Best Practices for Virtual Events
Author tours, and the way we host in-store events, have been changed by the 2020 pandemic. But it’s not all bad news. Moving forward, geography and venue size will matter less, and ANY store can host authors and events if they have a virtual audience and a way to sell books to them online. Before you start making author event requests from publishers, or planning your summer events, review this checklist to consider how digital events will operate best for your business. Understanding the technology, and laying out an event production and sales plan will be essential to your success.
Virtual events are here to stay. Make the most of a new opportunity.
Determine Your Specific Goals for an Event
- Customer engagement & retention
- Book sales
- Promoting your store, brand & identity
- Celebrating an event, holiday, or industry happening?
- All of the above!
Decide What Type of Event You Want to Host
- Author Event
- Book Club Meeting
- Live Book Recommendations
- Tour of Your Store, Share the Shelves
- 60 Second Book Recs
- Cooking Demos, Cookbook Promo
- Romance Reader Book Talk (or any genre!)
- Be creative, the possibilities are endless!
Choose the Best Platform for the Kind of Event You are Planning and for the Specific Audience
- Free vs. Pro
- Can add on Webinar feature and other options
- Facebook Live
- Instagram TV
- Zoom and other options can stream live to YouTube
- Google Hangouts
- Explore several free and paid options to choose what works best for each event.
Promote Your Event & Generate Income
- Website; Email; Social Media; Window Signage; In-store Display
- Be sure to include:
- When; Where (links, etc); What; Why
- Registration required? Book sale required?
- Call to action: Buy the book. Buy a gift card. Enter your email. Etc.
- For author events, give the author and publisher what they need to promote your event.
- Follow-up with event attendees after the event, encourage book purchases.
Get Your Technology Ready
- Learn/explore your platform
- Consider your background, lighting, etc.
- Do a dry run with your author/presenter
- Test your internet connection, speakers, camera
- Prepare to help attendees with technology and answer questions
Encourage Customer Engagement & Purchases
- Q&A via chat, social media posts, etc.
- Links for book purchases
- Link for email opt-in
Set Goals, Measure Results, Revise, and Repeat
- Set sales goals when you book the event.
- Compare actual sales or attendance/engagement to the goals you set.
- Analyze what worked and what didn’t.
- Update future plans to benefit from whatever lessons you learn.
- Use your success stories to help guide future author requests.