Just in case you haven’t seen enough about coronavirus in the news recently, it’s time to accept that in the tech world and beyond it, we are all feeling its effects.
COVID-19 has dramatically altered the events landscape and for the events industry. Hundreds, if not thousands of events around the world have been cancelled, causing a catastrophic downturn for events companies.
Even those businesses who do not operate directly in the events industry are being affected by this. Whether you have invested heavily in your marketing strategy to attend global events, or you were hosting an event to tempt potential customers, the coronavirus is rapidly changing how events are progressing.
We all need to adapt the way that we work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all events should or will be cancelled. Many are being postponed, and even more are moving online.
How can I run a digital event?
Quite easily, actually.
A digital event has a huge number of benefits in general, and even more during this time of pandemic. By reducing the amount of social contact, you can remove any risk of spreading an infection. You also reduce travel costs and time for your delegates, removing two key barriers to entry.
When organising your digital event, whether that’s a replacement for a previously organised event or a fresh start, you will need to consider very different metrics and monetisation opportunities.
If you and your business are considering hosting a digital event now instead of a ‘real-life’ one, here are some tips for making sure the event helps your bottom line:
Communicate the change clearly
If you have decided to transition an in-person event to a digital and online event, it is critical that you communicate the change clearly. Some delegates may have cancelled and already made other plans to fill the time, so the quicker you can let your signups know that you’re changing the venue from reality to online, the more likely you will transition a higher portion of your delegates.
Obviously you don’t want to fearmonger; the last thing you want to do is increase anxiety in your target audience. Instead, you want to clearly signpost your audience to whichever digital platform that you will host your event through.
Look for new ways to interact
It’s easy to network and meet new people at events when they are held in-person – but it’s much more difficult, if not impossible, on a digital event.
But that’s because most digital event organisers haven’t thought it through properly. You need to put in place incentives for your online delegates to engage in the chat function, submit questions, and even opt-in to have their details shared with other delegates for future networking opportunities.
Anything you create to encourage more engagement is going to create a more positive experience for your delegates, and make them far more likely to want to attend another one of your digital events – or do business with you.
Reduce your costs immediately
Part of hosting an event online means reducing your costs immediately. You will have no venue charge, no catering costs, no security concerns, and no lanyards. Those are just four of the most common costs that a conference or event will need to consider, and by hosting your event online, you will avoid them all.
That doesn’t mean that you’ll reduce all need for expenditure, because you may decide to upgrade your account on a hosting site such as Zoom or Google Hangouts to a premium version to ensure you can access all the features. Even then, you’ll maximise your bottom line by removing the vast majority of those costs.
Monetise through simplicity
No one wants to feel like they are being fleeced for attending an event, so when you move to digital events, you need to ensure you monetise or cover your costs through simplicity.
As your costs are lower, it is possible for you to reduce the cost of the event – and this may lead naturally to an increase in signups because the price barrier has been lowered. This ironically may generate a higher return, overall.
A digital event doesn’t have to mean a decrease in revenue, but you will need to think differently about how you approach it.
Disagree with me? Email Claire now!