How Webinerds are Producing Webinars From Home

Professionals across the globe are still adapting to the new work-from-home reality. To that end, we asked our #webinerd community to share how they’ve adapted to webinaring from home and what they’ve seen as customers and partners come to rely on virtual events to get business done.

The responses have been overwhelming. We’ve had dozens of #webinerds respond to the call, share their #WebinarFH setups and offer tips they’ve found useful for adjusting to our new remote reality.

What, exactly have they been saying? Well, here’s a small sample of what we’ve seen with a few #WebinarFH tips:

How Rhonda Mihalic Facilitates Engagement from Afar

Rhonda and her team use webinars to help keep students engaged with the written word. To that end, the Junior Library Guild is organizing live, interactive webinars. One webinar series, called Quaran-teen, asks students to help develop and write a serialized book based on their own experiences. Check it out!

How Chioma Ejim Keeps Her Industry Informed

Chioma produces webinars for the American Staffing Association, and she’s been keeping busy over these past few weeks. What with? She’s been organizing and producing webinars packed with important industry information addressing how staffing organizations ought to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

How Jocelyn Robertson Keeps Webinars Going for Financial Engines

A longtime webinerd, Jocelyn is relishing the opportunity to help friends, colleagues and business partners to jump on the webinar bandwagon. As a Webinar Producer with Edelman Financial Engines, she’s found new ways to engage audiences across her many digital events, including the use of video formats and engagement tools for interaction.

Webinerd Tips To Take Away

Webinerd running

As more and more professionals settle into their new normal of video chats and physical-turned-digital meetings, we wanted to share a few webinar-from-home tips from our webinerd community:

Keep your events interactive 

Webinars drive interactivity and collaboration with virtually anyone at any time. For example, the Junior Library Guild is drafting a book series with its audience in real-time. That’s a creative approach for sure, but if you’re going to hedge towards more conventional webinar approach, make sure to take full advantage of engagement tools like Q&A, chat, polls and more to bring your audience in and involve them in your event.

Bring audiences together virtually

Don’t overlook the benefit of having audiences engage with each other. Audiences can do more than simply listen during a webinar. Have attendees engage with your speaker through polls Q&As, chat and other engagement tools. Think of a webinar as a two-way conversation instead of a static presentation.

Make sure your webinars are relevant  

Professionals are always looking for the latest news and updates, especially when face-to-face and in-person events aren’t a possibility. Chioma, for example, has seen a 21% jump in conversion rates since organizations have moved towards working from home.  Make sure your webinars are timely and relevant to pique audience interest and drive conversions.

Not sure what to talk about? Ask! Simple polls and Q&A engagement tools can easily provide your audience a forum to suggest topics and help you better understand what your audience actually wants.

Be creative with your formats

Webinars shouldn’t feel cookie-cutter or like everyone is doing the same thing. Try expanding your webinar horizons by using tools and formats that are new to you.

Always have a keynote speaker? Try a moderated panel discussion instead. Focusing on live audiences? Give on-demand webinars a chance and you’ll be surprised to see how many more people tune in at a time that’s convenient to them. Follow Jocelyn’s lead and capitalize on unique branding and customization for the audience console during your webinars. And, like Jocelyn, explore new video presentation styles to keep things interesting for audiences.

If all else fails, rock some kickass unicorn headphones to keep things interesting!

Four Takeaways from a Month in Crisis

It has been just about a month since marketers’ worlds were dramatically disrupted — personally and professionally. There have been blips along the way but most people are now settling into a routine that will be their “new normal,” at least for the near-term. I wanted to share some of the lessons learned and observed over the past month:

  • Resilience. At the drop of a hat, marketers have done massive shifts to turn planned physical events into digital experiences. It has taken an immense amount of scrambling to make this work but marketers quickly developed new strategies to get work done and shift their events.
  • Partnerships are accelerating. Physical event players are making shifts to pull together contingency plans for their businesses. This is mainly being done from partnerships or embedding of other technologies within theirs. This has been done hastily, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on these players to see how or if these materialize into changes into their product strategy.
  • Communication is key. This has always been true but with people being remote, there has been a need for communication internally and externally to be ramped up significantly. Many stories have been written about the tools and technologies that people have used to do this.
  • Work from Home is Work. Personal one here, when people find out that I’m a remote employee (and have been for five or so years), I get questions about how I stay focused or how I resist the urge to do laundry during work hours. First, you can ask anyone in my household that I do not crave laundry overwork. In any case, leaders who were once hesitant are seeing that teams can work effectively when in different locations with the proper technology and process of course.

