Struggling to get traffic and sales for your product-based business?
Charlotte of Soaps by a Chemist discovered and started implementing Facebook virtual vendor events in her business when the pandemic shut down her in-person options.
Since then she has shifted the majority of her business online and only participating in a handful of in-person markets.
Learn what virtual vendor events are, how to implement them, and whether or not it's a good event for you!
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What is a Virtual Vendor Event?
Virtual vendor events are 4-7 day shopping events that are typically held in a pop-up Facebook group. Events typically have 20-30 different vendors who are all selling different products. Hosts are very careful not to include any competing products in the event.
Throughout the event you'll post in the group about your business and products, linking people back to your site. What's great about these events is that all the purchases happen on your own website which means you own all the customer information and can grow your email list.
While these events are typically hosted by and include many MLM vendors, this is actually a great opportunity for you to stand out with your own products.
What Does it Cost to Participate in a Virtual Vendor Event?
Fees for the event range anywhere from $10-$20. The fees go toward the organization of the event and if there are giveaways or incentives for the shoppers, that will be covered by the entry fee. Higher fees don't necessarily mean higher sales, so be mindful of how much you're spending on these events.
It's also important to remember that even if an event hasn't brought you a huge monetary ROI, doesn't mean that it wasn't worth the initial investment. You never know who you're going to meet or who you might connect with along the way.
If you do find that you can't generate enough revenue to cover the minimal cost of entry, there may be an issue with your product or marketing.
What Are Your Responsibilities as Vendor of a Virtual Vendor Event?
Each event has different rules and expectations of the vendors who are participating but typically revolves around how many people you have to invite, how many times you should post, and how much you should plan to engage in the group during the event.
You'll want to make sure you're clear on the rules and expectations of each host just like you would be for in-person events. It can be helpful to keep track of all the different hosts and their preferences on a spreadsheet to keep you organized and compliant.
How Do You Market Your Business During the Event
The main way you market your business during these virtual shopping events is by posting about your business and products in the pop-up Facebook group. Each host will have a different set of rules, but will typically ask you to post 2-3 times per day. Some will recommend that you post more frequently, but that can easily be overwhelming and doesn't necessarily lead to more sales.
Some vendors will post live videos if it's allowed, though that is not at all necessary, which makes this a really great marketing opportunity for introverts.
As a vendor, you'll also get admin access to the pop-up group which means you can schedule all of your posts ahead. Then you just have to set aside time throughout the week to engage inside the group and answer customer questions.
What Type of Posts to Create
You'll want to post a mix of getting-to-know-you posts and product posts throughout the event. Most of the potential customers will be brand new to your business and won't be familiar with you yet. Telling the story of why you started your business is a great way for them to connect with the person behind the products.
I recommend you participate in an event as a consumer so you can get a sense of what it's like. You can reach out to Charlotte directly if you want to learn more.
Things to Consider if You Want to Do Virtual Events
Like everything you do in your eCommerce business, these events don't come without their risk. There are some people who pose as hosts, collect your entry fee, and then don't ever hold the event. Be sure to do your due diligence and participate in groups where you have a direct referral.
How to Get Started With Virtual Events
The first step to participating in a virtual event is to find a host. Check the links below to find a reputable event host. You'll want to join their Facebook Group or Fill out their participation form to connect with the host.
Because these groups are highly curated and limited, you might have to inquire with a few hosts before you're able to book your first one. Once you're in though, it's a pretty tight community and the natural networking will open up more vendor opportunities.
Make sure you treat these events with the same care you would for in-person events. You want to make sure you're available to engage in the groups, have your email automation set up, and are prepared for the influx of orders.
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