How to host successful live events online

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a significant uptick in the number of entrepreneurs and businesses doing live online events. Part of this is due to the rampant nature of the deadly COVID-19 virus that is sweeping through the world. But this is also part of a much larger trend – the shift to digital events, that is.

If you’re considering hosting a live online event, you certainly have your mind in the right place. But before diving right in, you’ll want to do a little bit of planning.

Why Choose Live Online Events?

Live online events – which typically include things like webinars or Facebook Live Q&A sessions – are appealing to both the host and the attendees. We’re going to choose to look at it from the perspective of the host. From this vantage point, the benefits of live online events include:

  • Easy. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, some basic software, and you’re good to go. It doesn’t get much easier than a live event that you can host while sitting at your home office desk.
  • Low overhead. When you run a physical live event, you have to rent an event space, tables, and chairs. You have to print out physical materials. You have to hire people to manage registration. You need a facilities staff. There’s transportation to and from the event – possibly even lodging. With a virtual event, there’s none of this. This makes it significantly cheaper to execute.
  • Larger target market. With a physical live event, you’re limited to people who live within a certain radius of the event space and/or people who are willing to travel. With an online event, anyone from any place in the world can join in. This exponentially increases your target market.

5 Secrets for Success

All of the ingredients for success are there, but it’s up to you to execute. Here are some of the secrets to being successful with live online events:

  1. Choose the Right Topic

Your live event needs to have a magnetic topic, otherwise people will see it as another generic piece of content that they can gloss over and/or consume at a later point in time.

Instead of hosting a webinar on “home organization,” try hosting a webinar titled “Using the Triangle Method to Organize Your Home and Reduce Clutter by 77 Percent.” Do you see the difference? A topic like this makes people curious (what is the Triangle Method?); it’s rewarding (reduce clutter); and it’s specific (77 percent).

  1. Choose a Platform

Where will you host your live event? If you’re doing a webinar, there are more than a dozen reputable webinar platforms that are free or low-cost and have incredibly rich features and functionality. Or you can always do a social media event on Facebook Live or YouTube. Pick something and go with it!

  1. Generate Leads

You can’t have a successful live event if you don’t have people on board. Lead generation is the bulk of what you’ll be doing. It’s the most important part in the process – even more important than hosting the event itself.

There are multiple ways to generate leads, but a carefully curated email list is always a good place to start. Social media works well, too. You may also consider paid advertising – granted you’re able to narrow your demographic down to a very specific sub-segment of the population.

  1. Over Deliver

The actual live event itself is all about engaging people and over delivering. You want people to come to the event excited to learn something and then deliver them two- or three-times the value they were anticipating. This allows you to upsell on the backend and monetize the experience.

  1. Conduct a Post-Event Survey

You might think you’re done when the money for products and services start pouring in, but this is only the start. Now comes one of the most important steps in the entire process. It’s time to conduct a post-event survey.

A post-event survey is your chance to ask participants targeted questions about the event to see what worked and what didn’t. This information can then be applied to future webinars.

Following the post-event survey, gather your team and conduct a post-event meeting where you discuss the findings and talk about what happened behind the scenes. What went well? What was a disaster? Are there points of friction that can be smoothed over for the next event?

Adding It All up

Remember: simplicity is one of the benefits of this digital model. You don’t have to make live events more complicated than they are. The formula for success ultimately looks like this:

Right Topic + Right Lead Gen + Right Execution = Success

Each one of these elements can be broken down into dozens of different parts, but the overarching framework isn’t that complicated. Give it a try, study the results, optimize, and try again!

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