At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has gripped the world and most businesses have switched to work from home, the popularity of seminars and other virtual events have seemingly increased. With businesses increasingly adopting digital collaboration tools such as MS Teams, GoToWebinar, Zoom, and others to interact, engage, and educate their audience, they are now becoming more of a subtle medium of communication.
In the current scenario, even the global remote workforce has seemingly expanded overnight, and with tradeshows, conferences, and events canceled or switched to virtual settings for just about everyone, nimble and proactive companies are taking a second look at such virtual events. Hence, such communication strategies that were once considered as ‘typical’, they are seemingly becoming permanent solutions for businesses to be successful in the remote ecosystem.
However, while most people are indulging themselves in this ‘new normal’, some have taken to social media to express their frustration over them.
One such person is business tycoon Anand Mahindra, who recently took to Twitter to say that he may have a “serious meltdown” if he receives one more invitation to a webinar. He then added, “Is it possible to petition for banishing this word from the dictionary even though it was a relatively recent entrant?”
According to him, this new communication medium has increased its establishment only because of the pandemic situation, and the traditions of offline working place will always remain the same. He further explains as to why it is not at all praiseworthy to be a part of the virtual meetings and online video conferences.
Well, we at Turiya Communications believe that his outlook on the matter might be true to some extent, as people get easily annoyed with such virtual interferences; but we do not completely agree with him.
Before we delve further into the reason, let us first understand the basics:
What is a virtual event?
Virtual events, in its simplest definition, are events held online. Virtual events use web-based platforms to connect dozens to thousands of attendees from across the globe and often include interactive engagement features such as polling, Q&A, chat boxes, etc. They often aim to create a similar experience as possible to their physical counterparts.
Popular uses of virtual events include virtual tradeshows, virtual conferences, sales-meetings, virtual college open days, virtual company-wide gatherings. Companies also use such events to deliver presentations, training, internal meetings, and other sessions. Some examples of events that decided to go virtual during the outbreak include Salesforce’s World Tour Sydney Reimagined, Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference, and Microsoft Build.
Types of Virtual Events
Although like in-person events, they can cover almost anything, typically there are four types of virtual events: virtual conferences, webinars, internal hybrid events, and external hybrid events.
Below are the four main types of virtual events:
Have something important to share with the world? Webinars are the perfect way to do so! Webinars are virtual events held on the internet that typically lasts somewhere from 45 to 80 minutes. Holding webinars virtually allows attendees from around the world to join in and listen as one or more speakers present the content. Companies can charge attendees to join webinars using online payment services or can be offered free.
Webinars typically use video conferencing tools that allow Q&A, the ability to present live or a pre-recorded video, and be offered as on-demand after the fact. Due to their one-off educational nature, webinars have thrived with 100% virtual attendance. These can also include internal and external training.
- Virtual Conferences
Much like in-person conferences, virtual conferences are built around a live, complex agenda that includes keynotes, sessions, breakouts, and more. Virtual conferences include multi-session content and can involve community engagement tools. While not as effective in terms of lead capture and networking as an in-person event, virtual conferences allow attendees to view keynotes in real-time, build their agenda from relevant, on-demand content, and interact with other attendees.
- Internal Hybrid Events
These are town halls, sales kick-offs, companywide events, training, department meetings, and more. For organizations that span countries, even continents, internal hybrid events are used to share a message to the entire company when employees are not all gathered in the same place. While it would be great to fly every employee to your organization’s headquarters, it would be incredibly costly, and the scheduling required would be time-consuming. The next best option is to host events that are part in-person, part virtual.
- External Hybrid Events
These events can be user conferences or industry conferences. These events require higher levels of video production so that virtual attendees are provided a similar quality to in-person attendees. These events allow attendees who are unable to travel to the event to participate and learn. It is challenging to provide the same value at external hybrid events, as in-person attendees can network more freely and engage easily with content than those attending virtually.
Why Webinars, Other Virtual Events are taking the Centre Stage?
In light of the coronavirus, going virtual has become an increasingly more popular option as it helps businesses save money and all the hard work they put into their in-person events. Particularly, in the case of webinars, they have become a powerful tool in the business arsenal, as they allow businesses to boost their revenue, minimize their costs and develop lucrative relationships with clients, customers, and industry leaders.
To further prove our point as to why webinars are the need-of-the-hour for businesses; here are nine benefits of such virtual events:
- Hosting webinars develop authority and trust
Hosting a webinar allows your business to showcase its expertise, industry knowledge, abilities, skills, products, and services. Your webinar also benefits from the human element – allowing you to put a real face to your business and help you to develop your relationships with your target audience.
- Webinars create business relationships
The benefit of speaking to a group of potential prospects through a webinar is it allows your prospects to get to know you on a much deeper level than what could get accomplished in a 30-second commercial at a networking event. After all, people do not do business with companies. People do business with people. In a webinar, you have the time to allow your attendees to get to know you as a person, like you and trust you from the insights and content you share.
- Interactive webinars help you understand your target audience
Through your interactive question and answer, segment webinars allow your business to get to know your target audience, their needs, and their greatest challenges. In doing so, you can develop a real understanding of what motivates your audience, allowing you to tailor your products, services, and advice to match.
- Holding webinars raise brand awareness
Webinars allow you to promote your business easily – especially when you are delivering high-quality content during it. With virtually no additional overhead to factor in, the business promotion afforded by hosting a webinar is also incredibly cost-effective. You can skyrocket your business exposure and reach for no or very little financial outlay.
- Hosting webinars are affordable
Conventional meetings, seminars, and conferences have one thing in common – they are expensive to arrange. Thankfully, your webinar benefits from the low-costs associated with internet broadcast – requiring little more than a broadband connection, microphone, and webcam to get started.
- Webinars can be re-purposed
Once you have presented your webinar, you can repurpose your script to provide extra value to those who could not attend. By converting your presentation into an eBook or blog post series, you can create a permanent benefit from hosting the webinar – allowing you to share your webinar content in a fresh and engaging new way.
- Webinars can be recorded
In repurposing your content, you also allow your audience to relive your content – and video recordings of the event help your audience to analyse and understand your content as thoroughly as possible. Unlike traditional conferences, it is extremely easy (and cost-effective) to record your entire webinar – and your audience will thank you for it!
- Webinars can be an added revenue stream
If your business has a large audience, it can be simple and effective to set-up a paid webinar event. As long as your webinar is packed full of genuine value for your customers, parting with a few dollars to attend your webinar is completely reasonable. With unlimited capacity for attendees, your business can quickly generate a lucrative revenue stream.
- Webinars build your list and generate qualified leads
Sign-up forms for your webinar allow you to collect lead information – from email addresses to job titles. Best of all, the information and education you provide in your webinar serve to qualify your audience, informing them about your products, services, and expertise – and creating the perfect sales lead in the process.
At Turiya Communications, we believe in providing thought leadership and staying on the cutting edge of the best communication practices. Hence, webinars and other virtual events have been an important part of our communication strategy in this hour of crisis.
Not only has our co-founder Sandhya Sutodia, who is an IIM-Calcutta Executive Programme degree holder in Digital & Social Media Marketing Strategy and corporate communications professional with years of experience, has delivered keynote presentations virtually on various topics, but we also host our very own knowledge-enhancing webinars ‘Turiya Talks’. In such interactive webinars, experts from different industries share their valuable insights and knowledge on various interesting topics. Get in touch with us to become a part of Turiya Talks.
If you are interested in hosting webinars and other virtual events, we can help you! Get in touch with us over email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.turiyacommunications.com.