Lydia Kirby

Lydia joined Bright Innovation to help start-up clients see the full potential of effective marketing, bringing her experience in communications and campaign management. Outside of work you’ll find her checking out the latest trendy food joint, G&T in hand, whilst planning her next scuba diving trip.

Agile in action: Transforming events at pace

How to create virtual experiences that deliver on business goals

During this current Covid-19 crisis, we’re all at home, all facing the same challenge of having to quickly adapt our business practices and processes for remote working, whilst maintaining communication with our teams, suppliers and wider ecosystems. This all calls for increased focus on marketing, a tool that’s now more vital to your long-term business success than before. To safeguard your pipeline and strengthen your brand throughout the outbreak’s disruption, you need to maintain momentum — business as usual is simply not an option.  Our new reality demands more creative ways to engage, share knowledge and build relationships online.

Rethinking the webinar

Virtual experiences and events have come a long way in the last few years and are now a valuable tool for building and maintaining engagement and driving revenue. But marketers need to think differently and creatively about virtual events today. Don’t just try to recreate a physical experience. Carefully and consistently promote your event, and once you have a captive audience, incorporate networking and knowledge sharing throughout the event. The tools and tactics aren’t important — be clear on the value for the customer, what they gain from engaging in your experience or event. Be compelling. Be a must-attend.

And there’s no reason to hesitate. Marketers can get on with promotion and delegate recruitment for an event long before the technicalities or hosting tool have been determined. Tool selection and testing can happen alongside promotion — so why wait?

Keeping content fresh

Mix up formats or scale events up or down. Blend large, livestreamed keynote speeches with canned content, or intimate expert QA and panel discussions with coaching and interactive working sessions. Whether your event is large or small, informal networking coffee breaks or special interest groups are all possible and make for a more compelling experience. And, you can get more bang for your buck if you record and reuse your event’s content for your social media channels and audiences.

Strive to create a fully immersive experience with storytelling. Asking the audience to play a role and actively participate in the event is a great way to land complex messages. Inviting participants to drive and engage with the content their own way in their own time also raises the likelihood of your content being consumed. 80% of content within an interactive experience is digested and gamification makes delivering messages fun and products and solutions competitive. These experiences can be part of the promotion as well as the event itself.

Now, more than ever, we need to be inventive in how we engage our audiences. We’ve been building an immersive experience to connect with our remote audiences that offers a new, exciting way to digest our content — and gives us plenty of data to continually improve our content.

Adel Du Toit, Head of User Experience and Digital Experiences at Boston Consulting Group

Top 10 ways to cut through the noise

Tick off this list to get your event or experience up and running quickly

  1. Value proposition: Create a strong value proposition for your event. Clearly state that your event is virtual and convey that it’s a good use of their time — what edge will it give them?
  2. Be agile: Test, learn and build on your success to engage and build your audience. Try out new tools and tactics or tackle new markets you’ve not considered before. Get started with an agile approach to marketing
  3. Nurture: Don’t forget to keep your delegates warm prior to the event. Tease new speakers, content or networking opportunities to get them energised
  4. Launch a preview: Show them what the experience will be like to encourage engagement before the event
  5. Don’t get stuck on the tools: You can start developing and promoting an event to gauge interest and engagement whilst you decide on whether you can use your existing tools or will need to invest in new tech
  6. Exclusive access: Use restricted or limited offers of access to subject matter experts or thought leaders in the field as a compelling call-to-action. These can be delivered through one-to-one live video chats and are a proven way to get sign-ups
  7. Book a meeting: If now isn’t a good time to talk, offer a call-back slot with a member of your sales team
  8. Be prepared: Make sure you rehearse. Everyone needs to be comfortable with using the event software and available features. Upskill your team, show you’re available and make sure your event is fully staffed — don’t leave people waiting for an answer in an online chat
  9. Be interactive: Poll your delegates and invite attendees to send questions pre-event to keep things really relevant and topical and avoid the dreaded question-answer lag during a keynote. Blend immersive and video content to maintain pace and excitement
  10. Be data driven: A virtual event or experience opens up data and insight across the buyer journey. Make sure your team knows how to analyse and use data to make informed changes to the promotion, or during the live event, to maximise engagement and conversion.

