B2B marketing and virtual events went hand in hand in 2020.
When physical events were no longer feasible, marketers scrambled to find digital alternatives to engage with buyers and customers – and reach their pipeline goals. And, well, you know the rest.
A year later, 93% of business leaders plan to continue holding virtual events.
But the popularity of virtual events also comes with growing competition. And people are tired of the same old static virtual experience (not to mention our collective Zoom fatigue).
At Drift, virtual events are key to getting closer to our buyers and customers. And some of the most successful events we’ve run (in terms of pipeline and customer retention) are hyper-tailored to our audience.
Virtual tours, virtual dinners, etc. – these experiences are highly personalized to attendees and drive the highest ROI.
Below I’m sharing how we run VIP events at Drift and how you can create the same show-stopping experience for your own audience.
Creating Virtual Events for Account-Based Marketing & Target Accounts
VIP virtual events are ideal if you’re trying to engage with executives from target ABM accounts.
Not to mention that you’re engaging with key decision-makers right out of the gate. For sales and customer teams, these events help them take deals, renewals, and expansions over the finish line.
In other words, they’re the perfect offer to unify your three revenue teams.
Let’s dig deeper into what makes these types of virtual events so unique:
At Drift, we currently run two types of VIP virtual events: VIP experiences focused around RevGrowth and our Drift Ascend events.
We have a lot of awesome resources on how you can run a virtual event like RevGrowth (yup, I’m talking about our Virtual Event Certification).
But our Drift Ascend events are a little bit different…
How We Run Drift Ascend to Strengthen Relationships & Accelerate Deals
Drift Ascend events are intimate virtual experiences we use to engage with director-level and senior executive buyers/customers in target accounts.
These events are brief and feature a Drift speaker, customer keynote speaker, and a virtual wine tasting. As part of the wine tasting, we ship attendees wine ahead of time so they can enjoy the tasting live.
Drift Ascend is primarily driven by our sales and customer success teams. Marketing works with these teams behind the scenes to send out invites from their emails.
In addition to the sales invites, we have hyper-personalized marketing emails that we send from the speakers, with a CTA to a seamless registration process (that also happens to show off our product 🙌).
During the registration process, we collect all the information we need to make the event unique. By asking registrants for their address upfront, we’re able to ship them wine without any other questions.
Because we don’t record these events (i.e., to encourage real-time interaction), we need to focus on our attendance numbers. To ensure that we have strong attendance, we:
- Send a reminder email the day before.
- Send a reminder email two hours before the event start time.
- Have our speaker directly message each attendee on LinkedIn the day before the event. They introduce themselves and send over the calendar link one last time.
Since taking these extra steps, we’ve seen strong attendance rates across our Drift Ascend events. The average attendance rate for buyers is more than 66% and more than 73% for customers. We’re also attracting the right title (Director-level and above) and the right audience (our registrants are equally split between customers and buyers).
So far, the feedback from these events has been overwhelmingly positive:
“Getting first-hand feedback from a team that hosted a large-scale virtual event was great. Enjoyed the interactive format!”
– Drift Ascend Attendee
Personally, I love seeing our customers learn from one another – and share their insights with potential buyers in real-time. It really shows that customers are your best advocates.
Final Thoughts & Next Steps
To recap, VIP virtual events are a great way to level up your event and ABM strategy. They:
- Help your revenue teams break into target accounts
- Align marketing, sales, and customer teams around buyers and customers
- Are personalized and intimate, allowing for more real-time conversations and engagement than in a larger, more siloed conference
- Are easier to execute due to their small-scale nature (but still offer a high ROI)
If you want to learn more about running your own virtual event in the future, I have just the thing.