We’re all looking for ways to do more with less. Meeting numbers are down; conferences and seminars are taking hits; no one has money to travel. The list goes on and it becomes more painful when a large part of your revenue is based on attendance. Sound familiar? The economy in 2010 may not be all we’ve been hoping for (yet) but there is something that we can do about it that in previous down years we just haven’t had the technology.
Consider virtual meetings, conference, seminars. Arrange virtual presentations or videos of the goings-on of your organization or school. At first it sounds daunting but with software like Go To Meeting and others, it can be done with minimal effort. You just have to put technology to work for you.
Once you’ve made arrangements to host a virtual meeting, check out Cindy Butts’ great list of things you can do to make the attendee’s experience a good one. My favorite on the list is her last idea. Offering a virtual option is a great way to make your members feel a part of your organization when they simply can’t afford the time or monetary commitment. Most of us would still rather see our participants (in person) in the future so you can use the virtual experience to entice them to make the next opportunity. For instance, Cindy’s idea of a scrolling photo montage is a good one. A photo montage set to music streaming on your online community site is also a good idea. Send a twitpic every so often. Do a humorous best of video from your last annual conference. Threaten your live audience that you will be shooting pictures if anyone nods off. Make it a funny experience and your online audience will wish they could be a part of the festivities.
But this information works for more than just associations or companies. Use virtual activities to entice prospectives to enroll at your school even when they can’t make it to your on-campus weekends and visitations. Make a webinar of the most popular class you offer available on your site so that they can get a flavor of your staff’s teaching style. Film school events and insert fun factoids in bubbles.
Hard times financially can be used to attain greatness other ways. Reconsider your past ways of thinking to dig out of the ruts we all find ourselves stuck in occasionally. But financial hardships are not the only things keeping particpants from our events or conventions, just ask anyone from the East Coast this winter. Travelers can’t make it to your seminar if their airport’s closed — or can they?? (at least virtually)
Virtual experiences are one way of getting members to participate. What are others you’ve found that involve technology?