Virtual Events: The Ultimate Guide (2023)

Conferences, trade shows, career fairs, and seminars are widespread in the majority of businesses and large organizations. These events are part of larger campaigns to attract a broader audience, entice job seekers, or launch new products.

As people return to in-person and hybrid events, where do virtual events fit in? Do they still have a future role in the events industry? Yes. Virtual events will be an important aspect of any organization’s overall event strategy in the future. From hiring candidates from all over the world to connecting professionals without disrupting their schedules or budgets to extending the reach and availability of information for all demographics, virtual events are the inclusive and simple choice when organizing an event, each with its own set of benefits and outcomes.

Contents

Chapter 1: What is a Virtual Event?

Virtual events are a digital alternative to in-person events where people can join from across the world. A virtual event takes place live over video on platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Facebook Live. Individuals can meet, exchange ideas, and do business with people from all over the world via a virtual event. These can be anything from small, private online meetings to big events with tens or even hundreds of thousands of people.

While many virtual events try to replicate the arrangement of an in-person conference or meeting, more and more virtual events are developing their distinct structure. You can now design personalized interactive webinar experiences and trade show booths to help people do business. You may also recruit applicants, and organize games, and interactive activities such as photo booths using virtual event platforms. Using integrations, you may now have true face-to-face networking chances despite being virtual, making use of vFairs’ own Spatial Connect feature.

This illustration shows a virtual event lobby in the vFairs platform.
How a virtual event lobby in the vFairs platform can look like.

How Does A Virtual Event Work?

A successful virtual event necessitates a large amount of specialized technology. While someone could hold an event using their own tools, it would require a significant amount of planning and management to ensure a smooth experience. Virtual events necessitate a variety of tools, but the advantages of using a virtual platform much outweigh the value of each individual tool.

You could host a virtual event entirely with video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, or maybe even a social media platform. The major takeaway is that event organizers don’t have to depend on a geographical place to provide numerous opportunities for connection and interaction for their audience.

These days, virtual event platforms are quite common. They not only offer their unique features like interactive exhibit booths and networking options, but they also help you integrate with multiple platforms to streamline the entire virtual experience. vFairs is one of the top virtual event platforms that offers customizable and easy-to-use features to help you provide the best virtual experience to your attendees.

Hybrid Events vs Virtual Events

Hybrid and virtual events share a common goal: bringing people together. However, choosing between hybrid and virtual events can be a dilemma for many event planners. Virtual events allow attendees to join in exclusively through an online platform, while hybrid events can combine the best of both worlds. Some attendees may tune in virtually via a live stream while others attend in-person. Companies can also effectively incorporate their in-person events using virtual event platforms like vFairs to expand their overall reach. On a spectrum, hybrid events are located in the middle of in-person and virtual events.

Virtual Events vs In-Person Events

Virtual events are the opposite of in-person events as they are exclusively online with no one-on-one physical human interactions. In-person events have a live and physically present audience, and a venue, and may demand more from event organizers in terms of cost and logistics. All event attendees including hosts and speakers need to be present at the venue at the time of the event.

Virtual Meetings vs Virtual Events

Virtual meetings are real-time interactions and collaborations that happen online using an audio, video, or chat tool like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, etc. Virtual events usually offer much more than virtual meetings to engage attendees. They can have an event lobby, keynote speakers, roundtables, networking rooms, a social media wall, or gamification such as a scavenger hunt, etc. While most virtual events have virtual meetings involved in one or way or another, it isn’t necessary for all virtual meetings to be part of an event. 

Virtual meetings could be an individual interaction such as a collaborative workplace meeting, a town hall, or an online class and are mostly internal. However, virtual events are usually designed for specific attendees and are curated for a target audience outside of your organization.

This illustration shows the continuum of virtual events, virtual meetings, hybrid events, and in-person events.
The continuum of virtual events, virtual meetings, hybrid events, and in-person events with examples.

Why Are Virtual Events Important?

We are still feeling the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It has impacted businesses all over the world, and new ways of working and communicating have become critical. Virtual events can be a great way to boost revenue and track key data about your audience. They also help planners broaden their audience and promote inclusivity.

Virtual events do not have a time limit. A virtual event, unlike an in-person event, does not have to fit everything into one day or a weekend. It can give attendees more value by spreading out the information, networking, and other benefits of an event over several days or interactions. Hosts can even leave their virtual event live once it’s ended for participants to continue accessing content on-demand. 

What Is the Future of Virtual Events?

You can see why virtual events have become so popular so quickly. They will continue to be a part of marketing strategy after the global crisis passes due to the wide range of benefits they provide to businesses around the world as well as the environment. Businesses all over the world can create deeply engaging and rewarding virtual events with careful planning and a well-structured, strategic approach.

Chapter 2: Types of Virtual Events

Virtual Conference

Virtual conferences bring together professionals or like-minded people from around the world to learn and discuss a specific topic. They include sessions, breakouts, and keynotes. You can add multi-session content, as well as community engagement tools when hosting a virtual conference. All of your attendees can watch keynotes in real-time and create their agenda from relevant, on-demand content at virtual conferences.

