Since the pandemic, virtual events have evolved and really taken off. As such, they bring benefits that can used as a business to level the playing field against larger players.
In the episode Virtual Events to Build Your Business, Monique Johnson, Founder of LIVE Video Lab and The M.O.V.E Experience and Shawn Hessinger, the Executive Editor for Small Biz Trends sit down together to discuss how small business owners can use this trend to their advantage.
Shawn: Virtual events are nothing new, so why have they became so critical to businesses over the last few years?
Monique: The world went through the pandemic in 2020, when we literally had to shutdown. We didn’t like change, so we flocked to TVs, computers, mobile devices, etc. to stay occupied and keep from getting bored.
She says that the virtual events that we were used to seeing before Covid are not the same type of virtual events that we see now as a result of the pandemic.
Monique tells us that virtual events are a great way for us to captivate people’s attention, generate awareness or whatever your goals may be. She says those are some of the main reasons why virtual events grew to be so important the last few years.
Shawn: So, virtual events are different than they were before; how are they different?
Monique: There all kinds of virtual events. Virtual summits before Covid 19 was simply just deciding let’s get a bunch of people, experts together; they are just going to show some slides—maybe pick something and that’s it.
She says that virtual summits that are done correctly, strategically, intentionally or otherwise are not something where you just grab a bunch of people and having a slide deck that is showing up on the screen.
Today, there’s more engagement that’s happening—there is more of a connection … more camera appearance. She adds that there are more people saying, OK, how can we make this where we involve the audience and not make it be just about whoever is shouting from one to many?
Webinar Before, Close to an Actual Event After
Shawn: It sounds to me like it was almost more like a webinar before, and now it’s more like an actual event.
Monique: Correct, and even webinars today are not the same as they were before. And I think that a lot of times that business owners, or experts out there, are cringing at the fact that they can’t just hide by a bunch of slides, right?
The LIVE Video Lab Founder goes on to say that things have changed so much, and it’s just a matter of what can we can we do to keep our audience engaged. Quite frankly, she says, it’s not about you and your slides, it’s but about how you can provide an experience and serve those who are attending your virtual events.
The Benefits of Virtual Over In-Person Events
Shawn: As travel restrictions are easing, do you see everyone flocking back to primarily in-person events, or do you think that some things have changed permanently. And if so, what?
Monique: I know things are easing, people are opening back, people love the energy of being in person. And in person is great—but so is virtual.
As opposed to a virtual event, they are in their environment, they are comfortable—whether they are in the opportunity to do networking, so for instance, on the platform of Zoom you can do breakout group so it’s smaller groups.
Monique goes on to say that an introverted personality will feel more comfortable sharing, or at least saying something or being involved, vs. being in a big main room, of either an in-person conference or a main room of a virtual event on Zoom.
So, that’s just one prime example, she says. Another thing is cost. So cost for both ends, not only the people, the attendees who are going to live in-person things, from getting the ticket itself, booking a flight, booking hotel accommodations, the food, the entertainment—whatever it is that you do when you get there is drastically lower as opposed to being at a virtual event.
In Person vs. Virtual Events
Even though she’s a huge proponent of virtual events, Monique doesn’t believe that in-person is worse, or it’s something where in-person is just going to take over
Lastly, she adds that virtual events can still be part of your business strategy or business model. If anything, what she’s seen working with her clients and colleagues in the online space is this: They use virtual events to get people, or strangers who don’t know who they are to enroll into their Eco-system and the colloquialism in the world.
And then … if they sign up for a program or because they love you so much and tell you that they want to meet you in person, she says that’s why she believes that virtual events are here to stay.
Be sure check out the rest of the video where you’ll find helpful and actionable tips, such as how do you decide what kind of factors you should consider on whether your next event should be in-person.
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