Is your next event cancelled or postponed due to the threats of the Coronavirus spread?
Is there any better solution to still make your conference happen?
Yes — there is a proper solution. Let’s go VIRTUAL — the best sanitizer for your events!
After the spread of Coronavirus across the globe, virtual events and virtual conferences have become a formidable course of action for event planners and managers.
You can reach out to a large pool of audiences and prospective attendees. And attract the best speakers to speak at your event.
You can boost your creativity and add up to the taste of your attendees.
Transforming your physical events into virtual events is the best option to democratize your experience.
All virtual — a lot can be saved and implemented with great advantages.
1) What are virtual conferences and virtual events?
Virtual conferences and virtual events let remote attendees attend live onsite meetings and events from their computer systems even though they would be at a different place.
Virtual meetings are completely hosted over the internet. With the use of virtual conference management tools, participants can easily access their events by longing into the provided platform known as online meeting software, virtual meeting tool, video conferencing tool, virtual event management software.
2) How to conduct a successful virtual event?
– Create a complete plan for your virtual conferences & events
Be clear about why you want to go virtual. What kinds of technologies you need.
Create your game plan. Understand your audience types.
Consider optimization for mobile. You, attendees, would also want to access the event on mobile, not just on computers.
– Define the timeline for your virtual event
What kind of events you organize, define a clear timeline for your event. Segregate the tasks and activities you need to complete for your full event.
The timeline is the most critical aspect for your virtual conferences. Set the timeline for pre-event and after event engagement and activities.
When you manage or need to manage a team working under you, ensure that you communicate the project deadlines to them, covering their responsibilities and duties.
– Resource planning
This is people management. How you plan your people into performing an activity for the whole skeleton of your event and how you get your work done by them will help you envision your overall event success.
Have full visibility into the skills and abilities of your team members and assign the tasks to them.
Never underestimate the power of clear and timely communication with anyone, including your teammates. They need to have clear and full information and direction of how you want them to establish and perform towards the conference.
– Costs consideration
Virtual events are more cost-effective than physical events for sure. However, there is a need to consider all the costs of your virtual conferences. Virtual event software provider, video conferencing, marketing, good internet, etc.
However, there wouldn’t be any cost to attendees’ accommodation, foods and travel. No need for this as your conference is virtual happening over the internet.
– Make your virtual conference a huge success for speakers
When you execute your event right, it’s going to be a great victory for you, your online guests and speakers.
Provide some unique opportunities to your speakers so that they will be more motivated to provide their knowledge bombs to their listeners.
Allocate more time for them to speak. Allow them to have some marketing or branding opportunities for them while speaking and delivering on their subjects.
– Develop the right event marketing strategies
When you go virtual, marketing becomes all the more critical for you. You want to solidly spread the word of your event to your target audience in your target countries.
With the boom of social media and digital technologies, you can easily optimize your marketing efforts and best capitalize on the available pool of marketing techniques and tools.
- Email marketing
- Blog marketing
- Social media marketing
- Listing on popular event sites
- Paid marketing if feasible
– Use social media platforms
It’s clear that we need to be where our audiences are at.
Your guests and attendees are on social media platforms — such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. You can strategically target them on social media and push your early registrations.
You also have an excellent opportunity to run your ads and further penetrate into the audience you want in.
– Consider preparing great content
Content is still the king in 2020. This is especially for those who have their business and events online. Great digital content can pay you off big times and make your events look far more professional and engaging.
Consider sharing short videos, images, and GIFs along with blogs to attract your attendees and speakers too.
– Sponsor and exhibitor booths
Virtual events can make it extremely easy for you to set up virtual sponsor and exhibitor booths for your attendees to visit.
Host sponsors videos, product demos, and documents
Get visitor analytics.
– Form an online community
When you’re online doing your events, you can increase your community engagement exponentially.
People are online and they like human to human interaction. Create an online community to keep them engaged and updated about your current event and others too happening in the future.
– Record presentations
In virtual conferences, many attendees would demand pre-recorded videos of presentations. Always record presentations given by speakers.
There are chances that some of them would not be able to make a few of the live sessions. It’s better to have the recordings ready for them.
Utilize those videos for your next event marketing purposes. Show off to you potential attendees how your last event went — sessions and interactions and quality content.
– Make attractive and flawless landing pages
You want a hub where you want to direct your attendees to see and register for the event.
When you have an event website, make your event registration landing pages super attractive and flawless. Use a short video and provide compelling content.
Make sure that the landing pages are error-free from both the perspectives — technically and content-wise.
– Send reminders to attendees
Reminders are key to keep them informed about your event and any changes you need to make.
Ensure you provide them updates in a timely fashion.
– Test things
Once you have everything up and running, do test all things you developed before the launch.
Try to track any errors and glitches Sort them out and optimize. Make it ready to go.
