10 Ways You Can Use Online Events to Boost Your Business Or Career

business events

Modern online events like web summits, online conferences and digital networking events can help you boost your business by giving you amazing opportunities to make connections, learn, share ideas or even to advertise your business to an open-minded, excited crowd. Here I will show you 10 ways you can use online events to boost your business, career or side project. Some of these tips are about networking, others about becoming an online event speaker or how to promote your business in front of a big, excited crowd in a non-spammy way. Let’s get started with the tips:

1. Skip the cheesy sales webinars – attend interactive online conventions instead

When people hear “online event” they often remember a webinar where they spent an hour listening to a presentation that ended with the presenter pressuring them to buy a random software or course. This is not what I mean when I talk about online events. Interactive online conferences, conventions, meetups and expos / trade shows are more than someone reading out Powerpoint slides. They often offer video chat based networking and group discussion areas, online booths, an event chat room, virtual goodie bags (downloadable freebies) and more. These online events feel almost as exciting, inspiring and empowering as big offline events with thousands of people and big-name speakers. And the best thing: Some of them even offer a free ticket tier that allows you to view talks and do lots of networking. Isn’t this much better than sitting in an old-school online event like webinars and boring online trainings that just waste time and leave you with the feeling that you didn’t learn much.?

2. Network more – travel less

Many of you will agree when I say that having strong relationships in your industry or target market can really drive your business or career forward. Many people still don’t go to a lot of networking events because they would have to spend time and money to travel there. When attending online conferences or web-based networking events, you can stay at home or office instead of having to rush to the next train or search for parking space. At offline events, I’m often shy and sit in the quiet corner – but at online events I can find people who I have topics in common with, so I know what to talk about and that people are there because they want to talk. This makes it so much easer to connect to another person who attends the same online event. You can start building new, impactful relationships today, maybe there’s an online event going on right now that you could join.

3. Bring a filled-out profile instead of printed business cards

At many events (especially at Clickventions ones) you can exchange contact details if both parties of a networking session decide that they want to stay in touch after the event. This enables you to make long-term friendships and build a network that could bring you many business or job opportunities at a later point. You never know if you’ll meet a future business partner, big client, employer, investor, employee or influential person at such an event. So add your profile photo, fill out the form where you can leave a short introduction and links to your social media profiles and think about what to say if someone asks you what you do for a living. Bonus tips: Check your webcam, headphones / loudspeaker and microphone before the event and make sure that you are undisturbed during an online networking session. Imagine how you would feel if you paid lots of money but can’t hear the main talk because of audio problems or how it would be to be disturbed by your child or pet in a serious professional group discussion you participate in. If you are well prepared, online events can be a real long-term boost for your job, business or passion project.

4. Easily find the events that are right for you

Maybe you didn’t know that those interactive online events existed and so you don’t know how to find them. Don’t worry, I’ll show you where you can look for upcoming events. First of all, check out https://www.hopin.to/events. My events and those of many others are listed there – both free and paid ones. You can see the schedule, buy tickets, complete registration and find out more about the organizers. Eventbrite also has a directory of online events. When I last saw it, many of them where normal webinars or live streams, not so many interactive ones. You can also look on social media, Facebook events and other online calendars. If you still can’t find online events that are relevant to you, maybe check the calendar section of industry or niche specific forums, blogs and magazines. Trade associations and clubs often also host online events like training webinars or networking groups for members. I (the person behind Clickventions.com) will soon add more events as well. If you have an idea for an event, just contact me and we can maybe organize it together.

5. Don’t just listen – be part of the community

So you did register for a n online event and the day has finally come. You are all excited and go online to view the virtual stage and attend the talk you are looking forward to. Don’t just passively sit there and listen. Ask questions, participate in breakout sessions, use networking features and view exhibitor booths and sponsor offers. This will be much more fun and increases the chance of meeting people who will positively impact your business / work or personal life. Saying helpful and insightful things during group chat sessions can also increase the chance of you being invited to give a talk at the next edition of that online conference. If you worry that there’s so much going on that you may miss your favourite breakout sessions, put the parts of the program / schedule that you don’t want to miss into your calendar. If you are a bit shy because you don’t know anyone at the event, use social media to invite your friends and followers to get into the exciting online event experience with you.

