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How to Successfully Organize Virtual Events

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Virtual Events|How to Successfully Organize Virtual EventsOrganizing a virtual event requires the utmost care and attention. You need to promote the event, engage participants, create memorable moments for everyone present, and eventually prove that the event was a success.

In this article, we’ll provide some tips for organizing successful and memorable virtual events.

What Virtual Event Organizing Entails

Virtual events are built around data, participant engagement, and content. They contain the same elements as other types of events.

These include:

  • Event registration
  • Live presentation content
  • Live audio/video
  • Event website
  • Live polling
  • Note-taking
  • Question and answer
  • Interactive video conferencing
  • Recorded content
  • Feedback surveys

With all these elements in place, you can start planning your event.

Fundamentals of Virtual Event Planning

When hosting a virtual event, keep in mind that your attendees want to be informed, included, and entertained.

Your event will need adequate marketing. Without targeted, aggressive promotion, attendance will suffer.

In virtual settings, content rules. Create engaging sessions with powerful keynotes tailored to your participants. Provide options that are relevant to each participant to keep them engaged.

Lastly, you’ll need to capture attendee data and measure engagement, so you can prove your event ROI and the event’s success.

Planning Your Virtual Event

With the right tools and proper planning, you’ll create opportunities for all involved, including yourself, to forge meaningful business connections.

At your event, entrepreneurs and businesses will meet potential business leads. When planning, you should have inspiring speakers, a strong marketing strategy, informative and relevant content, and the opportunity for participants to network – but with some valuable twists.

These tips will help you plan for the event:

  • Gather all the information you need. List and secure resources on time.
  • Inform participants on time and follow-up with reminders, so no one is left out.
  • Send out materials on time, so participants can prepare.
  • Allow and prepare yourself and the attendees for some adjustments in the schedule.

How to Simplify Event Planning

Organizing a successful event comes with its own challenges. Even if you have planned out every detail, some road bumps are inevitable.
A good plan of action can help you overcome any challenges. Let’s look at some best practices to approach event planning.

Break Down the Event into Small Tasks

Breaking down the workload into small tasks is an effective practice to handle the organization. If you write all your tasks down, it’ll be easy to distribute the workload and simplify the decision-making process.

Once you conquer your schedule and to-do list, everything will be ready on time, and your team will organize accordingly. You need to have exceptional time management skills so that you can supervise the progress and make sure everything is going according to plan.
You can create a clear time table and share it with all parties involved to reduce any friction and delays.

Avoid Multitasking

Although an event planner is often perceived as someone always doing many tasks concurrently, you should avoid multitasking, especially at the planning stage. According to research, using multiple screens and devices is not good for your mental health.

Whenever you multitask, you’ll not only end up doing a few tasks but will also do them less efficiently. Focus on the most urgent tasks with the biggest impact, and give it your undivided attention.

After tackling the “big” things first, like settling on the site and time, booking speakers, and other essentials, smaller things will fall into place more naturally.

Build a Collaborative Team

Organizing a successful event depends on collaboration and coordination. If you can’t rely on your team to do their share of the work, you’ll also be forced to assume their duties, such as negotiating with suppliers, implementing the budget, and so on.

That’s why it’s important to diligently distribute tasks and deadlines, so everyone knows what their duties are.

Accept That Something Can Go Wrong

Watching the organization and event unfold according to plan is a joy, but things rarely go precisely as you envisioned.

Understand that you can fail, even in the tiniest detail, and you have to embrace the concept. As an experienced organizer, you should be calm when something goes wrong.

You may have a backup plan that’ll prevent any major fallback, but you cannot have a backup plan for everything. By embracing failure, you’ll stand tall and strong without blaming yourself. Take the failure as a lesson to make things right in your future events.

Final Word

A virtual event can be a powerful marketing tool. As an event planner, you need to deliver the most exceptional experience to all participants. To achieve this, you’ll have to vigorously follow your plan and schedule and make sure that all parties involved are on the same page.

A successful event is an event that provides value to your audience and participants. If you plan your event with that value in mind, you’ve set the foundations for an event that participants will remember for a long time.


