I was originally really excited to be invited to all of these online events that we had not budgeted to attend in person.  I looked forward to having the chance to binge-watch/listen to sessions that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to attend. It sounds a bit funny when I say it, but I was hoping to overload on marketing and sales content instead of watching TV.

Attending every event that I was invited to was a pleasant distraction, like watching a Netflix original series, or in my world, teaching myself to play the guitar (Fender has 3 months of free classes) and doing ridiculously hard paint by numbers with my little one. What I soon realized is that if you spend too much time attending online events, it leaves almost no time to do what you need to do, which is continuing to sell and market.  

Here are a few ways that I use to prioritize what content I decide to make time to watch or listen to.

1) Opportunity Cost

Think of each session you attend as an opportunity cost in terms of time or other activities you would have done instead. Is watching that session just like watching one more episode of your favorite show with the cost?  Make sure you are going to get enough value out of it. The good news is, if you do decide the session is not worth your time, you can just stop watching it instead of being awkwardly stuck in a conference room not being able to leave.

2) Networking

Much of the value that you get from going to events comes from the people you meet there and the side conversations you have that can lead you down unexpected, but successful paths. That is a bit more difficult to achieve with online sessions and I have not yet seen a good execution of technology that allows for interaction both pre- or post-session. The closest constructive way of doing this that I’ve seen is listening to a session and then posting thoughts and asking for feedback on what other people in the session have learned. This can typically be done by posting and using the hashtag for the session.

3) Sponsorship/Being Seen

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had to justify attending an event that is done just to be seen as being successful enough to afford sponsorship dollars.  Now, sponsorship comes down to the ability to connect pre- and post-session with individuals who are attending the conference through email and social channels since the in-person option is gone.

If you can spend the time to identify companies who are attending online events, find individuals who you want to reach out to, work to schedule online meetings, and post during the session, then from a sponsorship perspective, it’s a worthwhile activity. 

4) Generating Leads

This is the tricky part because you don’t have a physical booth or the ability to meet someone walking by. You don’t have a company sponsored event or ways to encourage people to congregate and spend time with you.

At least for now, this process has turned into sharing valuable content and finding companies you can help by solving the challenges they have today.

I’m hoping the technology will catch up so there’s a better way to match people with similar interests and new ways to facilitate online communication.

5) Do you Just Need A Break?

Sometimes it’s OK to take a break and listen to sessions that you’re interested in even if you don’t expect to gain anything from it. 

Do you have any other creative ideas or thoughts on how to network for online sessions? I’d love input on how you decide whether or not to attend online events! Contact us or tweet us at @FindYourYeti to share your thoughts!

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