13 SUCCESSFUL TIPS FOR HOSTING VIRTUAL EVENTS, AND MORE
Virtual events are the need of the hour and call of the future. They give us the flexibility to host from anywhere, save a lot on upfront costs, engross audiences at a much higher level, generate leads, branding opportunities and much more. It really is one of the best ways to establish yourself or clients for that matter, as frontrunners of the industry. Virtual events come with a wide array of features like event sign up apps and employee engagement apps helping to seamlessly translate offline events to online.
What is a virtual event?
The words might make it very obvious that a virtual event is basically one you do… virtually/online. These can range from town hall meetings, webinars, demos, masterclass, Q&A’s, panel discussions, interviews with celebrities. It can also include virtual trade shows, conferences, product launches and much more.
Online events are great because more often than not it gives the audience direct access to the speakers. This acts as a great trust building exercise and helps push your industry credentials as a thought leader.
In all aspects of virtual events from planning, marketing, hosting, and presenting, we have come up with 13 essentials that you might wanna follow to conclude a successful online event.
Virtual Event Audience
- Understanding the people: Understanding the target demographic is the key to unlocking all other aspects of your events. Before you start planning for the event ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will be attending?
- What are the challenges they are facing?
- What are their goals?
- Consistency in visual branding: All Online event material must align with your brand aesthetic. You should not try to brand the online event as something completely different from what your brand usually does in the digital/physical space.
- Mobile-first: Many or most of your event attendees will be people who use their mobile devices. Hence, it’s important to optimize whatever experience you’re offering for a mobile audience. Selecting a platform that supports mobile devices hence, becomes of paramount importance.
- Monetize: In-person events are indefinitely suspended, but that shouldn’t stop you from providing the same kind of value online. If things fit your online strategy, try incorporating things which can aid in raising money. Team up with ticketing partners and/or payment processors if possible. Even if you’re a freebie event you can open up a few gateways for donations or requesting people to register for a spot.
Virtual event planning
- Ask for help: There’s no shame in asking for help. There are a lot of moving parts and elements to an event whether online or offline. The best course of action here is to ask for help and take insights from people who have already organized such events. What are the trials and tribulations they faced during events and what are the things you need to be careful about.
- On point: Pick out a stellar topic. Staying away from broad topics is recommended and honing in on a specific niche in your topic will attract more people as they might be getting insights into something new.
- Format: Once you’re clear about what you want to talk about, the next step is how do you talk about it. There are many formats to choose from and you can mix and match these according to how you think will interest the target audience best. Some of the formats you can test out are:
- Single Presenter
- Dual Presenters
- Celeb Interviews
- Product Demos
- Ask Me Anything (AMA)
- Speaker: It’s no doubt that 80% of the reaction to the events comes from the people in the event. Hence, finding someone who will boost up the reputation of your event will go a long way in event establishment in the industry.
- Venue + Timing: You can’t just assume everyone in your target demographic will be available at any time of the day you wish them to be present for your event. The timing and dates of the event should bear in mind what your target audience might be doing at that day of the week and that time of the day and proceed finalizing a time according to that.
- Choose the right platform: Of course, since the event is online you need to make sure the platform is as smooth as possible and is ready to bear the brunt of however many attendees you might end up having. Budgeting and purpose solving should be two factors that need to be taken into account. Many platforms like AIDA.io have been able to host events seamlessly for big organizations and events.
- Test the tech: Once the platform is finalized, the best thing you need to do is test it. Testing is generous, what you need is a stress test, an assurance that your platform will bend, but not break when situations are extreme.
- Practice makes it perfect: Do dry runs, i.e. before the big day, do a test not just of the platform but of the entire event flow. It’s a great way to check for disturbances, noises and anything that could possibly distract from your event.
- Document: As you go through the motions of building a virtual event, document your process, the challenges, the learnings, etc.… It will help with future events and help you conduct them better with every increment.
Of course, this is not an all-inclusive guide to an online event. Of Course there are many other things at play here like the event marketing over social media, having stunning landing pages, being punctual for events, having good internal content for the content which hooks the audience. However, these things are common to every event, whether you have a venue bustling with 100s of people or 100 people sitting at home and tuning in. As an event manager, we hope these are the issues that you would sort out first on an organizational level and then use the above mentioned pointers as a road map for a virtual event.