If planning regular, in-person events wasn’t already hard enough, 2020 delivered a whole new world of things to consider with the rise of virtual events.
Virtual events are rife with potential for amazing experiences, but just as rife with obstacles that can make for disappointing affairs if not dealt with properly. Event planners in the virtual event space must be certain they are asking the right questions in the buildup to their event.
We’ve put together a list of some of the most important considerations you should keep in mind when planning your next virtual event. For more inspiration on how to create meaningful virtual events, check out our blog series all about the topic!
1. What virtual event platform will be right for my event?
Virtual events are reliant on technology companies and the hosting software they provide to create digital spaces to meet in. The size of your event, the goals you set for it, your goals, and your budget will all interact to create a venn diagram where the perfect software lives right in the middle. Choosing the right hosting software makes all the difference!
Here a few things you’ll need to think about when choosing a virtual event platform:
- What is the size of your event? Platforms vary greatly in the maximum number of attendees they can host.
- What is the goal of your event? Is it lead generation? Educational? Networking? This will help you decide on what functionalities and features are most important.
- What is your budget for the event and the hosting solution? There is a wide range of costs for event hosting solutions, from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands. You probably fall in the middle of this range, but knowing where can help narrow your search.
- What are you needs before and after the event? Do you need a marketing site, registration page and more advanced follow-up features? If so, consider a platform that provides all of this in one package.
We’re huge fans of Hopin, a virtual events platform that is both flexible and easy-to-use. Hopin allows you to manage your event from inception to follow-up: you can manage registration, sell-tickets, create virtual meeting rooms, analyze event data and more all from their easy-to-use platform.
Related content: 9 Swag Ideas To Make Your Virtual Event More Engaging
2. How will I handle event registration and event marketing?
Even if you have an amazing virtual experience planned, failing to properly register and remind your attendees about it can lead to low-turnout. Make sure you have a solid plan in place to keep track of registrants, and use marketing to keep your virtual even front of mind as it draws closer to kickoff.
You’ll need to find a way to stay connected with registrants, and keep them excited about your virtual event. Social media campaigns and email reminders are a great place to start. If you want to take it to the next level, you can use a swag giveaways link to easily give small pieces of swag to your audience with just a few clicks.
Swag Idea: Send custom stickers to attendees that can be shared on social media!
3. How will I structure my virtual event?
No matter if you’re hosting a webinar or a virtual tradeshow, perfecting the content and flow of your virtual event is key. You’ll need a plan to move between speakers, breakout sessions, one-on-one meetings and other elements of your event— all as seamlessly as possible.
Also, keep in mind that digital fatigue is a real thing, aso offering some variety (and breaks) between long event activities can help keep people engaged.
Hopin makes customizing your event easy. It has different event “areas” like you would have at a physical event, such as a stage, sessions, expo booths and networking area. You can create a totally customized event based on the type of content and experience you want to deliver.
4. What can I do to make sure my virtual event is engaging?
You need to get creative in order to innovate engaging activities for your virtual audience. A great speaker can keep people glued to their screens. Gamification can encourage attendee participation by introducing variety in content and format.
Try to come up with a mixture of more traditional networking opportunities, like breakout sessions and chat rooms, and unique experiences like a guided virtual meditation session or group wine tasting online! Here are a few other ideas:
- Hire a local artist to provide a virtual concert
- Create different event ticket types so that people can be matched up in networking based on similar interests or industries.
- Don’t overwhelm your attendees: break up longer events into multiple sessions
More inspiration: 7 Virtual Event Engagement Ideas From 2020’s Most Creative Events
5. What will I do to follow-up with virtual event attendees?
Following up with virtual event attendees can be as important as the event itself! In order to establish long-term relationships, you’ll want to develop a thorough plan for making sure the right people are contacted with the right message at the right time in the wake of your event.
In addition to following up with an email, a great way to make an impression is to send thoughtful swag to your speakers or your customers! A personalized note, along with a branded item can go a long way in leaving a lasting impression.
More inspiration: 7 Ideas for Virtual Event Follow-Up
We think these questions will put you on the right track for planning your next virtual event. Big or small, general or technical, there are special considerations that make virtual events of all kinds successful.
What are you doing to make your virtual events successful? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured.