Almost every event can happen virtually, including award ceremonies, product launches, annual dinners, performances, and more!
There are many reasons to host a virtual event:
Accessibility: Physical events would cost much more as you would need to consider getting a venue, logistics, inviting guests, etc.. For virtual events, you don't have to worry about those additional costs, your audience just needs a device to log into your preferred platform.
Greater ROI: Because event planners do not have to worry about paying for a venue, catering, staffing, or other costs associated with an in-person event, virtual events present a greater return on investment. Consider passing some of these savings on to the attendee by reducing the registration fee, which, in turn, will increase the perceived value of your event and may lead to a greater number of sign-ups.
How to start planning a virtual event
Planning a virtual event is slightly different, here are some things to consider:
Identify your audience: If you have experience planning events, you would think figuring out your demographics is enough. But keep in mind that virtual events have a wider reach, so factor in this audience growth when developing your theme, speakers, content pieces, and marketing strategy
Develop content: Engage your attendees with engaging content! You want to keep them excited for your event, so make sure to tell them what they can expect. If you can line up key speakers, presenters, or exhibitors who can share actionable insights and information with your core audience, then you are more likely to generate interest. Remember that all your content can be archived in a “content library” that is accessible to attendees and participants after the event is finished. This type of resource adds value to your event and ensures that attendees never have to feel fraught when choosing between concurrent sessions. During the event, you can include live streaming video, pre-recorded content, virtual exhibition booths, breakout sessions, networking meetings, Q&As, and live chats.
Approach potential sponsors: Virtual events can be very valuable to sponsors who are trying to reach the same audience you are. Virtual registration can mean greater access to attendee data, giving sponsors the resources that they need. Inform them of your audience segments and design specific sponsorship tiers that are unique to the virtual experience. Do not try to use your old sponsorship packages. Making clear adjustments will lend credibility to your event and to your brand. Sponsors love someone who can get them in front of their customer base in unique and creative ways.
Choose a virtual event platform: With so many platforms to choose from, make sure you do your research and determine which is the best fit for your type of event.
Event Website: This site will be your primary marketing tool. It will be where people can go to learn more about your event, read about your speakers/vendors/performers, check out event sponsors, and purchase tickets or registrations.
Registration/ticket sales: Choose a platform that easily enables ticket sales and registration. This will make it easy for attendees to register and for you to collect important data that may help improve the event overall.
Social and email integrations: An event platform that integrates with social media or email campaign platforms will help your marketing and promotion strategy. Social media integrations enable attendees to share on their social media profiles that they plan to attend, expanding your reach and exposing you to an audience you may have otherwise missed. Email integrations make it easy for you to send out announcements, reminders, and instructions to all registered guests.
Networking and live streaming: The ability to stream live video and promote networking between attendees will be the bread and butter of your event. Look for a platform that allows you to stream video, host networking sessions, set up virtual meeting rooms, create virtual exhibitor booths, and hold keynote and breakout sessions.
24/7 support: It is always a good idea to have technical support ready. Choose an event platform that offers 24/7 live chat so that if something goes wrong at any time, you have a team in place to help you out!
Promoting your event
Get the word out about your virtual event, email marketing is still one of the most effective methods so do not be afraid to create an email invitation campaign, followed by periodic reminders and new information to both entice people and to keep your event front of mind.
Consider writing blog posts or other relevant content on your event website and sharing it to your social media channels. Creating shareable online content increases the likelihood that you will be able to extend your reach beyond your initial target audience.
Ask your speakers and vendors to promote their involvement on their websites and social platforms as well. It is likely that they will have their own fans/following and those people may be interested in your event simply to have an opportunity to speak with/learn from these individuals.
It is a good idea to ask your sponsors to share their participation as well.
Providing tech support
Before you launch your event, take some time to test everything to make sure it works. Try your video feeds and audio. Make sure that all breakout sessions and meeting rooms are accessible. A day or two before the event kicks off, send all registered attendees detailed information on where and how to log in. Explain how to navigate the platform and let them know that you will be available to help if needed.
Assemble a team of individuals with tech experience to help you. Give them time to familiarize themselves with the platform and make sure they are available during the event to resolve anything that might pop up. Let speakers and attendees know in advance that tech support is available from your team and make sure that you share the contact information
Now you’re all set! It’s not very complicated and it just takes a few practices and you can provide a valuable experience to all involved while satisfying sponsors and turning a profit. If you’re interested to find out more or how you can benefit from a virtual event, feel free to reach out to us!
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