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Are you planning on hosting a virtual event that blows everyone’s mind? The kind that makes a lot of noise, and the one that helps you connect with leads from across the world on a single platform. Do you wish to make a global impact and showcase your brand identity at the same time?
Well, we just brewed an exclusive guide for event organizers to achieve this dream.
So, whether you wish to connect people around topics of interest at your next Virtual Conference, recruit top talent with the help of a Virtual Career Fair, showcase a unique line of products/services at your Virtual Trade Show, or engage students/parents globally to share information about admissions at your next Virtual Open Day, the organizer’s playbook will reveal a range of helpful tips for you to navigate through your event setup and create a high-value experience for your participants, sponsors, and audience.
In this playbook, organizers will learn how to:
Virtual events are a great way to connect audiences globally using chat tools, live webinars and digital content usually served via a visually rich interface.
As a result, virtual events help you maximize your reach and achieve greater and measurable engagement. They have, over the years, proven to help a number of organizations across various industries achieve this goal. With the exceptional pros and the next-to-none cons, virtual events continue to benefit organizers in more ways than one.
Whether your target audience is located across the globe, or you’re on a strict budget. a virtual event gathers the world on a single platform, without any additional costs of the venue and its capacity,
While hosting a virtual event you can also revive the content that you labored over, unlike any physical event, Therefore, not only is this a way to provide a unique user experience but also an exceptional organizer’s experience.
Best of all, virtual events provide you with quantifiable metrics and reports that help you measure the success of your event. Every action therefore now has a reason behind it.
Lastly, but most importantly, you can opt for an eco-friendly approach by setting up virtual events. Not-so-surprisingly, due to the online nature of you event, you end up producing no waste during and after your event.
Before you begin, as an event organizer, you must have a clear picture of the goals you aim to achieve through your event. Whether it’s a virtual conference, virtual career fair, virtual trade show, or any other event, you ought to first define clear objectives in order for your team to organize and configure their respective event.
Ensure that your virtual event provider supports all the necessary requirements to deliver your brand’s goals and vision. A few standard questions that you should inquire about are:
Ideally, it takes about 12 weeks for an event to be up and running. However, it is highly recommended to book your event way in advance so that you can build it up to perfection and have enough time to market it to your audience.
Starting from the landing page where visitors form their first impression and decide whether to proceed or not, the design needs to captivate the audience to maximize signups. Within the event, it is equally significant to ensure that your environment replicates the entire live experience of an in-person event
You’ve been building that social media audience for a reason, haven’t you? It’s time to make use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and any other platforms that you see your potential audience engaging with, to market your event and increase registrations.
The success of any event is majorly dependent on its engagement rates. Use live chat tools for one-to-one as well as group discussions, and surveys as well as polls to ensure that visitors can smoothly interact with exhibitors.
Live webinars are one of the most effective (and popular) tools used to address the masses. Invite industry experts to attract audiences to your virtual event.
Quick tip: To maximize the attendance at your webinar, provide the audience with a schedule way before the event, and send email reminders a few hours before the webinar.
Content plays an essential role, regardless the type of event that is being hosted. Whether it is in the form of documents, presentations or videos, your content will be the voice of your brand.
Scavenger hunts and leaderboards not only increase the time your audience spends at your event, but also help set a lasting impression of your organization, eventually improving the quality of leads.
Enable exhibitors to demonstrate their brands and depict their unique personalities using a variety of booth designs.
Give your sponsors a dedicated area to showcase themselves, just as in a physical event. You, as an organizer, can make use of a number of options to display their brand logos, content, or sessions in a virtual environment, with the same impact as of an in-person fair.
One of the key features that level up a virtual event in comparison to a physical one is its reporting capabilities. Make sure you capture registrations that can be added to your CRM or mailing lists for lead generation purposes. In addition, engagement and content insights can help you measure your ROI and optimize your KPIs.
