How to Create and Power a Virtual Event

April 07, 2020 - By: Shannon Leak

An event organizer's most beneficial skill is adaptability. Now more than ever, this skill is being put to the test. While many of us have been taught that the best way to make an impression is meeting someone face to face, technology has changed the paradigm … and just in time. Now is the perfect time to explore the many benefits that virtual events offer:

  • Cast a wider net - Reach more attendees and increase access to your event by eliminating geographic limitations.
  • Reduce overall costs - You won’t be spending on things like venue, travel, hotel and food for attendees, speakers, or vendors.
  • Save significant staff and volunteer time - No one is needed to greet, seat, deliver materials, serve food, or clean up.
  • Broaden the opportunity for speakers - With reduced travel and a shorter time commitment, speakers who were unable to devote days can now squeeze in hours.

Follow these five steps to ensure a successful virtual event:

1. Plan the Logistics

Start with the basics and consider how best to ensure your subject matter, activity, experience, product, or content is suited for virtual. Are you introducing something new? Bringing together experts in a particular field? Staging a performance? Thought leadership and discussion forums work especially well in an online format. Virtual events provide a low-risk way to connect with your potential audience and even get some valuable feedback.

It’s important to take some time to find the right technology for your event. Remember, the delivery of the content is just as important as the content itself. What are you looking to do — live stream video, record sessions, host a chat room, share a presentation, host an Ask Me Anything?

These 6 tools make connecting online a breeze:

Schedule a demo, explore the features and see which option is the best fit for your event. Once you’ve selected your platform, make sure to do a practice run and test the audio, visual, and internet connections before you go live.

2. Establish Your Brand Presence

How does your event or content fit within your larger brand — is it an extension of your existing brand or is it it’s own unique offering?

However this event fits in your strategy, it’s best to have a single place for everyone to access all of your messaging. This provides a place to point any advertising, social media posts, emails, and the like. Your website is the perfect place to coordinate your digital efforts, keeping in mind that not everyone is active on every social media site. Keep your messaging consistent across each of the platforms you utilize.

3. Make it Memorable

Just because you and your attendees are interacting online doesn’t mean you can’t create meaningful, personal connections. Focus on ways to engage your audience and entice them to participate.

  • Create a virtual group for members to connect before, during, or after your event
  • Host a contest for photos or experiences (don’t forget your unique hashtag)
  • Take polls, utilize surveys, or ask questions
  • Add some social interaction activities

You can also have some fun with some swag, merchandise, and collateral but make sure it’s on-brand and will create some excitement!

  • T-shirts - The old school favorite! Ask attendees to wear their t-shirt during your event to foster a sense of camaraderie.
  • Schedules, ID badges or Bibs - It’s always still cool to have a branded bit of swag. Encourage people to take photos as an introduction.
  • Branded Fruit - Yeah, you read that right, brandedfruit.com. Not for everyone, but certainly a fresh idea!

When it comes to getting the goods into attendees’ hands, it’s best to have things shipped. (Make sure you ask participants for their mailing address when they sign up so you have all the info you need.) When appropriate, a reception pickup is a great opportunity to meet some of your attendees face to face.

4. Take it to Market

As with any type of event, you’ve got to get the word out. The marketing for your event will play a major role in driving ticket sales. Consider tapping into your email list and sending targeted messages to previous event goers or any other relevant segment of your audience.

If you’re looking to expand your reach and attract new attendees, organic and paid social media marketing is a great way to do so. Placing ads on Facebook, Instagram and Google is an effective way to get granular and target specific audiences. If you’re looking for assistance and expertise in social media marketing, our partner network SpinGo specializes in creating and managing digital marketing campaigns for events of all types and sizes.

5. Drive Registration & Ticket Sales

When you’re ready to host your virtual event, consider partnering with a ticketing company to help you plan, promote and produce revenue. Look for features and functionality that can help you operate your event online and drive sales, such as:

  • Branded event pages
  • Video and social media integrations
  • Ability to sell merchandise and other items
  • Global payment options
  • Advanced marketing and promotion tools

If you’re ready to get started, Events.com can help! Follow these simple steps to get your event up and running in minutes. If you have specific questions about how to take your event virtual, contact the team at help@events.com.