B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1649 · 9 months ago

Level Up Your Virtual Events with Rebecca Silver

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Benji talks to Rebeca Silver, SVP Marketing at LetsGetChecked.

When the pandemic forced Rebecca to take a live event, virtual, she realized all the added benefits of hosting these meetups online. In this discussion Rebecca breaks down the tools you need to pull off a fantastic event and more importantly what to do after the event to ensure you and your guests get everything out of it.

Welcome in to be to be growth. I'm your host, Benjie Block. Today we're joined by Rebecca silver. She's a senior vice president of marketing at let's get checked, previously VP of brand marketing and founding member of kind body, and we're excited to have you, Rebecca. Welcome to be to be growth. Thank you. I'm so excited to be here. So I know I gave titles right. Just give me, like, fill in the gaps, Rebecca. What else do we need to know about you? Tell us a little bit more about about who you are in the position you're in. Yeah, I started off in the traditional advertising space and agency world and then, over ten years ago, joined healthcare start up and have been in healthcare marketing ever since. So for over ten years now I've been leading marketing teams that serve both DDCY and B tob audiences and really working to make healthcare more accessible more consumer friendly for all. Nice. I love the DDCY and be to be because obviously we're in the be tob space, but I think your DDC really can inform us today and be an unique piece that you bring to the table. We talked earlier and kind of got ready for this call, in this conversation, and in that conversation I saw a lot of passion that you have for virtual events and we started to agree, like virtual events kind of could be red bull right for your sales team and your marketing team, but then, like a poorly done virtual event could almost be like decalf coffee, like you thought it was going to be something great out a bunch of energy, and it does like the opposite, or it has no real effect. So you're a huge believer in the effectiveness, in the outcomes that virtual events can drive. Rebecca, what woke you up to that reality, the power of virtual events in the first place? Virtual event specifically, definitely by force because of the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, a kind body, we did find events to be a really effective way to build community, to connect with our audience. It's an emotional offering, it's a fertility offering, so it was a great way to just be real and show that we were this like real emotional care provider. When the pandemic happened, we all of a sudden had to be really creative and figure out how to have that same effect, be able to build a community and connect with our audience in a way that was virtual because we couldn't gather in person anymore. And really quickly we actually we had an event scheduled that was in person and we had two weeks to figure out how to make it a virtual event and quickly figured out how to use zoom and upgrade to the number of users we needed and just made it happen because we had to. And we were super happy with the results and found that virtual events can provide something that in person events camp, which is being really interactive, so you're not just like presenting to an audience that's there and listening. You can have the audience be part of the conversation in a really real way. So whereas in an in person event you're talking and then you have questions at the end, it's pretty formal and a virtual event the chat itself can become a community and you can have prompts and people just, you know, jump in and share stories and we find it was just a really powerful way to get that engagement and much more scalable. So if you're a company that has different locations, you know and you might have had to do different events and different locations. With the virtual event and you can obviously invite everyone from everywhere and just be much more scalable with the offering. So when we're discussing virtual events, give me an idea of like what all fits within that scope in your mind, like the variety that's that's available within what you would call a virtual event. It can be anything from a zoom event where you have a set link and a set time, to an IG live where you're streaming anything that's that's live, I would consider a virtual event, no matter what platform you're using. And then the beauty of a virtual event is that you can then record it and then have it live after...

