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Online events are a great way to build your audience and boost engagement. They work for a number of reasons. A live event creates excitement, interest, “buzz” — which can attract more people to your business and help position you as an expert.

I think that live events are so popular because of how many marketers have moved to automated or low-touch/high tech approaches. While I agree and appreciate that technology has its place; if you are providing a direct service, especially 1:1, you are likely to have better results from your marketing if you actually connect with your audience directly.

Now, more than ever, you need to be able to answer the hidden question in your attendees mind, “What’s in it for me?” — or, put another way, “with all the distractions I have each day, all the calls for my attention, what is so important about listening to you?”

To generate that sense of excitement around your event (whether live or automated), you need to start by choosing a compelling topic, and you need to present that topic in a compelling way.

The more successful you are at selecting a topic which is a key pain point for your audience, the more interest you will generate. Emphasize content that will present you as a helpful expert.

Connect the topic to your products and services — after all, you don’t want to build an audience and have nothing to sell to them, right? If done correctly, your live event will build your authority and credibility with your target market. Create an offer that is easy to say yes to — one that is so good your audience would feel silly for turning it down.

If you’ve attended any webinars or online events, you will see the host goes through a process of asking the audience questions at the beginning (and sometimes this gets dragged out too long, in my opinion). There is a valid reason for doing this — it’s both to help gauge the level of engagement AND to increase it. An engaged audience is one that purchases.

In your event planning, be sure to leave some time for Q&A, so that people can get your direct help.

During the event, be sure to check the “pulse” of your attendees — are they on track with the content? Do they understand your presentation? Watch the flow of questions through your presentation and answer as many as you can in real time.

There is a lot to manage when doing a live event; so it’s wise to use the simplest technology possible. Practice with your chosen technology multiple times, and expect problems anyway.

Be flexible in adding another webinar date or anything else necessary if technology fails during your event.

Finally, use the event as an opportunity to also ask for testimonials. Even if your sales are low (and many of us began that way); having testimonials from the event will help you in you future marketing.

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