8 Online Event Ideas Businesses Can Use to Connect with Customers at Home

By Raubi Perilli

      Apr 21, 2020     Solutions    

Life under COVID-19 safer-at-home regulations means more people are well, at home. Customers aren’t out in the physical marketplace. They are stuck at home and spending more time online.

That creates an opportunity for your business to get in front of them. 

You can use online events to give customers something to do while at home and also as a means to support your business during this time. 

Why Host an Online Event?

An online event can support your business both now and in the future.

Your business can use it to: 

  • Build brand awareness 
  • Develop brand authority
  • Engage customers and build loyalty
  • Generate leads
  • Make sales

By getting your brand in front of at-home audiences, you can make connections that turn into business later and even generate revenue now. 

8 Online Event Ideas

You have a few options for how you can host your online event. You can do it live or by prerecording. You can create a presentation to show on your screen or put your face front-and-center. The best type of event to host will depend on your type of business.

Let’s look at your options and give some examples to help you find inspiration to host an online event for your business. 

#1) Location Tour

If customers can’t come to your location, bring your location to them. Give customers an insider’s look at your business or location.

This is perfect for retail stores and attractions. A theme park or performance venue could offer a behind-the-scenes look, or a fishing charter could take audiences out on a typical ride. 

#2) Sales Showcase

Think like the Home Shopping Network and host a live showcase of your products. Theme your showcase for a certain type of product and give customers the information they need to decide to purchase.

Also, if the goal is to sell products, make it easy for customers to purchase. Have an online store or sales process set up so customers can buy while you’re live. A retail store could do a runway show or a furniture store could take audiences through different furniture sets.

Need help setting up an online store for your business? Contact MyArea Network today.

#3) Product Demo

Give customers a better look at your products by showing them in action through a live demonstration. As with a sales showcase, make sure that you have a streamlined way for customers to buy during your product demo.

For example, if you sell cooking products, host a live event where you use knives and pots and pans. Or if you run an art store, host live demos using your newest art products.

#4) Workshop

You can also showcase your products while getting customers involved through a live project or class. Guild customers through a workshop that allows them to create something on their own.

You can also pre-sell the items audiences will need for the workshop to generate extra income. For example, a group painting studio could pre-pack paints and ship them to audiences (or offer pick-up) prior to a workshop of painting instruction. 

#5) Performance

If customers can’t visit your business to be entertained, bring the entertainment to them. Prepare a set production of a process or gig that audiences would find interesting.

For example, a concert venue could offer a live performance from solo artists. Or, a bookstore could host an online storytime for kids. 

#6) Presentation

If your business requires you to have unique skills and knowledge, share that experience with your audience. Host a webinar or online presentation that offers helpful or valuable information.

For example, if you own a hair salon, host a series on how to style your hair or cut your hair at home. If you run a guy, host at-home workouts. 

#7) Audience AMA

AMA stands for “ask me anything” and it’s a style of a live event where you invite audiences to ask questions related to your business or industry. If you don’t know what type of information your customers want to hear from you, this could get the conversation started.

For example, a mental health clinic could host an AMA with a therapist about COVID coping. Or, a car dealership could host Q&A about car care and maintenance. 

#8) Guest Speaker

If you don’t have anyone on your team who can share specific expertise, bring on another expert who can share tips with your audience. Another bonus to this online event strategy is tapping into the audience of your speaker. If they already have an audience, they could bring them along to the presentation hosted by your brand.

For example, a spa could bring on a meditation expert to discuss mindfulness during stressful times. Or, an art boutique could bring on artists to talk about their art and process. 

Tips to Host a Successful Online Event

Now you should have some ideas about what would make a great online event for your business.

As you start to put your idea together, keep a few things in mind to hold a successful event. 

  • Outline your goals first. You can use your event to sell products or tickets, generate leads, or build brand awareness. Define your goal first so you can set up required systems (for making sales, collecting email addresses, etc.).
  • Start with the platform that’s easiest for you. Virtual event options range from Instagram and Facebook Live to video conferencing. If you’re just getting started, keep it simple until you get the hang of it. Then, consider investing in better tools if your audiences keep turning in (and converting).
  • Do a test run. If you’re new to online events, run through it with a few employees or family and friends to get a feel for the software you’re using.
  • Promote your event like you would a live in-person event. Don’t expect people to just show up. Let audiences know by emailing your list, sharing through social media, promoting to media outlets, and even paying for targeted digital advertising.

Just because customers can’t physically visit your business doesn’t mean you can't get them to like and know your brand, join your email list, or even buy from you. Get online and get connected.

If you need help executing your online event -- whether you need tech tools to promote and host or you need help with coming up with ideas for your business -- MyArea Network is here to help.

MyArea Network is committed to helping local businesses get through this time and come out strong on the other side.

For more information on how we can help, please sign up your business on our Local Relief Page.

Or check out our other COVID-19 marketing resources: