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5 Critical Variables in Virtual Events for Financial Services | Greg Greer, Head of Operations, V2

The world of financial services is noisier than it’s ever been, and at least one big challenge for marketers is how to keep their webinar series fresh, improving engagement, and making their numbers.

But here’s some good news – the need for human connection is as high as it’s ever been, and how to get there with your webinar programs isn’t hard…but it might be different.

In this episode of #ThoughtLeaderConversations, V2's Head of Strategy Roger Courville joined by fellow webinar industry old timer, Greg Greer, V2's Head of Operations to just have a conversation about what we’ve seen work, and what we’ve seen not work around five key questions or variables.

  • What’s the right level of making a great first impression in a webinar?

  • What’s the right level and type of engagement in a webinar?

  • What’s the right balance of repeatability and novelty when producing a series?

  • Duration and style -- does a webinar have to be 45 min + Q&A?

  • What’s the balance of live event vs. before and after?

Let's be real: your organization is unique. And we realize banking is different than asset and wealth management is different than insurance is different than accountancy and audit services – and then just within your sector, your organization relates to prospects and customers differently than your competitors.

So we’re not promising a magic bullet – what we do hopefully bring to the table is a couple guys who’ve done this for a ton of finsvcs orgs over our combined 40 years in the virtual events space, helping you think through the variables and dial in your engagement.


Series: #ThoughtLeaderConversations   Sponsor: V2, LLC, expert virtual and hybrid event production,   Host: Roger Courville, CSP,   

Keywords:   #financialservicesevents #finservwebinar #webinartactics #howtoproducegreatwebinars


Unedited transcript

[00:00:00] Roger Courville, CSP: The world of financial services is noisier than it's ever been. And at least one big challenge for marketers with their virtual event series. is how to keep them fresh and engaging. Now, here's the good news. Fresh and engaging isn't hard, but it might be a little different. Well, hello and welcome to 5 Critical Variables in Virtual Events for Financial Services.

My name is Roger Courville, and unless this is your very first time with us, you know that the crew here at Virtual Venues is really specific in how we help you choose the right tool for the nuances of your use case and your goals. And today I'm joined by a fellow industry old timer, Greg Greer, who happens to be the guy that heads up operations here at V2 and with all the stuff that you see on your screen.

And it's his team that will help you instantly scale your virtual and hybrid event production in a way that helps you focus on the things that are more important than the tech. Now, Greg's been doing this for almost as long as I have, and we've done so much work in the financial sector over the last couple decades that I thought we would pick Greg's brain a little bit about what he has seen.

Welcome, Greg. Tell us a little more about who you are and what you do.

[00:01:14] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: It's great to be here. And yeah, you're right about being an old timer. I have been in the industry since the year 2000. So 23 years now, uh, I've been an event producer, a senior vet producer, team lead, operations manager, and now head of operations.

So yeah, along the way I've worked with, uh, many of financial services client as well, so I am familiar, uh, with that industry and although honestly, I mean, What we'll talk about today, uh, you'll be able to apply, uh, to, to most industries and how you go about running your virtual events and, uh, you know, appealing to your prospective customers.

So at any rate, looking forward to it. Yeah.

[00:01:54] Roger Courville, CSP: I mean, I think to be fair, we realize that there are nuances just within the financial sector. There are nuances or differences between say insurance or banking or asset and wealth management or little. Things like that. And those are the kinds of nuances that ultimately come out when you get one on one with your event producer or program manager, who then starts helping you take your goals and apply it to really specifically how, how that's going to unfold for you, which is maybe a level of depth that we can't get to today.

Because we're not having a one on one conversation with somebody. So Greg, I'm just curious, are there, um, are there any opening thoughts or comments that come to mind when you think

[00:02:44] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: about virtual events for, for, uh,

[00:02:48] Roger Courville, CSP: financial services?

[00:02:52] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: Well, I mean, Let's say, let's just face it. The reason we're doing it is for that engagement.

Of course. I mean, it's why marketing departments tap into virtual meetings. It's, you know, it's that easy first, uh, human touch to connect to your target audience all over the country or all over the world, wherever that may be. Um, you know, More attendance and webinars leads to more engagement and conversation and hopefully leads to more conversions.

And yeah, just what you touched on earlier, Roger, it's, you know, we want to, we want to, at V2 here, we want to focus on, you know, guiding you through that process so you can focus on that message and humanizing that message to make a great, you know, touch to your prospects or customers.

[00:03:36] Roger Courville, CSP: So is Greg, Greg and I were talking

[00:03:38] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: about this.

Go ahead, Greg. Oh, I was just gonna say, and in financial services, especially, you know, you need to find a way to message out those new business opportunities, you know, show off the new products and services and, you know, just enlighten your customers on how you can, uh, help them adapt to your ever evolving regulatory landscape.