You can also pre-record or live-stream the content. Many companies choose to pre-record their keynote presentations to avoid any technical issues on the day of the event. However, they also choose to have their presenters available for live Q&A afterward, which proves to be extremely successful.

This illustration shows the main lobby at a vFairs Virtual Conference.
The main lobby at a vFairs Virtual Conference.

Virtual Trade Show

Any marketing expert will tell you that trade shows and fairs are great for driving sales, generating leads and strengthening branding while reaching out to a larger audience. Trade shows are typically a very exclusive event. Many industry brands and companies gather to talk about their newest products or simply connect with their audience.

The same principles apply to virtual trade shows. You can invite businesses and industry experts, set exhibition booths, host keynote sessions, display products and services, and interact with your audience through a virtual platform. The benefit is that your attendees can be extended from more local audiences to buyers or leads from around the world! 

This illustration is an example of a booth layout in the vFairs Virtual Trade Show with a booth avatar, branding, and posters.
A booth layout for a virtual trade show in the vFairs platform.

Virtual Career Fair

Virtual career fairs allow candidates to meet recruiters and other employees to hire for open positions within your company. You’ll learn more about the hiring process and make connections with companies that are interested in hiring you.

When you attend a virtual career fair instead of an in-person event, you won’t have to wait in line to speak with recruiters. You sign up for specific session times when you register for a virtual career fair, securing your place to engage with the employers you’re interested in.

This illustrations shows a booth layout from a vFairs Virtual Career Fair with an avatar, clickable posters, and branding.
Booth layout for a virtual career fair in the vFairs platform.

Virtual Job Fair

A virtual job fair is an online event that helps multiple hiring employers hire candidates from anywhere in the world. Recruiters and job seekers meet in a virtual environment to exchange information about job postings through virtual networking, interactive exhibit booths and information sessions. These events are used most frequently by schools that are looking to place students in careers and associations that are looking to support their members. Many recruiting event technology companies provide webinar and chat hosting platforms such as vFairs, which you can use for an event-specific hosted job fair.

This illustration shows an exhibit hall from a Virtual Job Fair in the vFairs platform with multiple booths.
Exhibit hall for a virtual job fair in the vFairs platform.

Virtual Training

Employer-facilitated training is now more than common in virtual environments, as organizations conduct business virtually and employees work remotely. Virtual training essentially replicates the fundamentals of face-to-face training on a virtual platform. Virtual training is a highly engaging, instructor-led training class with clearly defined training objectives and participants who meet in a web-based classroom environment.

Virtual Graduation

A virtual graduation ceremony is one in which students and their families around the world can enter into a user-friendly 3D environment that is modeled after their school. Custom landing and registration pages can excite students and their families. You can also enhance authenticity with features like animated graduate avatars, which are available on platforms like vFairs.

This illustration shows a vFairs Virtual Graduation event's main hall with posters, an information desk, and avatars.
The main lobby for a virtual graduation ceremony in the vFairs platform.

Virtual Exhibition

A virtual exhibition is an online event that is organized on a web-based comprehensive virtual exhibition platform. It enables exhibitors to display their offerings, meet prospects, and build their market presence. People across the globe can attend virtual exhibitions, so you can maximize visibility for your exhibitors by taking them to a global stage.

This illustration shows the main lobby of a Virtual Exhibition in the vFairs platform with avatars, sponsor posters, an information desk, auditorium, and exhibit hall.
The main lobby of a virtual exhibition in the vFairs platform.

Virtual Event Examples

There are various types of virtual events. Let’s have a look at a few of the best events hosted on the vFairs platform in 2021. 

NHS First Virtual Recruitment Fair

The NHS virtual recruitment fair’s purpose was to provide information to healthcare job applicants so they could start their careers. Attendees were taken on a trip through a career with the NHS during these sessions. They could scroll through and view the various NHS partners in the interactive exhibit hall. 

More information on education and training, professions, job prospects, pay, pensions, and rewards were available at the NHS employers’ booth. All exhibitor displays were linked to their social media platforms and websites. All brochures, tips, and other materials were accessible under the ‘resources’ area. Moreover, attendees could add whatever resources they wanted to the ‘swag bag,’ which they could subsequently email to themselves to view after the event was over.

This animation shows the main lobby of the NHS First Virtual Recruitment Fair in the vFairs platform.
The main lobby of the NHS First Virtual Recruitment Fair in the vFairs platform.

University Of Dundee’s Virtual Open Day

The University of Dundee had a total of 67 presentations based on their programs and colleges, with 60 of them taking place live on the day of the event. They were able to share links to join the live presentations and later access the recorded presentations through the vFairs platform. 

Faculties were given a virtual exhibit booth to showcase their programs, courses, and student experience during the University of Dundee’s virtual open day. Students could browse the display booths for a program of interest and obtain a wealth of information in various ways.

The post-event measurements were another component of the virtual event that proved to be incredibly valuable. The team was able to track webinar attendance and participation quickly and easily.

Some booths from the exhibitor hall at the University of Dundee's Virtual Open Day in the vFairs platform.
Booths from the exhibitor hall at the University of Dundee’s Virtual Open Day in the vFairs platform.

