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How to Create Virtual Events in Dynamics 365 Marketing

Do you want to host professional online events? Do you manage a small team or are you part of a large organization? With the Dynamics 365 Marketing platform, you will be hosting live events and webinars in no time, regardless of your company’s size or complexity.

In this blog, we’re going to walk you through the powerful capabilities of the Dynamics 365 Marketing platform and how to create and host live events quickly and easily. We will also cover how to drive more traffic to your events and effective strategies for converting your attendees into customers.

Over the past year during the pandemic, online events and conferences have proven to be effective means of networking and lead generation and are here to stay for the long term. Many large conferences and summits have successfully moved to virtual environments and have enlightened their attendees with immense value.

Without a doubt, the world is adapting to the change, and businesses are embracing online events to host product launches, demonstrations, trainings, And, ultimately, stay connected with their customers.

The event planning and management features of Dynamics 365 Marketing enable your business to produce webinars and live events with all of the tracking, registration, insights, hosting, engagement metrics, landing pages, and more.

Host free or paid events, internal or external webinars, product launches, roundtables, and training seminars all from within Dynamics 365 Marketing. Trusted by industry leaders around the world, the platform is so robust and comprehensive that you can produce impactful webinars for your business with even a small marketing team.

 

Table Of Contents

We will cover everything step-by-step for how to get started and manage your online events in D365 Marketing successfully:

  1. Event Setup
    Step by step guide to setup your online event with hands-on experience on how we do it.
  2. Email Utilization
    Easy way to setup your emails to engage your attendees. Plus, our plan for Pre-Event and Post-Event emails.
  3. Using Segments
    Quick way to setup your a reusable segment for your online event
  4. Customer Journeys
    Using emails and segments to create a customer journey for attendees.
  5. Next Steps
    More useful feature of D365 Marketing to help you analyze your data and download engagement reports.

 

What is Dynamics 365 Marketing?

An all-in-one solution to support your digital marketing strategy and activities.

You can manage subscription centers, user data, behavior-based customer journeys, email campaigns, trigger-based marketing, website tracking, social media posting, and newsletters, as well as create landing pages, embeddable marketing forms, and host free and paid events.

Even if you’re new to marketing, Dynamics 365 Marketing has the features and capabilities to help you execute a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

 

Overview of Dynamics 365 Marketing Event Portal

The Event Management feature is packed with everything you need to manage online events. You can manage your event team, add speakers, create sessions, accept online payments, track your progress, attendee registrations, manage accommodations, etc.

In this blog, we will be focusing on how to set up free online events from scratch.

If you’re interested in a complete demo or have any specific requirements you can chat with our experts here.

Now that we’ve been introduced to the Event Portal, let’s get started setting up our first live event.

In the guide below are based on the settings we follow to set up our webinars. Feel free to use them and if you’re stuck with something we’re here to help.

 

STEP 01: Setting Up Your Event

Basic Event Settings in Dynamics 365 Marketing

Editing The Event Title, Time, and Date

In the key information window, add your event title and select the type of event from the dropdown below. There are certain fields, such as “Event type” which aren’t required, but you can fill them out for internal use. Those unrequired fields do not affect what your attendees will see.

Set Event Capacity

Define the maximum number of attendees you’d like to host in the “Maximum event capacity” field. Consider this as how many seats you’d like to make available for your event.

If you set the “Waitlist this event” to YES, the “Waitlist” section will appear to allow you to set the “Number of invitations per slot.” If you have set “Waitlist this event” to NO then once the registration capacity is filled, the event will not accept any new registrations.

Additionally, we recommend setting the “Automatically register waitlisted contacts” to YES so that if there are any available slots due to cancellation, the system will automatically fill the open slots on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Add A Description

Under the tab “Additional Information,” you can add a description about the event. There are a couple more fields on this tab, “Primary goal” and “Expected outcome” which can be used for your internal metrics.

Adding A Hero Image

Under the tab “Website and form,” you can upload a background image for the landing page of your event. For best results, upload an image without text that is the following dimensions: 1920 px x 540 px.

Please note: The hero image is placed as a background in the web fold and is positioned at the top left of the page.

Microsoft Teams Webinar Settings

Dynamics 365 Marketing uses Microsoft Teams to produce online events by default. However, you can use any other 3rd party webinar service provider that supports D365 Marketing.

For this demonstration, we will be using Microsoft Teams.

Under “Stream This Event Online,” toggle the “Do you want to stream this event” slider to YES and then select “Teams Live Events” as the “Streaming provider.”

Next, you can manage the recording and question and answer (Q/A) settings for the event. If you wish to prohibit recording or questions from your attendees, leave the appropriate fields set to NO.

