You did what you had to do; you canceled the event. All that work down the drain.
It isn’t clear when things will return to normal. Should we reschedule for fall or wait until summer of 2021?
The shift is already happening. Conferences will go on, but not in person. They will be online. The thought of learning a new format while you are still in the middle of undoing the event you just canceled might be overwhelming.
Ask yourself: Do you want to go dark for a year or more? There is a reason that events have been growing at such a rapid pace, people want the engagement and content. They need to know what is happening in their industry. I will be the first to submit that an online conference isn’t the same on many levels, but it is much less expensive and could bring in a much bigger audience.
Many marketers have already started down this path. Solutions are popping up everywhere. There are dozens of webinars about how to create an online conference and just as many platforms. I looked at one webinar and when I went to sign up, it was sold out with 500 attendees’ days before it is scheduled. I have been approached by several of these platforms to help them help their customers find sponsors. In the coming days I will be publishing new content on how to attract sponsors to your online event.
Here are some of the benefits of holding your event or conference online.
1 | The barriers to attendance are low. No travel, no hotel and usually no cost to attend.
2 | The cost to put the event online will be a fraction of the cost of the on the ground event.
3 | You can still use the speakers you had to cancel. They should be open on the date you originally planned.
4 | There is no venue to check with for availability. Have the event when it works for your audience.
5 | You can still have all the panels, keynotes and breakout sessions you planned. You can rebroadcast as much as you want and make the event available on demand.
6 | You can still get sponsors to support your online event.
7 | You can use the same ticketing system and promotional plan.
Here are the benefits to your business.
1 | Keep your customers and prospects engaged while we are all figuring things out.
2 | You keep moving forward. Sharing innovation and the creativity that is certain to mark this time in our history. Don’t be left behind.
3 | You are going to learn more and different information about your marketplace and prospects. You are going to have to shorten the length of the event, which will force you to focus on only the most important topics. You can also increase the frequency of your event and specialize your topics for certain business segments.
4 | Most of all, when events return, you will be an even better event marketer with another asset to offer.
I’m repositioning my business to these realities. We have all seen the emerging dominance of digital advertising and marketing. Now is your chance to use it to save your event marketing.
Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.