NW&C Region Networking Event

NW&C management desired a more collaborative work atmosphere as well as a leaner, cleaner, and greener event with the least amount of taxpayer money spent. There were several webinars on the agenda covering a variety of themes. Speakers discussed topics such as health, contracts, social value, and licensing. Visitors were also allowed to participate in mock trials including health and safety requirements. 

A variety of exhibitors from the railway supply chain business, as well as other associated industries, were present. The event’s chat rooms were really useful. The public chat area, in particular, saw a lot of activity. The swag bag was a popular component at this event, which was centered on networking and knowledge sharing.

This illustration shows the exhibitor hall from the NW&C Region Networking Event in the vFairs platform.
The exhibitor hall from the NW&C Region Networking Event in the vFairs platform.

Chapter 3: Virtual Event Benefits

Virtual events have numerous advantages, the most important of which is that they eliminate the logistics and limitations associated with in-person events. People from all over the world can attend, engage, and build relationships. 

Customers are always on the lookout for opportunities to network and have fun with their peers. You can provide all of those experiences while lowering costs, downtime, and lost productivity with a virtual events strategy. You can broaden your target audience, make your events more accessible to more people, and shape the future of virtual events by doing so. Below are some key benefits of virtual events: 

Increase Attendance Count

When compared to in-person events, virtual events have the potential for a higher attendance rate. More people are likely to participate because they can join from anywhere, and you can reach new audiences from around the world. There is no need to travel, and on-demand materials are readily available.

Significantly Reduced Expenses

Companies all over the world are saving a lot of money thanks to virtual event strategies. Statistics indicate that the cost is cut by at least 75%. Staff, venue, setup, hotels, meals, and travel expenses are just a few of the areas where a business can save money. In reality, the cost of the virtual meeting platform is the only factor to consider.

Eco-friendly Events

All attendees and exhibitors for the majority of in-person events travel to a single meeting location. Travel is the most significant component of an event’s carbon footprint when attendees come from all over the country or the world. However, long-distance travel is either eliminated or reduced to a small production team when this type of event goes virtual.

Virtual events emit less than 1% of the carbon dioxide produced by live events. They reduce carbon emissions because they require less travel, waste, catering, land, and water. Green and Global is an initiative by vFairs. It helps organizations host eco-friendly events, and reduce the hazardous effects of climate change.

This illustration shows a woman using her laptop with plants in the background and the vFairs Green & Global campaign logo.
vFairs Green & Global campaign promotes eco-friendly virtual events.

Delight Sponsors

Your event partners have more opportunities to get in front of attendees and showcase their brand with a virtual event. Exhibitors & sponsors can connect with attendees virtually at any time, showcase and promote their services through virtual social communities, and no longer have to worry about empty event booths at the physical venue. There will be fewer trips and more valuable, effective interactions.

Ensure Effective Networking

The event host and attendees can now easily interact and mingle from the comfort of their own homes with a virtual event. Within a short period, anyone can connect with others from around the world. As compared to in-person events, networking is limited to geographical boundaries, whereas virtual events enable you to interact with individuals globally.

Virtual meetings can help you make new connections, which can lead to more business opportunities and leads. It can also assist you in staying ahead of the competition and keeping up with industry trends.

This illustration shows a vFairs Networking Feature where two people connect via a video call.
Virtual meetings can make connections much more natural.

Measurable Results

Businesses find it much easier to measure results now that almost everything takes place online. When hosting virtual events, you can collect information on your attendees such as when they logged on, from where they logged on, what they watched, the number of people who attended, their payment method, and more.

Saves a Lot of Time

Virtual events take some time to prepare before going live, but they aren’t as time-consuming as physical events. Even if you’re hosting an event online, you’ll still need to schedule time for marketing, registration, and promotion. Employees who normally attend live events can shift their time and focus on driving sales instead while the live event is ongoing, as it can help your organization save time.

Chapter 4: Elements of Virtual Event Platforms

While you could potentially create and host a virtual event without a virtual event platform, it can be a difficult ordeal. Virtual event platforms have a lot to offer and can help event organizers run a highly interactive and engaging virtual event. Read on to find more about what a virtual event platform like vFairs is, and what it can do for you.

What Is A Virtual Event Platform?

Virtual event platforms allow users to easily host virtual conferences, meetings, seminars, online trade displays, virtual sports activities, and more. They have features that go beyond those seen in typical video conferencing software. Virtual event platforms facilitate digital experiences through built-in webcasting capabilities, collaboration with webinar software, or both. Emoji reactions, gamification Q&A sessions, polls, surveys, chat rooms, exhibit booths, and other interactive components are available on virtual event platforms.

vFairs is a leading virtual event platform that incorporates interactive content like Q&A, live polls, group chat, and 1:1 networking to help recreate in-person event experiences. It also offers a mobile app to enhance virtual experiences, allowing attendees to access event information from any device.

