How To Organize Online Events For Your Small Business

These days, hosting online events has become all the rage for many businesses across the world. Big and small brands organize online events for many valid reasons. Case in point, doing so lets them promote their brand and engage with customers.

Just imagine the possibilities.

Because of their virtual nature, online events can go beyond the limitations of in-person events. You, as a startup owner, don’t even have to leave your office or home to market your brand.

So if you haven’t been taking advantage of this amazing, cost-effective marketing tool yet, now may be the perfect time.

Allow us to show you how to organize online events successfully. In fact, we’ll even give you ideas about activities you can do online.

Important reminders as you organize online events

Make no mistake about it! A good online event doesn’t simply happen. It takes careful preparation. You definitely want participants to have a positive experience overall.

That said, here are some practical pointers to help you out:  

1. Begin with a goal in mind.

First and foremost, you need to start with an objective. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve will give you an idea about which virtual activities are most appropriate for your brand.

You can then proceed with planning the event and ironing out all the details.

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As Tim Simpson, brand and engagement strategist of Maritz Global Events, told Business Insider:

"Once you know the why, you can work out what you are trying to accomplish, then that's going to dictate the how. With a strong intention and a clear purpose, you are ready to communicate to your audience exactly what you're doing and why they should participate."

2. Make the event fun and interesting.

As with in-person events, you want to keep your audience awake and interested. So prepare some games, icebreakers, and prizes. Most importantly, get the best possible speakers or presenters. Take time to research and contact industry experts to see if you can hire them for your events.

Otherwise, make sure to use infographics and/or videos if you are doing the presentation yourself.

In an INC feature, Red Branch Media’s Maren Hogan said:

“An amazing Slideshare really does make a world of difference, especially in a virtual event or presentation. Virtual communications are by their nature far less dynamic than in-person, so you need visuals – something to engage and stimulate.”

3. Pick which platform is best – and prepare your equipment in advance.

Part of hosting an online event is identifying which platform and tools to use. Will you be doing a livestream on Facebook or YouTube? Will you conduct it via a Zoom or Google Meet video call? It’s all up for you to decide.

In any case, make it a point to prepare everything you need in advance. Test your microphone and camera before the event. Have back-up Wi-Fi ready, just in case you encounter connection issues during the event.

4. Select the right date and then promote your event.

Next, choose a date and time for the event.

Schedule one that’s accessible for most of your audience. Avoid dates that may have similar events in your industry. That way, people will not feel conflicted about choosing which to attend.

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Once you’ve settled on a date, begin reaching out to your target audience. Actively promote your event by frequently posting about it on your social media channels and email subscribers list. You can even use text messaging to invite potential attendees.

Different types of online events

The most popular online events startups organize include:

1. Webinars and online courses

If you have an interesting skill to share or a topic to discuss, you can do it through a webinar or an online course.

As pointed out above, make your presentation interesting and interactive. Leave room for comments and questions from your audience.

2. Online product or service launch

Got new products or services to introduce? You can organize online events around those, as well. This gives you the chance to pitch directly to your target market. Write a script to make sure that you mention all the advantages you offer and what sets you apart from competitors.

3. Speed networking

Online networking can be a fun way to expand your network and help others grow theirs, too.

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These online events make it possible for you and the participants to make meaningful connections quickly. Think of it like speed dating but with business objectives in mind!  

4. Online concerts and influencer livestreams

Hire top talent for a virtual concert. Alternatively, you may want to host a livestream with local influencers.

Having well-known personalities endorse your business will have a huge impact. Besides, they have established a following, so you’ll have an immediate audience for your event.

5. Online tour of your store

If you own a physical shop, you might want to do a livestream and show people around. Take time to introduce the various products you have. Do a demo about how the products work, if appropriate. Also, let them know if your offerings are available for delivery and shipping.

Final thoughts: Online events aren't the be-all and end-all of marketing your small business

Virtual events are truly a fantastic way to market your business. However, this is not to say that you should rely on them all the time. In-person events also bring distinct benefits. They’re more personal and more prestigious. Nothing compares to the feeling of walking into an event venue and then leaving later, feeling satisfied and happy.

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Warm Robots founder Goldie Chan said that “there are no solid replacements” for brands to “build their audience engagement quite like in-person communication and networking."

So yes, feel free to organize online events for your startup but never limit yourself. You may also host in-person events or even hybrid ones so as to attract more of your target crowd. Again, it all boils down to what you want to achieve and how you plan to accomplish it. 

Good luck on your upcoming events!

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