...the fact. So the event itself is live, but then it lives on as an asset for all you know, for forever. Yeah, and we'll dive into some of how it's evergreen. That I really find one of the maybe hidden secrets that people don't think about when they're not running them consistently. Let me take you back to something you said, because you said you had to pivot an event when covid kind of hit and so you were having to think through all of that. What was that event and what was the some of the major shifts that you kind of went through transitioning it to be completely virtual. Yeah, well, kind body. We would do these regular fertility one on one events and we would have people come in person and the offering was fertility services. So that was how we were educating and bringing people along throughout the funnel. So we turned our traditional fertility on one event, which was a doctor speaking to potential clients, into a virtual that. So we had to work closely with that speaker to put what they would normally say into a Dack, and I do th think it's important to have a visual aid when you're doing virtual events through a platform like zoom. It's too much, I think, just to have, you know, somebody speaking at a virtual audience for an hour without a visual aid. So I personally find having that visual aid very helpful. So we work to turn that talk into a dack that was really visual so that we could bring people along, and then we set up a zoom and invited people to our SVP and then share the link for those zoom event with those who ur SPPD. Nice. It's actually it was pretty simple. Yeah, there's a simple way. Like I don't feel like a bar has to be crazy high to jump into this as a potential seeing for companies to do, and we can get into some of because the bar is sort of low, there's also ways to really raise the bar to make sure that you are being more effective and not just doing the minimum, which I know you're exactly about. So there's a lot of variety in the type of virtual events we could throw. I want to talk about something you mentioned, which was the funnel, right and how you would say strategy, like effective strategy for thinking through what part of the funnel am I hitting with this event? Like, when you think about it, how have you kind of geared events? Maybe two different parts of the funnel, or is it kind of broad to everybody and there's a little breakouts? Yeah, talk to me about about how it fits the funnel. I think events are the number one thing and marketing that spans the whole funnel truly from start to finish, and that's the best way to think about them. So at the top of funnel you can use events as a really effectively Gentol, so you're not just saying purchase my product, you're saying RSP for this event which is really valuable for you and has really interesting and engaging content. So at the top of funnel you are driving people through paid social media to Ur SVP. You then have a really engage subset of people that you know are interested. In addition to that, you can engage with your current audience, your email list, serve and get them to our SVP and and share this valuable content with them. So that's really activating top of funnel as well as mid funnel. And then, once you know people attend the event, you know that as a really engaged set of individuals, you can continue to speak to and you can continue to share content that's relevant for them. Hm. So let's get racked. Has A as a much broader audience than kind body. We have health tests for a really wide audience range. So what we've done here is offer events for different audiences that we serve. So we have recently launched a female health test for pcos. So we had a virtual event specifically about pcos and female hormones. So we were able to advertise for that event specifically how people are SCP for that event and we now know this is a really engaged audience...

...about that specific topic. So we can continue to serve them with emails and communications and content that is, you know, specifically relevant to their interest. So in that specific instance it's topic related that you're drawing an audience where they might be in all different parts of the funnel, but they're gathered around a topic. Have you ever done an event where you're thinking strategically about a specific part of the funnel, or is that something that maybe would be not worth it because you just think you can hit the whole funnel anyway? Well, I've definitely I've done that as well. I love to have as broad an effect for these events as possible, so my preference is to leverage events across the whole funnel. But there's definitely examples where I've done more. Mid bottom funnel a get kind body. It's a fertility service, or top of funnel would be just learn about your fertility, coming for an assessment, and then lower funnel is let's learn more about fertility cycles and what's entail. You know what that, like service itself entails. So there's definitely ways you can segment it two different parts of the funnel. But I'm all about scalability and yeah, the more, the more people you can reach, like the the broader you can make a topic to engage with lots of people but also still be catered to what people want. That's kind of that's the sweet spot, since we don't have unlimited time as marketers. Right when you do have those big events, do you utilize breakouts in any specific way or is it all just sort of one big thing? I've done breakouts before. Yeah, it depends. I think mostly one big thing, but using prompts to engage, so you can do things like surveys throughout, you can do audience polls. So I really like having it be one big thing because I love the community like engagement part where you're just having people type in the chat, and the more you have people type in the chat, the more you know, it feels really momentum there. There's momentum exactly. So in addition to, you know, the speaking and the presenting, will have people that are in the chat and their role in the event is to get engagement in the chat. So they'll ask prompts, answer questions. So when you're doing healthcare events, you tend to have a lot of like specific healthcare related questions and clinical questions. So we'll actually have clinicians and experts in the chat itself. Answering questions and we always say like don't be embarrassed, don't be don't be afraid to ask a question, because it's probably something that so many other people also have an are experiencing as well. So for the sake of momentum, it's nice to have a be as big and happening as possible. On that shot, I love the idea of having the professional in there, which is something obviously you in a healthcare setting that's probably more thought through than even other parts of our be to be audience where that's an easy value add to just have a professional on standby to where when you do prompt questions, it's not just like a hey, we'll get back to you on that. You know there's actual engagement. Can Happen there where there's a legitimate back and forth. So I like that. Okay, thank me. On the evolution, Rebecca, like some lessons that you've learned from maybe the first couple virtual events you've done till now? What are some examples, some things that you've really thought through as you've done this multiple times? I mean, just like with anything and marketing, the more you do it, the more you understand what the exact right cadences. So you know when the right time is to start advertising. You know, okay, if we get this many RSPPS, we can expect this percent of people to show up. Like, the more you do anything, you just start to see these patterns. So from the first event till now, I've gone a much better sense of when you should start running ads. Like how many weeks before? If it's too long before, people are a sep and then just not calm and they'll forget about it. So there's kind of a sweet spot of a few weeks. There's a sweet spot of the the number of emails you send to get someone to come. You know, about three emails to tell them, to them, remind them, and then one right before to say hey, just reminder, it's happening today. When's the like first email kind of hitting? Are you saying that that first emails in...

