So, you want to host a virtual conference and you want to do it profitably? Today’s article and video can help you make your virtual events profitable and fun.
Live events are awesome, I LOVE gathering and connecting with people live in person. So, yes, live events are amazing.
They're also expensive and there are risks associated with them because you're often spending more money – investing in a venue, on food and drinks, and banking on nothing going wrong (like hurricanes, snowstorms and pandemics) that could interfere with game day. So, while it's great to do live events, it's also great to mitigate risk and relieve some of the financial burden by doing virtual ones!
We recently had the privilege and a pleasure of taking our 3-day in-person retreat, that we've been doing several times a year for 6 years, and turning it into a virtual retreat. Truth be told, I didn’t want to do it. I thought people would not be as engaged, and that it would be a struggle to hold their attention, I also worried attendees would cancel.
I was wrong. It went better than I could have imagined. So well, in fact, that we’ve already held two more like it since!
Now I want to share with you some of what we learned (watch the video for more detailed information).
The first thing to consider is what is your vision for this experience? What is the OUTCOME you want to create? To determine this, start with: Who are the people you want to serve in this virtual experience? Do you want to have a small and intimate conference? Or do you want to have a huge one?
Another consideration is format. Are you going to let your attendees participate in the event, or keep them more as observers? These are all questions that will impact how you structure your event.
For example, if you're using zoom to run your meeting you can have a conference on zoom that is a webinar-style meeting which means that your attendees are not participating. They're not on camera, they can listen, they can type in the chat but they're not necessarily “sitting at the table” with you and/or your speakers.
The alternative, if you use zoom, is to have a “meeting,” where all of the people who attend can have their video turn on and can be seen. This works better with smaller groups.
Another thing to think about is you do a virtual conference is where, physically, are your people located? This is something I forgot to think about as I took my event virtual. I didn’t realize at first that we had 6 different timezones and that there would be someone in England starting at 2 in the afternoon in and ending at midnight. And then people on the West Coast starting at 6 in the morning and ending at 4 in the afternoon. Think about where your audience is and what time frame is most appropriate for the bulk of your participants.
Another thing you can consider is a teleconference or telesummit format. My friend and client, LeeAnn Webster creates Virtual Telesummits, where instead of having a 2-day live meeting, she creates a longer pre-recorded production that's released in daily segments over 10 or 12 days, so people can watch at their leisure. This can help to make your event appeal to more people with limited availability (i.e. they have a job they can't take a day or more off of).
Learn more about telesummits here: www.TotallyTelesummits.com.
Another thing to consider is that unlike in a live event where you have limited seating, and every single person you add probably costs you $$$ in food or venue expenses, when you're virtual, you can have a much bigger audience without having to pay whole lot more money.
Now, personally, I just did a 3-day virtual retreat. And it was fairly small, which meant it was pretty easy to keep people engaged. I mean, I could see every single person who was attending on one screen. That would've felt really different if we'd had 100 or 200 or 300 people on there. So, the number of people and your visions for the event is going to impact the technology, the structure, the format, etc.
Just like in a live event, you must consider what your monetization strategies will be. I promised you that in this video, I was going to share with you how to make your event profitable. Well, one of the biggest things that I see people do wrong is they get so caught up in making this event/experience amazing, they forget to monetize, AKA plan for what I call “the big back end.”
What is the outcome that you're going to deliver at your virtual conference that opens the door into what's next? Now, even if you have a conference with several different speakers, you can still make some sort of offering, perhaps an offering to join a community with more master speakers. Even just selling the next event or conference is something.
Just make sure you're always leading into what's NEXT.
Finally, something really important to think about is you create your virtual conference is SUPPORT, which is fundamental to enabling you to focus on what's important (like the big back end). If you are going to be the person who's emceeing and hosting and creating the event and then you're also the person who's administrating the production side, that's too much. You're “cruisin’ for a bruisin’,” as my dad would say.
Make sure that you have some support people in place to help you as you manage the production side of your event.
In summary, know that virtual events can be every bit as powerful and transformational – and profitable! – as in person ones, and in fact, maybe more so!
I hope this was helpful for you.
If you like the idea of doing virtual events and conferences, and especially if you want to do virtual retreats, like the ones we do, set up some time to connect with me and explore if and how we can support you in creating (and monetizing!) something impactful and transformational.
To book a call with me, visit www.SuperstarActivator.com/go