Confession - I’m a marketer who finds the vast majority of webinars boring. In fact, I’ve been the host on webinars that I’ve tuned out for.During the webinars that I do attend, I typically leave before it ends because I didn’t learn anything new and I felt like my time was wasted. I’m a fairly respectable marketer who has managed countless webinars, but I can’t pay attention to one?
My hot take: “Zoom fatigue”, though real, is a common excuse we as marketers are using today to mask the lack of creativity that's infused in virtual events. And people are taking a stand — registration numbers, attendance rates, and engagement levels are decreasing in the remote era. Audience participants have been burned and are making justifications for why they can’t attend such as:
The content wasn’t compelling
I have too many other meetings and projects that need me
People are counting on me for deliverables
I’m burnt out
Slightly dramatic and potentially offensive marketer question: do we always need to make it a webinar? Can marketers join together and take a stand against boring webinars? But that’s the playbook for virtual “events” we were taught to “break through the noise.” And being creative takes energy and resources that we don’t have.
If I put on my sales hat, I’ve seen the best SDRs throw the playbook out the window and do what it takes to capture the attention of a busy buyer. There are too many distractions in today’s world and we must find a way to engage differently.
That being said, on Day 1 of working at Postal, I learned my team had 36 days to bring a new product to market and we knew we had to get creative if we wanted to make a big splash.
Get 1,000 people registered and 500 live attendees to a launch event no one has ever heard of. With a current industry virtual attendance rate of 33%, we knew our goal was lofty.
Virtual events with unique live components will increase registration
Tangible components that accompany virtual events will increase attendance and live engagement
Engaging the participants in the chat will keep them from context switching
Need organic (aka free) virality to drive the registrations we needed
The Launch Event
In lieu of a traditional webinar, we knew we needed to think outside the box. We needed to deliver an event no one has experienced before, drawing people in and providing entertainment that will not only hold the audience’s attention, but leave a lasting impression. At the same time, we couldn't attract an irrelevant audience to our event, so ensuring the talent or topic was not completely out of left field.
The event: Live Sales vs. Marketing Roast Feat. Second City Comedy
Swag or kits that compliment any sort of event, can be huge drivers of engagement and attendance. In fact, we've seen close to 75% attendance rates for virtual experiences that include an event kit. For our roast, we sent the first 500 registrants this package (pictured below). Not only did it encourage early registration, but the response we got on social media was incredible — dozens of people ended up sharing their kits on social media which created excitement and visibility on the event, driving even more attendance.
A series of 4 email invites with a variety of CTAs, video teasers, and FOMO messages. Our best email received a 37% open rate and a 5.1% click-through rate. Here's what that looked like:
Our main social media strategy consisted of influencer marketing. We wanted to leverage the networks of our influencers (Scott Barker and Kyle Lacy), as we knew our corporate organic social presence alone wouldn’t get us the virality we needed. We challenged both influencers to make roast videos of one another, and we pieced them together in teaser trailers for them to post on their individual accounts.
With limited budget, we only ran paid advertising on LinkedIn via sponsored posts. In total, we spent $2.5k.
Run of Show and Follow-up
The show was engaging from the minute it started — it didn't take long for The Second City crew to capture the audience's attention and get the roasts going. Comedians encouraged attendees to share their thoughts in the chat for inspiration for how they roasted Scott and Kyle. We had over 1,000 chats submitted during the one-hour show.
Following the event, our sales team used Outreach to follow-up with the registrations. Through Outreach's templated and personalized sequences, our 7 person sales team was able to follow-up with 690 people within 24 hours. Not only did we send digital follow-up, but also physical. 690 handwritten note cards were delivered to registrant's doorstep two weeks after the show via Postal Triggers, a way to automate the sending of items via steps, statuses and stages in your CRM, Marketing Automation or Sales Automation platforms, like Outreach or SalesLoft.
Because we were launching Postal Events, we had the opportunity to trojan horse the product in our announcement with the Sales vs. Marketing Roast being hosted on Postal Events. Here are the top-of-funnel results from the launch:
Registrations: 1,200 (120% to goal) Attendees: 549CPL: $27 on paid Total impressions on videos: 20k ROI: Over 2x in 1 month
Postal Events was our trojan horse product launch, and we were able to use it to create an engaging and fruitful launch for the team at Postal. However, planning and hosting unique events doesn't need to be hard.
Postal Events makes it easy to deliver creative, unique and engaging experiences like this with ease, and can be an extension of your field marketing team. Gain access to the largest B2B experience marketplace to enhance relationships and create authentic connections.
Lauren Alt-Kishpaugh is the VP of Marketing at Postal, the leading Global Offline Marketing Engagement Platform that creates memorable moments for organizations to generate leads, increase sales velocity, and retain happy customers. Prior to Postal, Lauren worked across various marketing functions including marketing operations, campaign management, and acquisition at hyper-growth software companies like Outreach, ThousandEyes, and Solv Health. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband, Jon, and her dog, Maple.