Consider your audience

Make sure you don’t move your physical event online without taking time to pinpoint your audience’s needs. Be sure to localise your content for your target audience, taking into account language and cultural differences, such as UK vs US English.

Be aware that their attention spans will inevitably decrease once online, but there’s a vast range of interactive tools available for keeping them interested. You can even use real-time data to better understand your engagement rate. During the event, tell your speakers to speed up or change tactics to minimise the risk of audience drop-off.

Making the most of your virtual experience

Now that everyone is at home, there are many benefits to well thought-out virtual events and experiences:

  • Global reach: Your virtual event will instantly become a global event. Plan for that, taking into consideration all audiences that may be compelled to join
  • Intent data: Build profiles based on content users who have engaged with your event to accurately track and predict their buying signals in the future
  • Behavioural tracking: Create more informed sales conversations using your built profiles
  • Lasting content: Host the event for a day, then allow users to access the content for weeks after, all whilst you build your pipeline
  • Warm pipeline: This all adds up to an engaged database of target contacts — just what your business needs to reach your long-term goals

Standing out from the crowd

There’s no doubt that this crisis will have a long-lasting impact on marketing and business in general. In these times of market uncertainty, the ability to adapt and create virtual experiences that are multifaceted and dynamic — not just broadcasted events — will be essential today and tomorrow for ensuring a more sustainable future for your marketing. Many of your peers are already out there pushing traditional webinars, so you’ll have to get creative to stand out and make some noise. In reality, you can’t completely replicate the in-person networking experience, but you can come close by building a global community in your virtual event. Through immersive storytelling, interactive QAs, and fresh content, you’ll unlock engagement and drive business opportunities for a brighter future.

Need some inspiration? Sign up for our Agile Marketing Club to see what an immersive virtual event looks like.

Credit to the fantastic team at TECHNIA for the image from their PLM Innovation Forum virtual event (launching on the 28th April), who had the vision for a sustainable event before Covid-19 forced the events world to pivot.

Outlast this outbreak with more Bright tips. See our guides to Working from Home and Supporting your Immune System.

Lydia KirbyAgile in action: Transforming events at pace
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Why Minimum Viable Marketing works

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In our eBook, you’ll learn why, for many business, marketing is failing and how it can be adapted and made far more effective using agile principles:

  • Agile: it’s not just about speed?
  • The art of agile lies in changing your approach
  • The era of Minimum Viable Marketing
  • Who says size matters?
  • In summary: what does this mean for me?
Lydia KirbyWhy Minimum Viable Marketing works
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How’s your digital health?

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Many B2B companies have yet to embrace digital with quite the same zealous that the B2B industry has. But this seems like a waste. Since there are many opportunities for B2B brands that do harness the digital space, to grow and to drive demand. However, those who do put the power of digital to use are often unable, or unsure how, to quantify the success or the value of the investment.

Digital audit

Digital marketing is vast and ever changing, so, for companies without a mass of resources, keeping up with its evolution can be difficult. It can be a challenge to simply identify the right channels in which you should be involved.

The digital audit is there to assess the health of the business’ current online strategy. It provides you with a quick overview of what you are doing currently, and what the next steps might be to improve your digital presence.

Benchmarking your activity against that of your competitors, using enterprise level analytics tools and against our experience of your market as a whole.

From this initial ‘health check’, recommendations are drawn out to create a short, medium and long-term strategy to move your business forward, and ensure that you make the most out of any digital investment. Crucially, this online plan of action is always aligned with your wider business goals in order to maximise success.

