Thanks to video conference applications and video streaming services, online content, and events have become the new norm for businesses all around the world. Depending on the type of business you’re running, you might be considering launching an online workshop for your customers. While this is a good way to promote your products and services, getting people to attend, and keeping them engaged during your workshop might be difficult. With that, here are the steps to make your workshop engaging, informative, and successful.
How to Make Your Event a Success
Like any in-person event, online events require the same amount of effort to be successful. You’ll need to do research, plan your marketing strategy, get attendees, keep them engaged, and make sure everything goes smoothly and that all your attendees are happy.
Let’s start with the basics…
Plan It Out
Who is Your Audience?
Many things fall under planning but the first step is to figure out who your audience is. If you’re running a business, you more or less have an idea about who they are. If your audience consists of millennial coffee lovers, hosting a pour-over class that comes with a workshop kit would be a good idea to consider. Depending on the kind of audience you have, you can provide workshops that are tailor-made for them.
Choosing a Platform
Video conferencing apps are your best bet for doing online workshops, as it helps keeps your audience engaged and provides a space for real-time conversations. There are two ways to help you decide on which platform to choose: run a poll or use the one that’s most comfortable and accessible to you. If you choose to run a poll and end up with a platform you’re not familiar with, study the basic functionalities and do as many dry runs as you can before the event.
Getting a Host
Three roles make up an online event: the facilitator, the manager, and tech support. But not everyone can handle wearing these three hats. You can assign one person each for any role that you’re not comfortable with. For example, if you don’t like the idea of facilitating the workshop, you can hire a professional event speaker to do the work for you. That way, you’ll be able to manage other things during the event like presenting the products or doing the tutorials.
Choosing a Venue or Background
It wouldn’t make sense to hold a flower arrangement workshop in your office. Setting up the background or choosing the right venue can help set the tone for your online workshop. Make sure it fits in with the theme of your event, but also keep in mind to not place anything distracting behind you or your attendees’ attention will shift somewhere else.
Setting the Time and Date
Compared to in-person events, where you’re coming from or where you currently are isn’t a big deal. However, the time you set your event matters a lot. Try not to schedule your event on a weeknight or in the middle of the day, it’s also a good idea to avoid scheduling your event on the same day as big sports games, online concerts, etc. You can even ask your followers or subscribers about the time they’d like the event to be held.
With these considerations in mind, don’t think too hard about setting the perfect time. Record your event so that people who signed up but couldn’t make it at the last minute still have something they can watch when they’re free to do so.
Just like regular, in-person events, a good marketing strategy will help get your event seen and will effectively attract potential attendees. If your business has a social media page (which it should or you’re missing the greatest opportunity to get attendees!), you can share the details of the event on your page. Make use of different social media sites to widen the reach of your event.
If you have an e-mail newsletter, use this to your advantage by letting your subscribers know that you have an event coming up!
You can even create an event hashtag that you can use when posting about any progress before your event. You can even mention it during your event and encourage your attendees to use the hashtag on their posts.
Keeping Your Audience Engaged
Online events can be very easy to join, but they’re just as easy to leave.
Don’t bore your attendees with long monologues. Instead, choose to find different ways to interact with them: ask for their input, let them show off what they’ve made, etc. You need to get as much interaction and involvement as possible to make up for lost face-to-face engagement. At the end of your workshop, have a Q&A session where your attendees can ask you about anything regarding what they learned and you may also ask them for some suggestions about what they’d like to see in future workshops.
You can even choose to extend this engagement with non-attendees by making a highlight reel of the event, or including a short write up of the workshop in your newsletter to attract potential attendees to your future workshops.
With the global situation taking hold of our lives, online events prove that meaningful interactions and collaborations don’t always have to happen in-person. Use these tips to guide you in creating an engaging and effective event that your attendees are sure to remember.