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Where in-person conferences were once a great way to bring like-minded people and industry peers together to share a common discipline, Virtual Conferences (or online conferences) have now proven to be a rewarding game changer for many event organizers.
Using proven best practices and easy-to-use technology, here’s how you, as an event organizer, can change this “an opportunity of a life” into ‘an opportunity of a lifetime’.
Whether you aim to reach a greater audience and generate more leads, or simply want to multiply profits with the help of a Virtual Conference, make sure your entire team is aligned towards a set goal with attainable ROIs.
Adding a strong context to your event and using clear and simple messaging can help you reach maximum “relevant” audiences. People should be informed about the value and knowledge that they will be acquiring with the help of your virtual conference.
A conference is all about engagement and interaction among the individuals involved. Make sure your platform offers text, audio and video chat tools to encourage collaboration between attendees, speakers and exhibitors.
Although virtual conferences are the current talk of the town, their functionality is still quite alien to many. Creating informative videos for your staff, sponsors, exhibitors, and audience can help them learn about your virtual conference and show them ways to navigate the platform.
Use social media platforms, your company website, PR and emails to reach your target audience and increase attendance at your event.
Pro tip: Dedicate a hashtag specially to your virtual conference so you can track posts and other activity circulating around the event.
Registrants can easily get occupied with one thing or the other amid their disturbed routines. Prior to the event, schedule frequent reminders with the date, time, and link to your virtual conference so that registrants do not miss out on the sessions they’ve signed up for and much more.
Make sure you do not lose out on your audience that does not wish to remain tuned in for an entire day just to step out before the session that is most relevant to them. Placing the agenda on your landing page can therefore add more value by educating and engaging attendees.
People from all across the world will be attending your event with a set of networks that they might be using. In case of poor connectivity, make sure you provide audio options for them to still participate in webinars and other sessions.
Every speaker at your virtual conference might not have the ability to keep the audience engaged and excited, although they’re equipped with all the knowledge in the world. Assigning a moderator can help guide conversations, allow polls, and ensure that the audience remains hooked throughout different sessions.
Since everyone accessing your virtual conference is doing so from the comfort of their homes, it is really easy to lose interest or get distracted in case of one-way communications. Presentations can get boring and time consuming. To ensure interaction and on-going interest:
Feedback is essential in making improvements in the future. While on the other hand, building a database with your leads is equally important. Your virtual conference acts as an opportunity for you to gather all such information to later add into your CRM or any storage software.
You’ve put a lot of energy into conducting various sessions and should not have to let it vanish into thin air once the conference is over. Value the efforts of your team and record your sessions to add to your content library for future marketing and referencing.
Do a quick test run before the big day to ensure a smooth and seamless conference. Make sure it is free of any glitches and is absolutely user-friendly for all your expected visitors.
You don’t want to go into panic mode every time there’s a slight bug in the technology. Make sure your event provider offers you a dedicated support team that is available for possible troubleshooting and query resolution during the event.
In the pre-corona age, trade shows were continually one of the most popular and profitable events to be conducted by organizers. They’d be the talk of the town way before they even occurred.
However, what used to be the talk of the town, has now become the talk of the world in the form of Virtual Trade Shows. While the increased global reach is a great opportunity for organizers to capitalize on, it also signals towards an increasingly competitive virtual environment.
For this reason, your profitability as a virtual event organizer depends gravely upon the tactics you opt for while setting up a smashing Virtual Trade Show. So, let’s do what it takes to help you stand out!
What does success look like for you? In simpler words, the first thing you’d want to do is set clear goals and objectives. Whether it’s brand awareness, conversion of leads, or something else, define your target audience as well as the event ROIs so your team can work towards a certain goal.
Trade Shows can be associated with a wide range of industries. Therefore, in order to attract relevant audiences, exhibitors and sponsors, it is essential to define the category or segment that you are targeting.
The name of your event plays a great role in doing so. In addition, your landing page must have all the information that allows audiences to know what to expect from the event.
