I have hosted and produced the free Elevate Pharmacy Virtual Summit for the past 4 years, offering pharmacists an opportunity to learn about being an entrepreneur and while also earning continuing education credit if they choose.
In 2020, more than 1,600 pharmacists registered, engaged, and gave great feedback about how valuable these resources have been for them. This year’s virtual conference also turned out to be my most profitable year, generating four times my initial investment.
How can we generate profit through a free event?
There is an art to it, and it’s something more pharmacists and organizations can take advantage of, especially with recent cancellations of most in-person events during the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person events are gone for the foreseeable future and online - or virtual - events are the way to go.
I am grateful for this shift because it’s almost forcing people to recognize the value and innovation in e-learning opportunities. While nothing compares to meeting people face-to-face, there are also many advantages to holding a conference, webinar, workshop, or training exclusively online.
The key, however, is to know HOW to do it right. If you put on a virtual event that only teaches your content, you’ve given people no reason to hire you. They THINK you’ve already given them everything they need to succeed on their own.
It’s important to find the right strategy to balance great content and sales to come away with valuable leads and hopefully new clients, customers, or members.
If you are considering hosting a free virtual event, know that these are the three core benefits if you stand to gain if you plan correctly.
1. You Will Attract New Leads
You are offering free content, so of course, you are going to attract new leads. Free is a fantastic incentive to sign up and attend a summit, webinar, or training.
This helps to build your email list, increase your visibility as well as position yourself as a thought leader in the space.
For example, I’ve seen cash-based consultants offering virtual group workshops that are free as well as paid.
As I said before, however, the key is to balance free content with sales. You must not give everything away during the presentation because you will remove the need to hire you or join your community.
You want these leads to turn into buyers.
2. You Will Generate Awareness of Your Tools and Products
What is it you offer as an entrepreneur? When you hold a free event, you are putting on display the benefits of what you provide your clients or community.
One example is one of the sponsored interviews we did with a telemedicine company, which is, of course, exploding considering the current pandemic.
While the assumption is that telemedicine is only for getting in touch with a physician online when you can’t meet in person, there are other benefits such as using the platform to recruit patients for clinical trials during the quarantine.
So if a company were to hold a free event, it could show all of the benefits and tools it provides to its target audience, potentially converting new leads into customers.
3. You Can Highlight Existing Customers Testimonials
When putting on a free virtual event, you have the opportunity to highlight existing customer testimonials. Allow these individuals to showcase what you do best and sell your product or service for you.
Carol Cox of Speaking Your Brand talked about how powerful case studies can be.
And Melina Palmer of the Brainy Business Podcast shared how our brain processes testimonials as “social proof”.
There is nothing quite like having someone who has been through your program or within your community tell others how great it is. You can strategically intermix use cases into your program, which can help convert those leads into clients or members.
How To Get Started
If you are interested in learning more about a virtual summit, webinar, training, or other online events, reach out to me for more information, we are working with a select number of organizations to walk through the process of putting on one of these events in a way that will most benefit you and your business.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Blair Thielemier, PharmD, is an MTM consultant pharmacist specializing in pharmacy billing models. She consults on and produces e-learning programs for state and national organizations, pharmacy wholesalers, payers, technology start-ups. She has books and online courses available for individuals looking to leverage their pharmacy knowledge into monetized clinical programs at PharmapreneurAcademy.com She speaks internationally about trends in leveraging pharmacists to improve value-based care.