By: Christina Nguyen
One fun, engaging way to promote your business is by hosting events, such as conferences, hackathons, panels, or happy hours. Despite being a great way to meet new people and expand your network, in-person events can be a challenge right now.
This doesn’t mean that all businesses have to completely put off all gatherings -- many have actually been making their events virtual. Although virtual events can’t completely replace in-person contact, they’re still a great opportunity to learn new things and socialize. And, since they’re online, people living anywhere in the world can join!
Here’s some of our tips on how your business can host a fun virtual event:
Be clear on what educational value your event provides.
One reason why a lot of people attend events is to socialize, but that’s harder over a screen. Because this can be a challenge , virtual event attendees are looking for other value that’s easily conveyed digitally. If your virtual happy hour involves speeches by successful business owners, make sure this is well-advertised on the event page!
Send one or more email reminders.
Since you’re not getting dressed up and hitting the road, virtual events can be easier to forget about. Two days before the event, send a reminder email out to everyone who registered. Reiterate why they should attend and emphasize what they’re going to gain from it.
Find ways to make it interactive.
If your event is something where the attendees don’t speak as much, such as a panel, find ways to make it interactive. Not being physically present can make an attendee bored and disengaged. Keep them watching by asking the audience questions every 20 minutes and have them leave their answers in the chat. Poll them or ask them to solve a problem. You never know what insights you’ll gather! This will also help them network since they can connect over interesting answers.
Even if your event isn’t officially a traditional networking event, a lot of your attendees are likely to be open to making new connections anyway. Your audience probably has a lot in common and could discover more commonalities through their answers in our last tip. If your event is at least somewhat interactive, encourage attendees to drop their LinkedIn URLs in the chat.
Show appreciation post-event.
Having your event online means you can’t give out free food, drinks, or swag bags. However, you can still give out digital goodies! After the event, you can email all attendees coupon codes for products, webinars, and memberships for anything relevant to your event content. For example, you can give them a 30% discount to a $100 conference you’re hosting next month.
Just because virtual events aren’t exactly the same as in-person events, it doesn’t mean you can’t go all out and have fun. Remember to give these events as much importance and effort as you would for your in-person events. Keep your branding consistent and your enthusiasm up. Even if you don’t feel quite as stimulated talking to a screen, sitting in your living room, keeping your energy high can help lighten things up during any trying times.
Have you been to or hosted any online events? What are some tips and considerations you have to make them fun, educational, and engaging? Let us know in the comments below!
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About Stingray Advisory Group LLC: Stingray Advisory Group LLC is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is a proud member of Local First and the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We help small businesses grow by providing guidance in financial planning, website development, marketing, and more.
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