About the Author

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters

3 Budget-Friendly Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Boost brand awareness|3 Budget-Friendly Ways to Boost Brand AwarenessAny small business wants to boost brand awareness, but often they do not have the budget to create and launch a nationwide marketing campaign. The pennies are simply too tight to justify spending them on something that may or may not work. For a small business, substantial investments can often be a risk. So what if there was another way? The good news is that there is another way, and even small businesses can boost brand awareness without chipping away too much of their budget.

Freebies

No matter how much money you have or how successful your business is, a freebie is a freebie. For small businesses, this is a fantastic way to spread the word about your business.

There are a variety of ways you can do this, too. From pens and pencils to personalized water bottles to car air fresheners, your logo can travel across the country, letting everybody know who you are and maybe enticing them to use your service.

Freebies are a subtle marketing technique that will trigger recognition for anyone who has come across your logo before. From here, you can expect to see a remarkable boost in engagement, and you can find an increase in business, too.

Guest Blog Posts

Guests posts from founders and CEOs are a superb way of letting people in your industry know who you are and confirm that you understand what you’re talking about. As a business owner, you should have studied your industry, and hopefully, you have plenty of insights on how to improve the way things are run. With a guest post, you can get your message out there.

You can also use these guest posts to conjure up interest in your brand, especially if you have a unique story. You can write about your struggles and how you overcame them and provide advice for other businesses who may experience the same problems when trying to get their fortunes off the ground.

Work With Local Businesses

Local interest is vital for cementing a small business as something to look out for, so you must take advantage of local companies to spread the word. There will be a variety of established companies in your area, and rather than try to compete with them, work with them in events and discount partnerships that will be mutually beneficial.

As locals will already trust these established businesses, they will also trust their judgment about you. By offering discounts and deals by showing flyers or coupons picked up in other stores, you can see an increase in awareness and profits, which will help establish you. All you need to do is prove that yours is a business worth using and provide a quality service to ensure that you generate the brand loyalty you need for growth.

Spreading the Word

Failing to boost brand awareness means that your little startup will remain little. Entrepreneurship is all about innovation, though, and by considering the potential for budget-friendly brand awareness ventures, you can witness an evident improvement. By increasing awareness through these budget-friendly means, you can experience an increase in profits, which will allow your startup to redistribute these funds towards more prominent campaigns and see even more growth.

Standing Out in eCommerce: It’s Not As Easy As You Think!

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |eCommerce|Standing Out in eCommerce: It's Not As Easy As You Think!The last few months have taught us a lot about business. Specifically, they’ve shown us which business models lend themselves well to change, and which do not. At a time when most of the consuming world has had to remain indoors, the retail sector in particular has had to face some particularly hard truths.

Many brick and mortar retailers, especially, have thought twice about embracing eCommerce. A prospect to which they may have been resistant for the longest time. Likewise, many who have long thought about trying their entrepreneurship may use this as the impetus they need to start their own eCommerce brand.

But in an era where the online marketplace is more bustling than ever, how do you stand out among legions of competitors? It’s not as easy as you may think. Here are some tips to get ahead.

Know what you’re selling and who you’re selling to

No matter how awesome your product is, it’s not a case of “if you build it, they will come”. You’ll need to carry out meticulous market research. You’ll need to know who you’re selling to, and why your product is appealing to them. This will inform virtually everything your eCommerce business does. It will inform your branding, your marketing and the product ranges you offer.

Invest in awesome UX

It goes without saying that you need a gorgeous website. A website that’s responsive and looks amazing both on a desktop computer and a mobile device. Your own app will also be a good idea if you expect to engage digitally savvy consumers.

However, looks aren’t everything when it comes with web design. You’ll also need to build in a satisfying and intuitive User Experience (UX) element. UX can drive sales, improve conversion rates and help you target shopping cart abandonment. An ecommerce agency will help you to get the most out of your website’s UX as well as ensuring that you make all the right impressions with the consumers who will be your loyal customers.

