In today’s world we have seen a dramatic shift to virtual online events. It is easier than ever before to jump on this bandwagon, create your own virtual events and grow your business fast. There are several types of events that are being created online. You will find virtual events such as 1-hour webinars, half or full day events, and multiple day summits to name a few. The multiple day events can be anywhere from 3 to 10 days. We are seeing these events produced as either live events or as pre-recorded interviews.
If you want to host an online event by yourself (not a multi-speaker event), use the following 16-part formula to successfully create your own virtual event.
- Select your ultimate topic
The first step, after you decide on the type of event you want to create (live virtual or recorded) you need to select your ultimate topic. Select a topic that you are knowledgeable about, passionate about, and that an audience wants. This topic must be attractive, interesting, and solves a problem that your audience wants so much that they are willing to show up.
- Decide on the length
Next, determine whether you want to host a one-hour webinar, one-day event, 3-day summit, or some other length. My recommendation would be start with a small one-hour webinar. Once you have completed a couple of successful short events, then jump to a half-day event. In other words, do not try to do a 3-day summit if it is your first event. That is a huge undertaking. It is a lot of work and can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the email list to support it.
- Create a compelling event name
Event names are your marketing attraction tool that will get people to want to come to the event. Typically, the name of your event should be no more than three to four words. Here are some examples of my events or events that I’ve been a part of: Million Dollar Speaker Summit, Limitless Success Summit, Virtual Speaking Summit, or Business Development Summit. Whenever name you choose, make it appealing to lure the reader in for more.
- Pick a date in the future
You will want to pick a date far enough in the future that it allows you time to market it successfully. If it is a live event, you will typically need six months minimum to market. For a virtual event, one month is enough to get a decent crowd. The bulk of your registrations for a virtual event will come in the final days leading up to the event so market heavily during the last week.
- Decide if it is a paid or free event
The shorter lead time for the event the closer to “free” it should be. Or if it is your first event, I recommend you do it for free. Do not let the price get in the way of getting people in the virtual room and having a great experience with you. Since a virtual event has little or no cost to produce, I usually will run a free or low-cost event several times a year. For example, my multi-speaker event “Limitless Success Summit” is free. My one-day event, “Speak Up, Get Clients” is $47 because I want people to have some skin in the game. The Million Dollar Speaker Summit, however, is $97 to attend virtually for three days. Typically, you will see $97 and/or $197 as a price point for 3-day virtual events. The $197 fee is usually for the upsell to VIP access which includes the recordings.
In general, the shorter the virtual event you find out there, the more likely they will be free. The longer the event the more likely you will see a fee to attend it.
- Select a virtual platform
There is an abundance of platforms out there you can use. You might choose to run your virtual event on a Zoom meeting, Zoom webinar, GoToWebinar, or other types of software (like Hopin). You need to decide. Some events are run as livestreams in Facebook groups or on pages using software like StreamYard or Restream.
- Decide delivery method (Meeting or Webinar)
Once you have decided on your virtual platform, decide the delivery method. For example, if you are running your event on Zoom, then you will need to determine if you want to use a webinar verses a meeting. If you are using a platform like StreamYard, then you’ll deliver it via a livestream on selected networks (like Facebook).
I recommend using the Zoom webinar platform when you do not have a lot of attendees and when you don’t want people to know the number of participants present or who they are. Your attendees will not be able to see the list of names on a webinar platform as they do on a Zoom meeting. Only the host sees the number of participants and their names. The only people the participants see is the host, co-host, and any panelists.
On a Zoom webinar platform, you can bring in any participant as a panelist. This is good to do when bringing in another speaker or an audience member who wants to speak. You can have an unlimited number of panelists. It is a little more complicated than using a Zoom meeting because it requires the extra step of changing the participant to a panelist. Also, people like coming to a webinar event anonymously and a webinar format allows that freedom for participants who are Zoomed out and don’t want to be on camera.
In a Zoom meeting everyone can see all the participants. This can be a distraction for some individuals because everyone can see everyone by default and what they are doing. Plus, if you promised a large number of attendees and only a few show up, that might not look so good. In this case you might want to use Zoom webinar. In Zoom meetings, however, you do have the option to use breakout rooms which is unavailable on the Zoom webinar platform (as of this writing).
In other words, think about the user experience you want to create for the attendees and the perception you want them to have of your event, and then decide on the proper delivery method.
- Set up the backend of your meeting, webinar, landing page, and shopping cart
You will need to think through the various backend items you need to ensure your event is well attended and well delivered. Some of these tasks include:
Schedule the Zoom meeting or Zoom webinar. Zoom webinars can be set up to automatically send registrants event email reminders. However, Zoom meetings do not have the reminders or follow up email options. Also, on Zoom webinars, you get great reports on who registered, attended, and did not show up. These reports are very useful in managing and marketing future events.
At a minimum you will also need a landing page. If you don’t have a sophisticated CRM system or website to capture registered names, then you can use Eventbrite to promote your event. Especially, if it is a free event. Another cool use for Eventbrite is the extra visibility it creates. People often go to Eventbrite to find out what events are happening in their area.
Eventbrite can take the fee too, but they do charge $5/transaction for any paid events. So be sure to build that extra fee into your event price. Eventbrite will send you the money after the event is completed. When your event is free, Eventbrite does not charge a fee.
What we do for our events is set up both a website landing page and an Eventbrite event. This gives us more visibility to those who search on Eventbrite and on the web. Then we take the Eventbrite attendees and enter them into our email marketing system so we can communicate with them and send them the Zoom link to join your event.
- Create a bit.ly.com link if your link is too long
If you do not have a landing page, you can use a Zoom webinar registration page. When you set up your Zoom webinar or meeting link be sure to shorten the link with bitly.com or another link shortener. The Zoom link can be very long with a password embedded in it so shortening it makes it much more usable. Furthermore, customize your shortened link so you can easily communicate the link when you or someone else is promoting the event.
There are always people who need the Zoom link at the last minute. Having a shorter link, makes it easy to share the link and ensure they attend.
- Generate your marketing posts or emails
Create the content that will be used for marketing. This includes email messages and social media posts to promote your event. You will want to prepare at least two email messages to go out per week. Also prepare one email per day to be sent out during the week of the event. This would be for the month(s) or week(s) ahead for a virtual event.
Here is an example of a multi-speaker event graphic for my Limitless Success Summit:
- Market your event (broadcast on email, social media, podcast, and other virtual events)
Marketing includes email, social media, podcasts, speaking opportunities, YouTube videos, virtual meetings, and anything you do to attract attendees to your event. At any networking meetings you go to, you will want to promote your upcoming events.
Consider creating marketing YouTube videos with powerful content and an invitation to come to the event. Do some Facebook LIVEs or any other livestream platforms to advertise your event. Get yourself scheduled as a guest on podcasts and other speaking engagements where you can make the invitation to join you for the event.
For social media posts, to promote your event consider posting 5 or 6 times per day. Typically, I will put the link in the comments instead of the post description in hopes that Facebook will show the post without a link to more people.
- Decide on your invitation
While you are promoting, decide what your invitation will be. In other words, what are you going to promote and sell at your own event. For example, you can promote:
- another event,
- your coaching program,
- an online self-study program.
To determine what offer to make, consider the duration of your event. The longer the event, the higher the price of the offer.
For example, at a 3-day event, you could sell a $10k mastermind. At a 1-hour webinar, a great offer is a free consultation, or you could sell a small ticket item of $47 to $97. In a half-day or 1 day event, you could sell something for $997 (a bigger event or coaching program under $1k). Whatever you decide to offer make it congruent with your topic, event, audience, and length of time.
For more tips on how to make the invitation read this blog: https://arveerobinson.com/always-have-a-call-to-action-non-negotiable-7/
- Develop your PowerPoint and plan interaction
When doing a virtual event, you want to mix it up. You can use PowerPoint but also include other ways to engage your attendees. You can do breakout rooms, play videos, have panels, hotseats and you can place yourself in solo/spotlight speaker view on occasion too. You must make up for the lack of physical interaction that is normally an in person, live experience. In the virtual space where people can get easily bored, get creative and use your props and on-screen visual aids. Plan opportunities for audience participation in the chat and with the reaction buttons, Q&A, and polls. The more variety you have, the more your audience will stay engaged and have a great virtual experience at your event.
- Prepare yourself and your environment
Your physical environment matters. Make sure you look good, and your physical environment looks good. Virtual backgrounds are not recommended. Virtual backgrounds say more about you than you think. They may even give off the vibe that you are hiding something. With the virtual background they cannot see what you are about and you lose the 3-dimensional real feel, plus your hair and hands often go in and out of the view. Instead, I recommend you stage your space. You can have a table with flowers on it, signage, books, and props.
Since you are a professional, your background speaks volumes for you and what you do. My background with my bookcase and brand colors speaks that I am knowledgeable, neat, a Christian, and I’m positive with motivational words around me. You can even put your branded signs up behind you and consciously set up your environment to reflect your professionalism.
- Deliver a great virtual presentation
Delivering a great presentation includes ensuring you stay on time and have high energy. Make sure you are well rested and on the top of your game, ready to serve your audience. Also, have your presentation complete, prepared, and practiced long before you deliver it. There is nothing worse or more stressful than to be creating your PowerPoint at the last minute just hours before you step on stage.
Be sure that you leave enough time for your close, so you are not rushed. Do the close 3/4th of the way through your presentation. If you’re doing a 1-day event do your close at 3 pm or 4 pm. If you’re running a 1-hour event start your close at 45 minutes. Whatever you do, don’t wait until the very end to do your close. People may leave early and miss it. All too often a speaker who hasn’t planned their close for 3/4ths through will feel rushed and tired and will miss a huge opportunity to serve the audience with their invitation. After your invitation, take a break and give people the chance to sign up. Let them know there is more, and you’ll wrap up with some high value content at the very end.
- Follow-up and close the business
Take the week after your event to focus on following up and closing business. I’ve outlined exactly how to do this in the profitable follow-up blog here: https://arveerobinson.com/how-to-follow-up-to-get-clients-from-speaking-engagements/
If you know who attended and who didn’t, send them both an email. Thank the people who came in your email and give them a link to the recording (if you are making that available). For those who didn’t come you can send an email that says, “Sorry we missed you, check out the recording.”
Your priority is to follow-up with people who are interested. If they took you up on your offer and put a deposit or scheduled a strategy session, you need to follow-up with them. Make sure there is no buyer’s remorse and that they will follow-through.
If they bought a program, follow up with the welcome information. The longer you wait, the colder they get. They may start to question, did I do the right thing, did I make the right decision? You must follow up within 24 hours or you close lose the sale, and your customer could lose their enthusiasm and the solution they were looking for.
Use these guidelines and you will find that your event will be a big success for you and your audience.
To see how this is done and experience a free virtual event with me, join us here http://limitlesssuccesssummit.com/