[00:03:59] Roger Courville, CSP: Yeah, no, that's an important part. As Greg and I were talking about how to even just approach or structure a conversation today, one of the things that we thought about, and I'll give Greg the credit here, was just thinking about the variables that he can help you think through, right? There are a lot of variables, but if you were going to take some big buckets of going, Hey, what are these things that we were, there's a range of options.

How, you know, how do you, how do you approach something like that? Is do we even begin by knowing what the right questions to ask are? So variable number one is the effort of the first impression. What is the right level of making a great first impression?

[00:04:48] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: Oh, I mean, yeah. Where do you start? I mean, think about, think about this before we even get there.

Your prospects now are doing more research than ever on products and services, um, through digital channels. I mean. You know, most likely the first, second and third time they come in contact with your brand, there's going to be no human beings involved. So, you know, they'll Google the topic they're looking for, and then hopefully they'll come across your website or your content hub, and that's going to be their initial perception of you.

And, you know, as the old saying goes, perception is reality. So, you know, and just as you're researching or they're researching you, you're obviously trying to research your prospects. So again, The planning and a producing of webinar is that great early human touch with those prospects and you know the human connection is what they're looking for, um, you know, after that initial early research.

So, you know, you just think of the, the virtual event cycle as a life cycle. You know, you create the registration page and this is going to be, you know, not new news to anyone. This is kind of more of the traditional webinar model, but you'll create the registration page to to promote the message. You know, that's obviously a good first touch right there, because that gives you the opportunity to ask those probing questions, you know, like, What's your job title?

What's your revenue size? Um, you know, what questions do you have for the presenter? What, what are you hoping to learn here? So, uh, you know, then with the live presentation itself, you know, you gather more data, uh, versus those traditional means, you know, we all know polls, feedback surveys, uh, but again, great information, great way to learn about your prospects and, you know, again, traditional webinar models.

So what we're going to talk about more today is just um, enhancing the appeal of your brand, you know, just get them started on that experience journey to actually sit down and listen to your pitch, whatever it may be. So, you know, as far as what, what's the right level of making that great, uh, first impression.

I mean, again, just the age old adage, right? You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Webinars are still vitally important as you know, they not only allow you to research those prospects, but add that human element to your brand. That's the most important thing. They, you know, they want to see what you've got to offer.

Um, it's why they're attending. They just want to learn more about you and just the human experience element just to build that trust in your brand. So, you know, if it's, think about it too, especially with financial services, if it's a weighty topic, as is often the case, uh, in financial service webinars, that's fine.

Just make sure you're being genuine about it and adding the human element to it. Um, Again, just coming forward with creative ideas while communicating those brand attributes humanizes you, humanizes your company, your brand delivers that strong first impression and trust and trust is what it's all about.

Wouldn't you say?

[00:07:47] Roger Courville, CSP: Ah, yes. And I would want to put a big exclamation point on that. You used a word that I loved, which is humanizing your brand. And I think that's particularly important in, and I know you've got some ideas about this, but when we think about that, how much effort do you want to make in putting in, making a great first impression?

When you talk about humanization, I think that's one of those things that you just nailed because Because often we think of the webinar as a piece of content, no different than a web page or a white paper or a research report or something like that. But I can't have a conversation with a YouTube video, right?

There is a, there's a personal element. There's an actual human voice. when it comes to a virtual event or a webinar or something like that. And I love the fact that you point that out because I think about it in a way like going to the dentist. I can go to a dozen dentists and there are, I know they have the technical credential.

They got the license. They can technically fill the hole in my face. Who do you go back to? It's the one that's human that you feel comfortable with. And I think that's one of those distinctions of the, that you can create in a virtual event or a webinar that, um, is often, uh, is often overlooked because we think about just the content.

And not that humanization to your point.

[00:09:27] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: No, it's true. It's uh, you know, obviously being genuine, being yourself is, is just so important on making that great first impression. There's just so much more to it though, as well, especially, you know, we've all been. attending webinars for years now. Uh, so you just got to find a way to make yours more unique, just make it more visually compelling as well.

I mean, not just the slide presentation, but the whole experience. I mean, you know, your presentation needs to engage the eye as much as it engages the mind. And you know, it's just one more element to keep in mind, you know, To make this early touch as sticky as possible, and the good news is I've seen a lot of cool creative examples of that.

I've recently been attending this marketing series. It's through the web platform on 24 their marketing guru. This guy, Mark Bornstein. He's great. He's been running a series over there that's dealing with marketing best practices. But what he puts an emphasis on, uh, is pushing your webinars just to be more creative and forward thinking, you know, with some of the main overall themes being just the that your presentation is visually appealing and more interactive.

