Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Getting the Most Out of Online Events

Day 2 of 30 posts in 30 days challenge

One method to let people know about your products and business opportunity is to be a vendor at an online event. Depending on the event you will be alloted 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour for your presentation. Your fee for an event will range from $5 to $15. Look at an event as an advertising and networking opportunity. Invite online friends and newsletter subscribers to the event. Establish yourself as an expert on your products and company. Let your guests know, "What's in it for them."

If you’ve signed up for an online event (paid the fee for a time slot and donated a prize, if required), the most obvious first step is to show up.

Come prepared for the event and plan to stay for a few hours if it is an all day event. Join in on the activities; get to know the other vendors and visitors, and let them get to know you.

If you plan to sign up as a vendor it might be a good idea to attend a few online parties and chats before your first event. Learn how the chat room or party room works so you aren’t nervous and awkward. You don’t want to waste your time figuring out how to present your business information.

Follow proper chat etiquette. Never jump right in introducing yourself and your company as someone else is probably presenting. Wait for the party or chat hostess to greet you and explain how the event is being conducted. Often, the hostess will private message you so the presenter is not interrupted. Don’t be surprised if a message box pops up on your chat screen. The presenter will often welcome you to the event. Say “hello” and then wait for questions or your turn to present.

If you are a vendor at the event, plan ahead for your presentation. Write on a piece of paper a list of topics you plan to cover, such as product descriptions, discounts you are offering during the event, business opportunity information, your email address, and your web site URL. Keep your catalog and other business information near your computer for quick reference.

If you want to make sure you don’t forget something important, write your presentation out in Word and then “cut and paste” the information into the chat window. It’s easier for the guests to read short bits of information rather than long paragraphs.

When it is your turn to present, introduce yourself and tell what company you represent. Describe some of your products, giving their features and benefits, so your guests see how they would make their lives better. As your presentation progresses don’t get so wrapped up in the information you are typing that you overlook guest’s comments and questions. Welcome new guests as they arrive. You want them to know that you appreciate them taking time to attend.

If you write a company newsletter tell your guests about it and tell them how to subscribe.

If you offer a free catalog tell them how to request one.

Repeat your web site address, email address, and discount or special offer several times during your presentation or at least at the beginning and end.

If time permits play a game and give away a prize. Let your guests know at the beginning of your presentation that you will be playing a game a little later so they are attentive.

Games to play (tell guests where to find the answers before you begin, such as your web site or online catalog)
  • Unscrambling words relating to your products and business
  • First to answer questions about your products and business opportunity
  • Make up your own game about a holiday or special interest related to the online event.

Prizes for your game
  • Product samples
  • Small or pocket-size product
  • Gift certificate
  • E-book

Choose prizes that do not cost a lot to send to the winner to minimize your costs.

You may not be able to cover all the information and activities you have planned. It’s better to have too much prepared than not enough.

Most of all enjoy yourself. Get to know your guests and let them get to know you. Make your products and your company memorable.

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