In the wake of the recent outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), event organizers globally are tasked with some very difficult decisions on up-and-coming scheduled events. Continue, postpone or cancel? Major industry, association and sporting events have been affected in recent weeks, causing some concern for short-term scheduled events. It goes without saying that decisions primarily are driven by attendee health and safety concerns but that leads to the next question:
How can event organizers continue to provide value to their attendees, sponsors and participants during scheduled in-person event disruption?
Like most event organizers, you know the importance of creating and producing consistent quality content to share with your audience during your events. In a period of limited scheduled (or even cancelled in-person events), there is even more demand from your attendees and subscribers to have access to this high-quality content, remotely.
Webinars / digital / virtual events (whatever your description) are great lead magnets. They are extremely cost-effective and can be instrumental in growing your business faster than any other lead magnet. Organizers, how can you continue provide value to your remote audience in the wake of scheduled event disruption and what is it going to take to generate revenue from digital events?
Our goal is to provide you a few things to consider with regard to developing and monetizing effective virtual events and webinars (as an alternative to in-person events):
Canvas your Audience: Let them Speak (Listen and Take Note)
Before you can even get working on or host (let alone consider monetizing your webinar/digital event as an alternative), the first thing you need to confirm is what key aspects of your in-person event resulted in it’s original successes? Don’t complicate things – speak directly with your attendees and speakers to understand and identify which topics resonate directly with them at this time. Surveys are still a great canvasing tool but be careful how you pose your questions – more detailed on the content-side of things, the better. Also, engage your audience via polls and comments on posts / surveys. Ted Rubin coined #RonR which plays a vital role in how companies engage consumers in this day and age. Information and opinion is king – this will set you on a course for success developing a timely, relevant digital event for your audience.
Now what? Develop your Digital Event / Webinar Content
You have your key themes and topics (whether you roll over existing content from original postponed events) or look to build out new content and speakers, it is now time to understand the virtual production component of your webinar / virtual event. Whether a small business or large-scale seasoned event organizer, there are many cost-effective (and in many cases) free webinar tools for you to use and host. Good camera and mic always helps as well as look into some of the many online streaming platforms that offer powerful editing tools like SocialLive, Restream or Zoom.
Setup your Registration Options (keep it simple)
This is your entirely your choice but whether you wish to internally handle this process or use an established tool such as Eventbrite or Cvent, these can certainly help maximize your webinar exposure, as well as the ease of registration on multiple social and digital channels. Make sure you offer individual or group ticket types and perhaps (if hosting an existing scheduled event digitally), offer additional discounted registration options to early-signups / groups. The benefit to modern ticketing platforms such as Eventbrite include promoting paid webinars effortlessly and you can begin selling registrations through Facebook and Instagram with one click. Remember, your audience is your most valuable asset and in our experiences, the most successful digital events and webinars have features where you can engage directly with the participants in real time, as well as share recordings / content post event and develop a post event marketing campaign to keep your attendees connected and engaged.
Curate an Event Engagement Strategy and Process
Maximize your virtual event engagement though digital handouts, post event recordings, transcripts and chat logs. As a reminder, one of the primary reasons attendees participate is to learn offering all your webinar attendees something tangible. During and post-event digital content and resources will continue to increase your lead sourcing, attendee engagement and post event digital strategy. Additionally, consider during event including feedback tools including surveys, polls and other engagement options to enhance the connections between participants and source feedback for future events and webinars.
Off-the-Bat: Plan and Promote for your Future Digital and In-Person Events
Any successful event planner knows that the work doesn’t end when your event is up. In-fact, this is a key period for planning and preparing your next event right when it is front of mind for your attendees and subscribers. You are missing a golden opportunity if you are not ready and prepared to promote your next event at the culmination of your existing one. One other option to explore is to reward loyal customers with discounts to your next event.
There are many more features to going virtual to grow your event experiences but these are some of the key benefits. Feel free to leave comments below.
Your idea could change everything. Our goal is to help bring your idea to reality in the form of a truly unique digital / virtual event experience.
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With over 30 years experience in launching and developing unique events (in-person and virtual), our goal is to help you bring your idea to life. We can provide consultation, planning and proof-of-concept strategies on all aspects of event creation including:
- Event Strategy & Production
- Marketing Strategy
- Content creation and distribution
- Speaker Selection & Recruitment
- Sponsorship and Attendee Acquisition
- Venue Sourcing & Logistics
- And much more…
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