Um, I'm seeing so many cool webinars these days with like just more artistic flair and higher production values. Um, and there's so many platforms now that do, uh, incorporate those higher production features, you know, including, you know, a number of different webcam layouts. You can have so many presenters on screen now, obviously you don't want to maybe have too much because that can get a little bit.

you know, confusing or, you know, who's doing what, but, you know, it's still, uh, a cool, a cool feature that you can apply in new and creative ways, which I'll get into in a little bit here. But, you know, you can also add like lower thirds now, which, you know, if you've watched the news, you know, those little graphics that slide in when a speaker comes on camera and then, uh, gives their name and title and then, uh, just slide it away afterwards.

It just gives it that, you know, you know, up to production value that you like to see, you know, that you see on a newscast, it's much more slick, you know, than compared to the olden days when you just plop a bio slide into your slide presentation. So Greg, I love that.

[00:11:37] Roger Courville, CSP: In fact, I know you've got some ideas.

I love the fact that one of the ways that you go when you're talking about that first impression, something like what on 24 brings to the table, because some platforms you can't do anything about the look and feel. or the layout of the player, right? The experience that people log into, because to your point, there is an experience that's beyond or outside of the slide.

So what are some of the cool things you've seen with regard to, you know, the way that someone can can say spice up the look and feel of their, their on 24 environment as an example.

[00:12:20] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: A cool trend that I am noticing lately is just pasting high resolution photos as your console backdrop, you know, and then just building your panels on top of that.

I mean, you know, especially like financial services, you can get creative, maybe have a, like a high res photo of a, you know, simulated stock exchange floor. And then, you know, one of those. Mounted monitors that you always see when all those guys are running around on the floor. You could just, you know, superimpose your webcam view there.

Um, I saw another one and this was from that going back to that Mark Bornstein webinar that I attended. It was this great. Um, it was a fireside chat and all it was was, um, high res photo of, you know, this great brick mantle. Uh, it had a fire roaring and then it had a wall mounted, uh, TV set, uh, up top and they superimposed the webcam view with like a four quad view of the speakers in there, you know, voila, you got a fireside chat.

So just cool things like that. I did see another one that was, it was like a game show. Uh, you basically, you could tap into your graphic design department, have them like, you know, just build this like, uh, studio, studio simulation where you could have, you know, all the lights, maybe a lectern where the host is.

And then they had, um, just basically like, again, their webcam view was in like a four quad and voila, you've got the Hollywood squares. I mean, just adding some gamification, it makes it more fun for all, uh, you know, It could just be a quiz portion of the webinar based on the topic. So lastly, a fun one I saw too, and it wasn't even, you know, uh, a fancy production studio, but they just wanted it more in a talk show mode.

So just had the, the moderator's desk or the host desk, and then they had two chairs beside him. And, you know, just having a creative conversation, uh, making it just like, you know, a Stephen Colbert or a Jimmy Kimmel, just things to make it fun like that. Lastly, uh, a good one too, and this was more of just a social webinar, but it was, um, it was a happy hour theme, just so, you know, a team could get together and, and mingle, um, and basically they had just a big, uh, high res photo of a bar, and this, this beautiful wooden bar, and they had, like, a tip jar on top, and they had, you know, a, a bottle.

The tip jar was actually a button, uh, an interactive button that you could actually, uh, tap into and there were drink recipes that you could download from there. Um, so, and you know, just, you can, you can get creative and fun like that. Uh, and it just, I don't know, it just allows for more interactivity and just more conversation and just a way to get together and have fun, just kind of just taking it out of that traditional one to many, uh, you know, webinar experience.

[00:15:09] Roger Courville, CSP: I love that. Because, you know, when we go to in person events, part of what we're there for is the content, of course. And yet, also, we know there is something about peer to peer connection, and different platforms handle that in different ways. But to your point, creating an environment where, um, for instance, the nature of that engagement might be, Hey, let's...

you know, you can download some drink recipes. Yeah. Could be, could be something that creates a distinction that's in addition to your content. Of course, your content is, is front and center, and that's an important element. But as long as we're talking about engagement, that is a good transition to variable number two.

What is the right level and type of engagement?

[00:16:01] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: I mean, I don't think you can lose by giving your audience more ways to participate and just make your presentation more interactive. I mean, again, I touched on it earlier. We always think of the... You know, polls and feedback surveys as the traditional means of allowing more participation.

But again, those days of the one too many webinars are waning. I mean, more and more. Uh, that's where, you know, the attention span starts to shut down. If you're just droning on and on listening to the same speaker for 40 minutes, uh, and then, you know, you just don't. You just don't keep those higher retention rates.