Ask yourself 3 things before creating content:
Most importantly, your content needs to act as a stimulus to a certain favorable response. Make sure there is a clear Call-to-Action linked to each piece that you are throwing their way.
It is the ease and convenience of your virtual trade show that drives people towards it. Make sure your event is mobile-friendly since most of your audience will be, without a doubt, accessing the event laying on the couch, or on the go, using their mobile devices. This should therefore be a seamless experience for them.
Your event might have it all and more, but it’s not going anywhere till you, as an organizer, promote it. Take your event to your audience and maximize registrations. SEO, social media marketing, PR campaigns, sponsored content, banner ads, emails and SMS, and so on, can act as channels to drive audiences to your outstanding virtual trade show.
For those who would like to spend a good time exploring each and every virtual booth on display, you might be offering listings at their respective booths. But for others, make sure you accelerate this process.
Add a Products tab on the main navigation bar and provide attendees with search options with filters to reach the categories they’re interested in. This approach will therefore support increasing conversions at the end of the day.
This is another engagement tactic. Usually, to boost webinar attendance, push notifications act a reminder for attendees to hop in and join live webinar sessions.
Moreover, to increase booth visits, exhibitors can notify attendees about special discounts or offers using on-site announcements.
Virtual trade shows are not limited to standard chat options. In fact. there are more ways to boost engagement and precisely, targeted engagement.
Talk to your virtual event provider about not only allowing visitors to book a chat slot with exhibitors, but also allowing exhibitors to search through the registrations and invite relevant prospects to chat. This gives your event’s exhibitors an added edge to win the conversion game.
You’ve attracted people to your event. The fact that they’re present at your event means you’re already halfway there to converting them. All they need is a slight push, at the right time, to qualify now.
Minimize the time between decision-making and their purchase by offering an online store within your virtual trade show.
A lot of people miss out on a major area of opportunity by ending their event, and not following up with audiences.
Follow-ups not only act as a symbol of goodwill by the organizer, but also increase the chance of converting targeted prospects who had experienced your Virtual Trade Show.
One of the key benefits of hosting Virtual Trade Shows is their capability to measure the organizer’s ROIs. Make sure your virtual event provider generates detailed reports and analytics to not only help you with the current virtual event, but also to act as a benchmark for previous and upcoming events.
Once your virtual event is all set, it is highly necessary for you to do a complete test run to ensure that the event does not face any technical difficulties on the day.
Whether you’re a company hosting a virtual career fair to hire top talent, regardless of its geography, or you’re a university that wishes to conduct campus recruitment to enhance candidate-employer experience, the good news is you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s a list of tips and best practices that will help you, as an organizer, dominate your next virtual career fair
Just as candidates need to impress employers to land great jobs, employers need to impress great candidates to fill up their positions.Therefore, it is essential for you to showcase your work culture, brand identity, and growth opportunities that you offer as a reason to compel top talent.
Moreover, try to make yourself reachable. Make it easy for visitors to research your company by providing informative brochures, introductory videos, live Q&A sessions, webinars and other resource formats that comprehensively deliver your employer brand.
The purpose of a virtual career fair or a virtual job fair is to connect job seekers and employers, allowing them to assess each other. Make use of audio, video and text-based chat capabilities to enable talent to easily reach out to employer representatives and vice versa. This primarily helps in on-the-spot screening.
In addition, you can set up a networking lounge to allow job seekers to intermingle and make valuable connections within a chat room.
Webinars are globally proven tools to engage the masses. Set up a series of webinars with live, as well as on-demand, content. This allows for two-way communication and real time feedback using polls, surveys and quizzes.
Pro tip: To make sure you get the desired coverage, invite experts and top industry professionals to share helpful advice and maximize the event attendance.
Opt for a greener hiring strategy and go paperless. On the other hand, allow candidates to download resources and access them, either in real time, or a later time.
What separates a Virtual Career Fair from a traditional career fair is the ability to cut down on the hassle of going through thousands of resumes to find the right one.
Make hiring procedures smarter by ensuring applications are exportable and searchable.
