When it comes to event planning for a business, virtual events must be a part of the mix. While face-to-face events definitely have a place in the business world and will come back someday, the value uncovered in virtual events has forever changed the event landscape.
Virtual events present a new opportunity to engage a wider target audience, save costs and avoid the planning nightmare of a large, in-person event during the Covid-19 era. According to event technology company Bizzabo, 93% of event marketers plan to incorporate virtual events into their strategy in 2021 and beyond.
Simply put - virtual events are here to stay!
What Is a Virtual Event?
A virtual event is any organized event that takes place online rather than in a physical location. Businesses typically partner with a virtual events vendor due to the technology and digital strategies involved.
What Kind of Virtual Events are Businesses Hosting in 2021?
The opportunities are endless! Here are some of the types of virtual events being held:
- Trade shows
- Trainings and courses
- Product demonstrations
- Open houses
- Behind-the-scene tours
- Community chats
Why Host a Virtual Event?
Because it’s the #1 way to connect and build authentic relationships when you can’t meet in person. Virtual events are easier to plan and execute and save costs. No more renting an event space, hiring staff and caterers, travel costs, etc. Also, a live event is one-and-done, whereas a virtual event can be recorded, shared and replayed over and over again.
Also, your brand gains visibility and authority in the industry. Customers and/or prospects get answers to their questions and learn more about your brand. Attendance is often high with the barriers of travel/location removed. Lastly, it’s an opportunity for like-minded people from across the world to come together and connect easily.
🕵️Related: Uncover the Secrets of Virtual Selling
7 Steps to Hosting a Successful Virtual Event
1. Find the right partner and platform to ensure the event runs smoothly.
Find a partner who can deliver based on your goals and vision. Your virtual event partner should work with you from pre-event planning to a post-event strategy. They should have recommendations on the best technology to use and be able to resolve technical issues, such as what if your live stream fails or your audience can’t hear you. Your partner should also have Plan Bs in place during the event.
2. Map out the right strategy.
Every successful virtual event starts with the right strategy. Questions to answer: What should the event be named, and what is its primary purpose? Who is the target audience? What are the main takeaways the audience should get from the event? Who will be the speakers? Sponsors? What content should be distributed before, during and after? Will there be giveaways or other incentives for attendees?
3. Keep the audience engaged during the event.
Determine what audience participation tactics to use during the event, such as an online Q&A, polls, quizzes, breakout rooms, networking sessions, etc.
4. Plan a pre-event promotion strategy.
Don’t rely on the mantra, “If I build it, they will come.” A pre-event promotion strategy can start by inviting your current network of customers, prospects and/or contacts. Promote your event on your website and social media channels. Talk about it on a podcast. Run ads and drive them to a landing page created specifically for the event.
5. Plan a post-event promotion strategy.
Keep your event attendees interested in your brand even after the event is over. Send post-event resources to continue to nurture and engage them. Have sales send a personal video email offering to answer more questions. Send a survey for event feedback
6. Repurpose the event.
Gain maximum ROI by recording and repurposing the event. Turn it into an on-demand recording that lives on your website for access at any time. Ask for an email to watch the recording and you’ve gained a lead! Post bite-size videos from the event on your social media platforms. Share the audio content via a podcast.
7. Document what metrics to measure to determine success.
The success measurements for a virtual event are not the same as those of an in-person event. There will be multiple variables, such as with attendance; you may have those who attend the day of, those who attend only a portion of the event and those who watch the event recording later. Ask your event partner to help you understand what to expect, and set those same expectations with your leadership so they'll be able to truly appreciate the value of your virtual event.
In summary, virtual events are here to stay and have many benefits. They save costs, are convenient, are well attended and are not that difficult to plan and execute when you have the right strategy, technology and partner in place.
👉Learn more about our virtual event planning services today.