People start to get bored and log off. So, um, and, and again, here, web platforms these days have so many more tools and widgets to make your presentations more interactive. I'm sure if you've been, especially on those on 24 webinars, they're again, higher production value, but they've got those call to action widgets now, which, you know, those are great.

panels that you can add both text and a link to, and you can invite them to register for another webinar, sign up for a consultation or a demo. Um, you know, that's a great, that's a great way to get your audiences more involved. You know, also now most consoles now have the social media links. Uh, so, you know.

Great first touch. They can visit your corporate LinkedIn page or X or Twitter or whatever they're calling it these days or threads, all of them. So just a great, you know, again, way that they can learn more about you, your brand, your company. Um, and you know, a lot of platforms too, they have those resource panels as well.

Again, house those downloadable documents, white papers, product literature, financial statements, you know, you can add links to these panels as well so they can visit your website and link to topic related pages. So, all kinds of new ways, uh, to lead them back to you and your brand. You know, I often use

[00:17:52] Roger Courville, CSP: the example or when I'm doing a console with a client, I'm often thinking about helping them think about it in terms of an in person experience and going, okay, on one end of a scale is like a pure keynote, right?

Somebody stands up and talks like a Ted talk and they do all the talking. and that's okay. That's not, not, not wrong. But increasingly, and I say this as a professional speaker, increasingly, even if you're doing a keynote, meeting planners want to know how you're going to engage the audience, right? Even if there's a thousand people there, they're going, they're asking about audience engagement tactics, right?

And to your point, there's so many more things that you can do than just, than just run a poll. Um, one of the things that I love about, particularly on 24, but other platforms do it as well. is report on every one of those little things. So over time, particularly if you do a webinar series and you're not doing just doing a one off, you can go, ah, how many people did click through to our LinkedIn page or sign up for a product demo or download the, the drink recipes or whatever.

And you can then continue to grow because you have an understanding of that. So back to that second variable, what's the the right level and type of engagement. Um, some of that you might be taken a stab at to begin with, right? You know, you want it to be more interactive than just a talking head doing all of the talking and how much is the right way to do that?

Well, to me, that's sometimes and correct me if I'm wrong, but that, that to me is one of those things where that starts to get real personal based on you, your audience, your goals. And when somebody lands, Uh, you know, decides V2 can help them out and they end up with somebody on your team, Greg. That's when the, your program manager starts going, all right, let's get specific about who's talking and what you want people to do and how you want them to participate.

So they feel a little more, uh, part of like they're part of this thing. And to me that never takes the moment. The goal is never to disrupt the momentum, right? We're not turning, we're not turning this into a circus, particularly if the speaker is not comfortable with that. But the goal is to, to, to your point, to, to help figure out which of those widgets or tools, or maybe your team brings ideas to the table that they hadn't seen or understood because, you know, we sit and look at a thousand events a year and probably your team isn't thinking about it in the same way, and there's I'm just going to say it.

There's a reason to engage Greg's team because they see a lot of stuff and can bring a lot of ideas to the table.

[00:20:42] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: Indeed. I mean, all of our program managers are well versed in, you know, analyzing, You know, once we, once we sit down and have that needs assessment calls with you, then we get a better idea of what your goals are, what you're trying to convey, uh, and then we can apply those ideas to it, how to make it more interactive, you know, just have, have, have a great conversation to make sure that you can.

So you can focus on the message and then we can provide the tips and tricks, uh, to, to help you achieve those goals. So, I mean, I'll go back. Oh, go ahead. Oh, I was just going to

[00:21:18] Roger Courville, CSP: say something you said earlier that I think relates to this is that webinars or virtual events have a life cycle, right? It's not a one and done as in downloaded Marketo for you.

There's a life cycle. Talk about that, that, that buyer's journey. I know that you touch on sometimes from top of funnel to the end. I

[00:21:42] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: know you've got a few ideas there. Yeah, indeed. And again, you've got to, you've got to attend this marketing series that I had just, just finished up with the, again, that Mark Bornstein gentleman from on 24.

He had a great idea that I hadn't really thought of before. And again, it's, if you're running a series again, let's say you're in the sales process and, uh, you know, you're at the top of the funnel, maybe. Create a webinar series and, you know, top of funnel. That's the awareness stage, right? So, you know, have a theme related around that.

Just, you know, getting them familiar with your brand, what you do, what you offer, but, you know, as far as making that more interactive, maybe have the content options for that meeting be the you know, having those URL links available where they can go check out your website, they can go check out your line of business page.

Um, also have those social media links that we talked about earlier available. And then, you know, then you can rely also in those introductory webinars on Q and A and polls just to get a little bit more familiar with, uh, you know, them as a prospect. And then maybe the second webinar, you're, you're, Definitely in the interest phase here.