For the next thirty days, I expect to see more of the above but also a pipeline pivot. The next steps will be to pivot from that moment to figure out how pipelines will be filled for the remainder of the year. Most marketers rely heavily on or at least in part on Spring events to fill the pipeline for the remainder of the year. FInding supplemental strategies is paramount now. More on this to come in the coming months.

Announcing the Center for Marketing Transformation

Today marks an exciting day for ON24: we’re announcing the industry’s first Center for Marketing Transformation!

The Center for Marketing Transformation will empower marketers to make smarter decisions and develop marketing strategies that ensure resilient revenue operations by deploying a future-proofed mix of sales and marketing. I’m proud to be a member of the ON24 team and leading the Center for Marketing Transformation initiative.

The center will provide strategy, develop expert content and offer certifications in digital marketing. These elements are all designed to help marketers create integrated digital experiences, optimize the buyer’s journey and generate predictable, sustainable pipeline — even during uncertain times.

Today’s new normal makes digital marketing mission-critical for business success. In fact, 91% of top-performing marketers agree that creating and delivering digital experiences is the most important factor for driving future revenue growth. The Center is here for just that- to help marketers create and sustain resilient revenue operations.

These are exciting days at ON24 and I look forward to connecting with more clients in the coming weeks!

Benefitfocus Shifts to Virtual Summit in Eight Days, Sees 200% Participation Growth

Amidst the current global crisis, field and event marketers have been left scrambling to figure out how to handle upcoming events and programs planned for the year. Asking themselves questions like, Do I just cancel the entire event? Do I postpone my event? How do I salvage my event?

Hunter Smythe, Director of Corporate Events at Benefitfocus, faced this exact scenario earlier this year. She and her team decided the show must go on and took on the challenge of pivoting the company’s annual in-person customer and partner conference, One Place, into a virtual event experience. They manage to do so in less than two weeks. Here’s how they did it.

How to Move Forward After Last-Minute Event Cancelation?

Benefitfocus looked for a few qualities in a digital experience solution. Any platform the company adopted needed to be easy to use, provide content on demand for various audiences and had to be flexible enough to make Benefitfocus’s brand shine throughout the experience. Ultimately, Benefitfocus turned to ON24 to create a stellar virtual experience.

Benefitfocus started its move by mapping out what its virtual experience would look like. The team then decided to trim down the usual two-day event into a half-day online event and split that half-day event into a keynote speech and 14 breakout sessions. Each session and speech was pre-recorded and scheduled to run “live” using the ON24 Platform’s simulive features.

Continue on to learn the keys to the Benefitfocus team’s success and tips for bringing your own event virtual.

Benefitfocus’s Keys to Success

An Agile Team:

Benefitfocus assembled an agile team to quickly get to work and get the event up and running in eight business days. The team managed all this while navigating last-minute speaker preps and recordings, making decisions on what the experience would look and feel like and figuring out how to best use new technology. Here’s how they made it work:

Putting The Customer Experience First:

For Benefitfocus, it was important to make the online event as similar to the intended in-person experience as possible, ensuring that attendees still engaged with sessions and took away key learnings. To make this a reality, Benefitfocus focused on prioritizing the audience experience by making sessions easy to access and conversational and providing clarity on how the day would unfold.

  1. Providing attendees ability to register once, gain access to all content: Using ON24 Engagement Hub to house all sessions in one location, Benefitfocus set up a seamless registration experience. Meaning, once the customer registered once for One Place, they then had access to all content in the event hub, never having to input their information again to watch another session.
  2. Clear Agenda with Scheduled Breaks: Leading with an hour-long morning keynote, the team built in a 15-minute break right after, similar to what they would have done in-person, leaving people time to check email and take calls before the breakout sessions started.

  1. Survey Feedback Baked into Every Session: Traditionally at Benefitfocus’s in-person events, there is one survey for the entire event that is sent out after the event has concluded. With ON24, they could gather real-time audience feedback based on each session, helping Benefitfocus understand what sessions were the most popular and who might be interested in more details on Benefitfocus solutions. Compared to in-person, Benefitfocus received far more feedback than ever before.
  2. Tracks and Sessions Built for Different Audiences: Similarly to how Benefitfocus would have handled breakouts in person, using ON24 Engagement Hub, they set up different tracks intended for their different audience personas to run concurrently after the keynote, making the most of each attendee’s time.

On-Demand Strategy and Mindset from Start

Since this was the first time Benefitfocus would have a digital component to One Place, the team started thinking more about its general digital strategy and how it will use this event as a resource year-round. As the team built out its virtual event with ON24, they took advantage of key aspects of the ON24 Platform to prime the event experience for on-demand engagement.

  • One-Stop Event Landing Page with ON24 Engagement Hub: With ON24 Engagement Hub, Benefitfocus could organize and aggregate all content and sessions related to the event and set it up not only in a seamless way for the live event but also once the event concluded, the Engagement Hub was already optimized for on-demand usage, so Benefitfocus customers can return to the event hub all year round for resources.
  • Bookmarking Key Moments with Chapterization: Once the sessions concluded, the Benefitfocus team went back and chapterized each breakout session to make it easy for on-demand attendees to engage with the most impactful moments.

By taking a digital event strategy, One Place 2020 achieved 200% growth in attendance over the sign-up for the in-person version of this year’s event and engagement is continuing well after the event from on-demand viewership, as customers continue to revisit the One Place event hub for resources.

And, the ON24 Platform provided their team with another benefit that just isn’t possible with physical events: real-time data. The insights that ON24 delivered immediately gave Benefitfocus an understanding of their customer’s digital body language.

Now, the team knows a majority of attendees gave the virtual event experience a high rating, understand how many minutes they spent consuming content and can even drill down into which sessions resulted in the most people raising their virtual hand to learn more.

Five Must-See Events for Virtual Conference Season

Most physical marketing conferences and events are either canceled or postponed. But a few summits are proving we can still keep up-to-date with the latest strategies and techniques — and even network — from afar. The solution? Turning to virtual conferences.

If you’re looking for a virtual event or two to scratch that conference-season itch, then check out these five summits — all powered by the ON24 Platform — taking place in the second half of April:

Best of #B2BMX

See what virtual summits can do April 13 and 14 as Demand Generation Report showcases the Best of #B2BMX. Featuring the top presentations from DGR’s 2020 B2B Marketing Exchange, this virtual event will empower you with more than 20 different sessions, including live virtual keynotes. Here’s a sample of what’s in store:

  • Discover how marketers are responding to a virtual world with our own Mark Bornstein
  • Learn how to draft killer content with Matthew Altieri and Virginia Mott of Nitto, Inc.
  • Apply the principles of social strategy to content creation with Dave Bruno of Aptos

Powered by the ON24 Platform, this virtual conference will give you the confidence you need to tackle your 2020 B2B marketing plan from the comfort of your own home.

RevGrowth Summit

Tune in to Drift’s RevGrowth Virtual Summit on April 16 and 17 to learn how sales and marketing can team up and grow revenue no matter where they are. During this two-day event, you’ll hear from industry-leading experts, learn how to nurture your sales and marketing peers and drive growth in the WFH era. Here’s what’s in store:

  • How to be a truly social brand in a work-from-home environment
  • Tips on using brand journalism to deliver relevant messaging
  • Your playbook for investing in and enabling your sellers
  • The five skills salespeople should steal from marketers in 2020

And much more. With dynamic, interactive features, you’ll be able to exchange ideas, offer input, seek out viewpoints and learn from community members from across the globe.

Discover MarTech

Business as usual isn’t usual anymore, but that doesn’t mean that senior-level marketers can take a break. In fact, if anything, knowing how to act in unusual conditions is more critical than ever.

Stay up to speed on the latest modern marketing developments and strategies when you tune in to Discover MarTech, a three-day virtual event running from April 21 to 23. During this virtual summit, you’ll learn:

  • Practical advice for vetting marketing technology for your specific needs
  • The roles and responsibility of marketing technologists
  • How you can manage change and uncertainty in uncertain times

Plus, you’ll get access to in-depth educational training sessions directly from solution providers — all from the comfort and safety of your home. Register now to get started.

The Show Must Go On

A lot of things are changing, but one rule remains constant: the show must go on.

