4 Virtual Events That Are Successful in the Veterinary Industry7 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
Ah, virtual events. We know them well by now. The last year, we’ve seen many virtual events, from endless Zoom meetings and conferences gone digital to educational seminars converted to webinars. And just as “necessity is the mother of invention,” our industry has risen to the occasion. We’ve made great strides in adapting to new demands. But when it comes to leveraging virtual events to convert sales-ready leads—most of us still have some room for improvement.
Let’s look at 4 common virtual events that have seen success in the veterinary industry and how you can use them for lead generation and sale conversion.
From Live to Virtual Experiences
The biggest shake-up for veterinary industry marketers in the past 12-months has been converting historically live conferences to online venues. And while the change has been hard, it’s been largely embraced by veterinarians.
Initially, there was a scramble to figure out how it would all work. Over time, a formula has emerged that works consistently for virtual conferences:
1. Virtual Booths
Exhibitors can create a virtual space with downloadable resources, multimedia (eg, videos), and a live chat feature where a sales representative can interact with visitors. Overall, we’ve seen “foot traffic” to these virtual booths improve with a strong incentive promoted before the event.
Make the Most of Your Virtual Booth
Give veterinarians a reason to stop by, like a contest or a drawing. Make the registration link and action items clear and simple and leverage promotional emails and social media to registered attendees to generate awareness before the event. Use these promotional efforts to accept registrations for your giveaway and increase conversion numbers. Remember—at a virtual event, we’re trying to generate top-of-funnel leads that you can qualify and nurture later.
Make sure you understand what the virtual conference considers a “lead” so you can center your campaign around the appropriate action to maximize your lead generation. Some conferences view anyone who visits your virtual booth as a lead. For other conferences, leads are the individuals who perform engagement activities, such as downloading content or chatting with a sales rep.
2. CE Sessions
Continuing education sessions get high engagement at virtual conferences. Veterinarians enjoy the flexibility that a virtual environment provides and have transitioned seamlessly from live education to web-based CE. Virtual conferences offer sponsored CE sessions the same way they did for in-person events. The only detail missing is the chat with interested prospects at the booth after the session—this behavior hasn’t yet translated well into a virtual experience.
One of the most important keys to a successful virtual conference is an effective promotion strategy with plentiful lead conversion points. If you solely count on organic booth traffic for lead conversion, you’ll leave the virtual conference disappointed and with a small pool of leads to follow up on.
Make the Most of Your Sponsored CE Session
Typically, you’ll receive names and mailing addresses of virtual session attendees—but not emails. Upload the list of session attendees to your CRM and reach out via email with additional synergistic content and a thank you to anyone who already exists in your database with a valid email. Unfortunately, in most cases, you won’t have attendee emails in your CRM.
Provide the list of attendees to your inside or outside sales representatives and ask them to make personal follow-up calls. The goal of these calls is to ask the attendee how the lecture went and what additional information they need to collect email addresses and start sales conversations.
Direct mail with limited-time actionable offers is another effective tactic for converting these educational leads into sales conversations.
Webinars are typically free and fast—win, win! They require a significantly shorter time investment than attending a virtual conference (1-2 hours), so it’s no wonder they’ve gained such popularity with veterinarians over the past years.
Webinars are a great source for lead generation because, unlike virtual conference CE sessions, you can select the registration questions—and you get all of the leads!
Here are the 4 most important aspects of an effective webinar:
What converts webinar leads? Simple. Content! Quality content with compelling titles converts leads—this is the most important factor in creating a successful webinar.
Getting the word out and generating registrations is essential for webinar success. Most marketers deploy registration emails and social media posts to their own internal database and leverage media partners to maximize lead generation. Many media companies are experts in creating, marketing, and hosting webinars.
If webinars are new to you, partner with someone with experience to ensure success. Deploy your paid media efforts to the most appropriate target audience based on their demographic and behavioral data—no need to waste dollars marketing a webinar for practice managers to veterinary technicians.
Ask the appropriate qualification questions on your webinar registration forms to help your sales team prioritize leads after your webinar.
If you’re running your webinar through a media partner, check if they offer a guaranteed number of leads associated with your webinar sponsorship. These programs provide you with a set number of leads for a cost per lead (CPL) compared to traditional sponsorship programs where the number of leads generated is variable. CPL programs provide you with more predictable campaign outcomes.
Follow Up to Make the Most of Your Webinar Leads
Often, sales organizations make the mistake of regarding webinar leads as cold. Anyone willing to give up an hour of their time to listen to your educational content is warm at the very least.
The key to webinar lead conversion is simple—follow up! Create post-webinar nurturing email sequences designed to drip synergistic content to attendees to continue their educational journey. After the nurturing sequence, hand the leads off to sales for phone and email follow-up.
4. Virtual 1:1 Sales Conversations
It’s the most personal type of virtual meeting—the sales conversation.
Historically, a sales meeting resulted in a quick buying decision. Instead of the meeting being the end, it’s often the beginning of a longer sales cycle. Why? Usually, all decision-makers aren’t present at the meeting, so additional internal discussion is needed.
Plus, virtual meetings are often shorter than traditional in-person meetings, and to be honest, some products can lose their “wow” factor without the touch and feel. Learn more about sales enablement tactics for virtual meetings.
Make the Most of Your Sales Conversations
- Prepare: Do your homework! Come prepared, so you don’t waste valuable time re-capping. Ask in advance who the decision-makers are and who will be attending the meeting. Always try to get as many of them there as you can.
- Manage Expectations: At the beginning of the meeting, outline the meeting agenda. Provide ample time at the end of the meeting to discuss pricing and next steps. Make sure they understand at the beginning of the call that they will be discussing pricing. After you outline the agenda, ask if they’re comfortable with it. If they’re not, you can adjust accordingly.
- Keep Your Camera On: Use your webcam during the presentation—virtual presentations feel much more personal if you and your prospect can see each other.
- Next Steps and Follow Up: Always establish next steps and timeframes and get confirmation from the prospect. Virtual meetings have made it much easier for prospects to ghost sales reps. If the prospect is engaged in the process and commits to the next step, you’re more likely to keep the conversation moving forward.
Innovation—Fueled by Change
As live events start to come back this year, we expect our need to innovate will continue. Shows likely won’t look the same as they did in previous years, so sharpen your digital lead generation and follow-up skills now to prepare for the rest of 2021—and beyond.