Event organizers and planners work on a strategic approach. Thinking of the worst-case scenarios, they then plan and execute the event accordingly.
The recent outbreak of the coronavirus global pandemic did not make it to the list of worst-case scenarios. No one ever thought about such a global health crisis that has taken nations by storm.
With the advent of the global pandemic, restrictions have been imposed on traveling and public gatherings to ensure health safety. The nations went under lockdown scenarios, putting a stop on businesses and events around the globe.
The event industry is one of the major entities that has been majorly affected by the COVID-19. As a result, the events scheduled up for the year either got postponed or canceled completely around the world. But, the event industry is one of the quickest entities to adopt the new normal and switched to virtual events.
In the past few months, virtual has become the new normal. Virtual events have been prevalent for a long, but the percentage of virtual events has spiked up suddenly.
Organizations that never thought about moving their internal and external events online, are today planning to host a virtual event. Hosting day to day meetings and conferences with remote employees and global delegates have become an integral part of every industry.
Nowadays, the internet is full of a wide range of virtual event platforms that offer comprehensive virtual event services. Now you can simply host meetings, conferences, trade shows, job fairs, product launches, etc. online on a virtual event platform.
A platform that offers engaging features and tools such as Q&A, games, quizzes, live polls, etc amplify audience engagement. Interactive features offered by the platform enable virtual attendees to have one-on-one conversations in real-time via live audio/video chats.
The event industry came up with new creative ways and leverage technology, to keep the business going. The new innovations and creativity in the field of virtual event technology have taken it a step above all.
In this post, we have shared a guide to run successful virtual events. Let’s get started!
What are virtual events?
An event that is organized on a virtual event platform over the web is known as virtual events.
Unlike physical events, virtual events are not organized at an on-site location. It involves a gathering of people over the internet to connect and network seamlessly in a virtual space.
Virtual events are scalable and enable people from around the world to access the event from their remote locations. A comprehensive virtual event platform makes you reach a wider spectrum of audiences globally, thus resulting in better reach and attendance.
However, virtual events have become the most powerful tool and the first choice of event marketers and planners.
Virtual events came as a savior for many events and conferences around the world that were scheduled for 2020. Many organizations have opted to go virtual with their events and conferences to keep the business going.
Attendees who were scheduled to attend an on-ground event, tuned-in from their remote locations at their convenience. Virtual events enable attendees to access the event from the comfort of their own space while delivering immersive event experiences.
How to run a successful virtual event?
To run a successful virtual event, we have created a checklist for you. You need to keep in mind the below pointers when you plan to host a virtual event to ensure success. To know more read on:
1. Determine the purpose of your event
Firstly, you need to determine the purpose of hosting a virtual event. Why are you hosting a virtual event? What you want to achieve out of it? And so on. Answers to such questions should be clear in the mind.
Once you know the purpose of your event, you need to know who is your potential target audience? What do you want to deliver to them?
Apart from it, decide whether your event will be live, on-demand, or both. Whether your event will be gated or free and so on. Once the planning is done right, considering the following questions, execution becomes seamless ensuring the success of your virtual event.
2. Distribute the role accordingly
Same as in-person events, distribute the specific roles to your team in their respective fields during virtual events.
Assign roles to team members responsible for gathering data and managing registrations, tech support, chat representatives, customer support, hosts, etc.
3. Plan your budget
A budget is a must for hosting any type of event, the same goes for virtual events. Outline the budget beforehand to avoid any last-minute hassle.
Distribute the budget accordingly in various phases of planning virtual events. Decide the budget for promotions, virtual event service providers, technical support, team members, and so on.
4. Create an engaging content
Content is the king whether you are planning an in-person event or a virtual one. With virtual events, the content remains evergreen and can be used later on websites and social media integrations.
The content prepared for on-ground events and virtual ones holds a little difference. Keep it in mind to keep the talks and presentations short and engaging.
In virtual events, attendees are connected with you through a laptop or mobile screen. Elongated presentations result in falling out of attendees amid as people can not stare at a screen for long hours.
If the speech or talks seem monotonous to them they will leave as soon as they tuned-in. Incorporate engaging activities amid sessions to gain their opinion and excite them about the event in a fun way.
5. Select the right tools and technology
With virtual events, instead of selecting a physical venue, you need to select the right virtual event platform.
Pick a platform that offers interactive and engaging features and enables you to host limitless audiences without any audience capping. It results in maximizing the reach of your event.
The right virtual event platform will allow you to host Q&A, quizzes, games, contests, etc. for throughout audience engagement. Apart from it, the platform enables you to interact and network in real-time via live text/audio/video chat functionalities.
6. Promote the event right
How good your event it is of no use until your audience is aware of it. Use social media integrations, direct mails, public relations, etc. to promote your event and reach your potential audiences.
7. Select the date and time
While selecting the date and time for your virtual event do some research and brainstorm.
Look out for the date you are selecting must not have any other events or holidays. It will result in affecting the number of attendees at the event.
If you target a global audience, keep time zone considerations in mind to ensure maximum attendance.
8. Run a test in advance
Testing everything in advance prevents you from last-minute glitches or technical errors. Before the actual event, test everything right from the platform to the internet connections to all the necessary requirements.
Check whether your internet connection is reliable and strong along with the high bandwidth to hold maximum audiences. A day before the event, ask your speakers and colleagues to gather in a virtual space to see how the event will look like.
Be prepared with a backup plan for the sudden last-minute interruptions. Pre-record the content if required.
9. Do the right set up
Place your laptop on a solid surface at an eye level and look straight into the webcam instead of the screen. Select a place that is free from any background noise and has sufficient lighting to make your event look professional.
Do not sit facing back towards the light as it will make you appear dark. Wear headphones and a microphone to avoid any disturbance in the sound while delivering talks to virtual attendees.
10. Hit the live button
Before going live, send your attendees a reminder a few minutes before the event. Send a direct link to login to access the event and join an ongoing session.
Hit the live button at the appropriate time. Wait for some time for more attendees to join in before starting. But keep interacting with the attendees who already joined to keep them engaged.
11. Keep attendees engaged during the virtual event
Keep your attendees engaged with your ongoing event to prevent them from falling out amid sessions. Virtual attendees work in a different way when compared to in-person attendees.
Keep your talks short and simple to keep them engaged. Organize Q&A sessions, live polls, surveys, etc. to gain valuable insights.
Apart from it, organize games such as spin the wheel, quizzes, contests, etc. to keep attendees engaged throughout the event. It evokes the element of fun and excitement to the entire event.
12. Follow-up attendees once the event gets over
Once the event gets over, follow up with your attendees within a day or so. Send them surveys through emails about what they liked and didn’t like at the event.
You can share the top highlights of the event along with it. Ask your attendees about their experience at the event and their feedback for improving the areas of the event. It will help in knowing your audience’s mindset, what interests them and what not, identify impediments, and so on.
We have stepped into the new world where a virtual event is the new normal. Not yet switched to virtual events? Get started and embrace the technology to run a successful virtual event!
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Saanvi is a creative designer and a blogger who writes about the latest technologies and digital marketing trends. Nowadays she is writing about the latest event technologies, IoT, virtual events platforms, and hybrid events technology that gain great engagement and are loved by the readers. She keeps herself updated with the latest technologies in the world of social media. She loves to read fiction and travel, to gain new experiences whenever she finds spare time.