Have a great incentives / rewards scheme

In a time of stiff competition, it’s not enough to assume that your products are better than those of your competitors. Heck, depending on the consumer, it might not even matter. You need to provide an incentive for consumers to try your brand at the expense of your competitors. And if you’re targeting value-conscious consumers, your rewards / incentives scheme might just be your USP.

Ideally, it should encourage repeat custom and referrals, providing rewards both for customers who refer their friends, family and colleagues to your business and for the newly referred customer.

Embrace brand storytelling

Finally, it’s not enough to have clever marketing. Your branding needs to tell the audience a story. We human beings love stories. We’ve been using them since time immemorial to make sense of the world around us. Video platforms such as YouTube and, of course, your social channels can be a great way to tell stories that align with your brand, as well as providing a talking point that encourages engagement with your brand.

How To Operate When Consumer Confidence Is Low

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article |Customer Confidence|How To Operate When Consumer Confidence Is LowIt’s not easy running a business in the best of times, yet almost no one on this Earth would be liable to label 2020 as ‘the best of times’ so far. Unexpected and thorough societal change has caused many of us to change our habits, and this has rocked the economy and business world. Despite the fact that in some areas Covid-19 is starting to dwindle, or at least reduce in some capacity, consumer confidence is still relatively low. This is understandable.

However, as a business, we cannot simply accept this fact and wait until spending returns to normal levels. Normal levels may not be something we have the luxury of for some time. For that reason, it’s up to us as firms to encourage people to spend their money well, and to be confident and careful in our approach. We cannot use half-truths, or emotional appeals, or untoward suggestions to our clients or consumers in order to have them support us. Instead, we must get creative, but still offer our services and products in an authentic, reliable manner. With the following advice, we hope to help you get there:

Stay Honest & Open

Stay honest and open with your audience. They are fully aware that Covid-19 has caused industries to go through tough times, and they may also be going through them. It’s important not to approach this particular situation with deception or a sense of entitlement. It can be worth considering how you might gear yourself to these times and become more relevant as a result. For instance, it’s a small thing, but many supermarkets are now registered with food delivery services such as Uber Eats, and offer masks or other cleaning items as part of their library of products. Simple things like this can help you once again become a node on your audience’s map.

Improve Employee Communication

It’s important to have your employees become more effective and productive during this time. Important marketing ideas that float to the top, or the attentiveness it takes for them to deal with a support request in the best way never comes out of a vacuum. Using the best employee communication tools can help you share your formulated strategy. The business world moves fast, and now more than ever time is of the essence. Sometimes, helping your employees move through challenging times isn’t always forcing them to train harder or work longer hours, but rather removing the difficulties with which they may not be able to perform at 100%. Implementing excellent communication tools can serve as one of these removed difficulties.

Offer More Value

We need to encourage our audience to spend more and to have more confidence in their expenditure. This means that you need to offer more value. If they feel that there’s a timed element in potentially acquiring a great deal, your audience is more likely to go for it, or budget their spending to better acquire that which you have to offer. This doesn’t need to be seen as a deceptive practice, sometimes you may quite literally be offering an olive branch to help them engage with your items once more. You needn’t have to give out free gifts or make them follow your social media profiles to force this attitude to fruition. Simple acts, such as offering free delivery on all of your products, can go a long way in getting the ball rolling.

Invest In Marketing

Investing in marketing is also a valuable measure. This can seem counter to your spending aims right now. However, when we hope to start a stopped car, we turn the engine while pushing from behind. This extra ‘shunting’ action helps the engine to tick over and ultimately resume its operation. In other words, the old adage ‘you need to spend money to make money’ is relevant.

This may mean that you invest in subtle marketing methods, such as organic SEO advertising, or even take out social media banners or promoted posts as part of your new branding strategy. The importance of this is to remind people you’re still there, that you have something great to offer, and that you’ve missed your customers or clients. As people are slowly starting to return to work and potentially begin spending again, you can position yourself at the forefront in the line of companies chomping at the bit to once again establish their audience in the best possible way.