Discover how you can keep your marketing machine going and master the shift from physical, in-person events to remote, virtual relationships on April 21 during The Show Must Go On: Integrated Ways to Power the Customer Lifecycle.” During this half-day summit, you’ll learn:

  • How to stay hyper-relevant in an age where everything changes fast
  • Methods for optimizing tactics and adjusting your strategy for agile ABM
  • Tips and tricks for transforming your canceled in-person events into vibrant virtual events
  • How you can build trust and working relationships remotely

And much more. Register now and keep your marketing show going strong!

MarTech Masters Series

Marketo is more essential and critical to marketing than ever before. But what can you do to make sure you get the most out of it?

Tune in to DigitalPi’s MarTech Masters Series on April 30 as experts from around the globe share their tips, tricks and best practices for getting more out of Marketo. Designed specifically for marketing operations professionals, this virtual summit will give you new ideas that’ll help you drive tangible results.

Here’s a sample of what’s in store:

  • Insights into how you can drive conversion through better personalization
  • The skills and secrets you need to know to extend Marketo beyond its limits
  • How to monitor intent data and push leads into highly personalized Marketo nurture programs
  • Tips to operationalize webinars and hook up engagement data to Marketo campaigns

How Domo Launched Its Virtual Event in Less Than Two Weeks

At 7:11 a.m. MT on Wednesday, March 18, John Mellor was driving west on I-80 and nearing Salt Lake City when his phone started to blow up.

When Domo’s chief strategy officer got a chance to pull over and check the messages, they were all about one thing: The 5.7-magnitude earthquake that rocked central Utah just before sunrise.

Mellor didn’t feel the ground shake as he was heading down Parleys Canyon. But the timing was fitting. Because over the course of the previous month, he had certainly become familiar with seismic shifts.

Domo, a leader in business intelligence and data visualization, turned its annual conference, Domopalooza, into a virtual event in less than two weeks. Scott Resch, Ambassador of What’s Happening, Domo, shares with us how the company made the shift in record time. This article was originally published on Domo.com. Shared with permission.

It all started on Feb. 20, when Domo CEO Josh James traveled to Tokyo for meetings and was struck by how the entire population was wearing surgical masks to protect against coronavirus.

When he returned to Utah a couple of days later, he immediately summoned Mellor and other executives at Domo to discuss the possibility of making the cloud-based software company’s popular annual user conference, Domopalooza, a virtual event.

Less than 24 hours later, on Feb. 26, after using the Domo platform to analyze the potential impact of canceling or dramatically altering the conference, the conversation got more serious. And on the 28th, a tough but educated decision was made: Turn the 2020 version of Domopalooza into a 100-percent online experience.

Webinerd checklist

As the next 12 business days unfolded leading up to the event, the legal department reviewed contracts while everyone else within the organization chartered a course for themselves that was centered around what leadership identified as the main priorities: generate excellent content, drive registration, and maintain a community-first mentality.

The core team met twice a day to take inventory of where key initiatives stood and what still needed to be done, and everyone else charged forward on ambitions that aligned with critical deliverables, such as the coordination and recording of 24 different breakout sessions.

Some projects came together nicely. Others were more challenging, as roadblocks presented themselves in some form or another on several occasions, starting with the weather the week of March 2.

“The forecast wasn’t good,” Mellor said. “We needed some blue sky for the keynote video, and there was only one day that week that called for such conditions. So, we went for it.”

Webinerd running

As well, despite finding pictures of a salt mine cave that the video production crew thought would serve as an ideal backdrop for one segment of the keynote, it took some investigating to find out exactly where it was—and then some additional time to gain access.

And then there was the initial shooting location for the live portion of the keynote: The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird. As Utah ski resorts started to shut down due to increased concerns about COVID-19, Domo’s events team had to look elsewhere—fast—for an alternative.

The group found one in a Webb Production broadcasting studio, which of course had to be set up for the on-stage presenters with social distancing in mind but also allowed Domo to bring its product team in via Zoom.

By the time March 18 rolled around, Domo was ready to rock. And at 10 a.m. MT, just as the earthquake was about to turn three hours old, Domopalooza 2020 aired as a 90-minute collection of powerful messages that transported the audience everywhere from the highest peaks in Utah to the floor of a Pep Boys service garage in Philadelphia.

