How to Host a Successful Virtual Event
Virtual events have grown in popularity in recent years, largely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. With this, businesses across the globe have seen the many benefits they bring, such as connecting with audiences from anywhere in the world, saving money, increasing engagement, generating leads, brand awareness, and much more.
Although businesses are becoming increasingly familiar with the technology required for a successful virtual event, planning and hosting one may still seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. With this in mind, we have compiled the key factors businesses should consider when planning and hosting a virtual event.
Pre-event best practices
Before you commit to hosting your virtual event, there are four key elements: goals, audience, compliance, budget and branding.
Identify your goals
Having clear and achievable goals will help the entire planning process run smoothly and set you up for a successful event. First, ask yourself what the purpose of the event is. To raise awareness of a product? To provide networking opportunities? To boost sales?
Define your goals first and keep them in mind through every step of the planning process.
Know your target audience
Identifying and understanding your target audience will help you plan an event that appeals to your audience and achieves a strong uptake rate. For example, where is your audience based? What time of the day, week, month or year is likely to suit them? Do they prefer fully virtual events or hybrid events? How many are likely to attend? Will live streams or prerecorded content suit them better? What do they want to learn or experience from your event?
Remember that content is king, so understand your audience’s needs and deliver content that will keep them interested and engaged.
Remember that virtual events are much more than just a video stream or webinar. With virtual events, you can deliver engagement-driven experiences providing your attendees with the freedom to explore, access information, learn about products or services, and network with other attendees. Make sure there are plenty of sessions, resources, and features to create an impactful and memorable event.
Get to grips with GDPR compliance
Virtual events involve collecting and managing a great deal of attendee data. Therefore, you must be aware of your GDPR obligations and choose a virtual event platform that allows you to comply with this data privacy legislation.
Virtual events tend to be significantly cheaper to host than physical events, but there are still costs that you need to consider, one of them being the cost of the event platform. By establishing a budget early, you can build an event around it by customising the platform’s features (like event duration, recordings, survey capabilities, etc.) and deciding on the number of attendees.
Establish your branding
Hosting a virtual event is an opportunity to showcase either your brand or your sponsor’s brand. By considering how you’ll factor in branding early in the planning process, you can ensure it has maximum impact. Remember, it is important that your virtual event is aligned as per your brand guidelines and reflects your brand’s aesthetics.
Pre-event planning: Technical fundamentals
Once you’ve established the scope of your virtual event, it’s time to get into the details. There are three key technical elements to consider: audio and video equipment, internet connection, and end-to-end event management.
Get the right audio and video equipment
You’ll need to deliver great quality audio and video to ensure your virtual event is a success. Your speaker ought to have a headset, a microphone, a laptop with suitable specifications to support audio and video streaming, and an appropriate web browser.
Make sure the internet connection is stable
Your entire event hinges on reliable connectivity, so ensure your speakers have a stable internet connection that is unlikely to let you down.
End-to-end event management
To minimise the risk of anything going wrong, it can be helpful to look for a partner providing a virtual event platform that offers end-to-end support. In addition, make sure your virtual events partner is able to handle technical and operational matters to ensure the event runs smoothly.
Best practices during your virtual event
Here are some important factors to consider while your event takes place to ensure you make the most of your opportunity to connect with your attendees.
You can make your event more engaging by leveraging a range of virtual workshop activities and entertainment features, such as quizzes and polls. With a good virtual event platform, the possibilities to keep your attendees engaged and entertained are endless.
Provide attendees with the opportunity to network just as they would at a physical event with facilities such as live chats and one-on-one meetings. You can also leverage your attendees’ registration data and set up group chats and breakouts sessions for people with similar interests.
Leverage exhibitor marketplace tools to showcase products and services at dedicated virtual booths, just like at a physical exhibition. Virtual events are also a great platform for unveiling new products or services and updating your audiences on what’s new and how it will benefit them and their business.
Make informed decisions based on real data
With access to real-time data, you can monitor the success of your event as it’s happening to make informed decisions. Session insights and exhibitor insights also allow you and your exhibitors to get real-time data about attendees who are engaging with their content.
Post-event best practices
The work doesn’t end when your event ends. The following steps can help you optimise your return on investment and continue to host engaging and successful events in the future:
Send out post-event surveys and polls
Asking your attendees for feedback on your event via surveys and polls can help you see what you did right and where you could make improvements in the future.
Connect via email
Send out emails to your attendees to thank them for attending and include additional materials to further your engagement with them. This could include a certificate of attendance, a link to your website for more information, or presentations or reports to further their knowledge.
Analyse session insights and reports
Post-event session insights can help you assess attendance and engagement levels and make improvements. Post-event reports can also help you identify which features and activities drew the most interest to focus on these more in the future.
Choose Kuoni Tumlare Virtual & Hybrid Events Solutions
Here at Kuoni Tumlare, we can build your virtual and hybrid events to help you grow business relationships digitally. Our end-to-end virtual & hybrid event solution handles all aspects of your event so that we can support you throughout the planning process, during the event itself, and after the event to help you measure success and strive to improve.