The “Attendee engagement report” is generated after your live event is over and it is accessible through Microsoft Teams which we will cover later in this blog.

The “Attendee URL” is the link that you can share with your attendees to access the live event. Remember, the attendee URL will only display once you’ve saved the event successfully.

Adding Team Members

Add Speakers

Before adding any speakers, please make sure that you’ve saved the event.

Go to “Agenda” tab, scroll down to “Speaker engagements,” and click “+ New Speaker Engagement” to add a speaker.

A window will appear asking for the speaker’s name and cost.

Add the speaker from your saved records and define the name that you would like to display for the speaker during the event.

“Speaker cost” is for internal use only and doesn’t display anywhere publicly. Once complete, click on “Save and Close” to finish adding a speaker to your event.

If you haven’t added any speakers before and your saved records are empty, click on the ”Speaker” field then select “New Speaker.” A form will appear to fill out with the new speaker‘s information and, once complete, click ”Save and Close.”

The speaker record will be successfully saved, and you can now select the new speaker from your records.

Add Producers in Dynamics 365 Marketing

As the organizer of the Teams Webinar, you will have producer capabilities by default. To add another producer or grant producer rights, you will have to add a speaker and then change the settings from MS Teams.

To do this, open Microsoft Teams then select “Calendar” from the left sidebar.

Go to your event date and double-click on the event card. A pop-up will appear then click “Edit.”

Next, you will see the speakers added in the right column. Under the name of each speaker, click on the dropdown that says “Presenter,” select “Producer” and save.

Important: A single event can have multiple producers, but the producer view is only accessible to the first person who logged in as a producer.

Registration Forms

When you create an event, a form with the “First Name,” “Last Name,” and “Email” is set up within events by default.

To add custom fields, go to the “Website and form” tab and under “Custom registration fields,” click “+ New Event Custom Registration Field” to add a new field to your form.

Select from your saved fields or click on “Custom Registration Field” then click “New Custom Registration Field” to create a new field.

You can create text fields, Boolean (yes/no), single choice, and multiple-choice fields.

If you’re hosting an event to generate leads, you might want to create some custom fields, such as Job Title, Organization Name, and Optional Phone Number.

Once done, click “Save and Close.”

Event Registration & Landing Page in Dynamics 365 Marketing

Now that we have completed all of the event settings, it’s time to preview the event page. Go to the “General” tab and, in the “Key Information” section, click on the link in the “Event URL” field. This will open the landing page for your event in a new tab.

You will use this link for sharing, promotion, and attendee registration.

Please Note: “Event URL” is not available until you click “Go Live” on top navigation bar.

 

STEP 02: Setting Up Emails in in Dynamics 365 Marketing

In order to communicate with your attendees and promote your event, provide registration confirmation, share access and recordings, etc., you will need to set up a number of emails for your event. To create emails, select “Marketing Emails” in the Marketing area and click on “+ New.”

You will be directed to a blank email in which you can create a design by using the drag and drop toolbox, predefined templates, or by uploading HTML.

Check out the video below to learn more and see the Dynamics 365 Marketing Email Designer in action.

The email designer provides the options to add a subject line, pre-header, email body content, plain email text, and dynamic expressions which can add personalization to your email such as recipient name, company name, account name, and much more.

It also provides a preview tab with unlimited previews and limited monthly built-in Litmus previews for your emails. If you ran out of Litmus previews or require more Litmus preview credits, you can purchase a basic or enterprise plan depending on your needs and use it on an individual basis.

Once you’re done with your email design, make sure you select “Go Live” on the top navigation bar to make the email design usable.

Important: Make sure to use the “Teams Check-in Button” to send your audience the attendee URL, as well as enable Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft Teams to track the attendee and help generate the Attendee Engagement Report.

To do so, you’ll need to create a new button by selecting “Add a button” from the toolbox on the right in the email designer. Then select “Teams Check-in” from the “Link to” drop down. Under “Type,” select “Event,” then select your event. Finally, edit the “Button text” and any additional styling, alignment, or spacing options.

Make sure the tracking is turned on so that you will be able to track your event check-ins.

Tip: Use consistent names or prefixes across the emails of a particular event to avoid confusion. We use a particular naming convention for all assets of the webinar such as “W1 | Webinar Name”. W1 means Webinar 1 and every asset for this webinar including the event name, marketing emails, segments, customer journey, etc. will have W1 at the beginning.

Before we move on, here’s a list of email types we use for our events. For each webinar, we have emails divided into two categories: Pre-Event (Emails that are sent before the live event) and Post-Event (Emails that are sent once the live event is over).

