How To Have Successful Virtual Events
As aesthetic businesses resolved to pivot and adapt due to the circumstances of this past year, many of my clients became very adept at all types of virtual events! This year they learned how to conduct open houses, consultations, telemedicine appointments, meetings, and even team-building events virtually!
While virtual events are the new standard now, I want to pass on some of the best gems for staging your virtual open house. As I found the main difference in the success or failure of an online open house had the most to do with the level of pre-planning exerted. This guide outlines my three-part, pre-planning process providing you with the exact steps you need to take for a successful virtual event! Let’s get started!
PART ONE- Planning & Prepping
Where & When
First things first- decide on your social media platform(s) and set your date. Be sure that you pick the social platform where YOUR current & ideal clients prefer to interact with you already (i.e. Instagram/Facebook).
Choose exclusive specials that you do not offer at ANY other time of the year. You want to make your virtual open house one-of-a-kind! Talk with your reps and negotiate what services/ products they would be willing to contribute for promos & raffle items. (Keep specials that you have planned for holidays like Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday in mind, so you do not duplicate.) Most importantly- make your Open House fun and distinctive to wow clients!
Your actual open house day should be a mix of live events and pre-recorded events and information. While you are in the pre-planning stage, you will want to pre-record videos about each special. These videos should be like mini-commercials with you and your team members in starring roles! Develop a schedule for your open house day and decide what hours clients can tune into the live events and when you will post the pre-recorded videos. Consider video content ideas such as treatment before & after pics, video clips of a procedure in process, and even a Q&A with a patient after they have finished a treatment!
Prepare Your Website
For a successful virtual open house event, you will want to prepare your website. Ensure your website is updated with eCommerce capabilities for easy online purchasing the day of the event. (Square can make this easy enough to complete.) Each open house promotion should include a clickable link directing clients to “Learn More” with specific information/and or a video about that particular service or product.
I find it helpful to draw out the process clients will go through in first getting access to the open house specials landing page on your website through how they will purchase, provide demographic information, book appointments, obtain receipts, and receive any future automated email messages. You do not have to have all these steps automated, but you do need to think through the client’s online experience with your business and make it as frictionless as possible. (You can always say that a team member will be following up with them in 24-48 hours to confirm, book the appointment, answer questions, etc. if you do not have all the automations set up just yet.)
I recommend investing the money that you save on catering, décor, and print materials into your open house efforts. By making your website more eCommerce friendly and learning how to set up more efficient automations you will reap these benefits continuously within your business.
Last Note on Prepping
By now, you are all probably very familiar with my views on goal setting. This is definitely an important time to take that advice to heart and set a team goal for sales on event day! You could set an overall goal or get more specific with certain packages or retail. Either way, make sure everyone is aware, on-board, focused, and ready to measure how well you do against your goals!
PART TWO- Marketing
Plan Your Marketing
Marketing is one of the most critical aspects of planning your virtual event. Leading up to the event, make sure that you create a comprehensive marketing plan. Your marketing should raise awareness and promote your event in the days & weeks preceding the big day.
Before creating content, consider your budget. You CAN run a fantastic virtual event without a large marketing budget. However, it’s necessary to keep this information in mind while planning. Keeping in line with your overall brand & budget, develop a fun name for your event, and get creative!
Develop all the marketing pieces ahead of time so that you have one cohesive campaign. If your posts and videos are off-brand, it can leave the event feeling disjointed to your attendees. Your logo, colors, font choices and images should be consistent with previous marketing efforts, and remain relatively uniform for this particular campaign. Utilize your website, social media posts, social media ads, and email newsletters to generate momentum and get your clients excited. Consider doing a countdown!
Side Note On Raffles
Make sure you decide how to run the raffle, when to have clients submit entries, and whether you are going to create a separate webpage for raffle items (good idea!) AHEAD of time. By deciding all this information early on, you can more easily communicate it to your audience through your marketing material.
Here’s an example of how I have seen raffles done well:
Example: For raffle entries, you could require your audience to go on Facebook (or Instagram) and leave a comment on the day of the event. Each social media comment should include which raffle item they are entering for, as well as three tagged friends of their choice. Set a limit for how many raffle items they can enter to win. Or, you might choose to give them a raffle entry for each friend they tag! Good luck with this phase of the planning, as it should be both fun and informative.
PART THREE- Execution
Create An Agenda
Create a schedule for the day of the event, with planned times for your videos to be posted. Release your videos on IGTV, FB, or YouTube, and make sure that you’ve advertised the scheduled times to your audience. Plan both an AM & PM time for the main physician to host a live-stream presentation or Q&A session. You might even plan to have your lead Esthetician host a Q&A over the treatments that she performs, allowing the doctor to focus more on procedural questions.
Make a game-day plan that allows for curbside pickup of any retail orders placed. Consider allowing clients to text a business number to schedule pickup.
It’s essential to have extra team members available to operate phones, answer questions, and facilitate sales. Designate specific team members to take charge of the technology for running the event. You can delegate other team members to answer social media questions and oversee communication on the event day.
Prepare For Tech Problems
Just like physical events, virtual events have glitches too. I recommend rehearsing your event beforehand and making backup files of all visuals & video presentations. Anticipate problems from your audience’s end by preparing how-to posts or pop-up windows. Not all of your clients will be tech-savvy, and making help easy and attainable for them will prove invaluable to your client’s experience.
Make It Fun
The day of your event may be busy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable. You simply CANNOT make this event a success without your team, and they need to know that. Encourage and motivate your team through healthy snacks, team t-shirts, or a high-energy morning activity. You could even plan a special team bonus if you exceed your sales goals during your event!
Planning a virtual event may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Since you are hosting an online event, you can focus on completing a lot of the work well ahead of time, and streamline your virtual event day considerably to achieve maximum results!
Did you find this article helpful? The Advanced Acceleration Program™ will help you finally close the gap on where you are and where you want to be with your aesthetic business.