So create a topic around that you're in the mid funnel. Maybe, um, you know, that's where you bring in a, uh, more detailed feedback survey or call to actions where you register for another webinar. Um, and then, you know, Let's say there's a third webinar, the final one in the series. You're, you're now more in the bottom of the funnel.

It's more of the intense stage. Uh, this is where you might have that call to action for a demo, uh, for a free trial, uh, book an appointment with us, uh, free consultation, whatever it may be. Uh, but yes, that, that will, you know, bring them through that whole journey and then hopefully you're ready to, you know, move forward.

Uh, and you know, um, they enter the customer phase. That's all you can hope for anyways. Yeah, no, that

[00:23:40] Roger Courville, CSP: is a great point about that journey and how people who are at that, maybe at that, just that beginning awareness level may have different needs for interaction with you than further down when they have demonstrated more interest or intent and the nature of that interaction is something that may be different.

And to your point, that's a whole lot more nuanced. At least you have the opportunity to be a lot more nuanced than, Hey, let's just push another pole.

[00:24:11] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

[00:24:14] Roger Courville, CSP: All right, variable number three, what is the right balance of repeatability and scale versus novelty or uniqueness?

[00:24:28] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: You know, that's a big challenge, especially, you know, considering that the, uh, the planning of one off webinars, I think I've, I've heard it, uh, referred to before as Groundhog Day marketing. Um, And honestly, you know, recently I've heard feedback from some of our financial services customers that after a while, the preparation isn't worth the payoff.

We're just not, we're starting from zero. It's always too much work. Um, and I, I would just, you know, like to remind everyone, just. Just don't, uh, lose sight of how important these first human touches are. Uh, again, they're all usually using digital touches initially to find, find out more about you. So it is so important to, to, uh, just provide, uh, a forum.

to provide those human touches. Um, you know, we talked earlier too about how important it is to be creative and be looking for new and innovative ways to be sticky with those prospects. It's all true. Um, I get it though. Virtual meeting planning can, you know, lead to burnout when every webinar starts from scratch, you know, when, uh, Uh, every promotion and console design is starting from scratch, especially if you're the one that has to, you know, create, uh, those deliverables, um, that can, you know, lead to a lack of a cohesive experience.

And not only that, just become a resource drag from a planning perspective. So again, to your point, the question becomes what can be repeatable versus what's new and fresh, you know, i. e. the content that usually always needs to be new and fresh, you know, from a, From a planning perspective, just maybe create a design style for a webinar type or for unique streams of content.

Um, then, you know, outside of the content is, you know, and staying on top of trends and new products and services. Uh, you know, it will make it easier to plan and execute, you know, maybe up to update your graphic templates from quarter to quarter or year to year rather than webinar to webinar. I mean, Um, You probably have a few types of webinars you're tasked with creating.

I would imagine, um, you know, there's customer and product slash product and services webinars. Those are ever evolving and will always require content, you know, new and fresh content to stay on top of the latest trends, um, thought, thought leadership webinars. Same, you know, you always want to stay out in front of topics like that.

to be, you know, you guessed it, the industry leader, but like for internal webinars, you know, you can, uh, basically follow similar templates there or subject matter to just, just to kind of make things easier, you know, quarterly wrap ups, for example, you know, they usually follow a similar content template.

There's always, you know, the message from the CEO, the quarterly results awards for top performers, you know, regarding the look and feel for those, maybe you can assign a design style, uh, to keep it simple. Learn Maybe you have like colorized graphic templates for the different internal silos, but with the same design to keep it simple, um, just this way.

At least it just allows you to avoid, you know, reinventing the wheel every time. And again, just to kind of wrap up this point, uh, you can't, I can't emphasize enough that you still want to be creative and forward leaning with, with your content and using those interactive tools available to you, uh, just to make those meetings more human and interactive, you know, yeah.

again, building that brand trust. Uh, one other thing I just want to add into, I've, I've been seeing this big trend lately where financial service webinars, uh, a lot of my contacts in that industry are moving to pre recorded webinars and then, you know, setting it to play back at a certain time. It's popular with webinar speakers, just because it gives them the added security of re recording a portion of the content if they, you know, have a flub, make a mistake, but honestly.

They just don't have the same appeal, uh, of a live webinar. Uh, you know, nobody wants to log in and just watch a perfectly edited presentation and listen to a robot for, you know, 30 to 60 minutes. Um, they don't want to be bored. They don't want to log in to be bored. They'll eventually tune off and, uh, log out, leading to low retention rates as we touched on earlier.

So again, just keep top of mind that they want that genuine trust building human experience.