Relaunch / Motivate

Relaunching your brand or motivating your audience to take a second look can be a great idea. What have you learned from the lockdown, and what changes do you hope to make? Remember that people will have noticed how you treated your staff or processes as the world began locking down, and so now is the time to heal or promote your best actions as something worth supporting. For instance, you may relaunch your customer support line but now make the adjustment that people will be working from home to contend with their needs.

Sometimes, a full rebrand may help you change after the great cultural milestone that was this difficult experience. Some businesses will not want to invest in this, and that’s more than understandable, but even a new slogan can perform as well in this space. It’s important to bring some energy to your strategy. Your business must be seen as active, ready and welcoming. Despite the challenges we have all been through, we mustn’t limp along and slowly convince our audience to return. We must be seen as strong, able to take on business, and more than happy to stay relevant. This will inspire consumer confidence, and ultimately secure you the purchase you’re looking for.

Understand Your Place

Ultimately, if consumers aren’t confident, they’re not confident. We can pull out all of the stops on our end, but remember that people have suffered due to societal lockdown, and it’s worth keeping that in mind. This simple fact will help your strategy remain subtle, and that’s the most important measure of all.

With this advice, we hope you can learn to operate, even when consumer confidence is low.

12 Ways To Save Money While Running Your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Save Money|12 Ways To Save Money While Running Your BusinessAs far as entrepreneurship is concerned, every penny counts. While you try your best to pool resources to set up your business, your employees and suppliers deserve their paychecks. To meet the growing financial demands that come with putting up a business, you may have to implement good economic policies to unlock extra cash and save more money. Here are some ways through which you can cut down your business expenses and save cash.

1. Get rid of surplus equipment

During the start-up phase, some business owners strive to acquire tons of equipment. But as operations begin, some equipment may become redundant. Examples include printers, ink, toner, and cartridges. Surplus equipment takes up much of your office space. Moreover, they wear out with time, and will gradually depreciate when you don’t get rid of them early enough. Instead of watching your unused printer ink and toner waste away in your office cabinet, why not sell them to suppliers such as Sell Toner. This way, you will make extra cash while getting rid of surplus equipment.

2. Set up a virtual office

Thanks to technological advancements, businesses don’t have to tether their offices to one location. You can run your business while staying at home by using technological tools to connect with your staff as well as your customers and business partners. Virtual offices allow you to run your business with little resources since you don’t need to have a physical building. Focus on establishing your customer base, after which you can then put up a commercial building.

3. Use Open-Source software

A lot of business software is reconfigured open-source software from volunteers in the business community. This means that they are obtained from non-proprietary sources. Comparatively, open-source software costs far less than proprietary commercial software. Whether you want accounting or bookkeeping software, there are several non-proprietary software that can help you save money while getting your basic tasks done. However, you may have to bear with the fact that the support service for open-source software is limited. But the good news is that business owners who use open-source products can join community forums to access support services from other users.

4. Find discount offers

Usually, bulk-purchasing is cheaper than when you buy products individually. Before ordering products from your chosen supplier, ask them for discount offers. Many suppliers will be willing to slash off prices for customers who have a long-term business relationship with their company. Do some research and find multiple suppliers, negotiating prices before you settle on the most cost-effective. Also, do not tie yourself to one local supplier. To increase your sales opportunities, move out of your comfort zone, and connect with suppliers who offer discounts on shipping and bulk orders.

5. Track the flow of your cash

Another vital activity for saving money is tracking cash flow. When you track the flow of your cash, it saves you from incurring late payments fees — also, you will not miss your bill payments. The majority of small businesses often fail because they are unable to conserve their cash. The opportune time to start tracking your cash flow is during the initial phase of your operation. To generate revenue, your funds have to pay your regular expenses, including the unforeseen ones that may erupt. By looking at the statements of your cash flow on an annual and monthly basis, you will understand the value of your cash and whether it’s enough.