Key Features of Virtual Event Platforms

Most virtual event platforms offer a wide range of networking, engagement, and lead generation tools depending upon the type of your event. The tools can add a lot of value to the event for attendees, exhibitors, and event organizers. Here are some of the key features of virtual event platforms that you are most likely to see:

Virtual Exhibit Booths

A virtual booth aims to engage attendees in meaningful conversation. You can choose from a variety of interactive booth designs, color schemes, unique graphics, and web page linkages. The virtual booth design might be 3D or page-based.

This illustrations shows the vFairs Virtual Event Exhibit Booth
How your exhibit booth can look like in the vFairs virtual event platform.

Webinars

Virtual events offer a webinar that is a learning-centered, collaborative, and interactive “Web-Based Seminar.” A host is usually present, together with one or more speakers, to discuss a specific topic. Powerpoint presentations, whiteboards, polls, and other technology are used to instruct the audience during virtual events.

This illustration shows a live webinar in the vFairs event app.
Keynote sessions and live webinars in the vFairs mobile event app.

Gamification

Event gamification enhances event participation by using game principles such as goals, points, badges and certificates as participants accomplish challenges. Popular gamification features include leaderboards, virtual scavenger hunts and live trivia.

vFairs Scavenger Hunt
vFairs Scavenger Hunt

One-on-One Chat

Getting in touch with someone on the other side of the world has never been easier than with 1-1 conversation. Attendees may simply find individuals with similar backgrounds or interests and chat with them.

This illustration shows the vFairs 1:1 chat tool
The vFairs 1:1 chat networking tool

Networking

Networking features on a virtual event platform must be simple to navigate and use. Many platforms that use AI-based matchmaking algorithms will help your audience connect with people who share similar interests. vFairs offers this as their Smart Matchmaking feature, and other impressive and immersive networking experiences such as Spatial Connect.

The illustration shows the Spatial Connect feature in the vFairs platform
The vFairs Spatial Connect feature in a park setting.

Event Marketing Tools 

The increasing event technology business has created a multitude of promotional tools that event organizers can utilize to their advantage. The key event marketing tools include

Landing Pages

Creating anticipation for upcoming events is easier said than done, but an outstanding event landing page can assist you in accomplishing your goal. It is your job as an event marketer to instill that feeling in potential attendees and then convert it into action (e.g., ticket sales and registrations).

Your event landing page can increase the number of registrations if it has the correct message and a conversion-focused call to action (CTA).

vFairs Event Landing Page
Make custom event landing pages with vFairs.

Email Marketing

You may improve event registrations by simply following simple email marketing best practices for event promotion. It is important to get as many individuals signed up as possible as the event date approaches. That necessitates sending out reminder emails with a sense of urgency and a prominent CTA that encourages them to register. 

Social Media Integrations

Event attendees expect updates via social media and rely on companies to communicate crucial information through their platforms. Potential guests can also communicate in real-time via social media, allowing them to ask questions, provide feedback, and engage in conversation. 

Integrations

Platforms like vFairs enable plenty of integrations that give both the host and the participant access to various services. Some of the prominent integration partners include:

  • HubSpot
  • Salesforce Event Integrations
  • InterprefyvFairs Social Media Integrations
  • KUDO 
  • Marketo
  • PayPal 
  • Stripe
  • Restream
  • Slido
  • SyncWords
  • Wordly
  • Vimeo 
  • Walls.io
  • Zapier
  • Zoom

vFairs has a wide range of integrations that give both hosts and attendees access to various features. We’ve worked with the greatest service providers in the market, whether it’s for accessibility features or data analytics. You can learn more about it here.

Analytics

Virtual events provide detailed information that extends beyond guest attendance. Virtual events data covers event participation, networking, and engagement with its thorough, observant graphs. The data analytics are largely accessible through the virtual events platform’s dashboard and you can simply export them. These analytics enable real-time monitoring of guests’ activity and help organizers with post-event reporting.

vFairs Live Attendee Report
Get access to live event attendee stats in the vFairs platform.

Cost & ROI

Because each virtual event is different, the average cost varies based on the event’s size, production needs, interactive aspects, editing, and whether or not live streaming is included.

Virtual Event Cost and ROI

Chapter 5: Virtual Event Planning & Hosting

Executing a virtual event requires you to be extremely clear about your goals and objectives, and carefully choose what aspects to include to hit those goals. Here’s how to start planning your virtual event.

Set Clear Goals & Objectives

Save Time and Provide Flexibility

Since virtual events require a smaller workforce, they provide speedier organization, and you may even postpone reasonably simply if required.

Improving Attendee Engagement

Increasing your participation in virtual events leads to more meaningful interactions and partnerships between your guests, sponsors, exhibitors, and stakeholders.

Integrating Multiple Platforms

It is critical to pick a virtual event platform that includes all of the capabilities and features that your business requires to conduct an appealing, smooth event. Platforms like vFairs help you plan, promote, analyze and execute all of your virtual, hybrid, and in-person events.

Increase Visibility

Virtual events allow you to speak directly while not physically present. This enables a large number of individuals to join a conference, training session, etc. They also enhance the interaction between the company and its customers when there are geographical barriers and no physical interaction.

Reduce One’s Carbon Footprint and Respect the Environment

Virtual events require less travel and logistics, as well as fewer flyers, pamphlets, and other printed documents which can result in less carbon footprint. 