Domopalooza 2020 was one of the first major tech conferences that morphed into an online event in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And while consensus at Domo is that there were some additional moves that could’ve been made—even under the intense pressure of such a tight deadline—viewer feedback suggests the company struck the right chords.

Your on-demand webinar audience awaits

“Your virtual event was so polished, effective, and engaging that it made me seriously consider whether in-person events were even necessary anymore,” wrote one attendee who watched from his home in Nashville. “Being able to ‘travel’ across Utah, go on-site with your customers, and see some of the future innovations Domo is bringing was simply incredible.”

In the interest of assisting other organizations that are considering or have planned the type of remote event that is quickly becoming de facto in these turbulent times, Domo has put together a list of best practices. The list is based on what its employees closest to the production of the conference learned over one wild-but-rewarding three-week period, and it goes as follows:

1 – Use data

 

Webinerd funnel

Before doing anything else, Domo used data to analyze the previous five Domopaloozas. The team looked at who attended, what their job titles were, where they came from, what industries they worked in, what content they liked most, and more.

With that insight, leadership was not only able to prioritize what went into the program, but determine how long it should be and how it should flow, what types of pieces needed to be created to appeal to both execs and day-to-day users, and how the popular “sneaks” (sneak-peek) portion of Domopalooza should be handled. “We couldn’t fly blind,” Mellor said. “We had to have something concrete to work from, and that was it.”

2 – Set Targets

Webinerd in a green jacket adjusts data to reduce churn for her company.

Typical attendance for Domopalooza is just over 3,000 people. But once plans for this year’s event changed to online, and therefore limitations on venue space and time no longer existed, Mellor used it as an opportunity to move the line to 10,000. “I just thought, ‘Without travel costs and other logistical constraints, why couldn’t we reach two to three times more people within our customers’ groups?’” he said.

The strategy worked. Domopalooza ultimately garnered more than 9,000 registrations—about four times as many as last year—and more than 12,000 viewers. What’s more, people from 80 countries logged on to watch. At the in-person event last year, 28 countries were represented. “Setting a higher bar was galvanizing,” said Julie Kehoe, Domo’s chief communications officer. “It motivated everyone to push harder, to see what was possible.”

3 – Meet and Rally

A webinerd and her coworkers discuss optimization

To make sure nothing slipped through the cracks and everything moved in concert across all areas of the business, key stakeholders got together twice a day and gave updates on where initiatives they were responsible for standing. “We couldn’t afford to let any decision sit for more than 12 hours,” Mellor said.

These quick huddles (or “standups,” as they’re often called) revolved mainly around hot-button items of the day and served to help the team monitor what kind of progress was being made on them. The meetings also inspired everyone to be as flexible as they could, as updates often included a nod to how someone—or even a group—had handled an unexpected or unfamiliar situation with proficiency.

4 – Create an engaging experience

A webinerd and her community dancing happily in a virtual circle

Given the opportunity to do Domopalooza in a completely different way, the team looked in every possible direction to make the event one to remember. “We could’ve done the equivalent of one basic, pre-recorded webinar,” Mellor said, “but that would’ve flown in the face of our creative spirit, a characteristic that’s at the heart of who we are.”

Instead, Domo leveraged the medium in a way that allowed attendees to see more of Utah than Salt Lake City, and go inside the places where Domo customers work. The team also made room for a live component, which gave the audience the ability to send questions to leadership through social media, via the hashtag #askDP20.

Industry analysts got boxes featuring local coffee, cookies and a mug, to make them feel a little closer to where they were originally going to be for the event. And breakout session speakers received kits that included mics, props and lights, as well as images they could use on Twitter to promote their seminars.

The approach resonated. The breakout sessions—which were taped and then made available on-demand immediately following the main program—drew more than 3,100 distinct visitors.

5 – Pick the right technology

One of the real luxuries Domo had in the process was its ability to call on Webb Production for anything. While the company was originally hired to put on a traditional, in-person conference, it was quick to retool the plan when the situation changed.

Webb’s value didn’t end there, though. It also let Domo use its studio for the live portion of the program, and came up with an impressive stage design that included a giant LED screen, which was used to display images of Utah designed to bridge the gap between customer and vendor.

Additionally, Webb brought Boxcast to the table—a platform that allowed Domo to stream live video to the audience, trim the video without taking the stream offline, and offer replays around the world, including a fully translated Japanese version.

