The COVID-19 epidemic changed the way several industries work. Most notably, the event industry has changed drastically. For months, it’s been essential for people to maintain social distancing and isolate themselves in homes that they know to be clean and virus-free. Almost no one has been flying, staying in hotels, or entering convention centers. Luckily, technology has made it possible for many events to continue.

Services like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts have been booming. They have made interactive virtual events very accessible to the public. There are different kinds of meetings available to organizers. Webinars allow for multiple speakers—a host controls whose mic and video feed are on. In many cases, it’s also possible to live stream meetings. For large companies or organizations like churches, this has made it possible to continue to meet more or less as usual.

However, it’s possible to use virtual events for other business functions like lead generation. When people sign up for online summits or free introductory calls, they provide companies with plenty of information. For example, they’re telling businesses how to contact them, what they do, and what their pain points are in their business. This isn’t just a trickle, either. For example, Thinkific’s Amplify 2020 series brought in about 10,000 new leads for the company.

That means that virtual events can ultimately be a real sales engine for a company. There’s a significant ROI on the low-cost, low-effort tasks needed to set up a virtual event. Creating a landing page, registration page, and spreading the word aren’t that difficult. While pre-recorded talks can be used, they don’t have to be. Popular speakers have been home, often without much to do. So lining up talent is also not as challenging as it might seem on the surface.

Finally, virtual events are accessible to more people in more places. The reason behind this is simple. Travel has always been prohibitive for some people who would like to attend a conference. They may have to be somewhere else that week. Or they may be more needed at their office base. Offering live streams has democratized access to seminars, conferences, and training opportunities. In the long run, this can mean significant increases to sales figures, not just leads.

Events across the board have been canceled or changed due to the current climate. Next month this series will look at how the private events industry has been impacted.