[00:28:47] Roger Courville, CSP: Um, uh, I get goosebumps in that very last point that you were just making, particularly since obviously, uh, you know, my background was in training presenters and that's one of the things that your team has done for,

[00:29:01] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: for, for decades, right?


[00:29:03] Roger Courville, CSP: one of the, one of the things that to me sometimes has, it gets lost. is we take someone who otherwise knows how to command a room or have a regular conversation if they're in front of 50 people in person and we put them in this environment and now all of a sudden something that is natural to them goes out the door and I think it's because they've got some preconceived notion of, of either how it should go or it's just puts them in a different psychosocial space right?

And, uh, one of the things that I love doing, and I know this is one of the things that your team does well, is helping people meeting a presenter where they're at and getting them one notch closer to, to connectivity and interactivity. Right. In a way that helps, that helps the audience and we're not asking the presenter to do, to, to be something that they're not, but at the same time, more often than not, instead of them just, um, like you say, wanting it to be perfect, like it's a prerecord, going, Hey, wait a minute, how do we help you connect?

with real people, right? Real people connecting with real people is what's what's really important here. And to that point on that variability, um, uh, on that, on that variable number three, what's the repeatability versus the novelty. To me, it is that interaction with the presenter that can be the novelty that you can interject into each and every.

Each and every event or webinar when to your point, you might choose a template and say, Hey, for this season, we're going to call this season three, or we're going to call this the product series, and we can create something that is very repeatable because we're reusing the same graphic elements and those kinds of things.

It takes a lot of the labor out because you're not trying to make that utterly unique for each and every event. or you're, and you're focusing on the content and the presenter as the unique or novel part of, of each event. Which gets us, I think, to variable number four, which, and I think you've already almost answered this, duration and style.

Does every webinar have to be 45 minutes plus some Q& A?

[00:31:28] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: No, I mean, you just, you just, you just touched on it. You know, you do, when you get into webinar planning mode, you, you immediately go to, you know, the way it's always been. It has to be 50 minutes of Q& A with 10 minutes, or sorry, 50 minutes of presentation with.

With 10 minutes of Q& A. It doesn't have to be. Uh, as I mentioned earlier, our collective attention span seems to be decreasing with every passing year with all the noise out there, so mix it up a bit. Not everything has to be an hour long infomercial. I mean, you know, you could have a 30 minute webinar with 15 minutes of Q& A, and as long as the message gets out and you allow your audience to ask the questions that they need answers, I guarantee you people are going to be appreciative, uh, of, of, You know, you being to the point, not drawing things out and then any extra time they get back is gravy.

So they have the time to finish their own work. So, yeah, just keep it, keep it succinct and to the point. Uh, and you can't lose really, uh, you know, just some other tips just to, uh, spice up your webinars as well. Uh, you know, duration aside, I mean, Maybe consider adding, you know, pre produced introductions. A lot of our clients now are using, like, pre recorded housekeeping scripts, uh, just with the visual aid showing them, you know, where they can submit their questions, where they can get assistance, how they can participate in a group chat and be more interactive, for example.

Um, another, uh, thing I'm noticing lately, if it's a high level event, you know, especially if, if... It's like, you know, uh, product rollout, anything like that, maybe, you know, pre record it with the VIP guest speaker that will generate a buzz, get butts in seats, as they say, so, you know, along those lines, sizzle reels and little like mini commercials are popular as well, especially, like I said, if it's like a product services rollout, you know, show the, uh, a company and commercial, uh, for self promotion, show off.

I mean, it's all about showing off, right? Um, So

[00:33:27] Roger Courville, CSP: let me make, let me reflect back to you what I think I'm hearing because I just want to make sure that somebody listening right now is really clear. You're talking about interspersing little pieces of pre record video with live human presentation and interaction.

[00:33:45] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: Yes, it ups the production, uh, element of it. And it's just, it's, it, it just makes it. you know, it gets away from that traditional model, right? It just, you've got a little bit more diversified, a little bit more, you know, just a little bit more buzz, and again, you're self promoting. So if you can, if you've got the budget to, you know, maybe just, just record a little commercial, uh, showing off your new product, your new service.

Uh, by all means, you know, another cool thing too, um, I'm noticing like, especially with on back to on 24, we keep touching on that, but they now allow you to embed a video on the registration page. So if you want to put a little sizzle reel there, that's a great place to generate some buzz, especially when they're just, you know, taking their first look.

Ooh, do I want to attend this webinar? Oh. I can watch this. You know, it's just great self promotion. Bottom line, always be promoting. What was that movie? Uh, Glen Gary, Glen Ross, or Alec Baldwin's always be selling, always be selling. Well, here it's the same thing. Always be promoting. Um, you know, it's, you just, you just can't lose that way.

