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In these difficult times when conducting live events is not an option, Virtual events have picked up the spot and become the new normal, and for good reasons. You can host Virtual events from any part of the world, they go easy on your pockets, help increase engagement with your audience and prospects, build your brand, generate quality leads, and help your clients establish themselves as industry leaders.
The first question that comes to your mind, what is a Virtual Event?
Any event that you host online is a virtual event. It can be a webinar, online product demos, panels discussions, interviews with industry leaders or subject matter experts. You can scale it up as well, you can do virtual trade shows/exhibitions, large scale conferences, company-wide gatherings, product launch, virtual concerts.
Online events or Virtual events are a great platform because they often give the audience an opportunity to connect directly with the speakers. This builds trust in the audience’s mind & boosts your brand image as a thought leader.
In this blog, you will learn the best tips & tricks to deliver a successful virtual event.
1. Strategy for Virtual Events – Doing it Right…!
A. Identify Your Audience for the virtual event. Answer the following questions to yourself define your audience:
- Who can / will attend?
- What is their pain area or what challenges are they facing?
- What will they achieve by attending your event?
B. Consistent visual branding helps with better recall
Your brand identity is a critical element in the virtual world. It is very important that you align your virtual event’s collaterals as per your brand’s aesthetics.
Keep consistency in visual branding by using the same logo, colours, fonts, and other graphics or elements that match your brand’s overall style. This will create a seamless experience for your attendees.
C. Make your Virtual events Mobile Friendly
Due to the current scenario, most of your target audience may prefer watching your events from either their laptop or Mobile, many of your attendees may prefer to attend your event on their phones, so it is important to optimize the mobile experience when creating your content.
Make sure you keep the text on each slide minimal and keep a bigger font size so it is readable from a mobile screen. Keep in mind to select a platform that supports mobile devices with user-friendly features, so attendees can comfortably join in no matter where they are.
2. Virtual Event Planning
A. Get you A-Team ready for action
Now with the strategy in place, you’ve surely got the skills to create a virtual event by yourself, but will you be really doing it all alone? With so many action items and different strategies to consider, it is worth taking some time out for research and consulting peers on what has and hasn’t worked for them. Do try and attend virtual events and take important notes to help you when it’s your turn to take a lead for your virtual event.
If you have an in-house team, find out who is the most tech-savvy and distribute tasks. They can help you troubleshoot and moderate attendee interactions while you’re focused on your content. If you don’t have access to a team, it is a good time you collaborate with peers who have a smart tech-savvy team.
B. The right topic for Right audience
The subject that you focus on is a very important parameter in gauging the success of your virtual event. So pick the right Topic as per the audience that you focus on. Remember, content is king. Your audience is attending the show to learn something. So keep this as the top priority in your planning phase.
C. Define the event format
Once you’ve finalised the topic for your virtual event, it is time to define the virtual format. You can try out various formats for the show as the virtual platforms give you the opportunity to take your events to a different scale. You can actually try & club formats in the same show at a click of a button. Here are some popular formats you can identify for your event:
One Subject matter expert: Only 1 presenter sharing their insights, ensure you pick a very engaging speaker for the show.
Multiple speakers: Two or more presenters can help build a better content for the show and engage the audience
Panel discussion: Invite a set of experts to speak on a specific topic Industry experts Interview: Host a popular Industry influencer/expert as a speaker to increase attendance. Doing an interview is very effective in building your brand identity
Product Demo: Promoting a product is effective if you can give a live demo to your audience. It is actually a great way of showcasing the benefits of your product and increasing sales immediately.
D. Choosing the best suited Time & Date for your Virtual events
Virtual events can be very tricky. With the world planning their own virtual events & the predefined schedule of your audience, ensure you pick the ideal time & date for your show, think about the day-to-day activities of your attendees. Mondays are not the best times to host your show because the audience will be preoccupied with the week starter tasks. Midweeks Wednesday & Thursdays are ideal as your audience will also need a mental break from the routine. Do keep in mind the time zones difference in case you plan for an international audience to attend your virtual event.
