How to Make Your Virtual Event a Success

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

In this article, I am going to talk you through the things you need to consider and put into place tech-wise to make your virtual event a success – everything-wise!

This is Part 2 of a 2-part series that I wrote to show you how you can run a successful virtual event. There are a lot of things to do in order to get the best results, and I have tried to write it in the most straightforward way possible, as I know tech gives us headaches at the best of times.

If you don’t know which type of online event you wish to run and haven’t read Part 1 then check it out now: The Different Types of Virtual Events You Can Run to Build an Audience For a Launch 

Intro

If you were paying attention in Part 1, then you would have noticed that the things to consider are actually very similar for each event type – in fact I’ll be honest, I copied, pasted, and tweaked it each time 😝

But the point is, no matter which type of event you go for that works best for you, you have a number of things to consider.

From a marketing perspective, in a nutshell:

  • You need to collect registrations
  • You need to nurture your audience and keep them excited
  • You need to make sure they show up to your event
  • You need to keep nurturing them after the show
  • You need them to buy from you

In this article, I will be going over the different ways you can do each part of this, no matter which type of event it is that you’re running.

Collecting Registrations

It goes without saying that if you are going to be putting all this hard work and effort into running an event to build your audience of ideal customers, you want something in return.

Email addresses.

Yes, it’s 2021 and email marketing is still SMASHING IT!

So you need a way to collect emails, and later on, I’ll be telling you what you can do when you’ve got them.

There are a few different ways you can do this:

1. Landing Page

The most obvious solution is to create a landing page on your website. A landing page simply means the page that people need to land on when they click to sign up from e.g. a post or ad.

You can do this yourself on a WordPress site using a free page builder like Elementor, or you can outsource it. You can pay anything between £50-£500 for a landing page but I would say the average is no more than £200.

If you don’t already have your own website then you can use a 3rd party software such as LeadPages or ClickFunnels. These platforms also use page builders and have templates making it super easy to create something professional quickly.

I personally recommend LeadPages over ClickFunnels as it is a lot more affordable and I personally prefer the way these landing pages look when I see them – less spammy, more natural.

You will need to link up your landing page to your email software if you wish to automate the process of contacting them after they sign up.

Personally, myself and most of my clients use ActiveCampaign – they are affordable, super easy to use, and pretty much anything is possible with minimal tech skills needed.

2. Email Software

If you don’t have a website and don’t fancy investing in fancy page builder software, then another option is to simply use your existing email marketing provider.

Email providers such as ActiveCampaign provide you with a unique URL for each form you create – so you can keep it simple.

Add a headline, an image, a short description, and a form, and voila! A super simple way to collect registrations – you will be provided with a link which you can share wherever you want to collect the signups

3. Use a Messenger Bot

If you don’t want to use any of the above, then have a think about where your audience hangs out. Well, if they are on Facebook, then the chances are they are also using Facebook Messenger.

Using a Messenger Bot is a great way to collect registrations for any event because once they have subscribed to your bot, you can then contact them again in the future – right where they are, in your pocket!

Personally, I use ManyChat who is the industry leader, super easy to use, and not expensive at all – $10 USD per month and you can downgrade your account after your event.

It means absolutely no other software needed, not even email software if you don’t care about sending emails (although I highly recommend that you do!).

You can also link up your ManyChat registration to ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, or Google Docs to save details about your audience for later use.

This means that you don’t even need a landing page and you still get the best of both worlds – messenger chatbot marketing together with email marketing.

This is by far the easiest method, however – one downfall is that with no landing page you can’t really promote your event in depth as there is a limited amount of content you can put in a message compared to on a website – first have a think about how much your audience needs to know before signing up.

4. Create a Cocktail

This one is actually of my favourites, and I’ll tell you why in a moment but first I want to show you a few examples of what this cocktail looks like.

  • Landing page >> Bot signup
  • Landing page >> Email signup
  • Landing Page >> Email Signup >> Bot signup

As mentioned above, I am a true believer in using both email marketing and messenger bot marketing together – both of them have their pros and cons and best use scenarios.

But when you use them both together then you can conquer the world.

Let’s say for example you choose cocktail a) above: Your audience might go to your landing page and click the button to sign up, and much to their surprise be redirected to Facebook messenger. If they weren’t expecting this then the chances are, they will click away.

Let’s now look at cocktail b) – they go on the landing page, they like what they see and they click and sign up, no funny surprises wahoo! They are on your email list, and they’ve registered.

But the thing is here, that’s where it ends. You can only contact them by email. I’ll explain a bit later why this is a problem.

So finally option c) – the ultimate cocktail. They have a totally normal experience and sign up on your landing page, and then BOOM you get them in your Facebook Messenger world as well! You do this by having a button to your bot on the thank you page after they sign up 😉

Now it’s time to conquer…

Just a quick note: If you aren’t worried about having a landing page, then using only bot registration you still get both chatbot and emails – because you collect the email addresses using the bot which automatically links up to your email software – so it completely removes the need for any web dev for fancy page builder software. 