To make the Virtual Career Fair exceptionally intuitive and meaningful, it should ideally be set up in compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) offering the following:
Promotional efforts contribute the most into the success of your event. Use digital avenues such as social media, your website’s career page, press releases, emails, and so on, to attract your target audience and maximize event attendance.
Although it sounds too simple to mention, this practice often ends up being overlooked. Sending post-event ‘”thank you” emails and event feedback surveys can leave an enormously positive impression on your audience, especially on the younger lot.
You should also consider leaving your Virtual Career Fair open for access for a few weeks after it has been wrapped up. This will keep your content evergreen and will keep bringing in prospects who could not make it to the live event.
Promotional efforts contribute the most into the success of your event. Use digital avenues such as social media, your website’s career page and emails to attract your target audience and maximize event attendance.
Although it sounds too simple to mention, this practice often ends up being overlooked. Sending post-event ‘thank you’ emails and event feedback surveys can have a leave an enormously positive impression on your audience, especially on the younger lot.
While webinars are, without a doubt, the superstar of lead generation at present, this also leaves you with a saturated market and a highly competitive environment to host one and maximize its engagement.
Here’s when you ask yourself, what will make my audience drop everything and tune into my webinar? What is it that I’m offering that will blow their minds?
To help you with the how’s and the what’s, here’s a list of best practices that have helped webinar hosts scale up ROIs and maximize engagement during their webinar.
First and foremost, if you wish to hit the bull’s eye with your webinar, you need to devise target personas for your audience:
If you’re putting in the work to host a whole webinar, you might as well do it right. There’s honestly no point of firing in open space and expecting to achieve results.
There’s so much you can talk about, isn’t there? But when you have a limited time, and a remote audience, you should be specific or you’ll most likely lose their attention faster than the speed of light.
It is therefore important to choose a focused topic that compels your target audience and keeps them engaged.
When it comes to speakers, this is truly the selling point for your webinar in most cases. People want to hear from and engage with experts and influencers so, inviting the right speakers is key to your webinar’s attendance and success.
One thing you need to keep in mind, though, is that being knowledgeable isn’t the same as being interactive. There’s no point of having a speaker that is dry as dust – so, if that’s the case, make sure you train them and prep them before the big day.
Timing is absolutely crucial to ensuring high webinar numbers. You could be hosting a flawless webinar but if most of your target audience is expected to show up at 3am according to their time zone, will they even bother?
In terms of scheduling your webinar to engage as much audience as possible, here’s what you can do:
At the end of the day, it all comes down to generating better results with a larger attendance.
Your landing page is essential to drive registrations. It’s what talks to your audience, before the session, and compels them to join. Therefore, your landing page should constitute the following:
Promotion is everything! Take your webinar to your audiences with a clear CTA and give them a reason to register. You may:
A successful webinar is made up of great direction and an even better script. You have a limited time to leave an impression and make the impact you desire. A moderator can hook your audience quick, direct your webinar in a favorable direction, make sure the speakers don’t get carried away, and also ensure your audience doesn’t lose interest.
Use different formats of content to keep things interesting and your audience engaged. A few varieties you can use are visuals, an impressive slide deck, polls and surveys, Q&A sessions, research and data.
A majority of the audience in the present age is connected to the rest of the world via their mobile devices. The experience you provide to people logging in using their mobile devices must therefore be seamless and flawless.
Place your webinars in various categories to increase the ease in searchability. Especially during events such as virtual conferences where webinars act as the primary section of your event. Additionally, add search options to further turn it into a smooth process.
Your words are all you’ve got to impress audiences and qualify leads. There will be no cuts and edits and therefore, it is important for you to practice your webinar before the day of its occurrence.
Test your devices and prepare for things that might go wrong. Make sure you’re sorted with backups and have tech support to prevent your webinar from falling apart.
We can’t emphasize more on the significance of this hidden goldmine of leads. The most popular and effective ways include providing a recording or “on-demand” webinar and asking for feedback using survey forms.
