Best Way To Create Virtual Event: The Ultimate Guide
Posted on December 18, 2020
We are in the last few days of 2020. What a year it has been! While we awaited the year to bring us some of the most revolutionary technologies, the year has brought us the pandemic! However, the overall change that was expected has almost remain unchanged-in the sense that the concept of normal has been re-defined!
We have now reached a stage where the phrase “new normal” is something that we are learning to accept! The new normal has a lot to do with transitioning to a digital space where online working, online education, online shopping, virtual meetings, virtual events are now becoming a way of life!
While many of you might be familiar with the other aspects of the virtual world, the concept of “virtual events” might come as a surprise!
Wondering how an event can be held virtually?
Without any further ado let’s get into the nitty-gritty of a virtual event:
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is one in which the attendees interact in a virtual space instead of a physical location. It is held through webinars and webcasts. These events offer the look and feel of a physical event.
A traditional event is hosted at a specific venue. All attendees arrive at the venue at a fixed time and they have discussions in a physical space. On the other hand, in the case of a virtual event, the interaction is in a virtual space.
Although virtual events may seem very different compared to a traditional event. The planning and hosting process is quite similar.
Best Practices for a Virtual Event
Step 1: Define your objective
Before you plan your event, you need to identify the reason for holding the event. Are you trying to create awareness for your brand, training, or focusing on lead generation? Your objectives for the event must be in sync with the goals of your organization.
Step 2: KPIs
Identify the KPIs before you start with the planning process. These are metrics that will help you understand whether your event was a success or not. Based on the data collected post the event, you can assess the ROI after the event is over.
Step 3: Identify your Audience
- Who will attend your event & why?
- What are the demographics of your audience?
- Which social media platforms do they use?
Prepare a list of such questions to understand your audience and customize your event according to their needs.
Step 4: Choose the Type of Event
Virtual events can be hosted in different ways. Choose the one most suitable for your event based on the nature of the event and its purpose.
Types of virtual events are:
- Virtual conference
- Hybrid Events
- Internal Training
- Livestreamed Keynotes or panel discussions
- Virtual Exhibitions
Step 5: Details of Presentation
You need to create the event based on the specific needs of your audience. Therefore identify the expert in the field who will present. Also, draft the content relevant to your audience.
Step 6: Tech Set-up
Make sure that you have all the video conferencing tools in working condition.
Choose the best event technology platform.
Integrate the attendee data between the event technology system and the virtual event platform.
Ensure that you have a backup so that the event does not get interrupted due to connectivity issues.
Identify the tools for the attendees to network and schedule appointments.
Step 7: Finer Details of the Event
Type of event-live/on demand/mix?
For how long the on-demand sessions will be available to users after the event is over.
Will you charge a fee for the event or will it be free of charge?
Step 8: Registration
Determine the date and time for the event before asking your attendees to register.
Ensure that you have a robust online registration tool for your attendees to register. </>
The registration tool offers vital details such as personal information of the attendees, their preferences, and many more. This information helps to create customized events. Additionally, the registration tool can be used to collect payments if needed.
Step 9: Promote the Event
Leverage all marketing channels such as social media, mail marketing, and other channels to effectively connect with your audience.
Create a buzz on relevant channels to attract the attention of your audience. Encourage them to register. Offer incentives if possible, etc.
Step 10: Guiding your Potential Attendees
There are several technology options available for hosting virtual events. There is a possibility that the members of your audience may not be familiar with the technology that you are using. It is a good idea to help them by offering a guide that explains how to access the event sessions, etc.
Step 11: Hosting the Event
This is when the actual event takes place. Before the scheduled time of the event prepare a checklist and ensure that the entire setup is working seamlessly. During the vent, make sure to record it. Also, facilitate hassle-free communication between participants by resolving any technical/non-technical hitches.
Step 12: Engaging Attendees
Engage your audience by making the sessions interactive by including polls, Q&A, etc. where the members of the audience can participate, and their interest is sustained.
Another vital aspect of creating an engaging event is the duration of the event. While the duration of a physical event is ideally 60 minutes, it is difficult to hold the interest of the audience for 60 minutes in a virtual event. Therefore, keeping a traditional event as a yardstick, you can plan your virtual event around 15-20 shorter. For instance, if your physical event is planned to last for 60 minutes for a specific topic, schedule your virtual event for approximately 45 minutes.
Step 13: Data collection
Make sure to gather all the relevant data during and after the event. This is valuable information that helps evaluate the success of the event, qualify leads, identify gaps, etc. These inputs can help to enhance the quality of future events.
This is an overview of how a virtual event can be organized so that it is beneficial for the attendees and the host.
Virtual events have gained popularity in recent times due to restrictions imposed to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.
Although virtual events have become popular during COVID times, people are now realizing the benefits they offer, and they have the potential to be adopted even post COVID.
Here is a quick comparison between a traditional and virtual event:
|Sr. No||Factor||Traditional||Virtual||Benefits of a Virtual Event|
|1||Venue||Required||Not Required||Expenses incurred towards a venue are nil.|
|2||Interaction||Physical space||Can be attended from Home||1. Convenient for Attendees
2. Saves expenses towards accommodation, travel, etc. of attendees.
|3||Flexibility||Once fixed no changes are possible.td>||It is flexible and changes can be made at any stage.||Expenses incurred towards a venue are nil.|
|4||Reach||Limited reach||Worldwide audience|
|5||Distribution||It is not possible||The link to the event can be shared with a larger audience.||People across the globe can access relevant events at their convenience.|
|6||Scalability||There is a limitation on the number of attendees.||A larger audience can be accommodated.||More people stand to benefit by attending events relevant to their area of interest.|
|7||Reliability||Weather conditions can impact the number of people attending the event.||Unaffected by weather||Attendees can view the event from anywhere without being affected by weather changes.|
|8||Analytics||Relevant stats are collected with the help of post-event survey forms which most attendees tend to ignore.||Metrics such as viewing stats or engagement details are readily available.||Valuable data points help create more engaging events in the future.|
|9||Sustainability||Lots of events imply lots of attendees traveling to the venue. More vehicles on the road are detrimental to the environment.||Has a positive impact on the environment because it reduces the number of vehicles on the road.||Virtual events not only help save traveling expenses but also minimize the impact on the environment.|
|10||Better Participation||Some attendees may have their inhibitions in interacting during the event.||Virtual events include online polls, live chats, downloadable resources, etc. making the event more interactive.||Virtual events make it easier for participants to interact and gain from the event.|
Therefore, we can conclude that a virtual event is cost-effective and convenient for both the host and the attendees. However, on the flip side, it does not offer an opportunity to network as effectively as a physical event. But, if we compare it with the positives it offers, it is surely a great option, especially during current times.
One of the most vital constituents for a successful virtual event is the event management platform being used. While choosing an event management platform, make sure it has the following features:
- It should offer end-to-end event management solutions.
- It should be easy to use and should have the flexibility to be customized for different types of events.
- The platform should facilitate live and on-demand delivery of the content.
- It should offer audience engagement tools.
One such event management platform which offers all these features, and more is iConnectX! It is a platform that is ideal for hosting non-profit events such as online auctions, fundraisers, and many more! iConnectX offers end-to-end management of your event by providing all the essential tools and support to host a successful event.
Connect with iConnectX for the best event experience!