...those first couple, like two weeks out? Three weeks out, you're saying out exactly? Yeah, okay, three weeks out yet and then another reminder email and then one right before. I like to not share the specific event link until right before so that you have a reason to our SCP, and those r svps are the most important thing because that's the lead. So if you just can you know, access the zoom link, like if you just see it in the event right, then you might not our ACP and we want that our SCP. What kind of gap are we talking between people that if when it's not two to three weeks before and you were trying it further out, like you see a bunch of people rsvp and then they don't show up. Like talk a little bit more about the gap there. Anything more than a month, anything more than three weeks, you're going to have a much lower show rate. I'm a little torn on that because on the one hand it is great to have, like more rcps, the better, because you still have those people that you know we're interested in that topic. So that's good, but then you also want people to attend the event, because it's not just a marketing tool at actually as a service you're providing and you wanted to take its service and you want people who are interested to actually remember that's happening and come. So on the one hand, on like more Ur sps the better, on the other hand I'm like you want people to remember and come. So you know, three weeks, I think is the right is the right sweet spot there? Okay, so if we have our base event, we have the zoom call, we have a slide deck. Let's say that's the baseline. What are some other things we can do to sort of elevate the event to the next level? Things we can think through. I like the professional in the chat. Anything else you would include there that maybe a first time person wouldn't be thinking about? That have really elevated your events over time. Yeah, well, the first one I ever did was just one person speaking and then as I started to do more of them, I would work in additional speakers and elements. So when you can start to really have a panel of experts come together and speak, it provides another level of engagement and it's not just one person talking an audience. It's a diverse, you know, group of people with different expertise areas. So in the in the hormone event we just did at let's get checked, we had a nurse. We actually had people not just from let's get checked as well. So we had somebody from like a sister company, natural cycles, who was talking about things from their perspective. We had a nutrition expert. So I think it's great to have a diverse group of speakers and not just limited to people from your company. Another really great element as you can have people from other companies that are, you know, related to what you're doing. And then what's also great as they can share it with their audience and, you know, with their users and members. Do you have a host for these events that's kind of talking in between before sort of engaging people in the chat, or how do you set that up? Yes, having one host is very important. I've played that role a lot. It's just anybody who's comfortable with what the run of show is who the speakers are. So the role of that host is to kind a welcome everyone when they first come in, introduce the speakers and then, you know, kind of be the time manager and make sure that you're moving from topic to topic in a timely fashion and then being the person to bring forth q and a's throughout the event or at the end. So it's always good to encourage people to ask questions in the chat and then you can choose to either ask those questions throughout the speakers or do a QNA at the end. But the role of the host is to monitor, like what what are these people interested in and then bring forth the questions that are relevant for the speaker's to answer for everybody. This may be a dumb question, but when you think of a virtual event versus like a, I don't know, a Webinar, what like, the way that they're marketed or thought of, do you see like distinct differences, or are we sort of hitting a similar vein with each you know, what I'm saying is like event makes me more excited, but I also see some potential overlap and what's happening? Hmm, I think it's really similar. Just event is a much more engaging way of describing it. One difference could be that a Webinar...