Maintain Financial Balance

Virtual events allow online payments and restricted access for your members only. This means earning revenue as usual from registration fees, sponsorships, and so forth.

The goals of organizing a virtual event also include the following:

  • Give people the chance to learn and meet each other.
  • Gather to solve problems about a certain subject (virtual summit)
  • Find leads or help sponsors or exhibitors find leads or make sales (virtual trade show or exhibition)
  • Share facts or new information (virtual exhibition or conference)
  • Hire new people or connect them with jobs that are open (virtual career fair & job fair)
  • Announce the start of sales and the release of a product or service (virtual product launch)

Decide on Theme and Format 

The next step while planning a virtual event is to finalize the date, format and theme for the event. vFairs offers various customizable features that you can use to create a tailored event. You can personalize various features. For example, the virtual environment, exhibit halls, event builder, and webinars can all be important components of your event. You can also include a scavenger hunt and other fun activities to engage your audience. 

Prepare Your Virtual Event Attendees

User error or unawareness can be common issues while arranging a virtual event. While planning, organizers also need to consider the non-tech-savvy attendees who may find virtual events new and daunting. Most virtual event platforms can offer custom overlay videos. You can integrate one video on each page that acts as a guide for all attendees. It is also a good practice to post agendas and virtual event guides on the landing page before the event starts.

Invite Speakers, Sponsors & Community Partner Personas

A virtual event is only as good as the content that is shared via it. Even the best software and attendance experience cannot compensate for poor material and boring speakers. While many presenters will have valuable material to provide, a professional speaker will be able to engage the audience and deliver their information in an easy-to-understand and fascinating manner. 

Before you start looking for the perfect speaker, you’ll need to find out a few things.

  • The purpose of your event – what do you want people to take away from it?
  • The date and time of your event, as well as the time you’d like the speaker to speak.
  • The duration of the speaker’s presentation and the items that they can use.
  • Your budget for a speaker or speakers. You can also call out for submissions where people who would like to present could apply. This means that potential speakers might have to pay you for an opportunity.
  • What type of speaker are you looking for – a keynote speaker or a breakout session speaker?
  • Are you planning to enlist the assistance of your speakers in advertising your event?

Budgeting

The key to generating a virtual event budget is to identify all of the components that have a cost connected with them. A spreadsheet is an excellent and straightforward tool for creating a budget. It will help you to manage all of your spending and itemize them in detail. Your spreadsheet should include three major pages:

    • an overview
    • details 
    • expense tracking

The overview page contains information about the total budget, the total allocated, and the remaining money to assign. It should also categorize the budget items. The information on the details page will list each item, its category, how much you want to spend, and finally how much you spent. Last but not least, your entire team uses expenditure tracking to disclose how much money was spent on what and to document receipts. Here is a blog that can help you budget your virtual event like a pro.

Here’s an example of a budgeting sheet that you can use to evaluate your virtual event budget.

This illustration shows an example for a Virtual Event Budgeting Sheet
Virtual Event Budgeting Sheet Example

Choosing the Right Platform

Before choosing a virtual event platform, it’s best to read honest testimonials from genuine users on sites like G2 to get ideas for which event planning software is suitable for you. Look at other popular virtual events to see what tools and software they use. 

On G2, vFairs is the most popular virtual event platform, with a 4.7/5 rating from over 1,100 clients. You can read more information on vFairs here.

Branding & Messaging

It’s more crucial than ever to stick to the important branding guidelines while working on brand messages for virtual events: 

  • Be authentic. To be perceived as genuine, your brand messaging must express a sense of trust and authority.
  • Be unique in your approach. What distinguishes you from the competition? You must communicate the reasons why guests should care about your brand through branding. 
  • Make a difference. This is where knowing your audience is crucial. You may create branding messages that resonate if you know who they are and what they need.
  • Consistency is key. Wherever you interact with your audience, your brand messaging should be consistent across all media. Consistency gives your brand a sense of familiarity and authenticity, as well as trust.

Chapter 6: Virtual Event Engagement

Virtual events can generate nearly a third of the revenue that physical or face-to-face events can. Virtual events, despite being viewed by some as a “forced evolution” for the massive event industry, offer a clear value proposition when executed well. Although, it’s more difficult to engage your audience online than it is to meet them face-to-face. However, with vFairs, you can engage your audience in various ways. Let’s dig in!

Interact on Social Media

With the help of social media, you can engage your audience. You can simply start by sending them a tweet, which will appear in the live social media feed right there at the event. You’ll be able to track event hashtags, gather user-generated content, and attendees will be able to connect this way.

For example, vFairs also offers twitter walls and integrates with wall.io that enables you to create a social wall to engage your audience during and after a virtual event.

Virtual Matchmaking

With vFairs, your participants won’t have to manually scroll through other people’s profiles for hours anymore. Based on their various abilities, passions, or fields of specialization, they can be matched. Users can complete the registration form’s numerous form fields or their user profile during the event to better match them with like-minded individuals.

Host Quizzes & Trivia 

You can add an exciting element of competition to your event by using in-event trivia and quizzes. You can ask your attendees questions and quiz them on topics that they’re interested in. This is a fantastic idea for industry-related subjects. It works well as an icebreaker to bring like-minded people together, and it also aids in webinar engagement.