Once you’re assured that you have all running perfectly, It’s time to launch your event.
Ensure you go as per your plan and keep tracking its progress. Make changes if you need them.
3) Virtual planning conference tips
– Address time zone differences properly
This depends if you’re inviting attendees from outside your country.
If you invite attendees from other countries too, keep the time of your event that should be suitable for most of your attendees.
Imagine your e-attendees are from the USA, UK and Australia. Work out the best time for your event, schedules, sessions, etc.
– Make registration easy for your attendees
Make it hassle-free for your attendees. Do not put a lot of questions for them to answer.
They would also want to register on mobile, so ensure that you make your registration mobile-friendly too.
– Pre-record presentations (if streaming videos fail)
You may face any technical glitches and you would not be able to live-stream your presenter sessions.
In this case, it’s advisable to keep your pre-record presentations ready. You can use it for your attendees if anything unfortunate happens.
– Plan for Q&A and networking
When you go online, things will be fast and demanding for more networking and engagement.
Live Q&A during the sessions will be one of the best ways to keep your attendees captivated. You can present the same on the screen so that everyone can view it.
Your people would still want an advanced level of networking while being virtual.
Consider all sorts of networking strategies for the same.
– Understand your audience requirements
Try to understand your audience’s requirements. What they want and need. What kind of content can make them happy?
Mold that into your content including speaker sessions.
– Look to implement their suggestions to the content
Suggestions are great. But know what to take and what to leave out.
When you implement your attendees’ suggestions, they will be excited and delighted. They will feel more important.
– Designing pre event activities
Let’s just not stop at registration. But figure out a way how you want to engage them before the event begins.
List out your engagement strategies and go for them.
Your event ROI is judged on content and networking & engagement opportunities.
Virtual networking and engagement can immensely help your attendees.
They can access the attendee list.
Exchange business cards.
Conduct virtual meetings.
Global feed hub
Access to sessions
And much more.
4) Measuring your virtual event success
– How did attendees and presenters interact?
Get the analytics and information on how your attendees and presenter interact during the sessions. How your live Q&A went. Top questions asked. Etc.
– What ratio of registered attendees did log into the event and attended the event?
Map out the ratio/percentage of attendees — who attendees the event and who did not.
This will give you a clear picture of the dropouts.
– What kinds of common trends and questions did you notice?
This is your attendee sentiments and emotions data. Get clear information on common or key trends and questions being asked to speakers.
– How many hours did attendees spend at the event — full day, few hours, etc.?
To further dig into the attendance, try to get as deep as possible into the time spent by attendees for the event.
Take out the data on hourly and day wise attendance.
– What did your event engagement and networking plan go?
Regard this as a crucial factor to analyze your event success.
Engagement analytics can help you understand this thoroughly. Good virtual event software will facilitate all these analytics to you.
Analyze it for the full phase of your conference — before, during and after the event.
– Feedback collection?
Be more open to receiving feedback from your attendees and speakers.
People like to be heard and given importance. They share their feedback — good or bad. Take it in the right spirit and work on improving it for your future events.
Put their feedback on social media and tell the work you listen more actively and interested in improving.
5) How to pivot to virtual events in 2020 due to the threats of Coronavirus spread?
– Rethink your event policy
You may have your event policy in place for physical events. It’s time to rethink them and frame a virtual event policy that can win the hearts of your attendees and meet all the guidelines for the event.
– Plan out strategies with the use of stats and information
You must be aware of what It will cost you if you cancel your conference and how your attendees would suffer.
Obtain the information and stats on your cost, the negative impact it could have, etc.
Develop strategies that can help you salvage the situation and become more powerful to still execute your event.
Provide updates to your attendees and relevant virtual delegates about your virtual event launch and further information schedule.
Going with online events are a far better option than cancelling your events. It will be more cost effective too.
– Have space for exclusivity
This depends on your event types. You would certainly want to create exclusivity as per your event.
If you’re running a close event or a town hall event, you want to make it exclusive for the invited people only.
It’s not necessary to live stream the event on every platform that you possess.
– Partner with the right solution provider
You will need video conferencing and other functionalities to execute your event online and roll out networking and engagement programs.
Know what your top options are. Do quick research. Ask for the necessary details. Compare solutions and choose the right one.
– Information flow
Your delegates should be made aware that you’re going to the same event virtually.
Ensure to provide information and details to your attendees, speakers and other concerned people as well about how they can use their system to attend the event.
Share proper guidelines.
Keep your stakeholders as well updated on the progress of the event.
– Optimize and make it mobile-friendly
When we talk about virtual events, we must emphasize on mobile use too for event activities by your attendees.
Your people would want to use mobile and make it extremely easy for themselves to connect and share through the event programs
– Attendee support
As everything is online, attendees would want customer support too. They can get back to you with their issues and queries. You can provide them with solutions instantaneously.