6. Reduce your expenditure on traditional advertisement

With the rise of the internet revolution and digital marketing, business owners have the means to cut down their costs of traditional adverts. Reach more audiences via the internet by using paid advertising resources such as Google AdWords. Use search engine optimization techniques to build a great website and attract customers to your business. Some business owners are able to garner hundreds of thousands of views by creating videos on YouTube to promote their products. This is almost a free way to advertise your business to a global audience. Traditional advertising platforms are expensive, and may not broadcast your business to wider audiences.

7. Outsource some tasks

When you have a strong team of full-time employees, your business has the potential to grow. However, permanent employees also sometimes cost a business its financial resources. Salaries, insurance covers, and office spaces are some employee-related costs that businesses often struggle to settle. So, consider outsourcing your tasks to virtual assistants (VA’s) to reduce your workload, improve work efficiency, and save money. Virtual assistants are skillful people who work from locations across the globe to get your special tasks done in time. Since VA’s have their own office spaces and equipment, you can save money assigning repetitive tasks to them. As a business founder, this will free up more time to focus on building the core parts of your business. Negotiate with independent contractors like VA’s, and you are likely to make a fair deal that will benefit both of you.

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Save Money|12 Ways To Save Money While Running Your Business8. Cut down extra expenses on employees

The Covid-19 Pandemic has turned the world upside-down. It has negatively impacted the global economy to some extent. For businesses whose finances have been hit hard by the pandemic, laying off workers may be an idea worth considering. This will have to start with an evaluation to find out which employees go and which stay. However, since employees form the backbone of your business operations, and you don’t have to fire all of them even if times are hard. If you do so, your business may suffer disastrous consequences.

Instead of laying off all your employees, negotiate with them for a pay cut. If you were providing them with free three-square meals a day, reduce it two or one. For example, assure them of their breakfast and cancel their lunch and dinner. Your employees who understand the economic burdens on your business will readily accept pay cuts. After all, half a loaf of bread is better than none. By implementing this strategic decision, you can save money to run your business even during tough times, such as the coronavirus pandemic.

9. Hire smart workers

The levels of smartness of your employees can also determine how economical your business is. On this subject, you don’t have to use only the experience factor to rate the abilities of your employees. In recruiting new employees, give chances for inexperienced people (recent graduates) provided they are smart enough to fit your work demands. Some workers may not have several years of experience, but they can learn fast once you put them on the job. Hire inexperienced people and pay them entry-level salaries. This way, your business will gain a monetary advantage. Meanwhile, your smart workers will contribute their best to grow your business.

10. Hire interns

The two main types of internships are paid and unpaid internships. Interns are usually students or recent graduates who work for companies in order to gain experience in their chosen field of study. Many times, interns work for experiences, not necessarily for the money. Marketing organizations have been able to achieve their goals by hiring interns from local schools to build their social media marketing campaigns. It is up to you to also understand your business operations, and find out areas that match the skill set of interns. By hiring interns instead of full-time permanent workers, you can cut down your expenses on salary and even office space. When this is done together with telecommuting, you can run a small business by getting tasks accomplished for a fraction of their standard costs.

11. Understand your customers

As technology advances, so do customers evolve with time. When you know your customers’ demographics and behavior on the internet, you can streamline your online marketing campaigns to reach the desired audience. Channel your marketing investments on online platforms that are likely to pay off, instead of spreading your campaigns to several areas on the internet. When you understand your customers’ preferences, responses, and general views about pricing, then you can prepare a reasonable budget and avoid losses. Eliminating ineffective options means that you are in a better position to make wise investments by targeting the right customers.

12. Reward your hard-working profit makers

This may seem controversial, but it makes sense to motivate your workers and customers who bring you the profits. For many successful entrepreneurs, rewards take the forms of good gestures such as the occasional provision of free refreshments, leaves, promotions, and salary increments. Boost the morale of your employees, and they will be encouraged to do more for the business. Offer value-added services and discounts to your regular customers so that you can win their everlasting loyalty. If you invest in the people who bring you profits, you’re nurturing a friendly relationship that will go on to bring extra profits to your business.

To wrap things up, your ability to economize the limited resources at your disposal will determine the growth rate of your organization. The above money-saving tips may be the best ways to build a resilient business that will thrive no matter the business climate.