I mean, we, another thing too, that a newer trend as well, um, getting away from the actual webinars, but we have some financial services clients too, that are now recording smaller, more easily digestible content, you know, like maybe a little five, 10 minute prerecords that capture the hot topic of the day, you may not have time to plan a full webinar.

Let's say for example, the Fed just announced an interest rate hike. You know, what are the going to be the ramifications of that? We can, you know, record a 5 to 10 minute video for you that you can then, you know, just put immediately on your content hub. So it doesn't even have to be a full webinar anymore.

Um, I mean, obviously, you know, when you're, when you are, um, are, you know, working on a more longer drawn out project where you want to self promote that way, then definitely again, because. back to the first touch, back to everything. I don't need to repeat that again, but, but again, I mean, there's just so many different ways that you can reach your prospects and your customers.

And again, you know, all of them increased brand awareness and just let them know that you, you are here to help while also just coming off as genuine and forward thinking. Yeah.

[00:36:01] Roger Courville, CSP: I love that. Um, when you start to think about combining elements, um, for instance, your live.

Right. And then we even actually know in the world of communication science that imperfections, they call them disfluencies, imperfections in the communication process are part of what send mental signals and or make things real. Right make, definitely make things authentic and I think authentic authenticity beats perfection every time.

But if that's the energy that happens when we are live, the value of that content is valuable for as long as that content is relevant. Right? I mean, if and meaning, if you think about that live event being the, also being an authoring. Opportunity you're authoring content that is now going to sit out there as a recording and or you could take that one hour recording and.

start to chop, chop it up and extract little, little pieces that you could use for additional promotion or make otherwise accessible. Um, to me that live, the live event, whether it's one hour or not, um, is, is a great opportunity to do that particularly. And you mentioned like, Some, uh, the way that you handle, um, Q and A, sometimes you want Q and A to be interaction with the audience because that's what makes it real and pertinent for that person answering the question.

Right? Greg asks a question, Roger answers the question, and now everybody knows that we're real. We're being real, right? We're real people being real people. And it's particularly important for Greg because that's why Greg just asked the question. Right, because it wasn't part of the planned content, it was part of what bubbled up as a part of human beings connecting with human beings, but that's why they're there

[00:38:04] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: They want answers.

[00:38:05] Roger Courville, CSP: You can also intersperse questions that might set you up for little digital extractions, right? Like, so let's pretend Greg was the presenter for the day and I knew that I wanted to ask one or two questions where The question and the answer became this little excerpt that I could extract.

So I've got this little 45 second snippet for social media or something like that to me, sometimes planning those interspersed with how you interact with the audience can be a killer opportunity for how you, how you create content out of, out of an event. And it's easier, frankly, it's way easier online.

Then it is if you were in person, so a whole lot, a whole lot easier, which gets us to our final variable, variable number five. What's the balance of live event, meaning that real time moment versus the before and the after. And we may have already answered some of those questions, but

[00:39:04] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: well, you just nailed it.

I mean, I mean, you just nailed it. The live webinars. I mean, again, we keep repeating it, but they so much more effective at capturing the human element of your brand. I mean, all that said, you do want your registrants, uh, to provide your registrants, excuse me, an opportunity to catch that on demand version of the webinar.

If they'd like to watch a repeat, uh, repeat performance, maybe just, you know, bring home some of those points they initially saw, uh, or, you know, obviously they just missed the webinar because they had a scheduling conflict. Um, You know, you just want to provide them with that resources, that resource or place to go to see, you know, what your company or line of business is up to, um, a big trend.

I'm seeing lately as well. Again, like you said, it's, it's social media sites. It's YouTube sites. It's content hubs that micro sites, a one, especially with the content hubs and micro sites, a one stop shop where they can basically view all of your marketing materials. Um, I was reading recently. Have you ever, have you ever heard of a micro moment, Roger?

Thank you.

[00:40:04] Roger Courville, CSP: I have, but I want you to explain it

[00:40:05] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: to make sure that it

[00:40:07] Roger Courville, CSP: basically occurs

[00:40:10] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: when consumers or prospects are just, you know, they think of it, they think of something they need immediately and immediately go to their phone or their computer to look it up. And you just want to have one of their destinations be that content hub where you've got all of your materials ready to go.

answer their questions. Whether that, again, be viewing those webinar archives. Um, maybe, uh, it could be a whole archive. It could be an edited, uh, edited content from an hour webinar where you're just pulling out the highlights. And, again, those easily digestible few minute, um, short videos that, that answers the questions that they have, you know.

Um, You know, we, we actually, like I said earlier, I've touched on both of them. We can do both for you. We can pre record an easily digestible hot topic, or again, do those clips out of your webinar highlights so somebody doesn't have to sit through the full, you know, 45 minute presentation, 60 minute presentation, whatever it may be.

