With the impact of a global pandemic, hosting events with large gatherings became impossible. Businesses had to transform their in-person events into virtual ones. And it looks like this trend is here to stay. Are you prepared to host a successful virtual event?
If you are looking for the best virtual event ideas or tips on how to host a successful virtual event, you have come to the right place. This article offers 10 tips that will enable you to host an engaging, entertaining, and impactful virtual event seamlessly.
1. Create a strategy
Meticulous virtual event planning is a must to host a successful virtual event. You do not want your audience to leave as soon as they tune in. Whether you are planning to host a big event with thousands of attendees or a small-scale event, creating a strategy is foremost.
Start by gathering data on your audience to understand what holds their interest. Curating an event that matches the taste and interest of potential attendees is the first step to success.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before hosting a virtual event:
- Will the event be live, on-demand, or both?
- Will the event access be gated or free?
- Do you want to organize an event independently or are you planning to onboard sponsors?
- What are the KPIs and data you want to track?
- What will be the best time to host the event?
- Do you want to organize a live poll or survey to gather attendee’s opinions?
- How will you market your event?
2. Choose a virtual event platform
Leveraging the right virtual event platform will be key to a successful event. As with any big decision you make, do your research first. Make sure the platform you choose can actually execute your vision the way you want. Also, look for a platform that offers analytics and metrics in real-time and enables attendees to have conversations with each other.
Before making your final choice for a virtual event platform, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the platform enable real-time, two-way communication?
- Is on-demand content an option on the platform?
- Can the platform customize services?
- Is the platform capable of broadcasting content on multiple platforms at once?
- Does the platform offer engaging features?
- Does the platform enable social media integration?
3. Select a date and time
Before picking the date and time for your virtual event, do a little research beforehand. Make sure your event is not clashing with your competitor’s event or national holidays. Scheduling conflicts like this will adversely affect the attendance at your event.
If you are planning to host a large-scale event with global attendees, keep time zones in mind. Accommodating all attendees with global scaled events becomes a tricky task. Select a time that is suitable for the maximum number of attendees. If possible, make an on-demand option available to facilitate attendees who missed the livestream.
4. Promote the event
Promoting and marketing your event is key. If your potential attendees are not aware of your upcoming event, no one will attend. Identify the key selling points of your virtual event and develop a promotion strategy accordingly.
- Leverage your social media channels to promote the upcoming virtual event by running a countdown on Instagram and Facebook stories.
- Run ads strategically to target the right set of attendees.
- Promote the event website and pages.
- Market with the help of the right set of influencers.
- Utilize SEO-friendly keywords for optimization.
5. Develop a microsite
A microsite is a small website created just for your event. Attendees can visit your microsite to gather all the information they need for the event: an agenda, speaker bios, chat boxes, and more. With the help of a microsite, attendees can access the content they missed at the live event as well.
6. Troubleshoot for tech problems ahead of time
Just like in-person events, virtual events can experience unexpected technical glitches. Preparing for technical difficulties beforehand enables you to host a successful virtual event.
Before kickstarting your virtual event, make sure to test your internet connection. Ask your speakers to do the same. Ensure that everyone involved in the event has a strong wi-fi connection.
If possible, do a dry run. It will help you identify impediments that need improvement. Have a back-up plan in place. This could include pre-recorded presentations and videos to help keep the event going. All attendees are not tech-savvy, so prepare an easy to follow guide that enables your attendees to easily navigate the event.
7. Encourage interactions and engagements
Create opportunities for engagement and interactions during the event. Encourage your attendees to ask questions via the event’s live chat functionality. Organize Q&A sessions to answer questions shared by viewers. Additionally, you can engage your audience by utilizing these tools:
- Live polls
- Quizzes and contests
Organizing a chat room for attendees to have 1:1 or group interactions during virtual events enables attendees to have conversations in real-time, just like live physical events.
8. Be inclusive and offer giveaways
Make your virtual events as inclusive and accessible as possible to ensure success. Make it a point to use big fonts and good color contrast at all hotspots.
Offering giveaways at a virtual event has been a sure way to maximize attendance. It helps in attracting the audience to the event. Offer virtual benefits to attendees by offering free coupons, discount vouchers, or a virtual goodie to winners.
9. Do a practice run with keynote speakers
To ensure a successful virtual event, rehearse with keynote speakers. Check their audio and video quality and prep them on how to keep attendees engaged while presenting. Ask your keynote speakers to maintain eye contact with attendees while looking straight into the camera to stay connected. Additionally, check the video resolution and audio quality beforehand to host a successful virtual event.
10. Utilize analytics
Utilize the analytics to track the performance metrics of your virtual event. It helps you in gaining better clarity about which parts of the event performed exceptionally well and the hotspots that have maximum engagement. You can also get clarity and impediments of the event that did not work out and needs improvement for future events.
As hosting virtual events becomes the norm, keeping attendees engaged and entertained with online events has become a must. In this article, we summarized 10 tips you need to follow to host a successful virtual event. Hope this article answers all your queries about virtual events!