04.21.20 | Associations

Strategy Shift: Providing Value Virtually

Book by computer and coffee

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many corporations and associations to make tough decisions about their conferences and events.  As an event marketer supporting our mergers and acquisitions association client, M&A Source, there was an entire strategy in place to promote its spring in-person conference.

Instead of canceling the entire event, we quickly found a way to provide value to the organization and its members, pivoting to a series of live, open-to-all webinars – launching the first one within just 24 hours.

How We Did It

  1. Determine the strategy. Our initial event took the planned keynote address online. Online events aren’t new – but converting a live keynote to a virtual event within hours takes focus and careful composition to secure registrants. We knew that the client audience felt some disappointment over the fact that we had to cancel the event. Many of them looked forward to attending to network and make deals. Community is a large part of how they do business. We saw the opportunity to offer the keynote as an inspirational experience during this difficult time.
  2. Clearly convey the value. We re-imagined the title of the segment to fit this new format; and more importantly, to demonstrate how the keynote webinar would be a timely resource. The keynote speaker, Dennis McIntee, is widely known for his positive outlook and sustainable business practices, which further boosted our ability to position this event as an immersive learning opportunity.
3 Mindsets that take you through a crises
  1. Market and make it easy. Once the webinar was set up and ready, we promoted it heavily using paid and organic social media and email marketing. The sign-up form was simple and provided all the information that the attendee needed to participate. By the time the webinar started, less than 24 hours from concept, 23% of the association’s membership had signed up.

Generating Leads

Because we opened up the keynote session to anyone – not just conference registrants – the webinar became a tool by which the association could collect leads. We created emotional buy-in from the audience to get them to register for this new offering and succeeded by:

  • Having a clear vision and goals to guide the virtual event
  • Crafting well-written messages that convert readers
  • Delivering a format that answers “what’s in it for me?” from the attendee point-of-view
  • Creating a simple, streamlined sign-up process

Webinar participants became prospective members for M&A Source and are now more inclined to attend upcoming webinars and learning opportunities.

This format has been so quickly embraced by members and prospective members that the M&A Source is offering a webinar each week instead of its traditional schedule of one per month. Demand is so high that we are seeing average attendance at twice the rate of previous offerings.

Engaging your association online takes more than just technology. Contact us to learn more about our full-service Virtual Meetings & Conference services.

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