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How to Get Real Results From Virtual Events

July 13th, 2011 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you using virtual trade shows or other virtual events to market your business? Then there’s some interesting new research you should know about.

At traditional, in-person trade shows or conferences, attendees place a heavy emphasis on networking and collecting contact information or leads to follow up on. In virtual events, however, the picture is a little different, according to research by MarketingProfs and virtual events provider ON24, reported by eMarketer.

Their survey found that although nearly three-quarters (71%) of virtual event attendees did visit a virtual booth (just like at traditional events), a mere 20% exchanged contact information with an exhibitor. Only 17% traded contact information with other attendees at the virtual event. Fewer than half (45%) used online networking tools such as chat to network with others at the event.

So if virtual event attendees aren’t trading contacts or networking, what are they doing? Gathering information seems to be the top priority for virtual attendees. More than three-fourths (77 percent) downloaded materials such as ebooks or white papers, 74% watched live webcasts and 55% watched on-demand webcasts.

If you’re getting ready to exhibit at a virtual event, what can you learn from this? First, the study found, good-quality content is essential to getting attention. Sixty-one percent of attendees surveyed said they had never paid for a virtual event, but would be willing to do so if the content was compelling enough. Specifically, they were looking for content that aligns with the agenda and breakout sessions of the event. In contrast, attendees said networking opportunities were the least important factor that would convince them to pay to attend an event. So if you’re trying to get attendees to interact with you, develop content that’s closely tied to the event’s themes, and play that up in your online presence.

It’s a little disconcerting to find out that attendees aren’t networking. Without getting X number of leads or contacts from your virtual booth, the results of your exhibit are harder to measure. However, if you follow up with those who download or view your content, and keep in mind that you’ll need to nurture them more gently and work with them longer than people who come up and hand you their business cards at a real-life booth, you’ll have an edge in adapting to the new world of virtual events.

Image Courtesy: Karen Axelton


Your Personal Brand: An Individual Evaluation

April 16th, 2010 ::

by Patti Nuttycombe Cochran

As a result of my recent offer, several courageous readers requested a Personal Brand Evaluation and the process was interesting and happily very positive!

Let’s take the example of Glen Montgomery, a passionate video editor from Ohio who submitted himself and his online persona for a Brand Evaluation. After googling, twittering, yahoo-ing, myspacing, facebooking and Linking-In…here’s my evaluation:

Glen’s image is consistent and passionate. There’s a terrific alignment within his multiple profiles.

His Twitter following is impressive and he incorporates multimedia links which give his profiles depth. His passion for filmmaking, editing and the world of film is palpable on all sites. I came away really admiring his drive, passion and interest in his profession!

His photo image on Google and Yahoo and LinkedIn is a wonderfully happy photo. Facebook, while a different photo image, shows someone fun-loving yet is “safe” from judgment or scrutiny by recruiters or employers. He’s used filters well, so that what he chooses to keep private is kept private. Smart!

A couple thoughts:

  • Glen’s LinkedIn page was updated one month ago… perhaps more regular updates would keep his name active in LinkedIn’s status updates thereby creating a more prolific impression.
  • He also describes himself as “trying to find himself in the world of post-production.” This description is wistful, but suggests desperation or someone who’s seeking. A bolder description that claims his ability and passion would be stronger as an overall description.

But, generally, Glen’s done a terrific job of presenting himself to the world as a focused, passionate individual with clear direction.

I hope Glen will stay in touch with us — and perhaps even submit some blog posts for us talking about his quest to “find himself in the world of post-production” so we can see if he’s successful.

Patti Nuttycombe Cochran is Vice President-Client Services Consultant at Right Management, a global provider of Career Transition services and consulting expertise on Talent Management, Leadership Development, and Organizational Effectiveness. Patti is an avid networker interested in building the region’s business and philanthropic communities.