MODEL 6: Side activities
Internet business does not mean that everything should be virtual. My practice shows that the more often you leave the virtual world and make personal contacts with your clients, the more successful the project development is. The side activities I am writing about are a form of offline communication with consumers, which can also be a good source of revenues.
After you have accumulated a critical mass of consumers, who like your website (no matter which one), you can organize an event for its birthday, for instance, or organize a seminar, training course or another course on a concrete topic that fits your and your consumers’ interests. There are plenty of such topics, no matter whether your website is an ordinary AdSense project, online media, store, or offers consultancy services. This is a well-known practice in both in my country and around the world and there are tens of small and big such events organized every day, gathering groups of people, who are pleased to pay to attend them.
Back in 2011, the TeenProblem.net website marked its 10th anniversary. For the jubilee, I decided to organize a real concert and not just some mini-party in an underground club like the rival companies. We hired Hall 3 of the National Palace of Culture, which seated 1,600 people. We spent several months in preparation for the event. The headliners were some of the most popular bands from different music genres so as to meet the taste of our young audience. More than 1,600 fans gathered on the day of the event both on our website and at the concert. The expenses on this initiative were covered by the ticket sales and the advertising space on the promo-website of the event and the stage itself.
The concert brought revenues that were not planned in the budget both from sponsors and advertising channels that we could not have caught through our online media. The reason is that the advertisers have separate budgets for print media, internet advertising, event sponsorship, and so on. If we are an online media, we can hope for part of their budget for internet advertising but when we organize an event, we can now attract money from their event sponsorship budget. However, in this case, the profit cannot be evaluated only in terms of money. The advertising we made led to a significant increase in the number of visitors, while the videos from the event are still broadcasted on the internet and do additional advertising that attracts new and new consumers to the website.
However, such events require too much of human and financial resources. That is why most online projects prefer to organize training courses. This applies particularly to the websites of the “consultants and advisers” type. This is a form in which the website owner can really meet with their consumers, to sell them their knowledge or attract them as clients. The major thing you should know before setting yourself to organizing an event is that you should have something to tell these people. If you organize the event only with the purpose to make a profit and spend a few hours in pointless conversations on a certain issue, you must be sure that this will be your first and last event. No one will come next time. No matter what form of event you choose, the people, who have paid to attend it, should leave it with more knowledge and ideas, and be satisfied and happy for spending the last few hours in your company.
Unfortunately, there are many events organized simply because there should be such an initiative once in three months, while the organization itself, in terms of who will speak to the public, what people are interested in, and what the point of this event is, is being considered just a week before the event itself.