In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, Maverick VR is featured as one of our Top VR/AR Development Companies in the United States. Check out their profile here.
People usually attend events for three reasons:
- To gather information and gain knowledge.
- To network with others.
- To enjoy the event location.
For those who cannot spend the time or expense to attend a physical event, a virtual event is a great solution and can provide knowledge and networking, as well as a live event.
Event organizers are seeing the benefits of more registrants for virtual events, especially when they offer reduced costs. Many more C-level executives are attending at least part of many virtual events as well.
Corporations, non-profits, and associations regularly use meetings and conferences to facilitate internal and external communication. Many of these organizations conducted their events virtually for the first time in 2020. As virtual events make more and more sense these days, we will outline seven best practices to consider in preparing and delivering your virtual event.
7 Best Practices to Consider for Your Virtual Event
Best Practices Before Your Event
1. Make a Plan and Set Goals
Planning for a virtual event in many ways is easier than a live event but is as essential and should not be minimized. There are benefits in that you can complete the setup and get the event ready in a much shorter time frame, and cost savings can be 50% or more compared to the live event.
Before hosting your virtual event, answer the following questions to complete your plan, and set your goals:
- What type of experience do you hope to provide?
- Will your event be live, on-demand, or both?
- Will access be free, gated, or a combination?
- What is the best day to have the event?
- What is the best time to have the event?
- Will you require event registration?
- How will the event be promoted?
- Will you run the event in-house or use an outside company?
- Will your attendees have access to the event once it’s over?
- What KPIs and data will you track to measure success?
2. Find a Platform That Can Accomplish Your Goals
One of your most important decisions is selecting an event platform and service provider whose experience and technology will help facilitate a successful virtual event. Check references, get plenty of demos, and understand what the user experience will be.
When choosing your virtual event platform, the most important thing is that it has a clean, pleasant interface that is easy to use. If your attendees do not like the graphical interface or are confused by how it works, you will quickly lose many of them.
Ensure that your event platform has a robust support feature with 24/7 live online chat, clearly documented instructions, and phone support.
3. Maximize Attendance at Your Event
Based on our experience, about half of your registrants will make it to the virtual event. Your goal should be to be as proactive as possible before the event to get as much attendance as possible.
Remember what people want out of an event; you need to let them know what speakers and content they will be getting and its value. People like different levels of engagement. Let them know there will be options so they can engage as much or little as they like.
Email blasts should be your primary method of getting a large turnout for your event. Be sure to use your exhibitors to promote your event as well. Put them to work in advance of the event and encourage them to email their customer and prospect lists.
Best Practices During Your Event
4. Keep People Engaged
One of the downsides of a virtual event is that you need to work harder to keep people from getting distracted. Think engagement, engagement, engagement. To keep your attendees’ attention, engage them interactively in presentations, polls, quizzes, and ask for feedback.
Many event platforms now have what they call matchmaking to help people and encourage engagement during the event. For your conference sessions, assign one of your staff to monitor or moderate Q&A sessions to keep them lively, on-topic, and on time.
5. Be Prepared for Technical Issues
One of the biggest worries that keep event holders up at night is the fear that there will be a technical glitch during the virtual event.
In doing everything you can to prevent any issues; first, the main thing on your mind should be to keep it easy for users. Create demos of the platform and show how easy it is to register, watch keynote sessions, network, and visit exhibitors. Second, be sure to understand the platform capacity in numbers of people, bandwidth, etc.
Going with a platform that provides top-notch support is a must. Also, have people on your staff who get additional training and are available online during the event to detect any issues as soon as they come up.
Best Practices After Your Event
6. Keep Your Platform Open
One of the key benefits of building a virtual event platform is the value it can bring you after the event.
A significant amount of time will go into configuring your virtual event platform. After events, many companies are keeping their platform open for 90 days, and this is begging to shift into keeping the platform permanently open.
Use your virtual event platform as a content library where people who could not attend or did not know about the event can visit and enjoy the content.
Build and market the event content library. It should contain recordings of keynote addresses, breakout sessions, workshops, webinars, and demonstrations.
7. Measure, Analyze, and Improve
Once your event wraps, the work of analyzing data begins. Conduct a thorough analysis to understand the ROI of your event.
Compare your upfront plan to actual results. Create incentives such as gift cards to elicit the maximum amount of feedback from all parties involved in the event. Use anonymous surveys to get honest answers.
Determine what worked and what needs to be improved for future events and use this information to establish future goals and benchmarks.
Virtual conferences provide significant value for all parties involved. They are less complicated than physical events in many ways, but that does not mean they are simple to pull off. Virtual events are still new for many vendors, planners, attendees, and speakers. To help reduce the learning curve for all parties involved, give yourself as much time as possible to plan or transition to a virtual format.
If done right, virtual events can bring numerous benefits, including cost-saving and an increased number of attendees. Following these tips will help to make your next virtual event a genuinely interactive and memorable experience.