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Virtual events are not new. Rather they are old news. Every organization, big or small, is actively considering virtual events as part of its strategy, hence now we are aiming to set some ‘commandments of virtual events’.
The advantages that virtual events offer are undeniable. From increased participation, flexibility, ease of access, cost-effectiveness and sustainability in addition to getting real-time data and analytics of the event, the list is endless.
With the popularity of virtual events, you must abide by rules. Rules which will not only guarantee success but will also bring structure to your planning process. We lovingly call them the commandments of virtual events. So let’s see what these are.
Your participants are coming to your virtual event with high expectations. But, some are thinking it will just be a boring online event. Prove them wrong.
How? Simply by understanding what they want and what they hope to get out of this experience. The information and opportunities they are looking for.
Relevance is key.
You must be obsessed with the experience the audience will have — be committed to this goal. It is not just an endless list of webinars after webinars. It should feel like an event. Have an agenda, but deliver an event. After all, your attendees will remember the experience.
Your event is an event. Not one long webinar. Create well-rounded quality content. Add in interactive videos, resources and documents which would attract your attendees.
Don’t just have nameless faceless presentations. Put a face behind your sessions. Allow audiences to connect with you. Use visuals, graphics and videos to keep the audience engaged.
Communication is essential. You cannot have the speakers present without knowing what the audience is thinking. Hence, enable two-way communication. Don’t disable chat tools. Keep free-flowing communication going by creating avenues for your audience to reach you, ask questions and provide feedback. Make them feel heard. Keep moderated chats to maximize value. Make them feel involved and a central part of the event.
Leading up to the event, ramp up your promotional activity. Promote well before time, optimizing all avenues of marketing and promotion. Leverage email marketing by sending email reminders, automated emails before and after the event. Shoot them a reminder even in the duration of the event. Utilize your social media tools. Even explore influencer marketing, PR and news.
But your efforts don’t stop here. You need to remind your audience of the wonderful time they had at your event. Keep the conversation going after the event. It is about creating valuable experiences right? (refer #1) so send them content, helpful guides, recorded content and other materials so they might want to attend your next event.
Ask them about their experience. Keep them engaged after the event with surveys, feedback etc.
You can even send your content to the ones who registered and did not attend the event. Just to remind them of the value they could derive from an upcoming event of yours.
This is necessary if you want to avoid last-minute glitches and the ensuing embarrassment. Technical difficulties/challenges can come up, so expect them and prepare for them. Test every tool before the event for your live webinars, your scavenger hunts etc. Conduct multiple checks. Be prepared for any curveball.
Add ice-breaking activities. Schedule in breaks between sessions, where attendees can connect with each other and have a relaxed time. This will also help create a sense of community.
Urge them to grab a cup of coffee, grab lunch and talk to other attendees. This is another opportunity for them to network.
Choose the platform wisely. Attend open events offered by different virtual event providers to understand what your attendees will experience with each platform. Study their offerings, packages and ask questions.
Get demos. See what features and integrations are included in each package to avoid disappointment later. Understanding and getting complete knowledge of the platform before purchasing is essential. Ask questions about the technology they use, whether it suits you and your particular event and its objectives.
To avoid the hassle, and last-minute pressure, duly assign responsibilities.
When building your event, decide who is responsible for which aspect of the event. Determine who is going to take care of the design, who will ensure the content is ready on time and lastly who is making sure the platform has everything it needs and is up and running on time.
Plus, who will be coordinating with the virtual event platform provider? Is all this possible for one person to undertake? Or will different teams be allocated different responsibilities?
Ask these questions, and take due action.
This is the beauty of virtual events. They are accessible to any and everyone. No geographical boundaries or even disabilities can keep anyone from attending the event. Your event can be accessible to people of multiple languages, including sign language via translation tools. Additionally, your virtual events can also offer color contrast and other audio/visual support.
Diversify your platform by adding in custom avatars, depending on your audience pool.
Be respectful of people’s time — in the way you design your agenda (scheduling breaks between important presentations). Value your audience’s time and make sure activities start and end on time. Avoid delays as much as possible and commit to the time and agenda set before the event.
Follow through on big event promises (i.e. don’t build a ton of hype only to have people say ‘that could have been an email’), etc. Because that would be embarrassing.
There you have it — your 10 commandments of virtual events. Follow these and your event is a guaranteed success.
Learn from Our Ultimate Guide To a Virtual Event!
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