You can’t beat a live interaction with your customers: it’s a great source of information on what they’re looking for, interested in, and curious about. Hosting a live event is a way to connect in real-time; something that can be difficult to do when you run an online business.
For a long time I have resisted the idea of incorporating video into my business, mostly because I really don’t love watching other people’s video content. It’s not that I don’t understand how video can be interesting or relevant, it’s just that I don’t like to feel like a captive audience. I prefer to skim through written content so I feel like I’m in control of my time.
The thing is, a lot of business owners have told me that they often use video outlets as a way of learning more about their own business – they go to video sources like YouTube or Facebook Live or Instagram stories to get their professional development. So, that means, if I want to offer educational opportunities for creative business owners, I need to go where they are: I need to start making videos.
This month I’ll be exploring various ways to add video to your own business, no matter what business you’re in. First up: live events!
In some ways, live video events are the easiest to do. They can be casual and off-the-cuff in style, and all you have to do is show up and start talking. Of course, there’s an intimidation factor to anything that feels like improv, which I totally get. In today’s post I’ll cover the ways you might want to incorporate live events into your business, and give you some tips for making the events more successful. So let’s get started!
How to Use Live Events in Your Business
When I say “live event” in this context, I’m talking about a live video that you broadcast from a landing page on your own website. (We’ll cover Facebook live in another post, so don’t worry!)
Here are some examples of live events you might want to host:
- a Q+A session where you answer common questions from your customers and prospective customers
- a preview of something you’re hoping to sell (like a mini-workshop that leads to an online course)
- a video where you demonstrate how to use your product
- a “behind the scenes” tour of your studio, work space, or a typical working day in your business
- an “unboxing” of a subscription-based product you sell
- a technique tutorial or demonstration
- a webinar or workshop on a topic of interest to your subscribers
- a live interview with an expert or influencer in your niche
A live event allows you to interact with your customers through the comments function on YouTube, and it has the added benefit of providing a sense of “urgency” – your subscribers and customers will want to attend while it’s live if at all possible.
Tips for a Successful Live Event
If you’re nervous about hosting a live event, you’re not alone! The thing is, the best way to get over that nervousness is to just DO IT. Each time you host a live event, it gets easier and easier. And since these events are usually free and fairly casual, don’t worry about it too much: your customers aren’t expecting the same level of polished presentation that they would want from something they paid for.
Here are some tips to help you have a successful live event:
- Check your calendar. Make sure to schedule your live event on a day and time that works really well for you. You should ideally be able to schedule it when you’ve got time beforehand to mentally prepare, and time afterward to unwind. Hopefully you can schedule it for a time when your house is quiet and you’ve got the space to film your video. The other factor to consider is the time that most of your audience members are available to attend live.
- Prepare some notes. If you’re doing a live Q+A, don’t count on people showing up and asking questions in order to generate your content. Prepare something to start with, and then as people get interactive you can pause to answer their questions in the middle, or save them all for the end. Type up some notes for yourself and refer to them during your event.
- Prepare your surroundings. Shoot a demonstration video in the same spot at the same time of day where you will film your live event, to make sure that the lighting is adequate and the space around you is neat and free of clutter.
- Gather your supplies. If you’re going to be doing a demonstration or showing a product, make sure it’s within easy reach before you begin.
- Hydrate. Drink water before the event and have some near you in case you need to sip it during the event, if your throat gets dry. (Otherwise, try not to pause too often to drink water because that’s distracting for your viewers.)
- Test the technology. You can ask a friend to attend a “dummy” event before the real thing. Set up this event the same way you will set up your live event, and have your friend visit your website and make sure that everything works the way it should.
- Be flexible. If the chat room doesn’t load, have an alternative way for people to ask you questions (like commenting on an Instagram post or @-mentioning you on Twitter) during the event. If the tech goes awry, be prepared to re-start the event. The most important thing is to keep your cool!
Making the Most of Your Live Event
The key to a successful live event is to get the most traction out of it possible. Here are some ideas for how you can do that:
- Create an email automated sequence around the topic of your live event, and link to the landing page (replay) for the event in the sequence.
- Edit the live video and give it some polish so you can actually sell the replay as a paid product or training.
- Post the video of your live event to your YouTube channel.
- Add the video of your live event to your Facebook page.
- Pin the live event landing page on Pinterest.
- Share your live event on Instagram and Twitter.
- Beef up the landing page after the event is over to include links to other relevant content from your blog, paid products, and your email list. Include this page in a resource library on your website.
You’ll save yourself time and add benefit for your visitors and subscribers when you think of creative ways to reuse one piece of content.