Nurturing Your Audience

Okay so you’ve got your registration in place and people are signing up to your event. Wahoo!

Now what?

Tumbleweeds. Crickets.

If you let them sign up and leave them, then they are going to forget about you and your event entirely by the time it comes around (unless they are actively following you on Social Media and seeing promotion posts everywhere!)

So what we need to do is nurture them. What I mean by this is that we take care of them, we send them a few emails.

You can create an automation which starts the moment they sign up, and it will look a bit like this:

  • Email 1: Thanks for registering for [event name] – here is some important info you need
  • Email 2: How I achieved X in X time because of X – here you send them some exciting story about something you accomplished – it has to be directly related to the event you are promoting
  • Email 3: So who am I anyway? – here you will officially introduce yourself, have some fun, tell some back story, make your audience fall in love with you
  • Email 4: Some exciting feature about the event / special announcement/reminder – here you can try to hype your audience up about the event

Normally you would only promote your event for 2-4 weeks before it starts, so have a think about this:

  • Do you want to send emails daily or every 2 days?
  • How many days do you have until the event begins
  • How can you keep your audience excited about your event and keep it at the front of their minds?
  • What other incentives can you offer them to keep engaged and reading your emails?

The 4 emails I put above are just an example, it doesn’t have to look like that at all – as long as you provide some value, build some authority, gain some trust, provide some entertainment, potentially some suspense, then you will have nailed it.

Pro Tip: If you are using a messenger bot have a link for people to register for notifications on every single email. Also invite them to join you in the other places where you hang out online – groups, pages, Instagram, and so on.

Maximise Your Attendance

Okay so you’ve got your signups, they are feeling pretty loved and excited with the flow of emails they have been receiving from you, and the event is just around the corner.

This is where the butterflies set in – what if no one shows up?

It’s everyone’s biggest fear.

I’ll tell you something – on my first challenge, this happened to me. And I didn’t die, in fact, it was fine. Me being 7 hours ahead of my audience (in Thailand with a UK audience) and having a baby meant that my live times were dodgy anyway, and the few people who did show up were awesome and made it enjoyable. And I did also make a profit 😉

But there are also ways to ensure that it doesn’t happen to you.

1. Know where your audience is and what time they are free and awake.

E.g. if your audience is full of mums with school-age children, then don’t do your lives at 3:30 pm while they are doing the school run, and if your audience has young babies, don’t do it at 6 pm when they are probably doing their bath and bed routine.

If your audience is both US and UK, ensure that you choose a time that works for both time zones. Obviously, if there are just a few people in a different time zone then you need to assess if it is worth making any changes; how involved do they need to be? Can they benefit fully by watching a replay?

2. Ensure that you have a series of email reminders scheduled ready to go prior to every event.

Here are some specific examples below:

If you are doing a webinar:

  • 24 hours before
  • 12 hours before
  • 1 hour before
  • 15 minutes before
  • Live now

This seems quite excessive to a lot of people, and you don’t need to follow those guidelines at all. If you fear spamming your audience then just choose the most important ones, like 24 hours and 1 hour.

Beware of 15 minutes because a lot of people are likely to check email just a couple of times a day, so the chances are, they will miss this one.

If you are doing a challenge:

  • The private group has opened
  • Pre-challenge live is due to start in 1 hour/15 minutes
  • Task 1 is released
  • Day 1 Live
  • Task 2 is released
  • Day 2 Live
  • Task 3 is released
  • Day 3 Live
  • Task 4 is released
  • Day 4 Live
  • Task 5 is released
  • Day 5 Live

Also, if you are doing a Q&A type post in the middle of the day you may want to email about this one, so that people can add their questions there prior to the live.

Again, it’s up to you how many emails you send – some people are put off by challenges these days simply due to the number of notifications and emails they get – so make sure you know your audience, where they hangout, and what works for them.

If you’re doing a workshop:

  • 24-hour reminder
  • 1-hour reminder
  • Ensure to provide instructions of how to join on Zoom or whichever software you use and provide the password if needed so they can easily access it

You should also consider inviting everyone to a calendar event using iCal, Google Calendar, or any other software so that it is saved like a meeting.

That way they will be reminded both on their laptop and their phones in plenty of time.

It also prevents them from the double booking if they have their calendars linked to e.g. Calendly, Acuity or Teams where others can book in meetings and calls with them.

3. Catch them at the very moment they need to see you, by reaching them in their pocket

Yes, you guessed it! Use a messenger bot.

Use ManyChat to contact them on both Facebook Messenger and SMS (Text Message).

