Extreme Sales Summit was a live connected event for the first time last year. I helped plan it, along with Mark Richardson and our amazing team here at SGC Horizon. Pro Remodeler’s Extreme Lead Generation and Women in Residential Construction conferences also went online, though more the product of our Director of Content Erika Taylor. Prior to 2020, we’d only hosted live events. Frankly, we avoided the alternative. Of course, last year we didn’t really have a choice.
We avoided online events because the unknowns were too many and the benefits too abstract. Maybe they’d increase accessibility to our audience and maybe they’d improve our return on investment, but also maybe they wouldn’t. Furthermore, maybe they’d degrade the standard of quality we’d defined for ourselves—which was honestly more daunting a possibility than increased attendance and margins was a promising one.
More events are recording content and setting up On Demand services, which means you can catch up on anything you missed.
But 2020 happened and our events changed with the times. I’ll be real, planning an online event for the first time was about as pleasurable as paper cuts in finger webbing. Even then most masochistic of masochists would have found it stressful, I’m certain. But in the aftermath and, honestly, afterglow of the excruciatingly painstaking process, I was left with some revelations that I think make these gatherings worth not only my effort, but also your time. As we approach IBSx, the first-ever virtual International Builders’ Show, I encourage you to consider these advantages when deciding whether or not to attend.
Online events are accessible
Connected events are more accessible. Take this anecdote as evidence: During a round table at Extreme Sales Summit, one of our attendees took part in the discussion whilst walking his dog. And mind you, he did genuinely contribute to the conversation. Another remodeler had their entire team viewing via a monitor in their conference room. Before, a remodeler would have to be more strategic in their attendance, factoring in airfare, hotels, per diem for food and travel to and from the event, etc. Not with an online conference.
Virtual events are less time consuming
At an in-person event, your days are devoured. Even if the event itself is only a few hours long, if you traveled any considerable distance to attend then getting out of the event doesn’t mean back to the office or jobsite. It means back to the hotel (or out to a happy hour). Online gatherings can fit into your day easily and without a big impact on your schedule. And now, more events are recording content and setting up On Demand services, which means you can catch up on anything you missed, no matter how scattered your down time is. (Check out ESS On Demand at extremesalesondemand.com)
They’re More Navigable (especially if the event is exceptionally big, like IBS)
Anyone who’s ever walked a show floor has been lost on a show floor. With multiple buildings and numbered booths that seem to count both up and down in every direction, it takes considerable effort to strategize a walk through path that gets you in front of everyone you want to see. Virtually, layouts are easy to figure out because you can view them from a 1,000 feet up, so to say. Getting to a booth now means a few clicks rather than a few aimless miles of wandering (which I agree were fun, but also exhausting and ultimately a huge time suck).