Events have always been a powerful way to attract customers and partners to your business. For example, medicine shows were popular in the United States during the 1700s and 1800s. A traveling salesperson would have medicine and other tinctures to sell, but they’d first arrange to have performances from magicians, comedians, musicians, dancers, acrobats, or other entertainers. Locals would gather to enjoy the show—then get an inevitable sales pitch. Regardless of whether they intended to purchase the product, many people would go to the medicine show for a good time.
Business events have certainly evolved since those days. Trade shows now attract thousands, product launches draw rabid fans, golf tournaments are delightful indulgences, and seminars can be a legitimate opportunity to gain exclusive knowledge.
On top of the practical benefits of events, there are strong emotional elements to consider.
“Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure, and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI),” explains a social analysis from the Mayo Clinic. “Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.”
The current problem: COVID-19-related health concerns and corresponding public policies are preventing most of the aforementioned events from occurring. If you can’t gather like you used to, you might see your sales decline, partnerships fade, and morale decrease.
But the rise of digital technology provides ample solutions to fill the void. This is indeed fortunate: similar conditions in past generations would’ve caused more poignantly negative impacts.
“Virtual events were growing quickly even before the quarantine,” says Forbes. “This is probably why we’re hearing predictions that these types of events will continue well into the future. While there’s no substitute for the excitement of live events, in many cases it’s more practical for people to attend remotely. Think of the concerts, lectures, and conferences you would have liked to attend but couldn’t because of other commitments or scheduling conflicts. A virtual event is accessible to more people. That’s why learning how to create your own virtual event is an evergreen marketing strategy worth cultivating.”
Let’s look at 6 different types of virtual events you could use to maintain momentum for your business.
1. Training Sessions
No matter what product or service you sell, there is almost always training that can go along with it. Have one of your experts hold a special session where participants get insider tips for maximizing the value of your product or service.
This approach is particularly effective for businesses with SaaS and software offerings, though it can also be beneficial for everyone from lawn care businesses to construction companies.
Tap into the energizing power of networking by bringing in speakers for a conference. Since you won’t need to spend money on a venue and other production costs, you can redirect some of the money to retaining authors, influencers, and other industry leaders.
You might be surprised by how excited people are to participate in a virtual conference. Remember, human beings typically draw inspiration and happiness from these types of gatherings.
If there’s an informational topic that your business understands better than anyone else, use a webinar to spread the word. This is your chance to showcase your expertise and provide value to potential customers worldwide.
One additional benefit of virtual events like webinars: you’ll collect contact information from participants, allowing you to follow up with strategic communications after the fact.
4. Product Launches
If you’re getting ready to release a new product or service to the world, use a virtual event to prime the pump. You can promote the benefits, proactively answer questions, and even include a link so that interested individuals can preorder the product.
For a more intimate experience, you could hold tutorials for your product or service. Use your best mentors for these sessions and limit attendance to 1–5 people. In this way, you can showcase your knowledge and ensure your customer base understands how to get the most value from your business.
6. Exclusive Events
To bolster your customer base and attract new customers, consider holding a special event for your VIPs. You might share insider tips for your products, a performance from a top entertainer, or even a virtual mixology event with a bartender.
The goal is to help your customers feel like you’re not taking them for granted during this chaotic time. By providing a premium experience, you’ll help build loyalty that lasts into the future.
Find the Right Mix
Customer service and delightful experiences are key ingredients for a successful modern business. With the right online events, you can provide what your customers are looking for without violating pandemic health codes or paying the high overhead costs often associated with such events.