As a billion-dollar industry before the pandemic, virtual events are not a new concept by any means. Nevertheless, since they are currently the only alternative to live concerts, conferences, and exhibitions, many organisations have started to devote significant resources to planning and organising them properly.
While the goal of both virtual and live events is to ensure positive audience engagement, they differ greatly in their mechanics. As a result, virtual events require a slightly different skill set than live events in order to run smoothly. For companies who are looking to host a virtual event, this article will serve as a guide to assist them in organising a successful one.
5 Steps To Organising A Successful Virtual Event
1. Define the target audience and their goals
An event is nothing without its participants. As such, the very first thing that companies should do is to identify who their target audience is, what interests them, and how they prefer to receive the information. This information will help organisations determine the right medium to present their content such as a virtual exhibition showcasing a company’s latest innovations. Defining the target audience will allow organisations to understand how they can best ensure consistent audience engagement. Will the participants respond better to lucky draws, games, or networking opportunities? Consequently, building a demographic profile will ensure a virtual event that meets both the event’s goals and the audience’s expectations.
2. Pay careful attention to logistics
Virtual events have the added advantage of requiring fewer logistics than live events for many businesses. While this is true, it also means that the logistics must be handled even more meticulously so that there are fewer errors and delays on the day of the event. Such logistics include:
- Choosing the right time and date to minimise the risk of clashing with other important public holidays and events.
- Reaching out to speakers and confirming their attendance so there will be no unexpected no-shows.
- Preparing marketing materials to promote the event.
- Putting together a timeline of activities – is especially crucial for virtual events that span a few days.
- Deciding on the mechanics of the prizes (if any) e.g. the kind of prize, how will it be given.
- Continuously testing out the software so that there will be few technical difficulties during the actual event.
- Preparing backups of event materials in case technical troubles actually occur.
- Determining if event materials will be available after the event or only during the event.
As these logistics form the backbone of the virtual event, organisations have to devote enough time and resources to ensure that they are properly prepared and managed.
3. Ensure proper marketing of the event
All events benefit from effective marketing, whether it is a small virtual event for a single company department to a large-scale international virtual conference. Aside from deciding which social media outlets to use to promote the event (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email newsletters, etc.), the duration of the promotion plays a role in increasing attendance. Many events benefit from being advertised 2-3 months in advance so that participants can plan their schedules around it before it conflicts with other activities. It’s also crucial to put up periodic reminders leading up to the event to avoid no-shows and ensure that the actual attendance matches the number of signups as closely as possible.
4. Include audience interaction activities
In a live event, participants have the opportunity to mingle around to keep themselves engaged. On the other hand, it is highly likely that most participants will just be sitting in front of their screens for virtual events. If the event is simply a stream of content from the organizers, attendees will lose interest and simply log-off, affecting the audience’s participation during the event. A good way to counteract this is to include activities that require audience participation such as polls, quizzes, and Q&A (Questions & Answers) sessions with speakers.
5. Choose the right event management software
With virtual events becoming ubiquitous, there is a plethora of tools and software that can assist companies in seamlessly organising and running their virtual events. In fact, a good virtual event platform can help companies in ensuring that the right logistics are in place, market the event for them, provide audience interaction activities, and even generate post-event reports so that companies can analyse the success of their event.
The Future of Events Will Be Digital
The one thing that the pandemic has proven is that businesses need to be flexible and agile to quickly adapt to new challenges. The popularity of virtual events has shown how technology can improve the way events are organised and run. As a result, learning how to plan a successful virtual event should also be part of a business’ digital transformation.
Thinking of hosting a virtual event? Evention is a one-stop virtual event company for all your event needs. Contact us today for more information.