Sherman College of Chiropractic
Pioneering higher education virtual events through powerful technology partnerships
additional revenue generated for Lyceum 2020
increase in targeted student attendance
saved in registration revenue by pivoting to virtual
Located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Sherman College of Chiropractic is a premier private graduate college focused on health sciences. Dr. Jillian Farrell, Director of Continuing Education, is a practicing chiropractor, educator, and department lead managing a host of continuing education events. With a close-knit community, she notes that their annual Lyceum is an industry-leading event. The event includes continuing education courses to help retain licensure, chiropractic technique-focused breakouts, social events, and plenary speakers. The event hosts nearly 800 attendees annually between chiropractors, faculty, staff, and students.
Managing Lyceum 2020 During an Unexpected Global Crisis
With a nearly year-long planning process, Lyceum 2020 was intended to be Sherman College’s best event yet. However, a global health crisis created an unexpected challenge. After starting their planning process in June 2019, Jillian’s team had migrated Lyceum 2020 to a New Standard (Flex) registration site in Cvent. “When Cvent came out with Flex, I was really able to tailor it to our entire brand message,” says Jillian. “It looked completely modern and was really intuitive to me.”
With a dynamic site in place, her team opened registration in January 2020. By the end of February, the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading rapidly. Jillian worked with her leadership team to analyze several options, including cancelling the event altogether. To do so would have meant refunding nearly $60,000 in registrations, an invaluable source of revenue for the college. The choice was clear. “The administration decided to pivot from a live event to a virtual event, based off CDC guidelines,” explains Jillian.
Relying on Streamlined Communications for Successful Virtual Integrations
Jillian decided to use Cvent’s Event Marketing and Management tool in conjunction with Streamlined Communications and the ON24 virtual platform. As a dedicated integration partner, Streamlined was able to support Sherman College in pivoting and executing a successful virtual event in a matter of weeks. “From the day of our kickoff call with Streamlined to the actual event was fifteen days, including weekends,” says Jillian. During that incredibly tight window, Streamlined was able to upload all content, support the virtual event build, enable needed functionality for sponsors and vendors, and manage attendee communications. This workflow allowed Jillian’s team to pivot efficiently to create a premier attendee experience. The seamless integration with Cvent and the ON24 virtual platform consolidated key data points within a centralized data source. This eased an already stressful process and ensured the small team would not be forced to manage error-prone, manual data exports and imports.
Expanding Marketing Reach to Drive Virtual Registration
With the shift to virtual, Jillian’s team had to manage shifting audience expectations. She quickly retargeted attendees directly within Cvent’s email marketing functionality. Leaving registration open through the event helped maximize revenue streams. “I was definitely able to use the email functionality right within Cvent to notify our already registered attendees of our switch to virtual and the options moving forward. We were also able to communicate all sorts of items to them up to the event, like how to log in or choose which class to attend.” She adds that pivoting their invite strategy directly within Cvent allowed her team to maintain the seamless registration flow that was already in place for their live event. “The functionality of that email tool inside the event was absolutely amazing and it allowed us to give our attendees the knowledge they needed, when they needed it,” she adds.
Given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, states began making exceptions to previous strict rules for CE credits. This, in addition to a fully virtual experience, presented new opportunities to expand Sherman College’s marketing strategy. “States began allowing for online continuing education hours that had never done it before, so we had to shift our targeted marketing to that broader audience given the virtual event,” explains Jillian. Her team sent targeted emails to contacts fitting specific list criteria for states making exceptions. They also used multi-channel strategies such as targeted social media ads on Facebook and Instagram to drive registration. Ultimately, they saw almost 750 registrations with significant increases in key demographics for registered chiropractors, students, and faculty. A 10% increase in student registrations was a particularly meaningful KPI for Jillian’s team, as they continue to work to increase participation from the student body. She notes that this metric is a sign of success for the virtual format. She explains, “I think a testament to the virtual learning environment is the adaption of especially our younger generation and how they feel about technology.”