There is a big push right now for organizations to live stream their meetings to a virtual audience. There are several proven strategies that will help your live stream be successful. Organizations executing these strategies are seeing a revenue windfall from their efforts.
- Don’t Be Afraid of Cannibalization
Organizations who move into live streaming with a hesitation that it might cannibalize their physical event are setting themselves up for failure. Once you decide you want to live stream your event, you must approach your marketing and communications efforts like you would any other successful program, with all guns blazing.
- Start Your Marketing Early
While it’s true that many virtual attendees will register in the last month before the conference, you want to start your marketing efforts at the same time you market your physical event. The best approach is to offer two ways to attend the conference – in person and virtually, and communicate that right from the beginning of your marketing efforts. Those that wait until later in the campaign usually see a reduced level of attendance.
- Charge the Same Registration Fee
The best way to be successful at your live streaming effort is to maximize the revenue opportunity by charging the same price to attend virtually as you do to attend physically. When you capture all the sessions from your conference and deliver them as an archive, you create a product that warrants charging full price. Organizations that attempt to live stream only a handful of sessions and sell it at a discounted price are selling themselves short. While charging the same price may not deliver the highest number of attendees, it will generate quality attendees that will likely become physical attendees and future members.
- Leverage the Stream to Those Already Attending
Now that you have decided to live stream your event, leverage that stream to boost your attendance. For example, offer your physical attendees the ability to purchase additional virtual attendance at a reduced price. We already know that many companies and organizations have reduced their conference budget so only one or two can attend. Keep more people engaged with your organization by allowing them to attend virtually. If you have exhibitors, provide each exhibitor with one or two free passes for employees of their company to join in on the stream. This is a great way to educate sales professionals who are unable to come to the event and work the booth. Tap into the Millennial generation by offering free passes to students and younger professionals unfamiliar with your organization.
- Increase Your Webinar Activity
The best way to drive additional virtual attendees is by building an online community to market to. The way to build this community is by delivering as much online education as possible. Run webinars weekly or twice a month. Re-broadcast sessions from your conferences to fill in the gaps. Broadcast a monthly industry update, interviewing influencers in your industry. These can be self-funded or sponsored. By delivering a consistent program of online education, you will start to build a community of people who want to learn online. A high percentage of these people will become virtual attendees for your annual conference or other larger meetings.