight on the event and urge them to register.
Similarly, companies use their website to promote their upcoming events. They share links to the landing page where the users can directly sign up. In other cases, event organizers use digital social media platforms to create an uproar about their upcoming events. You can either post about the event on your own social pages or put the event up on the event listing platforms. Once your event is visible to the right audience, it will definitely turn heads and secure you direct registrations.
Altogether, there’s a lot many ways you can promote your event before a global audience.
- Involve sponsors and other stakeholders to spread the word about the event
- Use your good relations with the partner companies to promote the event
- Get your customers to share testimonials and reviews about their experience with you
- Send giveaways to influential people who would publically speak about your brand
- Use teasers from virtual venues to build excitement for potential audience
- Promote your products and services with pop-up ads all over the internet
- Use snippets from your live event to share as a success story post-event
- Get reviews from partners and sponsors to share on your social media
- Use insights from your event to speak about the success of your event
Track Event Progress and ROIs
The best thing about B2B virtual events is that they offer real-time insight into how well you are doing. For example, it shows the number of attendee registrations, booth visits, number of chats, webinar views, closed sales and potential leads. In short, you get to track the individual user journey, while with an in-person event, you hardly get an exact headcount. These live analytics and insights help track the performance and gauge ROIs.
With an integrated virtual platform, your sponsors and exhibitors also receive detailed post-event reports. In fact, easy charts and graphical analyses are available for you to determine the overall impact of the event.
Virtual business networking and sales are the real future. The online representation of your brand wins you business relations, potential leads, and loyal customers. So, if you are an event organizer aiming to globalize your business reach, then you have landed at the right place. Virtual Days supports businesses by organizing unique and profitable events ranging from business conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions to product launches.
Join us today to get a customized plan for executing groundbreaking B2B virtual events. We offer end-to-end support with tech-savvy features to help create an immersive and beyond-reality experience for your audience. So get set to host the most remarkable business virtual networking events of the future.
Sign up for a demo and explore the potential of our virtual events platform.