Website

  1. Website performance
  2. SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
  3. PPC – Pay Per Click
  4. Design and content
  5. Engagement

Social media

  1. Optimisation
  2. Engagement
  3. Content

Email marketing

  1. Design
  2. Content
  3. Data
  4. Engagement

Data to drive digital strategy

Reviewing the data that emerges from these main areas will highlight any glaring omissions, and point to any success stories from your current digital strategy.

Employing SWOT analysis to this information will give you a clear set of actions for both short and long term success.

Organic

Assessing the health of your SEO is an important aspect of this process. It is important to ensure that nothing is stopping you from performing well in organic search. You want your website to be optimised for keywords to drive organic traffic.

PPC

Likewise, if you are running PPC campaigns, you need to ensure that they are optimised and delivering the best results for the cost of clicks. If you aren’t running PPC campaigns – should you be?

Responsive Design

Considering the recent changes that have been made to Google Ranking, website responsiveness is now an essential consideration. Google will soon be negatively scoring any sites that are viewed as unresponsive, or not user friendly across devices.

Why is it important?

The digital audit or health check is a short-term engagement that will give you an overview of your online performance and provide you with actionable insights for both a long and short term marketing strategy.

Directing resources towards these activities will offer you an outline of where your business is today, and provide a strong platform from which to drive your business forward in the digital age.

Still not convinced that you could benefit from a digital audit? Have a think about these…

How did Penguin affect your website?
What about Panda?
What’s your industry average bounce rate?

If you want answers to the above, or just to find out more, get in touch.

 

Lydia KirbyHow’s your digital health?
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8 tips for growing your Email sign-ups

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Email marketing is well established as a key part of any marketing strategy, providing measurable results and a reliable platform for communication. However, according to a recent survey conducted by Econsultancy, 54% of respondents stated a top barrier to conducting effective email marketing is the quality of the company database.

We’ve put together our top seven tips all businesses can implement to increase their database with engaged and quality contacts.

1. Building the database

Having established that email marketing is important and all businesses should do it, the first step in starting your email marketing is to build a database.

2. Use other channel to promote sign up

  • Most businesses will already have a network of contacts which are easy picking to convert into email subscribers
  • Use your corporate email signature to direct attention towards the sign up form
  • Promote newsletters on social media and, where appropriate, printed material can be a great source of data collection.

3. Embed a data capture form

Instead of linking to a sign up page, embedding the form keeps your readers on the page and engaged with the main website content.

4. Placement of the sign up form a/b testing

  • Using the concept of Minimal Viable Marketing™, set the sign up form live and then test it
  • Only test one variable at a time in order to draw actionable conclusions.

5. Keep the form short

  • Don’t put all your work into researching clients/prospects. A simple name, address and company should be enough information for you to work on categorising the contact
  • Remaining contact information can usually be found with an online search, where you will be able to identify job title, industry sector and influence level
  • This is about making it as easy as possible to sign up.

6. Highlight benefits

Tell them what value they will get for signing up and how often it will be received. Are there events, news or industry insight? Remember, this is about the recipients perceived value, so it should be more detailed that ‘what we’ve been up to’.

7. Use the sign-up as a call-to-action

…after a blog post or case study. You’ve written lots of great content that is hopefully delivering people to your site. Use the sign up to capture their information and encourage future engagement with the business.

8. Vary content

Depending on where on the site the sign up form is, content should be varied. Placing the form on the case study page will call for a more corporate tone of voice. Therefore, the sign up form should show that more insights will come from emails rather than shorter blog posts.

A blog post reviewing your last events lends itself well to a call to actions to sign up – so you don’t miss out on future events.

In a nutshell

  • Raise profile
  • Make content targeted
  • Don’t make your subscribers do the work

As the email database grow, businesses are able to take advantage of segmentation, delivering more targeted and personalised campaigns to recipients.

This is the future of email marketing. If you’re looking for advice on how to develop an integrated B2B marketing strategy, get in touch. 

Lydia Kirby8 tips for growing your Email sign-ups
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