Pre-Event

Post-Event

The above emails are an example of how we communicate with our event registrants. Feel free to expand upon our ideas to further drive engagement and send emails about behind-the-scenes footage or other relevant content to you registrants and attendees.

Now that your emails are set up, let’s create a segment for your events.

 

STEP 03: Setting Up A Segment in Dynamics 365 Marketing

Setting Up A Dynamic Segment

Go to “Segments” in the Marketing area then select “Segments” under “Customers.” Click the dropdown in the top navigation bar and select “New” and then “New Dynamic Segment”.

You will be presented with a pop-up that contains segment templates, but you can skip this for now.

Add a query block then select “Event Registrations.”

Select “Event” from the attribute’s dropdown. Then define the event name by clicking the field “Look for event.” Press enter and select your event from the list.

Lastly, select “Contact (Event Registration -> Contact (Contact))” as an entity.

Now your segment is ready to go. Make sure to press save and check for errors before selecting “Go live” to make the segment usable within other sections of D365 Marketing.

 

STEP 04: Creating A Customer Journey in Dynamics 365 Marketing

In general, a customer journey is a set of experiences in which you engage with your audience and lead them towards the decision to purchase your products or services.

Dynamics 365 Marketing helps you to setup simple and interactive customer journeys, that automate your digital marketing efforts.

To create a new customer journey, go to the Marketing area then click on “Customer Journey” then click “New.”

Next, click on the “Select set audience box” in designer and define the source on the right sidebar. Select “Segment” as “Source Type” and type the name of your defined segment or press enter on your keyboard to preview all live segments available.

Important: Once you go live you can’t add or remove any tiles, but you can make changes to the tile properties in live edit mode.

After going live, all of the tiles in your designer tab will start showing some data which is useful for analytics. You can click each to preview the insights on the right sidebar.

Next, click on the “+” icon in designer after the “Start” label and select “Email tile.” Then on the right sidebar select the email you want to add here to send.

There are several types of tiles available for your use in Dynamics 365 Marketing Customer Journey. To learn more about it, please check out the video below.

 

Once your journey is set up, go to the “General” tab, and define “Minimum Consent” as “(1) Consent” and select your time zone, journey start, end date, and content settings. Now you’re ready to go live.

Important: Once your journey is live you can only change the end date in live edit more for the customer journey and all of the other fields will be locked.

Pre-Event Journey

We will keep the pre-event journey simple and setup 3 emails in a row and using the “Wait until” tile. The Wait until tile allows us to prevent the contacts from proceeding to the next tile for a specific date and time defined by you.

Below is the screenshot of our Pre-Event Journey we use to send emails.

Click the image to enlarge.

Bonus: We use the email expiration option available under email properties to set our 3-days-left reminder email to expire. With this feature, if someone registers 2 days before the event, they won’t receive the 3-day reminder. To do this, select your email tile, scroll down on the right sidebar, and enable “Email expiration.” Now, define the time and date for the email to expire.

Post-Event Journey

The post-event journey is more complex than the pre-event journey as we split the journey based on who attends the event and who doesn’t, as well as who views the web recording.

Click the image to enlarge.

 

WHATS NEXT?

Bonus: Some More Features of Dynamics 365 Marketing

Now that you’ve set up all the parts of your online event to run it smoothly, you can start sharing and promoting the event.

Once your event has started to get attendees registering, you will want to look after the registration and monitor that everything is running smoothly. Below are a few things that you may find helpful.

Attendee Report

See check-ins from the Events page.

This will help you see who has checked into your live event from the link you sent in the email.

Go to “Events” and then open your event. Under the “Registrations and attendance” tab, scroll down to “Event Check-ins”.

This tab also contains information about your attendees and people who canceled their registration.

Download attendee engagement report from Microsoft Teams.

The report will help you see how people have interacted with your event. You can download the report from Microsoft Teams.

Open Microsoft Teams, go to “Calendar” from the left sidebar, and go to your event date and double click the event card. If your event is over, you will be able to see something similar to the screenshot below.

Along with the report, you will also be able to:

Assigning Leads in Dynamics 365 Marketing

Now that you’ve successfully run your webinar, you can assign your leads to someone from your sales department.

Go to “Lead Management” in the Marketing area, click on leads, select all leads you want to assign, click “Assign” on the top bar. Now, select the “user or team” from the “Assign to” dropdown, select your team member, and click the button, “Assign.”

You have now successfully assigned the leads to the desired salesperson.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has helped to shed some light on the powerful capabilities of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing platform to address your event planning and digital engagement needs. You are now creating and hosting live events like a pro.

If you have any questions about live events, D365 Marketing, integrations, or implementations, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our trusted support representatives.

 

 

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