For the breakout sessions, Domo used ON24, a digital experience solution that offered a configurable front end and allowed the audience to see the speaker and their slides simultaneously. It also gave Domo the freedom to add widgets, giving the viewer the ability to customize their screen.

Lastly, Domo took full advantage of social media, especially during the event. “Even though we were miles away from our customers,” Kehoe said, “we wanted to create an intimate, interactive experience for them—and channels like Twitter and Instagram were a good way to do it.” To wit: Domo pulled in 86 questions via #askDP20, and calculated a “reach” the next day of 659,335 people (for a spread of 11.2 million).

Managing Your Marketing Strategy During a Crisis

As we enter Q2, marketing leaders are piecing together how they will adjust their marketing strategy and tactics to meet their quarterly and annual goals. It would be an understatement to say that this quarter has been filled with disruptions. But with some certainty about what must change, despite the unrest, it is time to hunker down and put pen to paper for how marketing teams will be operating to drive business results. As we enter this new stage, I wanted to share some considerations for your marketing strategy across technology, people and process:

Technology

Webinerd repairing

You may find yourself in several different scenarios as it relates to your martech and sales tech stacks. In some scenarios, for some mission-critical technologies, it accelerated the purchase. This could be something like a webinar, virtual experiences or video collaboration technology where the need became acute and you went through an accelerated purchasing process to meet the needs of your marketing organization.

Evaluation of your current martech stack — while these plans likely were put on hold for the past month — will likely pick up in the coming weeks. I can’t urge you enough to make sure you take the experiences of the past month into consideration. Think about what excelled and what held the marketing organization back during that period of time. Go back to the audit and evaluation and ensure they are up to date based on your recent experiences. The goal is to create a martech stack that can be resilient.

Process

Webinerd in a green jacket adjusts data to reduce churn for her company.

New work environments and a disrupted marketing strategy will certainly lead to changes in process. Rather than a team member walking to another’s cube to address a question or give a friendly reminder, now these communications are going digital and it can become overwhelming. Look for ways to automate review processes through existing systems, so reminders are given by the system and humans are freed up to focus on other tasks.

People

A webinerd and her community dancing happily in a virtual circle

The outpouring of care for one another has been beautiful to watch. I’ve heard great stories of managers and teammates being there for one another and have found fun ways to get used to life in a more remote environment. As someone who hasn’t had an office in about five years, I’m happy to welcome everyone into this environment! The key at this point is to ensure team members feel comfortable and empowered to ask for what they need. One aspect may be helping team members get the appropriate technologies to set up their home office. Other team members will require increased flexibility due to the new working environment. Many people are juggling partners sharing tight spaces, young children and pets all demanding their attention. Be open to changes in meeting times to better accommodate these schedules.

Marketers are resilient and creative. Make sure you are patient with yourself and others, as well as remain open to new ideas and creative solutions to challenges.

How Fitbit Took Its Trade Show Booth Experience Virtual

If your team is like most marketing teams, there are probably a handful of trade shows that you plan to sponsor each year. Events you rely on to contribute to your demand generation goals and pipeline significantly. 

Amidst the recent coronavirus pandemic, Fitbit Health Solutions, a leader in developing health and wellness solutions, learned one of its major pipeline-fueling trade shows canceled the event with just one week’s notice. The Fitbit Health Solutions team needed a Plan B to make up for the lost pipeline opportunity.

How did they do it? Well, here’s what they shared with us:

How Fitbit Replaced Its Canceled In-Person Trade Show Pipeline

Fitbit knew it had an option to make up for its lost pipeline opportunity: webinars. If it could step up and flex its webinar channel, it could reach a remote audience and drive the pipeline it needed

“We run webinars all the time so it was important that in this unique situation that we try something different to stand out. In this instance we wanted to bring as much of the in-person, physical event experience and components to the digital experience as possible,” says Tara Shirakh, Field Marketing Manager, Fitbit Health Solutions. 

Using the ON24 Platform, the Fitbit team crafted a Virtual Booth Experience to meet and exceed the marketing team’s goals and objectives. The booth was designed for HR professionals to enter within a two-hour window on their own time to learn about Fitbit Health Solutions, ask questions to Fitbit experts and ultimately schedule meetings with the Fitbit sales team.

