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How to Host Engaging Virtual Events That Sell

Introduction

Webinars, summits, and online workshops represent powerful formats for showcasing expertise, building community, and generating revenue. But captivating digital attendees in an era of endless online content requires thoughtful strategy.

This guide will explore best practices for planning and hosting virtual events that engage participants while also driving sales – from selecting compelling topics to facilitating interactive delivery formats that stick.

You’ll discover how to seamlessly blend education, entertainment, connection, and promotion throughout online gatherings using tactics for driving registration, participation, and conversions. Let’s make your next virtual event impossible to forget.

Choose Subjects Strategically

Every programming decision stems from carefully selecting relevant event topics and themes based on your goals, brand, and audience interests. Vet ideas based on:

Thought Leadership Establishment

What specialized knowledge and insights can you uniquely share to position yourself as an authority?

Trend Alignment

Research search trends, news events, cultural movements etc. sparking wide curiosity perfect for capitalizing on through timely virtual events.

Member/Customer Feedback

Survey your audience on the most pressing challenges they want solutions for and topics of keenest interest to them currently.

Competitor Blindspots

Review virtual events competitors have hosted recently and identify unaddressed niches presenting opportunities to differentiate your programming.

Promotional Opportunities

Consider how topics align with your core products, services and offers worth spotlighting to event participants.

Insights into audience needs and interests inform the best subjects to drive registration and engagement.

Determine Event Format Approach

With your subject matter focus defined, structure programming by evaluating format options:

Single Long Sessions

Hosting one 3+ hour comprehensive workshop allows diving deep into a focused topic completely in one sitting.

Short Burst Series

Breaking topics into a series of multiple shorter sessions over days or weeks provides schedule flexibility but also tests commitment.

Panel Discussions

Construct sessions around lively panel conversations between multiple experts debating various angles of an issue.

Hands-On Workshops

Incorporate hands-on exercises, live demos, or creation sessions to make learning immediately tangible and participatory.

Interview Special Guests

Invite influential guest speakers to share exclusive stories and insights through hosted interviews driving buzz.

Matching formats to your bandwidth, expertise strengths, and audience needs keeps programs fresh.

Craft Compelling Session Titles

Create irresistible session headlines optimized to grab attention in promotions by:

Highlighting Benefits

Lead titles with aspirational outcomes attendees will gain like “Master Productivity”, “Build Authentic Connections” etc.

Sparking Curiosity

Leverage “how to” framing or provocative questions prompting the need to attend like “Unlocking High Ticket Sales” or “Is Your Business Actually Profitable?”

Establishing Authority

Incorporate powerful neurolinguistic programming (NLP) power words into titles like “The Proven Framework for…” or “Complete Guide to…”

Using Numbers

Lead with stats like “5 Ways to…” or “7 Steps for…” Numerical lists pique reader interest in learning more.

Inspiring Transformation

Share the tangible change attendees can expect through titles like “From Stressed to Serene in 21 Days”

Using Trending Terms

Work topical keywords and search terms into session names to catch searcher attention.

Optimized titles and session names directly impact perceptions of overall event value and relevance.

Promote Events Through Multi-Channel Marketing

Raising awareness for your virtual event requires expansive promotion across channels including:

Email Broadcasts

Announce events through attention-grabbing emails to your subscriber list with details on scheduling, speakers and registration links.

Social Media Posts

Share event details and speaker spotlights across social channels while posting regularly to keep the event top of mind for followers.

Retargeting Ads

Remarket the event through ads to visitors who previously engaged with your site and any related content.

Affiliate Partnerships

Recruit influencers, bloggers, brands etc. with aligned audiences to help promote through dedicated landing pages facilitating referral sign ups.

Press Releases

Distribute press releases to online media outlets in your niche announcing event details and featured expert guests.

Run paid ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram etc. using the event name and relevant keywords to find interested searchers.

Doing the work upfront to actively promote through diverse channels helps ensure event awareness cuts through the noise.

Structure Agendas Strategically

Carefully script agendas maximizing value for time while maintaining energy by:

Kicking Off Strong

Start with lively icebreakers, goal setting, high-energy exercises etc. to grab focus immediately.

Short Segments

Break content into focused 15-45 minute segments bridged with quick stretch breaks, polls and activities to restart engagement.

Varied Presentation Styles

Alternate between lectures, panels, small group work, multimedia, guest talks etc. to provide diverse stimulus.

Fun Interludes

Inject quick casual content like funny video clips, raffles, or participant show & tell spots to lighten moods.

Interactive Portions

Incorporate ample Q&As, chat discussions, live polls, and crowd sharing opportunities to prevent passive listening.

Recaps and Takeaways

Close each segment or session summarizing key lessons and learnings to reinforce retention of core concepts.