...is you don't have you don't see the audience that's there. It's just the panels. So Virtual Webin are you just have the panels and everybody else is hidden. Yeah, but I do think it's all it's all the same. It's just how you're describing it and Webin are just sounds so like cut and dry. I feel like Webinar is such a bee to be phrase, and so everyone listening to this just cut out the word let in our and let's just make it virtual events. At this point, especially like Rebecca, what you're saying, in this post covid space that we're in now, people are so used to attending virtual events anyway, and I feel like, just going to that phrasing, it's just a lot more exciting and there's a lot more even leeway, because when I think of a Webinar, I think I almost feel like I know exactly what I'm going to go to, like the exact model that they're shooting forward. Versus an event, it almost feels like every time we do when it might be slightly different, there's more energy in it and just a different excitement. I don't know if that haps that makes sense or resonates with you. Definitely, an event is more about you as the attendee, right, not just the people that are speaking, so it's much more inclusive and encouraging of your participation as well as the speakers. Yeah, okay, so one of the things we really nerded out about in our first conversation with specifically around all the potential in the follow up process, because once people attend an event, and this is where I think a lot of people get it wrong, awesome, you got them to show up, but really that's like the starting line right. So talk me through some of what you've learned in the follow up process that you find to be super valuable. Yes, the follow up is the most important part. Well, to begin with, it's great to have a special offer for everybody about attended the event. So some sort of discount or special offer for event attendees only. You offer it to them at the end as a thank you for attending. It's crucial to always send a follow up em well afterwards. You can share that special offer again. You can share recording of the event that they can share it with their friends who might be interested in it or if they didn't get a chance to attend, anyone who are a SCP does get the follow up email, so then they'll still get access to that discount and they can see the event on Youtube or rubber. You've shared it. So that follow up is really important. And then from there you can put them into a life cycle campaign. You can continue to send emails on that topic specifically. So let's get shack. We now know that this audience is interested in our female health products, so we continue to share information with them about our female health product specifically, and then for future events. Our next one is going to be a thyrooid event and then a cluster event. We know that the people that attended our sp are interested in those specific products. Are Our product lines? Yeah, and you're building out strategic sort of content for like those that you know are interested in those specific things. Exactly. Okay, so tell me what it looks like as far as what you're hitting with them? Hitting them with content, wise, after the event, once they've, let's say enrolled and you have their email or something. HMM, two emails at least. So one immediately following the event, ideally that day or the next day, sharing the length, sharing the special offer. Another email, let's say a week later, depending on how long you give for the special offer, for them to use it, reminding them of the special offer. And here you can see the event, if you miss it, on Youtube. So one to two follow ups for sure. And then, depending on how robust your life cycle marketing is, from there you can enroll them in life cycle marketing campaigns where they continue to be served emails at a regular basis. What kind of engagement have you seen happen after a virtual event that gets you so excited about this model and the follow up process working effectively. You have like some results you could share there? Yeah, well, to start with, like looking at it from the top, it's a much more cost effective way to get people in and through the funnel. So if you're spending a couple hundred...

...dollars to get someone to purchase, you're spending, you know, in the tens to get someone to our Sep. But then you're able to convert them to purchase with those emails and those targeted com so you're acquiring new purchasers at a much more cost effective rate. So that's been really, really important and successful, and you can then use events to bring down your overall cost of acquiring new customers. Nice who like that. You mentioned off the top the evergreen nature of these events, and let's go there real quick. How you see what's happening in the the event then becoming this this evergreen content you have. Yeah, so you put it on Youtube, put it on your social channels, put on your website, put it in your email. So you now have a video asset that you just have you now because you recorded the event. So you've, you know, instantly created something that you can put on your channels and use to educate and inform your audience about that topic. So it's a great way just to build out your content library. It's a great asset that you can use across all of your channels and it's a great way to humanize who you are as a company. So you're you know, you have information on your website, you have content everywhere, but having real representatives from your company speak about these topics and provide education and that leadership is such a good way to, you know, create a real emotional connection with your customers. Right now, with what you guys do, Rebecca, do you cut it into microclips at all, or is it primarily sharing the full event? What is what? Have you tried different things there? Yeah, we've tried different things. Sharing the full event is obviously the easy ass. You just, you know, record it and then you upload it. We've done clips on social media and then, you know, skies the limit and bandwidth is the limit with what you give from there. Yeah, it's funny because our conversation today, this was not timed, but so I work for a company called sweet fish and we did a like essentially a live virtual events today over lunch hour and we're taking that and repurposing it on the PODCAST, right. So that's one of the ways that we're thinking through. You have an event where people can interact in a much different way than a podcast. Obviously, actually attending the event is going to give you a lot of what you've talked about, the back and forth, the engagement, which is awesome for community building, and then the podcast comes on the back end, right, and we're there to share it again with the broader audience, which I love that touch point. And then also you have all these assets and resources that you built out for the live event that you can then share those graphics separately. You have all these talking points that the speaker had to think through that then become content for you to post. So when I think about your strategy after an event, I mean you just created a gold mine of information, right, that now you can share snippets of for a long time to come. and I wonder, and this is where we'll go next, is the cadence of how often you do these events, because if you have events scheduled out throughout the year, you have content strategy in chunks, right, because you have these events and then what follows is is taking that content and repurposing it so what's the cadence been like for you? What do you think is maybe been a good cadence? Obviously it's going to be different situationally, but what are your thoughts? Yeah, I think once a month for each audience segment is ideal. Nice, and then that gives you we talked about promoting it three months to, you know, three weeks to a month out. That lets you have one of that and then really quickly have the next one up and ideally your you know, alternating content so that people that attended one might want to come to the next one as well, and you can, like we recycle content. But I like to, you know, have have differences in the event so that it's not just getting new people in the...

