“My live speaking events are cancelled. Now what?!”
This is a common question and concern we’re hearing these days. To be sure, the ongoing pandemic has changed virtually every facet of our lives. Now has never been a better time to stay agile and do some serious “outside of the box” thinking because one thing is almost certain: more change lies ahead.
This obviously poses a challenge for entrepreneurs (and even marketers) who are struggling to adapt not only to rapidly changing times, but to monumental shifts in consumer behaviors. Most of our clients have had speaking and other live events cancelled, and they’ve had to respond to their audience in a way that aligns with these very tumultuous times…which has proven challenging to say the least.
How are businesses dealing with the “new normal”?
New research by LinkedIn supports what we’re seeing. For instance, among 450 marketers interviewed:
- 67% saw an impact on their marketing campaign strategies
- 40% moved events to virtual formats
- 38% paused or cancelled their events
Among the top challenges reported in the “new” era of COVID:
- Forced to shift marketing priorities (76%)
- Advertising investments & planning (69%)
Other key insights were also gleaned regarding shifts in content strategy:
- 47% reported content has become more emotional in nature
- 31% said content has shifted to more rational in tone
Despite this ever-changing, often confusing times we’re all living in, there is a glimmer of good news:
Even if your in-person speaking events have been cancelled (and they probably have) or you’re seeing a lack of event bookings, there are some great alternatives available to you. In this article we plan to cover the 4 following ideas that our experience has shown produce positive results:
- Take your in-person event online
- Develop an online course
- Write your book
- Shore up loose ends
Transform Your In-Person Event Into a Virtual One
Your most common options for hosting a virtual event are:
- Webinar – a webinar is typically a single event using a platform like Zoom, Webex, etc… Webinars can be live or pre-recorded, depending on the software you choose and on your preferences.
- Summit – a summit is typically a multi-day/session event: think, a webinar…but on steroids. Summits can be educational or even mimic a retreat format. They often use similar technology to webinars, and often feature multiple hosts or speakers.
Less common options for offering a virtual event include:
- Social media groups or Lives – this is essentially a webinar that is delivered via a social media platform.
- Virtual Reality – VR is a high-tech type of webinar that gives participants a feeling of truly being in the room with the use of VR glasses or goggles.
As with anything, each option has pros and cons you’ll want to explore, so you can make the best decision that is aligned with your goals. Some important aspects to consider include:
- Investments costs
- Tech support needs
- Capacity to collect payment & participant info
- The ability to “engage” online
Convert Your Cancelled Event Content into an Online Course
Pivoting your speaking topics into an online course can have a lot of benefits, such as:
- Residual income
- An add-on for a live event
- An up-sell from a book or other purchase
Ready to dive into the nuts & bolts of how to develop effective online courses that engage with your audience? Check out these past articles we’ve written:
- Online Course Design: 4 Keys to Strategic Course Success
- 5 Ways to Improve Your Online Course Experience
- Online Course or Membership – which is Best for Your Business?
- Top 3 LMS Plugins for WordPress Courses
- Top 2 Membership Plugin Choices for WordPress
That Book You’ve Been Talking About? Write it!
Especially if your live events have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely, this could be the perfect opportunity to focus on up-leveling your offerings by adding a book.
Not only can a book establish you as an expert in your field, there are a host of other benefits. Books serve as:
- Passive income sources
- Supplemental resources
- An ideal marketing tool!
Selling your book at events can add to your income with less effort. Selling via your website or social media can support your list-building goals and lead to future sales while creating supplemental income.
Plus, having a ‘low-cost’ sale option for your business allows you to implement a zero-cost advertising strategy, where you aim to pay for your ad budget through sales.
Shore Up Loose Ends & Do Some Work
If you feel like you’ve exhausted your options, you could leverage this time to shore up loose ends and do some work on your business…re-visit your speaker kit, audit your website, analyze your brand consistency and marketing plan.
It’s also a good time to get very clear on your “why” – in other words, why do you do what you do?
- What makes you passionate about it?
- What unique aspects do you bring to your field?
- What makes you stand out to clients/customers?
Consider this great quote from author & marketing consultant Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Regardless of your industry, these times call for innovation in your marketing strategy. It’s vital to let your audience know you’re there for them and that you care, in a way that feels personal and authentic. In fact, in the words of entrepreneur & marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk:
“The best marketing strategy ever: CARE.”
Pandemic or not, that’s a winning approach no matter what field you’re in.
Want to talk strategy or get some fresh insights? The marketing experts at Marketecs would love to chat! Book a consultation today: https://www.marketecs.com/schedule/