Thoughtfully choreographed pacing and activities keep energy high and participants focused throughout.

Facilitate Engaging Delivery

Your moderation and facilitation skills make or break engagement. Tactics to master include:

Practice Runs

Practice presenting content aloud with timers to refine pacing and transitions. Rehearse technically operating virtual room tools and features.

Warming Up Vocally

Prepare your voice for lively delivery by doing vocal exercises and drinking warm liquids before going live.

Monitoring Chat

Watch chat closely for issues, questions, suggestions etc. raised by attendees and address in real time to show you’re listening.

Virtual Camera Presence

Look directly into your webcam frequently when speaking to create “eye contact” with viewers. Convey energy through your facial expressions and gestures.

Managing Q&As

Repeat or summarize questions before answering to ensure all attendees hear full context. Don’t allow a few people to dominate conversations.

Using Names

Address attendees by name and thank them for contributions to add personal connections. Learn and use names for returning participants.

Even small tweaks to your virtual delivery techniques can exponentially boost event dynamism.

Add Sponsor Offers Without Detracting

Sponsors help monetize time invested in events. Maximize their value while avoiding overcommercialization by:

Limiting Sponsor Slots

Having too many sponsors dilutes potential impact for everyone. Ideal number is usually 2-4 depending on event length and audience size.

Vetting Relevance

Ensure sponsors have legitimate relevance to your audience and niche so their inclusion gives real utility to attendees vs. detracting.

Offering Interactive Options

Rather than lone pre-roll ad slots, also offer interactive options like sponsor polling questions, product giveaways, demos etc. to build connections.

Providing Lead Generation Access

Offer opt-in attendee contact details for lead generation at appropriate sponsorship tiers to add perceivable value.

Giving Early Commitment Discount

Provide 10-20% discount on sponsor slots if purchased 60+ days in advance to secure commitments ahead of time.

Thoughtfully incorporating sponsors can make their inclusion a win-win experience.

Drive Ticket Sales With Effective Funnels

Capitalizing on event buzz to drive sales requires optimized registration funnels guiding visitors seamlessly from interest to purchase.

Lead Nurturing Sequences

Deploy automated email follow-up sequences with value-rich content to warm prospects until ready to convert.

Limited Time Discounts

Offer progressively larger rate discounts for 72 hours, 48 hours, 24 hours etc. on countdown timers to incent action.

Bundled Package Deals

Provide bonus extras like replays, resources, exclusive Q&As etc. when signing up for higher priced bundles maximizing value.

Proof of Demand

Show active registration counters, scarce remaining tickets, or “X sold in last hour” urgencies to make joining seem popular.

###SIMPLE checkout

Limit fields to essentials, offer guest checkout, and clearly display costs to remove friction that loses sign ups.

Post Purchase Upsells

Offer upgraded tickets for extras, add-ons for merchandise or digital bonuses on confirmation pages while interest peaks.

fine tuning registration pages and workflows has immense impact on sign up rates and revenue.

Remarket After Events End

The sales window extends beyond event dates. Continue monetizing audiences by:

Selling Recordings & Replays

Edit condensed replays, talks, Q&As etc. into evergreen purchase packages on your site for those who missed live event.

Launching Memberships

Use momentum to kickoff exclusive paid communities, masterminds, and coaching programs open only to virtual event attendees capitalizing on their heightened interest.

Offering Discounts

Provide special event-exclusive coupon codes usable for a limited time post-event before ramping prices back up to capitalize on heightened awareness.

Running Retargeting Ads

Keep your other offers and products top of mind by continuing to remarket event promotional pages to past site visitors via ads.

Re-engaging Attendees

Send personalized post event emails recapping takeaways, driving traffic to new content, promoting offers etc. while interest remains high.

Find ways to maintain valuable attendee mindshare even after events wrap to maximize monetization.

Analyze Event Performance

Continuously assess event analytics to steer future programming including:

  • Attendance rates across promotion channels
  • Session/speaker ratings and feedback
  • Sales conversion rates from prospects to purchases
  • Post-event engagement and retention after stages
  • ROI on time invested based on income vs. hours
  • Technical difficulties or points of friction

Ongoing metrics analysis enables continually improving future events by revealing what highest value formats, topics and sales tactics resonate with your audience.

Conclusion

Hosting immersive digital events allows creators and businesses to efficiently demonstrate expertise while building community and income. But driving stellar engagement both during and after online gatherings requires strategic planning.

From choosing topics that stir passion to facilitating interactive delivery, remarkable virtual events blend education, entertainment, and promotion crafting experiences that compel audiences to convert from browsers to loyal community members.

With the right mix of valuable content, seamless interface, and multidimensional attendee experiences, digital events become income accelerators while raising brand visibility. Put in the work upfront to craft online gatherings impossible for audiences to forget.

Contents

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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