So, what did Fitbit do to make its rapid deployment of the Virtual Booth Experience happen? Here’s what the team had to share:

Rethinking promotional strategy on a tight timeline

Since the Fitbit team didn’t have a list of the trade show attendees, they had to rethink its promotional strategy. Eventually, the team decided to cast a wide net and focus on the target persona and audience they already have in their database. Since they only had two weeks to execute, Fitbit relied on two email drops and social posts to drive registrations.

Setting clear expectations

Most people who attend webinars are accustomed to a presentation or demo of some sorts. Since this experience was intended for folks to drop in and ask questions and engage on their own time, it was important that Fitbit set clear expectations for their registrants before they showed up to the virtual booth. They even included descriptions and images of the different engagement tools that the audience would experience at the booth.

Nailing the audience experience

Fitbit needed to translate its in-person booth components into its digital experience to ensure its audience got the most from the experience. To achieve this, the organization made expert use of imagery.

  • Booth Imagery. Fitbit repurposed the creative mockups planned for the actual trade show booth to create a virtual booth experience.

  • Swag Giveaway. Like they would do at their physical booth, Fitbit offered an easy way for audience members to request swag in exchange for a quick 15-minute call with a Fitbit expert.
  • Descriptive Speaker Bios. Each expert available to answer questions had a detailed description of the types of questions they could help answer. This aided in audience members getting answers to their specific questions fast.

Results: Fitbit was pleased to see more than 150 prospects register for the Virtual Booth Experience and saw more than 40 requests for a meeting with a Fitbit sales representative.

“With the help of the ON24 Platform, by creating an engaging Virtual Booth Experience, we were able to salvage what would have been lost pipeline from the last-minute trade show cancellation.” – Tara Shirakh, Field Marketing Manager, Fitbit Health Solutions. 

Fitbit’s rapid deployment of its virtual booth experience is a great example of what marketers can accomplish in a short amount of time with the ON24 Platform. Keep an eye on this space as we highlight more examples of customers who’ve successfully transitioned in-person to virtual experiences.

How to Guide Clients with Thought Leadership from Afar

As with most time of upheaval and uncertainty, you’re probably already communicating more with key audience. Rules and regulations change daily (if not hourly), and it can be difficult for your clients to keep up while running businesses. Rapidly changing developments have a profound impact on your clients, who need guidance on how to respond.

Webinars let you be helpful at a time when the safety of social distance is tantamount.

This post originally appeared on jdsupra.com. Shared with the author’s permission.

You can transmit valuable thought leadership to your audience in a way that keeps the interaction human and responsive. They’re easy to produce and easy to access. What’s more, they let participants – most of whom are probably working from home too – actively participate in the session, see your face, and gauge your confidence and authority.

Three considerations as you step up your thought leadership:

1. Find more opportunities to help

Consider organizing a weekly “Pandemic update” for clients in a particular region or industry. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should explain recent developments and advise on potential responses. You could even target individual clients with webinars and content tailored specifically to their situations.

Setup personalized experiences to house the archive of webinars and other materials your clients will need, like this one we created to help our customers cross the physical/digital divide.

Use your platform to host an open Q&A session where you can get a read on business concerns, answer the questions suited for you, and again: be helpful. Hosting a weekly internal meeting with your client whose employees are now working from home is a great way to get to know the concerns of your clients while offering real-time support and solutions.

Sometimes just giving clients a forum to ask questions and share ideas is enough to help them understand their options for dealing with uncertainties. Schedule a webinar for Friday afternoons, when the workweek is nearly over, a kind of social distancing reception where the guided conversation is centered around working together to get through this unprecedented situation.

2. Use short-term innovation to launch long-term digital solutions

Rapidly shifting to online-only events can seem drastic and sudden, but supplementing the webinar content you produce doesn’t have to be temporary.

We’re always encouraging customers to give digital a bigger role in their marketing and business development strategies, both to complement physical, face-to-face events and also to give their audience more opportunities to see them “in action.”

That’s easier to do when continuing programs you develop in response to the current environment.

3. Mind the data (and the lessons)

In your rush to put together new programs for your audience, it’s important to remember that a webinar produces the same amount of data and lessons whether it has been planned for six months or six hours.

Either way, you refine your lists of topics that matter to your audience, of clients that follow your thought leadership, and of prospects with whom you can follow up. Make sure you’re capturing attendance and engagement data, and passing it on to the appropriate people and systems for analysis and follow up.