Small businesses and sole traders have been hit hard by lockdown. And as countries across the world start to ease lockdown restrictions, we still see no indication of when mass gatherings will be allowed. Thankfully, there’s a simple and effective solution: run successful and profitable online events. 

Throughout lockdown, live virtual events have been used as a creative way to engage customers from home. In just a few minutes, you can set up your own virtual event and appointment business, and keep the cash flowing in.

Square App Virtual Events Appointedd

Working with our partners at Square, the payment and point of sale specialists, we have put together this blog, designed to show you how to diversify your income by setting up virtual events in 5 easy steps:

  • Deciding what type of event to offer
  • Getting started with online booking for your event
  • Setting up payment for your virtual event
  • Offering live video for your event
  • Adding booking to your Square Online Store

Step 1: Deciding on what type of virtual event to offer

There are many ways to offer something unique to your business online. Here are some suggestions based on the type of business you might have.

Experience-based businesses: For many experience-based businesses, the same core experience can still be offered online. For example, dog trainers and yoga teachers can take their real-world service and offer it online with some creative changes.

Service businesses that require real-world contact: If you require real-world contact to offer your service, consider transitioning to a workshop model teaching “how to do your service at home”. This could work for businesses like massage therapists or hairdressers.

Retailers: If you normally sell products in person, find a way to allow customers to shop safely is key. A hybrid of selling products online and offering experiential how-to courses could be an option – for instance, if you sell makeup, you could also offer at-home makeup tutorials as an event.

Once you decide on your offering, you’ll also want to consider the price point you’d like to charge and the ideal event size. Some events may be best as a one to one session and others stand out as a small group experience.

Step 2: Getting started with online booking for your virtual event

Once you’ve decided on what you want to offer and what price you’d like to charge, you’re ready to set up your booking solution. With Appointedd, you can customize the booking experience for your customers and allow them to pre-pay for the live virtual event. 

This means you can request additional information, like “how many yoga classes have you attended in the past?”, as a step in your online booking flow. You can also personalize the booking confirmation email to inform people of what to have ready at home for the best experience.

Appointedd is currently offering Square customers three months free. Square is offering free payment processing (up to £1000) and a free Square Reader. 

You can set up your Appointedd account and your Square account in just a few minutes.

Step 3: Setting up payment for your virtual event

Once you’ve connected Appointedd with your Square account, you can set how many people can attend your virtual event, and how long before the event you’ll stop taking bookings.  You can also choose to accept payment in full or a deposit to hold the space. 

Step 4: Offering live video for your event

There are many options for offering online video, some of which are integrated with Appointedd. 

If you choose an integrated solution, you can automatically include the video link in the calendar invite that your customer receives. You can also easily send a follow-up email to all attendees with a video link in advance of the event.

Step 5: Adding booking capabilities to your Online Store

It’s important to tell your customers about your newly offered live virtual events by promoting them on your website and marketing channels. 

You can easily embed a booking widget in your Square Online Store by following the instructions below.

By setting up virtual events and using the steps outlined above, you can ensure you’re always able to connect with your customers, keep cash flowing, and maintain the profitability of your business no matter what comes next. 

Published on 25 May 2020