Gone are the days when exhibitors had to fly to the event location to get an idea of booth dimensions and run into mishaps like printing blunders. Virtual events have erased the inconvenience and made it easier to prepare and manage booths online. While the goal is the same, setting up a virtual booth is a lot easier than a physical booth.
A virtual booth is a space where exhibitors can meet and greet attendees, talk about their brand, and capture leads. It usually displays the brand’s logo, product/service videos, and digital collateral. With the help of these, exhibitors can effectively connect with the attendees in a visually appealing environment and build long-lasting connections by using audio/video/text chat.
Without further ado, let us share the best practices for preparing and managing a virtual booth for a groundbreaking virtual event.
What do you want to achieve from your participation in the event as an exhibitor or organizer? How do you plan to accomplish this through your virtual booth? What are your audience’s needs? It is essential to brainstorm with your team about your goals before plans are put in place.
Categorizing booths simplifies the process of finding what they’re looking for, and preventing the chances of having them miss out on it. You can categorize them based on departments, products/services, or even geographies for a more global event.
Attendee user experience is tied to how easy it is to find what they’re looking for and how well the platform lends itself to exploration. Both these objectives require you as an event organizer to ensure your exhibit hall is laid out perfectly. Too many events with amazing content simply fail because the hall structure was poorly framed.
First, how many booths should you have? Although this entirely depends on the nature of your event, an event lasting for 6 hours with up to 100 booths gives enough choice to the attendee without causing fatigue. It only makes sense to exceed that threshold if you’re running a large online expo, job fair or education summit.
Try to show your exhibit hall in a single view. For example, vFairs has a few templates with an “overhead” shot that encompasses all the booths in one go. This allows attendees to see their options in one place and quickly make a decision.
20 – 50 booths
Opt for a view that allows for easy scrolling. vFairs has horizontal scrolling booth views that are ideal for such a booth count.
50 – 100 booths
This is a bit sizable to contain in one view. vFairs exhibit halls can be designed with multiple floors, so break your hall into 2-3 different floors to create a sense of organization.
For such an event size, the recommended practice is to have multiple exhibit halls in place, categorize your booths, and place them in multiple exhibit halls with descriptive labels. Link out to these halls from your main lobby to ensure easy discovery.
Keep in mind that certain sponsors would like more visibility, just as in a physical event. In that case, you can do the following:
(i) build sponsored billboards in your exhibit hall
(ii) front load sponsor booths
Unlike physical events, you cannot go around the event arena distributing brochures in an attempt to bring attendees to your booth in a virtual event. Your booth needs to be visually appealing to stand out and attract attention.
The best way to do that is through compelling images and videos that are displayed on your booth. Use your brand colors, high-quality images, and content that can lead to high impact. Be mindful of the booth and display area dimensions. Also, make sure the design of digital handouts is aligning with the theme of your booth.
While developing content for your booth, keep in mind your target audience and the kind of content they will consider valuable. Your content’s messaging should be clear, concise, and in line with the goals defined for your organization’s presence in the online event. It is advised that content development should be started as soon as possible to roll out error-free work that can convert.
Prepare introductory videos and informative documents beforehand to avoid complications at the time of the event. You can also share content regarding your business’s stance on issues of importance to emerge as a thought leader and initiate a conversation with the audience. Upload files and links to your booth prior to the event.
Manning a digital booth is different from manning a physical booth. It is necessary for the exhibitors to know how to use the platform, set up the booth, make necessary adjustments, and stay connected to the attendees. Hence, it is important to train the team responsible for manning the booth on the event day.
The team should be responsive to the attendees. If an attendee wants to chat, there should always be someone available. Prepare a schedule for the team and allocate time slots to avoid delays.
Additionally, make sure the team knows the company’s products/services inside out. Just like physical events, the team managing the booth should be able to pitch the products/services in the best way possible to the attendees.
