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How to run a virtual finance event that’s not a fizzer

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In iso and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic may have shut down opportunities for audience-building through live events, but it’s inspired a flurry of virtual events in their place. With social distancing and changed working arrangements likely to remain into the future to some degree, finding new ways to connect with, educate or even entertain customers and clients is key. 

Beyond the pandemic, virtual finance events are likely to become a staple of the finance content marketing landscape. But, as with all things digital, there’s the problem of thousands of competitors all battling for the attention of global viewers, with so many virtual events receiving high registrations only for people to not show their face. 

Here’s what it takes to run a virtual finance event that will draw a crowd. 

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Focus your virtual event on a single topic, and make sure it’s the right one

The old adage, ‘You can’t please all the people all the time’, is as true for virtual events as it is for everything. One way to cut through the noise is by focusing on a topic—perhaps one that hasn’t been covered by any or many other events, and definitely one that’s of interest to your audience. 

Ethical superannuation funds might take inspiration from the Impact Investing World Forum, which hones in on investing for social impact, and, in 2020, will cover topics such as the role of AI in measuring sustainable development goals, and partnering with non-governmental organisations. 

Meanwhile, big banks might consider online events that target particular segments of their audience. For example, Australia’s Commonwealth Bank runs a webinar series titled ‘Women in Focus’, hosted by prominent female leaders and entrepreneurs. 

Offer unique opportunities

To persuade your audience to attend the live event—rather than catching up via the recorded version at some point down the track—offer them unique opportunities. 

These might range from special access to international companies, which is the selling point of the Deutsche Bank Depositary Receipts Virtual Investor Conference, or speed networking opportunities, which is one of the highlights of the ANON Summit, an online conference dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. 

Be sure to include experiential elements

Just as at a real-life conference, audience members want to experience your content in a variety of ways. So, make sure your program isn’t all talking heads by adding workshops, breakout rooms and exhibitions.

Just as at a real-life conference, audience members want to experience your content in a variety of ways.

Check out Seamless East Africa, a virtual conference dedicated to fintech and insurtech that includes a virtual expo floor where more than 50 exhibitors showcase their latest products, ideas, and innovations.

Make the most of the content created during your virtual finance event

Another advantage of online events is that they’re easy to record, giving you a wealth of finance marketing content you can use for months to come. 

This is particularly useful for private banks and wealth managers, whose clients might be too busy to attend, but are always on the hunt for timely, reliable information. For example, J.P. Morgan Private Bank has housed its COVID-19 webinars, which cover relevant topics, such as, ‘The U.S. reopens: how far, how fast, and for how long?’ and ’Nonprofit board leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic: five strategies for immediate action’, online, where they’re accessible anytime. Not just a case of sharing the recording, this content can be repackaged in a myriad of ways to give you multiple content sources throughout the year. 

If you’re looking for new ways to connect with customers or clients or need to rethink your existing event model, we can help

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Jasmine Crittenden
Jasmine Crittenden has written extensively for major finance brands including Westpac, BT Financial Group, Suncorp and Aberdeen Standard Investments – across both digital and print. She’s an expert in content that puts the human element in finance marketing, be it connecting with local communities, inspiring millennials to care about super or clarifying the complexities of personal loans.