Nurturing leads is still a challenge for businesses of every size. A recent survey from Demand Gen Report found that only 8% feel their lead nurture process is excellent – and many of the respondents there were from enterprises with large, dedicated marketing departments, mind you. It’s even harder for small businesses with a skeleton marketing crew.
You’re always competing with other businesses, plus people have short attention spans and not a lot of memory space. They’re not likely to convert to paying customers the first time they hear about you, so you need to build a relationship over time, using numerous touchpoints.
There are many different ways to connect with leads, and one option that’s rising in popularity is to hold live video events. It’s partly fueled by the pandemic, as live video replaced in-person events and we all spent more time watching screens. Research found that during Covid, average online video consumption jumped to 18 hours a week, a two-hour lift compared to a year prior, and a staggering 7.5-hour lift compared to three years ago.
However, while live video interactions are more accepted today, the bar has also been set higher. People working from home have had enough of video interactions. Before COVID-19, according to TrustRadius, only around 22% of people said they received more than four invitations a week to digital events, but now 49% say that’s the case.
Perhaps more interestingly, 53% say there are too many webinars today, so it’s not too surprising that they attend approximately one out of every five events they hear about.
All this emphasizes that live video alone it’s enough to excite consumers today. Sara Larsen, CMO of Brightcove, warns that “To avoid becoming just another online event, organizations need to stay ahead of the fatigue curve. This means breaking out of comfort zones and offering more than just someone talking in front of a screen.”
Here are five fresh ways you can use live video events for lead nurture for your small business.
1. Host an open Q&A session
TrustRadius’s respondents said that their favorite aspect of attending online events is the Q&A session, so why not skip the presentation and just do the Q&A part? People feel a much closer connection once they’ve asked a question directly and received your thoughtful answer.
You can keep on top of things by outlining topics and requiring people to register ahead of time. It also helps to invite participants to submit questions in advance as well as asking them live, to give you time to think of some great answers.
YouTuber and media production teacher Tom Buck recently hosted a live two-hour Q&A video, his first in seven months, and it drew over 3000 views. While not everyone can depend on attracting that volume of viewership, it’s certainly something to learn from and aspire to over time.
2. Share your skills in a training session
Online lessons might be part of your business offering, but they can also serve as lead nurture. People often like to get a taste of your style before they decide to hire your service, and this is a great way to showcase your knowledge and personality.
“In exchange for sharing your expertise, you get an opportunity to connect with a larger group of people who may end up hiring you if you impress them with your candor and expertise,” points out Maor Aharoni, a member of the product team at vcita.
For example, a business coach could offer a special class on pricing, which is also part of the services they offer to business clients. Limit the number of places, so that it feels exclusive and you’re able to give personal attention to each participant. You can use vcita to schedule your online class, promote it to your leads, invite people to register in advance, send SMS reminders to registrants when you’re about to go on, and send follow up emails after the event.
3. Offer a live open-house surgery
Everyone appreciates expert help when they’re in a jam, so try running a live open surgery to help people with their sticky issues. Invite participants to sign up for slots, while others can tune in to watch and learn how to address their own similar problems.
For example, growth and marketing consultant Asia Orangio invited people to book a live, online “website teardown,” where she dissected someone’s website and explained all its strengths, weaknesses, and how to improve them.
Similar to a live class, it gives people a chance to experience how you do what you do, so they can get a feel for the value you offer.
4. Make the most of live webinars
Granted, people say they are tired of webinars, but marketers still see webinars as their best lead nurture tool, according to Demand Gen’s data. This is because despite it all, webinars work. The key is making them relevant, appealing and engaging.
What your presentation is about has always been and still is crucial, whether that’s in-person or a webinar. Pre-COVID, 19% told TrustRadius that the topic was the deciding factor for attending in-person events, and 27% said the same for post-COVID virtual events.
For example, UX Testing held a marathon 24-hour 24H of UX webinar that attracted 7,000 participants. It ran for 24 hours continuously, with plenty of different speakers and sessions so people could dip in and out as they liked.
On a slightly smaller scale, Mention’s own annual Agency Optimization Day is another example of a “virtual summit” as a webinar marathon co-marketed with several logo partners. Packaged with enough value, these types of events can serve as gated lead magnets long after the live event ends.
When planning a summit, take the time to find a really relevant topic for your audience and plan it all carefully in advance. Although you might plan to run it live, you might find it best to record the presentations beforehand too, just in case something goes wrong on the day.
5. Invite people to a live online fun event
Not everyone wants or feels safe to go back to in-person events, but they do want to network and do something enjoyable at the same time. You can give them that opportunity with a live fun event, the content of which doesn’t necessarily need to have anything to do with your product or industry or your audience’s pain points.
The possibilities are virtually endless. It could be a trivia quiz, live concert, live magic show, live comedy, or a team challenge that people have to enter in advance.
For example, IMEX, an international event management company, recently invited Michael Breach, a visual artist who uses coffee foam as his medium, to create live portraits of attendees in lattes during his session at a live conference.
Live video events can supercharge your lead nurture funnel
COVID-19 upped the ante for online events, while also making people more accepting of them. Live video events like Q&A sessions, training and troubleshooting workshops, webinars, and good old fun events are all ways to strengthen your relationship with leads, keep your business top of mind, and nurture prospects to convert to loyal customers.