A virtual event ensures the collection of valuable data that can be used to stay in touch with the attendees even after the event. This provides another chance for exhibitors to convert attendees into leads and close deals.
Hence, following up with the attendees is essential after the event. Booth representatives can devise a message for the attendees based on their conversation during the event. This provides exhibitors the opportunity to tailor their messaging according to the needs of the attendees and develop lasting relationships.
With modern technology drastically empowering the customers with ease of information, there has been an increasing demand for live assistance, quicker resolution, and brand engagement. In a virtual event, chat rooms are widely used for converting visitors to prospects, keeping churn rates in check and rapidly improving response rates.
Now let’s dive into some best practices for chat rooms that will help you deliver an exceptional experience.
The best way to segment your chat room is by incorporating two types of live chats: public and private.
A public (or group) chat is more like an open forum where visitors are able to post questions and also help others in need. Messages sent in a public chat are visible to all and anyone can easily access them.
In contrast, a private chat works for individual conversations, in which typically a visitor hovers over an online user’s name and sees the button that says “chat now”.
Visitors are likely to drive their actions based on instincts. It’s important to place yourself in your audience’s shoes to understand what they want. The popular placement of a chat feature is usually in the bottom right of the event page. However, the positioning also varies according to the visual format of your page. Just ensure that the chat feature is not too obtrusive and it does not annoy your visitors.
Integration of visual and auditory elements can accelerate the scale of engagement to another level. Given the growing demand for interactive tools that are leading companies to switch from physical events to virtual, it’s also essential to make the best use of them. Why it is important to use audio and video options:
Collecting customer feedback implies that you, as an organizer, care about their opinion. You involve them in the decision-making process which makes them feel like an integral part of the company – resulting in brand association. In a virtual event, your exhibitors can integrate a points-rating (1-5) survey at the end of every chat. This can benefit them in the following ways:
Make sure your reps can access your audience’s profiles in order to have meaningful conversations. Additionally, add tags and comments to profiles to make the process more transparent.
Since your objective is to nurture connections, the story shouldn’t end with the event. In order to continue your processes, make sure your event provider allows you to extract chat logs.
Your event provider must generate reports that depict essential data in terms of chat trends, number of chats, and so on. This is essential in order to track and analyze what works and what doesn’t.
How do I ensure my speakers know how to present at a Virtual Conference?
You can ask your virtual event provider to offer training for your speakers. You can also ask for a virtual green room that allows for training 15 minutes prior to the event.
How many ticket types are recommended for sponsors?
The recommended number is three. Anything beyond that creates too much choice for the user. Your purpose should be to make the packages clear and simple.
How should a provider differentiate the experience for various users?
You can categorize your users based on basic and premium features. You can then offer your premium users to more content as compared to the basic users.
What day and time is it best to conduct a virtual event? How long should this event last?
Figure out what your main geography is. While some virtual trade show organizers choose to host events over the weekend to cater to people who work, on the other hand, university fair hosts may choose to conduct their event during the weekdays to attract a larger audience,
At the end of the day, the goal is to pick a day, time and duration that allows you to attract people from your target locations in their respective time zones.
How many reps do I need on a single Virtual Booth?
Firstly, you’d want to get a sense of how many attendees are expected at your event. For example, in the case of over a 1000 attendees, it is recommended that you have about 3-4 reps catering to them. On the other hand, for 500 attendees, you can choose to have 1 rep.
However, this is entirely subjective, as the idea is to have coverage from end to end in order to perform better. This can be possible even if you align your reps in different shifts.
How do I set up a Virtual Event?
As long as you know what the objective of your event is, all you have to do is get in touch with vFairs and get started!
Learn how vFairs empowers organizers to take control of their event here.
At vfairs.com, we strive to build a top-class online event platform that will help event organizers make memorable connections with their target audience. We’re obsessed with taking out the hassle normally associated with physical events, leaving organizers and exhibitors to focus on what’s most important – engagement with the audience. Get in touch with an expert to learn more about vFairs here.
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