E. Where to host the virtual event? The question that matters a lot.
Choosing the right platform for your show matters the most. While you research for the right platform to use, do look through the pros and cons of them. Ask these questions to yourself:
- Is it easy on your pockets? There are umpteen budget-friendly platforms to choose from.
- Does it suit your requirements? Does it have the ideal features required for your event like Polls, Recordings, screen sharing, spotlight, etc…
- Is it scalable? Can the space for attendees increase on the fly or does it have restrictions?
- Is the customer support team efficient enough?
Here are some amazing platforms with different features they offer in Free as well as paid versions:
F. Testing & Practice of Platform is the crux of flawless virtual event
After choosing the platform for your show, go all out and conduct various tests, explore all the features available and get accustomed to it. Take reviews from the test audience. Make sure you do a dry run before the show. This is critical and needs to be done before the show so that everything shall go perfect during the show. Test all the presentations, audio & video feed of all the speakers, any function that you’d want to include like polls, etc…
Keep the process note handy for the live show which you’ve practised during the dry run. The virtual show.
3. Plan marketing of your Virtual Event
Virtual events are picking up slowly. Since it is a new thing for everyone, it takes time for people to get used to it. Meanwhile, marketing your event is necessary to get maximum audience.
Depending on the type of event and whom you will be marketing it to, you might want to consider creating a landing page. Use it to get your attendees register and provide details of your event in a digital format that’s easy to share. The landing page is an opportunity to create excitement for the audience about your event. An attractive landing page with best takes aways for the participants will ensure you have a full house.
Use social media to promote your virtual event. Posting updates about your event on various social channels will create excitement. Don’t forget to use email marketing. If you have an email list, make sure you promote the event to your subscribers. As a process, make sure you send email reminders to attendees who have already registered. After the show ends send an email to ask attendees for feedback that can be used to improve your next virtual event.
4. Host it like a Pro!!!
A. Being on time is a wonderful thing
Starting the event on time is always appreciated, it shows that you respect the audience time. Make sure your team, speakers & moderators are on standby at least 15 mins prior to the show start.
B. The Hook matters
The audience on a virtual platform can be very vulnerable, the first few seconds of your event determine whether attendees will keep watching or exit. So, keep them excited about the benefits of attending the full show. Tell them exactly what they’ll learn, tease them with something very exciting that you’re saving until the very end of the show.
C. Moderation needs Top Notch attention
While running a virtual event, you have to be 200% attentive on various aspects, is the audio and video feed fine? Is the audience able to watch the speaker properly? Are there any questions being posted? Is every attendee on mute during the presentation or not? Is the next presenter ready and who is going to run the presentation? These are some key points you need to keep in mind while running the virtual console.
D. Make peace with the Tech flux
Like in the live events, no matter how much you plan, some things are always going to be out of your control. Technical glitches are bound to happen, whether it’s your WiFi or audience wifi, your laptop, or the software you’re using. So be prepared for such issues well in advance and you won’t have a sorry face on the screen in front of your audience. Never give up! We are humans and sometimes glitches can go out of your control. Deal with whatever happens in the flow and remember that the show must go on!!!
5. Stay Connected & Follow Up
A. Send a Survey form
Post-event feedback is very important to determine the success of your event. Ask questions which will help you do course correction for future virtual events. There are many online tools available to capture feedback like google forms, survey monkey. So go ahead and plan this well.
B. Let your audience source the topic
If you are planning a series of virtual events and want the audience to return again and again, let them feel good by letting them vote on what your next event should be about. Run these polls on social media, let it go viral to grab more attention.
C. Measure the results
Lastly, remember to run analysis of the show. How many registrations were received? What sources did your registrations mostly come from? How many people attended? And how much time did they spend watching your event? Analyzing your data is key to making your online events great.
Virtual events are very interesting and have proven to be an effective way to reach people all over the world. Creating an awesome online event takes one to think strategically, plan well, market it to the right audience, hope these tips, you’ll be able to host many virtual events successfully.
You can always get in touch if you are looking for a team to host your virtual event.