This illustration shows an example trivia question with multiple choice answers in the vFairs mobile event app.
vFairs Trivia

Scavenger Hunts

Adding an activity to your Virtual event is a terrific way to keep your participants engaged and interested in your event. Scavenger hunts, for example, will keep your participants on their toes and your event buzzing. It is also a fantastic way to bring individuals together to network, collaborate and inspire team building.

Leaderboards

A really effective method to motivate the event participants is to have a leaderboard that showcases the top-performing attendees in terms of participation and interaction. This fosters attendee engagement, improves participation in the chat and can make your event come to life, instead of having a lifeless chat with no involvement.

This illustration shows a Leaderboard in the vFairs virtual event platform.
vFairs Leaderboard

Q&As 

If you’re holding an event with guest speakers, one of the finest ways to engage your audience is through a Q&A session. In most cases, a Q&A session is a part of a larger conference or gathering. A panel discussion about a particular subject, for example. When the speakers are finished, they can invite members of the audience to come up and offer questions about what they just heard.

These days, as virtual events are becoming more required and easier to arrange, you can now host Q&As live or online. 

Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms are separate sessions from the main event. They allow the participants to gather in smaller groups and are entirely segregated in terms of audio and visual from the main session. The use of a breakout room will not only assist your participants to network with one another, but it will also aid their retention of the event’s content and information. Breakout rooms are personal. Attendees are more likely to participate in discussions when groups are divided into smaller gatherings.

Polling and Surveys

Live surveys and polls are powerful techniques to support engagement in virtual events. Participants, speakers, and hosts are all given the opportunity to speak at their own pace, which creates a distinct separation between them all. Live polls and surveys keep participants engrossed, encouraging them to stay longer.

Many marketers, particularly in the B2B industry, utilize polls to improve audience engagement. Online polls are an easy method to communicate with participants during events while gaining critical feedback to build your brand.

Interactive Content

Interactive content is an excellent way to engage your audience during a virtual event. There are various booths, exhibitor halls, etc, where attendees can join and interact with each other virtually. They can also download resources in the swag bag which they can send directly to their email for later access. 

Live Activity Feed

You can go live on different social media channels during a virtual event. Attendees can interact there as well. This is an excellent way to engage the audience during a virtual event as attendees can interact with each other on different platforms.

Virtual Photo Booth

Another excellent way to entice your guests is to set up a virtual photo booth. You can create branded photo templates and offer filters to better engage your audience. Your audience will be able to save and share photos in the virtual phone booth, creating a unique keepsake from your event.

Contests

One of the most remarkable virtual event engagement ideas is to hold a contest. To host an ideal contest, all you have to do is think about the specifics and a gift or something else. It could be as simple as asking your attendees to share their photos or pictures of their surroundings while attending your virtual conference as user-generated content. You can also ask questions, create engaging polls, and do anything else related to these options.

Chapter 7: Virtual Event Marketing

Promoting your virtual event requires the same effort, if not more, as a real-life physical event. However, the specific event marketing strategies may differ. You ideally want to make sure that your online and video programming speaks to the right audience and doesn’t get lost in the crowd. Here are some fantastic tips to make sure you reach your attendee engagement goals.

Promote on Your Site

Using your website to promote your next virtual event is a great approach to getting people interested. We recommend including a prominent area on your website’s homepage that directs visitors to your virtual event’s landing page.

Interstitials, banner ad placements, and message panels that attach to the bottom or top of the page are some of the more advanced options. However, more crucially, the copy you put in your advertisement has a significant effect. Make a compelling headline that conveys what’s in it for participants and creates an urgency to drive them to act right away.

Create an Event Page

Your event page is the most important source of information for your attendees to attend your event. It should make event registration as simple as feasible. 

Pictures, the date of the event, a well-written tagline and description of your event, videos (BTS if available), information on guest speakers, and social proof must all be available on the event page. Don’t forget to create shareable buttons to put on social media to help spread the news as well.

Interact on Social Media

Remarketing using paid and unpaid promotions on social media can be critical to promote your virtual event online. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram uses web technologies to track those who visited your event’s page but did not register. They work to display advertising to these same individuals using insight tags on your website or the landing page of your virtual event. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and even Snapchat all have advantages and uses for promoting your event. 

LinkedIn is wonderful for drawing a corporate crowd and making it simple to find people who meet your target demographic. Facebook is useful for developing highly shareable event pages that allow for multi-media posts such as images, videos, links, and textual messages. Snapchat and Instagram provide another avenue to contact your target audience with photographs and short videos for the younger, more visually focused demographic.

Opt for Paid Media

If you’re in a hurry to increase the number of people that register for your virtual event, paying for extra traffic is a crucial move to attract your target audiences online. Creating tailored marketing that targets the correct audience, geographic locations, and demographics can assist raise event publicity and exposure.

Leverage Email Marketing

You can use effective email marketing strategies to raise registrations for an event, keep participants informed before the event, and engage attendees leading up to your virtual event. At all stages of the event, email is the greatest way to contact guests. Use an email marketing technology that can send branded, tailored emails, track open rates and click-through analytics, and automate when and to whom emails are sent based on attendee data.

When it comes to sending out pre-event emails, be as generous as possible. Don’t just send one reminder and assume it’ll suffice as emails are easy to overlook.

Before your event, it’s a good idea to send at least four reminder emails:

  • A week before the event
  • One day before the event
  • On the day of the event
  • At the commencement of the event

Content Marketing

Remember to “inform first” and “ask later” when writing articles and guest blogs.

We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king,” and we’ve all seen the value of content as a promotional tool. Using guest articles on trustworthy and authoritative blogs is one of the basic pillars of a solid inbound marketing strategy to draw traffic to your virtual event’s landing page.

Involve Speakers, Sponsors and Audience

If you’ve been successful in attracting sponsors, think about how you may work together to boost your marketing efforts. Urge your sponsors to market the virtual event on their websites, social media platforms, and any other digital content they contribute. If they grant permission, you can also send emails to their subscriber list or make a guest post on their site.

Incorporating your unique guest speakers into your event strategy is also beneficial. Ambassadors and spokespersons are often the main draws of virtual events, with audiences eager to hear from, engage with, and learn from them. As a result, it’s only natural for them to contribute to the conversation surrounding your virtual event.

Chapter 8: Advanced Virtual Event Strategies

With the growing competition in the virtual event field, you’ll need a standout online event marketing plan to enhance conversions, generate interest, and increase attendance for your next virtual event.

Strategy 1: Promote Your Event

Unlike traditional events, which need 6 to 12 months of planning, you can complete virtual events in 1 to 3 months. Setting up a virtual event gives you more time to focus on promoting your event because you don’t have to secure a physical venue ahead of time.

Here’s how to promote your event in general:

Before the event:

  • Figure out who your target audience is.
  • Make landing pages.
  • Send out direct mail campaigns.
  • Create contests and social media posts.
  • Make a website for the event.
  • Launch your email marketing campaigns.
  • Send email reminders.

During the event:

  • Continue to send out reminder emails.
  • Make real-time social media updates (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).
  • Share downloadable stuff.
  • Use live chat or chatbots to answer queries.
  • Organize branded activities and experiences.

Strategy 2: Give Teasers

Don’t give away all of your secrets right away. Give your viewers cliffhangers to keep them guessing. Keep your audience wondering and wanting to return to your website or event page for more information.

Strategy 3: Create a Custom Virtual Venue

Many conferences or events that have gone online have made their venues look like the conference hall or office where they usually take place. People could also make their own virtual festivals with different areas to explore. 

For example, NOLO Land was a global, interactive virtual event with vFairs that focused on non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic drinks. It was put on by IFF for its customers. 

It was really different because it had more than one virtual venue in one event. Each place looked and felt different. When you moved from one place to another, the music in the background changed. Different things happened with each avatar.

vFairs Custom Virtual Venue

Strategy 4: Keep Up With Tech Trends

Facial Recognition

Face recognition technology is very popular. Face recognition technology looks at a person’s face and uploads a photo of them when they register for an event or check in. People use facial recognition on their cell phones and at their jobs. This technology makes it easier than ever to do boring things like sign in to your phone, open apps, or sign up for an event.

Gamification

The use of games at events is a huge trend. Gamified events get a lot more people involved, which makes them a great way to improve the experience of those who attend.

If you want more people to download your mobile event app, tell them about the games they can play within it. You’ll see the number of downloads go through the roof.

NFTs

NFT stands for ‘Non-Fungible Token’. In general, this can mean drawings, songs, or other original works. You can use NFTs best at virtual events, but most event organizers are still getting used to the idea. Since NFTs may help you break through the noise and establish yourself as a market leader as well as generate revenue from your virtual event, this is a win-win. For instance, you can use NFTs to sell digital versions of branded goods. This can be done with digital posters, event souvenirs, or even clips from the event itself. You can also sell custom avatars, mint artwork, and even event items themselves.

Strategy 5: Gather Sponsorships

Many event organizers can ignore the importance of sponsored media during virtual events. Not only does that make your event look more legit, it can also help you arrange a portion of what the entire event costs. Virtual event platforms like vFairs can help you give the right promotional space to all your sponsors. When getting in touch with potential sponsors, you can pitch high-engagement spaces much the same way as a physical event. Platinum, gold, and silver sponsors can have different spaces in the exhibit hall, the virtual lobby, and mentions in promotional newsletters and the landing page itself. Here is a great sponsorship slide deck that you can use.

Strategy 6: Content Partnerships for Promotion

Content partnerships with social media influencers, relevant experts, and your keynote speakers can help promote your event to the right audience. They can post a promotional video inviting their followers to attend the event as they will be there too. Most attendees interested in what your keynote speaker has to say probably also follow them online. This way, you are reaching the right audience by getting the word out.

Relevant experts and exhibitors at your event can also promote your virtual event from their official company channels. 

Strategy 7: Post-Event Polls and Surveys

Sticking around even after the event is over can be an effective way to provide relevant information, engage with attendees, and answer their questions. It can also help you receive immediate feedback and build a network. Event organizers can also ask for feedback after the virtual event has come to an end by running polls or online surveys. Following-up with attendees by asking the right questions can help organizers gather insight and learn. It is a great strategy to figure out the areas of improvement and expand on successful verticals.

Key Takeaway

Even though we know that virtual events don’t have the same power as in-person ones, there are times when it’s necessary to go virtual, sometimes at the eleventh hour. If you have a plan and the right virtual event platform, switching can be a safe way to give your attendees the engaging, informative experiences you work so hard to create.

FAQs

What do you do at a virtual event?

Below are a few examples of what you can do during a virtual event: Share and learn about industry insights. Connect with experts and peers virtually. Discuss issues and ideas that are relevant to both of you. Look for talent throughout the world. Attract new companies. Showcase and sell your products/services. Recruit new students for colleges and universities. Celebrate graduations and other significant anniversaries. Make connections between students and real estate agents. Incorporate new hires into your organization by training and integrating them.

How do you make a virtual event fun?

People use interactive virtual events to network, engage with like-minded people, and find new potential clients. Interactivity is an interesting and enjoyable approach to personalize an event. Here’s what you can do to make your virtual event fun. Make your quizzes and surveys. Encourage people to vote in virtual events. Create an enjoyable learning environment. Create memories with an engaging virtual event platform like vFairs. Allow attendees and organizers to communicate in real-time.

What is the best platform for a virtual event?

With so many alternatives, virtual event platforms all offer their own set of features. vFairs, on the other hand, is the one that comes highly recommended. vFairs has made its mark in the events sector, as one of the top scores in G2 reviews. With an average rating of 4.7/5, G2 Reports has crowned vFairs as the market leader.

How do you name a virtual event?

The first impression of your event is its name. A name can offer attendees an idea of the tone of your event and what they can anticipate from attending. With so many similar events taking place, it’s also beneficial to have a memorable event name that is easier to understand and more appealing than the titles of your competitors’ events. Here are some things to keep in mind when naming your virtual event. It should be self-explanatory. It should pique your audience’s interest and leave a lasting impression. People gather during events to share fresh experiences. However, to entice guests to register, you’ll need to come up with a catchy name that piques their interest. The correct event name may help people locate you, strengthen your event brand, and explain your objective. Other excellent naming strategies include: The use of puns Taking inspiration from local history Putting two or more words together in a sentence Using vocabulary from the industry or culture

What is a virtual hiring event?

You may interview several candidates without having to travel to a real location with a virtual hiring event. You can do virtual interviews by video conference or telephone, so you can choose the option that works best for you and your candidates. At vFairs, we offer virtual trade shows and job fairs that help employees and job seekers connect through a virtual platform.

What are the benefits of virtual events available on demand?

On-demand streaming may be the correct solution for you if your audience can’t attend your live event or if you want the significance of your live broadcast to last so that future audience may access and participate with it. On-demand events enable you to expand your reach and reach the largest possible audience. You may have all the benefits of an interactive live stream with the added benefit of being able to edit out the parts you don’t like. You can also tighten up segments, and even add additional content including audience interactions, music, and more interviews to boost the value of your event.

Why are virtual events here to stay?

Virtual events can reach and connect significantly larger audiences by breaking down geographical limitations. Attendees can participate in virtual events from the comfort of their own homes. This allows businesses to cater to the requirements, lifestyles, and abilities of all guests. Furthermore, virtual events are less expensive to put on than in-person gatherings. Companies may boost their organic ROI by combining cost with a larger attendee reach. Larger virtual events allow firms to attract more partners, sponsors, and exhibitors, increasing profitability even further.

What is the difference between a virtual event and a hybrid event?

There are no physical attendees at virtual events because everyone participates electronically through a virtual event platform. However, hybrid events combine the advantages of both types of events. Some of the participants can attend in person, while others will be “brought in virtually,” enhancing the overall interaction.

What is the difference between a virtual event and an in-person event?

In-person events necessitate that all attendees be present in a physical location at the event’s start time. In-person gatherings are a great way to meet new people, catch up with old friends, colleagues, and industry peers, and expand your career or personal possibilities. Virtual events, on the other hand, are those that everyone attends over the internet. Venues and food are no longer necessary because event organizers can e-meet people online. This reduces manual labor and lowers technical costs. Hosting events online is also more cost-effective because there are no time or space constraints.

Virtual Events: The Ultimate Guide (2023)

Hira Yousaf

Hira is a content writer at vFairs. She has been working in the SaaS content market for around 2 years. Hira is a Nutritionist but she believes writing is her true calling, so she looks forward to exploring different niches. When she's not writing, she's either on a trip making new friends or probably spending quality time with her cats, Rio and Dusty!

About

Virtual Events: The Ultimate Guide (2023)

Hira Yousaf

Hira is a content writer at vFairs. She has been working in the SaaS content market for around 2 years. Hira is a Nutritionist but she believes writing is her true calling, so she looks forward to exploring different niches. When she's not writing, she's either on a trip making new friends or probably spending quality time with her cats, Rio and Dusty!
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