Again, then it's also a place where they can register for more webinars. Sign up for those demos we talked about. Sign up for your, um, consultations or product and service offers. So bottom line, it's just that one stop shop on their experience journey. So it's only going to help your prospects gain trust again in your brand.

And think of you as the primary resource for for their goals. Can't lose.

[00:41:35] Roger Courville, CSP: Greg, I want to thank you. Thank you for taking a little bit of time today because I know you've got, uh, I know you've got a busy schedule taking care of clients along with your, with your team.

[00:41:47] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: My pleasure. It's always great talking to you, Roger.

[00:41:49] Roger Courville, CSP: Let me, let me wrap with one question that, uh, that is even kind of maybe just out of the blue. When somebody becomes a client, of virtual venues and they, they hit your radar screen and you're getting ready to assign a program manager. Talk about the nature of onboarding a client.

How does a new client come on board with virtual venues in terms of how you and your team get to know them and help them get?

[00:42:20] Greg Greer, Head of Operations: What they need with regard to their goals. Well, we first will sit down with you and have a full needs assessment call. Uh, or, you know, we can jump on a zoom, but it's just getting to know, ask those probing questions. You know, what are your goals here? What are you trying to achieve? Um, and then we also just want to find out, you know, um, As far as like media and things like that, what would you like to incorporate here?

Um, would you like it just to be an easy, you know, uh, I mean, if it's, if it's got to be a one to many message, like as an initial webinar, we will suss that out and we will assign you the correct platform. But, you know, obviously we're going to try to get you to, uh, just to, to remind you of what we've covered here today, you know, just give you those tips.

We're consultants as well. So we will just. You know, make sure that you're aware of all the possibilities out there, and then depending on what you land on, where you decide to go, we'll assign you a web platform that meets your needs, and then at that point, we'll assign you a program manager as well.

That again, you and. You know, find out exactly what you require in a particular meeting, and even if it's a series of meetings, we can guide you, like what we talked about earlier with the funnel meeting. It doesn't have to be that, but we can, you know, go through the strategy, what you're trying to achieve, and then, uh, Basically allow you to focus on the message while we set everything up in the background.

So, you know, we'll determine if, you know, what graphics look like, do you have a graphic design department? Um, if not, we've got a bunch, a library of of graphics as well that we can suggest to you, uh, and we could set up a demo, uh, have you log into, uh, the platforms you're interested in, show you what it looks like, look and feel, and then go from there.

And then we are there every step of the way, um, you know, through any train, uh, console trainings you need, any rehearsals you need, uh, set, setting up the registration for you, um, And, you know, even if it's on a, if you, if you want to have the C, uh, registration on your own CRM, most platforms nowadays have a lead pass, uh, that you can connect right straight to the web platform, uh, and all the, um, registration results will populate there as well.

Um, but yes, we will take you right up until the event day and, uh, Then we will also be your, um, online producer during that webinar. If you need us to, you know, communicate the housekeeping tips to the audience, we can. We can also, as I mentioned earlier, uh, show you a number of videos that we could create for you to take care of those.

like housekeeping tips. Uh, and then, you know, if, if need be, we could even act as an online moderator for you. Although sometimes it is better for somebody on your side to handle those duties. Uh, obviously if they're more familiar with the content or the theme of the webinar, but, but we've got a bunch of, uh, of professionals that have a ton of online speaking experience, the golden pipes, as we like to say, uh, to moderate your meeting if, if so desired.

And then again, we will, uh, We will stay online for the entire webinar just to, uh, you know, help with tech anyone, any audience members with technical difficulties, uh, things like that. Just basically to make sure that, uh, everything is running smooth and we are landing, uh, your plane as they, as we like to say here as well.

So, um, and then, you know, once, once we are done with the webinar, if need be, we can provide you with reporting data as well. Although a lot of Platforms nowadays again on 24 included have their own reporting portal that we can give you access to so you can log in and have access to those details 24 7 and you can you can pull down reports export them to Excel have that have those details on demand if you need them, you know, just to.

Provide, uh, updates to your higher ups, things like that. So, uh, we are there through the entire event cycle and yes, uh, we look forward to hearing from you.

[00:46:42] Roger Courville, CSP: Well, thank you so much, Greg. I appreciate you not only prepping a couple of comments, but, uh, taking a few curve balls from me as well. And thank you again to our sponsor today, which just happens to be our employer, Virtual Venues, big enough to, uh, to handle, um, large fortune global 50 kinds of companies and small enough to keep it personal and make it real for you.

Again, you can find us at virtualvenues. com, the team where you can instantly scale your virtual and hybrid event production. And we will catch you on the next episode of Thought Leader Conversations.


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