What this means is that with open rates of up to 80% (compared to email open rates of 15%-30%) it is highly likely that your message will be seen, and quickly!

Send out announcements similar to the above, except, you don’t need to do so many.

A simple 1 hour or 15-minute reminder should do the trick. You don’t want to annoy them while you’re in their pocket, that’s for sure, so keep it short and sweet, and they’ll be thankful for your reminder.

Post Event Nurturing

Wahooo the event was a success! Load of people attended and you are buzzing!!

Now I can relax right?!

Not quite – the hard part is not over yet my friend.

After the event, you need to do some more serious nurturing.

Send them a survey

If they enjoyed your event then they probably won’t mind giving you an extra minute of their time to let you know how it went.

It’s super important that you hear it from the horse’s mouth, and learn about what was the best, what could have been better and so on, so ask for some honest feedback, and use it in your next launch

1. Send them a survey

If they enjoyed your event then they probably won’t mind giving you an extra minute of their time to let you know how it went.

It’s super important that you hear it from the horse’s mouth, and learn about what was the best, what could have been better and so on, so ask for some honest feedback, and use it in your next launch

2. Ask for a testimonial

That’s right! Don’t be shy, if they received a lot of value from you which they should have done, they should be willing to sing from the rooftops with your praises.

It will really help you to promote your next event and get even more signups, plus just in general it’s never a bad thing to have social proof 😉

3. Remind them of your upsell

Yes, you guessed right. More emails!

From either midway through your event or at the end of your event you would have announced the thing you are trying to sell.

And the chances are, you have a deadline to either purchase at a reduced rate (Early Bird Price), or additional bonuses which will disappear after a set date, or maybe you just have a date that your cart is closing?

Whichever it is, you need to get in front of your audience and keep this deadline at the FRONT of their minds.

Consider crafting an email series like this:

  • Email 1: announcing the announcement
  • Email 2: focus on the benefits of the upsell (rather than features)
  • Email 3: Testimonials and/or case study
  • Email 4: Book in a call with you to discuss
  • Email 5: a reminder of all the extra bonuses/cheaper cost before x date
  • Email 6: highlight more features, more testimonials
  • Email 7: 24 hours until doors close
  • Email 8: 12 hours until doors close
  • Email 9: 6 hours until doors close
  • Email 10: 1 hour until doors close
  • Email 11: 15 minutes left until doors close

WOW right?

This is some serious spam! Or is it? If your audience is only picking up 15-30% of their emails, how many of these will they see?

The biggest mistake I see marketers making is, sending a couple of emails and thinking it’s going to do the trick.

Remember this – every subject line isn’t going to catch the eye of every reader. Every email might not appeal to them. They might not even be online for the last day or 2.

You have to eliminate any chance of them missing this.

BUT, yes I agree – super spammy! It doesn’t work for everyone, and just like I said previously, you need to look at your audience and decide what kind of people they are – will they unsubscribe, or will they just fall deeper down the rabbit hold and convert into paying customers?

The example of the email series is something I just threw together off the top of my head right now, but I’ve seen these kinds of patterns used endless times, by clients and by people selling to me.

And why?

Because it works. For some people 😝

4. Use a messenger bot

All of the things above can also be done using a bot.

The feedback in fact is even better using a bot because you can send them a simple questionnaire with pre-built questions and they just have to tap a multi-choice answer.

Sending them a reminder that your bonus/early bird/upsell is closing on messenger is a fantastic way of ensuring that they see your message no matter what.

Remember what I wrote above – no spamming! There are special rules you need to follow when using a bot, and if you are based in the EEA (Europe, plus a few others or Japan), then the rules are changing constantly.

So always ensure that you or whoever is managing your bot for you is up to scratch on the latest news.

We don’t give just anyone our Facebook accounts or phone numbers do we, so let’s not abuse it when someone else gives us theirs 😉

Sales

The last section I promise.

You’ve done amazing so far, everything has hopefully run as smooth as a well-oiled engine. But we forgot one major aspect.

How can they buy from you?

The final part of this fully comprehensive puzzle is how you can actually take money from your ideal client, and you will need 2 things:

  • A Sales Page
  • Cart Software

1. Sales Page

I’m not going to bore you about how to create a page again, scroll up and check out the Registrations section if you missed it. Here I just want to point out the main elements that your sales page needs to include. So first of all what is a sales page? It’s a bit like a landing page, but it’s long-form, in that it has a LOT more information than any registration page would have.

It’s normally the final place your audience will be before they decide whether or not to invest in you and your product or service.

So no pressure, but it has to be good.

Inside your sales page you need to include the following, but not in this particular order:

  1. What are you promising them? What is the main outcome if they invest
  2. Who are you and why are you qualified to do the job
  3. What do others have to say about you and your product/service
  4. What features are included
  5. What are the benefits of the included features
  6. FAQ’s (use this to counter any objections you pre-empt)
  7. Cost
  8. CTA – you should have buttons spaced throughout the content for them to click and purchase

Sounds simple right!

