As I’ve been sharing with you, I hosted a virtual party for a direct selling company recently. And I learned several best practices along the way that I want to summarize for you in today’s post. I want to take just a moment, though, and say a big THANK YOU to all of you who shared your thoughts and experiences through this process. One of the things I love so much about this blog, and my Facebook Page (have you “like-d” it yet?), is that you all really take the time to help each other. If you’ve got a good idea, you share it. I love that this is becoming a community that people can turn to to ask questions and help each other out. You are GOOD PEOPLE and it’s a privilege to connect with each and every one of you.
Now because I want you all to be clear on this, I need to again insert the disclaimer that live parties are almost always better than virtual ones. Nothing beats live interaction. But when you don’t have another choice, there are strategies you can use to have a more effective online experience.
So what should you do if you want to ROCK your next virtual party?
- Hostess coach, hostess coach, hostess coach. Click here for the specific things you need to do to help your hostess have a successful virtual party.
- Provide an e- and print invitation your hostess can use that includes any necessary links, as well as information about shipping, ordering deadlines, etc. Anticipate the questions and answer them ahead of time. And be sure to highlight the guest and host specials, and how to get them.
- Provide specific instructions for setting up a Facebook Event. Let your hostess copy and paste the info into the Facebook Event template, so it’s super-simple for her (be sure to include the guest and host specials in the copy, with ordering instructions.) And make sure she adds you to the Event as well, so that you can provide daily tips on the Event wall.
- Add tips/ideas/recipes (fill in what works for your product line) on the Event Wall. Make it worth it for guests to come back daily. And make sure your event lets people know that this is available to them. This keeps them engaged, and makes it more likely they’ll remember to order.
- Add a live event. If I were to do it again, I would TOTALLY add a live event element to it. This is a set time when the consultant would do a live streaming demo using Ustream. For those customers who were interested, it is a time to learn about the product line and its uses, as well as hear about booking and the opportunity. In many ways, it’s the best of both worlds. Add this info to the invitation.
- Send follow-up emails to all customers. When someone places an order, immediately send them an email thanking them for the order, and giving them tips on how to use what they just bought. Ask if they’d like to receive your newsletter that contains more tips and ideas, and invite them to connect with you on Facebook. You might also ask each customer if they’d be interested in hosting their own party, and receiving free products. And make sure your email signature includes links to information about how to book a party and join the company, too.
- Make it paper, too. Be sure to send the hostess some catalogs so she can get orders from her in-person friends too. I got one order because I was perusing the catalog while watching my kids’ soccer game from the sidelines. Someone saw the catalog and asked if I was having a party. You may want to create a label to stick on the back of the catalog with instructions on how to order/credit the order to the hostess’ party.
By the way, this is NOT limited to party plan sellers alone. Network marketers can use these same tips during the holidays. You may not have a hostess rewards program created by your company, but there is NO REASON you can’t create your own program, providing free and discounted products to people who share your products with their friends. There are MANY network marketers who are experimenting with group sales techniques these days. It’s an efficient way to share your product line with lots of people at once. How could you make this work for you?
So that’s my list. Now I know some of you have other tips that you can share about running online events. What would you add? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!