By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Podcast.
Founder and CEO of Standout Universe, Toni Kaufman helps entrepreneurs bring ideas to life and leverage what is now part of the norm in the industry — online events.
Before anything else, the key to getting yourself known to the online world is to establish authority. Toni points out the significance of having the credentials to prove you can be the go-to expert in a certain topic. We’re in a community, a huge expanse, wherein almost everyone wants to make a difference.
Image from Standout Universe
For someone like Toni who used to work as a Microsoft technical evangelist, setting up conference calls via Polycom dialing, the online conferencing system is a mind-blowing concept. She particularly commends Zoom, a video conferencing platform that was at the right place at the right time.
Today, several webinar platforms emerge and grow daily. And it’s really impressive how servers are able to handle online events without a hiccup or a glitch. Before, it took about half a million dollars to setup two rooms in two places to have a video conference. Fast forward to today, this service can be availed for only 30 bucks a month.
Gamification of Online Events
Toni says that the online events landscape has undergone what is called “gamification.” People are now like the third or fourth generation of video game players.
Through gamification and Artificial Intelligence (AI), people can now use avatars and enter a conference center, enquire at the front desk about what kind of events are ongoing, and attend a variety of these meetings at the same time — similar to what Toni has witnessed at a recent conference that made over a million dollars.
Nowadays, people are making some serious sales through online conferences. Technology has allowed audiences to attend events of their choice from the comfort of their homes.
Image from Unsplash
Replicating Traditional Trade Shows Online
Toni and the rest of Standout Universe do the exact same things as what salespeople can expect during traditional trade shows, except that things are done online.
They still host VIP dinner parties before the event proper, conduct breakout rooms for lunch with their sponsors, and have the happy hour at the end of the day. Hosted on Zoom, they play music and games as well. One of her business partners, Linda Kane, was able to bring in an escape room of sorts to the said platform.
The important thing that they keep in mind is to execute what their clients want and even go beyond what is expected. For instance, they recently ran a 12-hour summit that featured giveaways and 20-minute talks on a Saturday. Due to popular demand, the summit got extended until Sunday.
Another advantageous thing about online events is that they are more economical. Before the advent of virtual shows, someone would need to spend a minimum of $2,500 per event to cover travel, accommodation, and food expenses. This is on top of the program or product that he or she is going to invest in. Because the $2,500 is eliminated in online events, people can now better afford to buy your program.
Creating an Environment that Doesn’t Aim for Perfection
With virtual conferences now booming, there’s also an increasing demand for high-resolution digital assets.
For Toni, it’s not all about creating the perfect online setup or environment. It is the imperfections that attract people to work with you, not perfection. It’s the ability to create a common character that people can resonate with. Because when you host a summit or a podcast, you become the authority figure and the go-to expert.
Business-to-Business (B2B) companies can also take advantage of online events.
Image from Unsplash
Toni recommends promoting an event on LinkedIn. When she created a B2B Thanksgiving event on the platform, her post earned responses from around 8,000 people. Afterward, she exported the list to create a mailing list and develop a campaign from that: Ask if they’re interested in your service and tag your list according to the responses.
What B2B companies need to ensure is that they have a landing page or a community page to start with (may it be on Twitter, Instagram, or Clubhouse). You can start small and use free tools like Facebook Live, in order for you to be seen. Then build your audience and participate and join other communities to build your list faster.
Toni also recommends looking for a mentor. It doesn’t have to be a million-dollar mentor. There are professionals in the market whose service you can get for less than $12,000 a year.
If you want to get mentored by Toni, visit Standout Universe’s website, http://www.kddmInc.com. Let your business grow, get online, and host virtual events for your company’s development.
This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast The UnNoticed, you can listen here.