You don’t need a professional copywriter, in fact, you know your audience better than anyone else.

Once you’ve written your copy, get it built.

2. Cart Software

Next, you need a way to physically take payment. This can come in many forms – WooCommerce, ThriveCart, SamCart, and so on.

They can be pretty fiddly to set up, and you want to make sure that you’ve listed linked it up to your email software, Google Analytics account, Facebook pixel, and so on.

Hire a professional if needed, it will be worth it in the end.

I have worked with a lot of people who use PayPal links but it’s expensive this way in the long run, and also there’s no tracking, so how can you follow up with people who clicked but didn’t buy? 

Final Pep Talk

So there you have it!

Hopefully, by now you have a list of things to do as long as your arm to make an event a success 😩

But I’m not here to dishearten you.

I’ll tell you something I did before – I planned a 5 Day Challenge and started promoting it before I built it.

I had a 4-month-old baby who was currently going through Leap 4 (check out the Wonder Weeks if you’re a mama), and I was doing it all alone.

Yes, I have a husband, but he doesn’t produce milk unfortunately and the boy has never taken a bottle.

It was my first launch and I did everything from scratch:

  • I built my registration page and thank you page
  • I wrote 50,000 posts for organic marketing (okay, slight exaggeration there but it felt like it!)
  • I wrote a heck of a lot of emails
  • I built my email funnel from scratch – registration, during the event and post-event follow up
  • I built a fully functional bot for registration and during/after the challenge
  • I wrote my sales page copy
  • I designed my sales page
  • I set up my cart software
  • All in a month

And then I did the bloody event…

…and it was a flop.

Was I disheartened? Yes, of course, I felt a crazy amount of emotions – embarrassed, hurt, ashamed, stupid, annoyed, TIRED…

But did it stop me?

Hell no, I knew my heart wasn’t in it.

I burnt myself out.

And it shone through in my energy.

I stressed myself out and worked so hard building everything as a first-time mum that when the event came, I gave it my full…20% 🙄

Don’t make the mistake I did!

You are not supposed to be the developer, the email marketing guru, the chatbot expert, the marketing manager.

You are supposed to be the expert of your niche. The king or queen of your industry.

If you burn yourself out while building an event then you won’t be able to show up as your beautiful, passionate, fantastic self.

So you have 2 options:

  1. Delay your launch by a few months, don’t even announce the date until you’ve got it built, and then have a happy healthy launch
  2. Find someone to do it for you (this is the one I recommend)

Next Steps

As you’ve read this whole article I can only imagine you are either in the process of thinking of or already planning an event.

If you would like help with any of the steps above, let me know.

I can help you with:

  • Chatbot Marketing – I can build you a customised event registration and event set up using ManyChat
  • Email Marketing – I can get you set up on ActiveCampaign and build your automation and campaigns for your event
  • Website tracking – do you want to know where your signups and sales came from? Google Analytics is crucial in this day and age, especially with iOS 14 changes . There’s no point in putting efforts into multiple marketing channels if you can’t track where they came from
  • Website/Landing/Sales Page Design
  • Cart Set Up – I can set up and configure your ThriveCart account, products, and tracking

If you want to book a quick call with me to chat, click here to arrange it. This is not a sleezy sales call, just a quick chat with a business owner who wants to help 😘

Fancy doing some ChatBot DIY but without the tech headaches?

If you’re on the fence about doing it yourself or outsourcing, then this could be for you.

I have built a super easy 3 click install ManyChat 5 Day Challenge ChatBot in a Box.

Plugin | Personalise | Schedule

A guided template suitable for your Challenge, Masterclass, Webinar, Seminar, Bootcamp, and any other type of virtual event.

Simply plugin and personalise to begin immediately collecting email registrations via Facebook Messenger.

Schedule your messages to automatically remind your audience to show up. Never speak to an empty room again!

  • Collect email registrations
  • No website required
  • Easily connect to ActiveCampaign, MailChimp & Google Docs
  • Event and Follow Up Messages Included
  • 100% EUPrivacy Changes Friendly
  • Messages tailored to the event
  • Text messages for extra reach
  • Easy to follow demo videos
  • No tech skills required
  • No outsourcing needed
  • 100% Customisable
  • Support available
  • ManyChat costs excluded
  • Content plan included

Click here to learn more and purchase today – you could have your event bot built in under 2 hours.

You can even get your VA to do it for you, no skills needed 😉

Affiliate Transparency (A.K.A Open upfront honesty): some of the links in this article contain affiliate links which means that I will receive a small commission if you purchase from them after clicking my link. However, please note: I would never recommend something unless I have personal experience with it and believe it is the best service or tool to use.

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