Virtual reality (VR) continues to grow in popularity and use cases. 44% of mid-size organizations are using VR in some capacity, and the industry is projected to hit $1.8 billion by 2022 within marketing and retail. There’s a lot of potential here, as long as you carefully consider how users will access VR and best practices for generating leads with virtual reality marketing.
VR marketing has a high potential for lead generation, both before and after the VR experience. The new technology offers many ways to shape a unique experience for your potential clients and users.
Here 4 things to consider if you want to invest in strategic virtual reality marketing to generate qualified leads.
- Virtual reality marketing strategy
Virtual Reality Marketing Strategy
To make an augmented reality (AR) or VR experience successful, developing a strategy is crucial. Using a new technology just to create a buzz won’t be enough to reach your business goals. Leave no detail out to ensure the experience is strategic, fun, and relevant. Your strategy should include a clear goal, use case, potential barriers you may need to overcome, and success measurements.
What is the purpose of the VR experience? You want the experience to be engaging, relevant, and add value for the user. Virtual reality marketing takes time and can be very costly, so it’s critical to tie the experience to a specific business goal. Ensure each part of the VR experience, including before and after, are aligned with this goal.
How to use AR/VR
How you apply virtual reality marketing within your campaign is also important. Depending on the stage of the customer journey you are targeting, there are several applications that you might use a VR experience for.
- Tradeshow. If you are trying to reach customers during the awareness and interest stages, using virtual reality marketing at tradeshows or other events will assist with this goal.
- Product Demo. A product demo using VR would be useful during the consideration and evaluation stages of the customer journey.
- Sales Meeting. To really sell your product or service, using VR at a sales meeting or other opportunity to directly sell to a customer could be the closer.
- Training. Once a customer has purchased your product or service, you can use virtual reality to train them on usage. You can also use it internally to train employees.
Your strategy should address the following barriers to ensure your use of virtual reality marketing is sound and aligned with your goals.
- AR and VR are novelty technologies. Don’t let the novelty wear off or become overused.
- Equipment and development can be very costly, so make sure you achieve the highest ROI possible and make a sound investment.
- VR is very time consuming to design, develop, and test. Make sure you leave lots of time for testing prior to launch, and that you factor this into your ROI.
- Your VR experience needs to align with your brand’s image.
Ensure your strategy includes notes on how you will measure the success of your virtual reality marketing. If you can’t tell whether your experience was successful, how will you know if creating it was worth the investment?
Some of the common metrics for virtual reality marketing success measurement include:
- Total views
- Unique users
- Number of users that complete the experience
- Watch or interaction time per user
- Number of leads generated
Other important virtual reality metrics include eye tracking and time spent engaged.
- Advanced virtual reality technologies can track users’ eye movements, so you can determine users’ interests based on where they are looking during the experience.
- Time spent engaged is a useful metric for downloadable content, as you can measure how long users spend with the experience and notice when they leave to see what portions of your experience can be improved.
Continually improving the experience will help bring in leads, as well as keep current leads and customers engaged.
Carefully consider the environment or setting in which your experience will be presented to users. You also want the environment to be as controlled as possible, so that users know what to expect.
VR at B2B tradeshows and industry specific events are a great way to present your VR experience in a B2B context and generate leads. With hundreds or sometimes thousands of attendees, tradeshows can be high-pressure environments.
Generating buzz around your booth with relevant virtual reality content gives visitors and users a memorable and positive branded experience. Asking users for their email addresses before allowing them to access your VR experience is a great way to generate leads.
Virtual Reality Creates Attention and Buzz
You can nurture attention and buzz around your VR experience by announcing it prior to the event and giving your audience a sneak preview of the experience with a short video clip. Having something unique to look forward to makes it easier to promote your business, and encourages attendees to visit your booth.
VR can also help you stand out among the competition and capture the attention of attendees. Virtual reality marketing is still somewhat of a novelty, so it can help attract even more potential leads to your booth. As attendees talk about the event amongst themselves, your virtual reality experience will generate buzz as attendees hear about the experience from other attendees. This will draw more potential leads to your booth.
Also, virtual reality experiences will get attention from publications covering the event, as well as social media posts and shares by attendees. This will boost your exposure and brand awareness before, during, and after the event.
Virtual Reality is Memorable
A good virtual reality experience will have a strong impression on attendees, and they will remember that your brand gave them an exciting experience much longer than they will look at a brochure handed to them. It’s much easier to throw out a flyer than a memory.
Our client NxStage has a team of marketers that wanted to create an engaging, immersive, and added value experience to generate qualified leads. We started this project by working in close collaboration with the client to develop a strategy. Using the virtual reality marketing strategy we created, we developed a VR experience that had a high ROI and was engaging for users. Read the full case study here!
Presenting your virtual reality experience at a tradeshow or event allows users to enjoy the experience without having to buy their own equipment. Different headsets will impact the user’s experience. The one you choose depends on your goals for the event.
Here are the 3 headsets our team has evaluated for our B2B clients:
Google Cardboard is the cheapest option for virtual reality, but it comes with limitations. It relies on user’s phones, not all of which support virtual reality or 360-degree video. Google Cardboard has a much lower image quality than other headsets. However, because the headset is relatively inexpensive, companies can give it away to allow users to relive the experience and share it with others. This will build brand loyalty with leads and customers, as well as increase brand awareness.
Oculus has several different headsets, all much more expensive than Google Cardboard, but providing a much higher quality experience. The high-end technology will help your content stand out and amaze users. This is a good option for events or tradeshows. However, the expense may prohibit users from downloading your virtual reality experience to use at home.
Samsung Gear also has a few different headsets, and it has a price point about halfway between Google Cardboard and Oculus, which will make purchasing a couple for a tradeshow cheaper than Oculus while still delivering a quality experience. It’s also cheaper for users at home, as long as they already have a Samsung phone that supports the use of Samsung Gear.
Repurposing Virtual reality experiences
Tradeshows are ideal for virtual reality experiences, but another great way to increase brand loyalty is to repackage the experience in another format for users and potential leads who could not attend the event. When creating your virtual reality marketing strategy, plan to repurpose the already created VR experience for other formats and channels. Repackaging the experience with different content is cost effective and can help you generate leads outside of the tradeshow environment.
One way to repackage your virtual reality experience is to adapt it to a video format. YouTube supports immersive 3D and 360-degree videos, although they aren’t quite as immersive as true virtual reality. With 360-degree videos, users can pan to explore all the angles in the video.
Converting your virtual reality experience into a video format and uploading it to YouTube or your website can give leads an experience adjacent to your VR experience. Include a Call to Action at the end of the video directing viewers to get in touch or learn more. Also, if you host the video on your website rather than YouTube, you can gate the video to collect contact information from potential leads.
You can create a downloadable version of content created for a tradeshow that works with users’ phones or a specific headset. Provide visitors to your tradeshow booth with a link so they can re-live it. Whether users can use the experience at home will depend on the equipment that you have chosen to use as part of your strategy.
If you aren’t presenting the experience at a tradeshow, you can create an experience directly for download with headsets or compatible phones. Whether you are repackaging tradeshow content or creating a downloadable virtual reality experience, you can gate downloadable content to generate leads.
Ultimately, the VR experience you are creating should be part of a larger marketing campaign to boost ROI and generate qualified leads.
And that’s a wrap on our virtual reality series! We hope you had as much fun reading as we did writing, and that part three has helped you understand why virtual reality marketing is a great way to generate leads. If you missed the rest of the series, part one covered reasons to use virtual reality for content marketing, and part two covered best practices for designing and developing virtual reality.