...door, it's also taking their current customers engaged. And when you have a wide range of products, you might have customers that are interested in more than one product. So it's great to have something always up that they can ourcp to and engage with. Yeah, okay, so common issues that you might see or people wouldn't really expect or anticipate when running an event like this. What comes to mind is things we need to be aware of. HMM, virtual events are surprisingly stressful technical difficulties happen, people are I'm you did when they should be. Side would say having like one person responsible for each thing. So one person is doing the slides, one person is the host, one person is the chat master, one person is the tech, you know, person who's letting people into the event, especially at first breaking out responsibilities, because it is easy to get overwhelm with all the things that are happening. Yeah, one person over everything, like each thing is definitely helpful. You don't know one person person, yeah, and exactly, and it doesn't have to be everyone from the marketing team either. So I worked really closely with the customer service team on these events, with the clinical team. So you know, it's serving the whole company. So you can, you know, pull people and to support across across different aspects when you do events like this. To I find in an organization of any sort of size, you start to tap into people's talent that you maybe didn't know because they were in a specific role and they have like broader perspective or they do things outside of just their nine hundred twenty five. So there's a lot that you can grow in your team. Even momentum internally. That, I think is a huge value add that people don't understand. With virtual events, the more people you involved and get sold on it, I mean all sorts of creativity comes out of it and who knows where it leads your team. So really affect very true, very true. Well, Rebecca, this has been a really good conversation. We're starting to wrap up here. Anything you want to add before we kind of conclude? I would just added hardy endorsement for events. It's a great way to build connection, to build your brand, to bring people through the funnel. We talked a lot about. You know. We talked about DC events and the B Tob side. You can make them, as you know, intimate as specific for your different audience segments as you want. I think it's just a great tool to use across all audiences and channels. Absolutely yeah, learning a lot in this in this conversation. I think really thinking through what you're going to do in the follow up process is like an absolute must and that's one of the things I walk away with, several things from our conversation, but that is one that we have to be thinking about. And then the advertising timeline. Obviously, on the front end, if you're this is the first time you're trying it. Get that cadence down and but yeah, really be thinking through the value that you're adding after an event. How this content is evergreen content. Don't just you know, you host this event and move on to the next one. There's a lot to take away from this and hopefully be really helpful for our audience as they host events, not webinars, we host events. So, Rebecca, for those that want to stick connected to you and what you guys are doing it, let's get checked. Give us sort of where people should should follow you specifically, and then what you guys are all doing it with. Let's get checked. Yeah, I'm Rebecca Silver on Linkedin, so give me an ad there and let's get checked. Is a healthcare solutions company with the mission to increase access to health information and care from home. So we offer a wide range of health tasks, everything from covid nineteen to cholesterol fireroid hormone testing, to at home pharmacy solutions to virtual care and support. So making healthcare totally accessible from home wonderful. Thanks so much for being on B tob growth today. Thank you so much. It was great to be here, but we're always having insightful conversations like this on b Tob Growth. Find this super helpful. If you did too, you can rate and review the podcast and also make sure...

...you're subscribed if you haven't already. On whatever platform you're listening to this on, you can connect with me on Linkedin as well. Just Search Benjie flock and keep doing work that matters. Will be back with another episode grill soon. One of the things we've learned about podcast audience growth is that word of mouth works. It works really, really well actually. So if you love this show, it would be awesome if you text it a friend to tell them about it, and if you send me a text with a screenshot of the text you sent to your friend that I know, I'll send you a copy of my book content based networking, how to instantly connect with anyone you want to know my cell phone numbers. Four hundred and seven, four nine hundred and three, three, two eight. Happy texting.

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