6. Go easy on the pitching / self promotion side

Group discussion sessions and networking meetings aren’t sales calls. You can briefly talk about what you do when introducing yourself, but only go into more detail if others ask you to. If you really want to generate buzz for your product or service, look if the event page sells a sponsor or exhibitor ticket that allows you to advertise during the event. If you just join as a normal attendee and then hold up a piece of paper with your site URL on it during a group session or flood the event chat with “Sign up to my newsletter” or “Follow me on Twitter” messages, you only harm your own reputation and may even be banned from the event and any future event by the same organizer. If you are polite, helpful and thinking long-term, you can build lasting relationships that do so much more for your business than just a few website clicks or social media follows.

7. Think about becoming a speaker at an online conference

Talks at these inspiring events can provide attendees with helpful training and gives you credibility and a publicity push. Even though you are most often not allowed to “sell from the stage”, you can still get new customers or job opportunities by giving a talk. How? By having your profile prominently displayed in the “Speakers” section, by connecting with other speakers in the virtual backstage room and by already having established some trust when meeting another attendee in the networking area. But how to get invited to speak at an online conference? There are many approaches. Attend events and build a relationship with the organizers, register yourself for speaker directories and show off your talent by hosting own event or by producing videos or podcast episodes. It isn’t easy in the beginning, but if you stick at it, you may soon find yourself on a big virtual stage. If you are scared of public speaking, maybe practice speaking in front of a camera by recording yourself talking about something you are really excited about, look into some public speaking courses or gain experience by hosting a small webinar or live stream.

8. Become a sponsor

At my events, sponsors get a prominent placement of their logo and website link on the registration page and the “our sponsors” section in the welcome area for attendees. They’ll also get an online booth where they can show a promo video, a written introduction, information about a discount / deal and most of all, a call to action button. I don’t know much about the sponsorship packages that other organizers offer, but it definitely can pay off to look into advertising your company at online conventions, trade fairs or meetups that fit your target audience. Even if not many people click on the link to your website, you may still get great ling-term results from sponsoring. If people come back to your website after the event, the logo and branding will look familiar to them, which increases trust. If people already know, trust and like you, they are far more likely to make a purchase and become loyal customers or even fans of your brand.

9. Consider joining as a vendor / exhibitor

Imagine 1000 people in your target market having this big online event on their calendar. They all show up, view the presentations, chat and spread the excitement. You can get in front of them by being featured in the expo area. Show off your product, share testimonials of your service or offer participants to purchase your next big thing at a reduced price. This is a win-win situation for the attendees, the organizer and you. There are a few things to keep in mind though. Your promotional material should show the benefits of your product or service but shouldn’t be too pushy. People enter the expo section to browse and look around, to because they really need something. You can still say that your special offer or trial / free download is only valid during the event, which entices people to make a decision. Plan your appearance as an exhibitor well, think about what you want to achieve with your virtual booth and turn to the organizer with any issues that you might have. Happy selling!

10. Organize your own events

For the longest time I have dreamed about running my own live events – but offline ones always were to expensive and to complicated for me. You have to find, book and pay for a venue, set up the stage and other parts of the event, buy food and drinks, get the permission of the local authorities and keep hundreds more things in mind. When you do online events, you don’t have to worry about most of this. You can do the management of your events from anywhere in the world, you don’t need to pay rent for a location or equipment and you can reach much more people. This leaves you with the more exciting part of the task – planning the schedule, getting speakers and marketing your event. You can pull all this off by yourself – you don’t need a sound and lighting team, security staff or someone who is checking tickets at the entrance.

11. Bonus tip: Don’t miss out on earlybird tickets

The earlier you buy a ticket to the event, the less it often costs. Join my free newsletter below so I can let you know when special, limited low-cost tickets of my upcoming online events are going on sale. I offer events like meetups for content creators, expos for business owners or summits for online community leaders. Even more exciting things are planned for 2020. I can’t wait to organize online events that will connect you with like-minded people, inspire you, boost your business and success and that just offers a fun and exciting experience. If you have any questions about this article or if you have tips to add, feel free to add your comment below. Thank you for reading this article, I hope it was helpful to you.

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