In our 2nd episode of the Peatix Group Chat, we went live with the Founder of Digital Influence Labs and Digital Marketing Summit Asia, Sharon Neo on how she essentially created a virtual summit of 50,000 pax with over 400% in profitability. If you’ve missed the episode, here’s a summary of what we spoke about or you can watch the video here.
Sharon first founded the summit in 2015 as a physical event but she soon pondered about the limitations to its scalability with a restricted number of participants being able to fit into the venue. Not to mention, hosting it as an offline summit meant she was also limited to speakers only within the country and while she did explore options for regional collaboration, there was an increased investment risk which for a side project then, did not seem like a wise idea. After much consideration, she thought a good way to test this with lowered stakes, would be to bring the event online.
Amongst the various challenges she would be dealt with, the key things that stood out were the technicalities needed to bring about a seamless experience for the attendees and pitching speakers & delegates on trying a digital delivery which weren’t uncommon in 2016, but still needed some convincing.
When asked about the key considerations of planning for an online event, Sharon emphasised that the core principles of event planning still remained and she urged event organizers to always go back to the basics of first asking:
- The purpose of the event, why are you doing it and
- Who is it for and who does the event aim to serve?
With these answers, it is likely to inform your event concept and quite possibly, it’s online strategy.
For example, when creating Digital Marketing Summit Asia in 2016, while there have been numerous marketing events, Sharon noticed a gap where most of these huge summits were typically catered for major players with deep marketing budgets and there was yet to be a marketing webinar that addressed concerns of mid-sized companies or the smaller players. She also wanted something specifically catered to the region, with an Asian focus and with this in mind, she moved on to looking for speakers who are able to provide expertise on cost-efficient marketing strategies across Asia in putting the program together.
With that said, there are still some differences to note when designing an online event and Sharon has suggested to pay special attention to increasing the event’s value proposition. This is because in an online event, many tangible elements such as receiving a physical brochure, a welcome pack, event swags, may be missing and this may affect how the value of an online, digital offering is perceived. Bearing this in mind, for the summit, Sharon and team went ahead with a freemium model when it came to monetization, where they kept the event free to attend, but additional value such as year-long access to exclusive content or additional bundled solutions were made available for an add-on price.
Speaking of monetization, we also asked Sharon if she felt audiences were now ready to pay for online events and she mentioned that people will be willing to pay, as long as you are looking at the right crowd and offered these tips for consideration:
- Consider if your event helps alleviate their pain points. Are you solving a problem?
- Is your offering unique? Are they able to find similar solutions in the market for free?
- Are these people accustomed to paying for items/services online?
Lastly, we spoke to Sharon a little bit about audience engagement and how certain complementary solutions may come in handy to your online events which could help with retaining your audience’s attention online. For Digital Marketing Summit, she’s employed these various methods to keep her participants engaged:
- Having scheduled discussions via Facebook Groups for pre-recorded webinars
- Schedule Live Q&As for Live sessions
- Allocate interactive sessions not just with the speakers, but with fellow participants for them to network and connect with each other
- Gamification to encourage collective action to unlock further exclusive content
For more insights and tips on how Sharon managed to successfully migrate her events from offline to online, you can watch the full episode of our chat here or if you prefer to get in touch with Sharon to find out more about the online events she’s created, she can also be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org