Complete Guide to Host Successful Virtual Events
In the age of social distancing, virtual events have become the new norm, and they’re not just a passing fad. These digital gatherings offer businesses a chance to go beyond the limits of brick-and-mortar venues and connect with audiences from all over the world. With the rise of cutting-edge technology, virtual events have become more engaging and interactive than ever before. So, if you’re looking for a way to spice up your relationship with customers and spice up your events, consider giving the virtual world a try!
In this article, we’ll provide a complete guide to virtual events, using Samaaro’s virtual event platform as an example, covering everything from choosing the right platform to marketing your event, and how technology can enhance the virtual event experience.
Table of Contents
- What are Virtual Events?
- Types of Virtual Events
- Why Host a Virtual Event?
- How do you Plan a Virtual Event?
- The Virtual Event Technology Checklist
What is a Virtual Event?
A virtual event is a type of event where attendees participate and experience the event and its content through online means instead of being physically present at a physical location. It involves the use of technology such as live streaming, video conferencing, and other web-based tools to facilitate engagement between participants and speakers. Virtual events can include webinars, online conferences, digital trade shows, and other similar activities that are conducted in a virtual environment. They are becoming increasingly popular because of the convenience they offer and the growing trend towards remote work and distributed teams.
Types of Virtual Events
Virtual events can complement and expand your overall event program, which includes events you organize, attend, and internal company events. It’s worth noting that virtual events are not intended to replace other types of events but rather to offer a new dimension to your overall program. Below are the 7 kinds of virtual events and some important points about these events.
- Usually, last 30-80 minutes
- Allow attendees from around the world to join and listen to one or more speaker’s present content
- Can charge attendees to join or be offered for free
- Use video conferencing tools for Q&A, live or pre-recorded video, and on-demand viewing
- Suitable for one-off educational events, internal and external training
- Built around a live, complex agenda with keynotes, sessions, and breakouts
- Include multi-session content and community engagement tools
- Not as effective for lead capture and networking as in-person events
- Allow attendees to view keynotes in real-time and build their own agenda from on-demand content
- Allow interaction with other attendees
Internal Hybrid Events
- Used for town halls, sales kick-offs, companywide events, trainings, department meetings, etc.
- Used to share a message to the entire company when employees are not all gathered in the same place
- Can be partially in-person and partially virtual
- Suitable for virtual team-building activities
External Hybrid Events
- Held for those outside of your organization (user or industry conferences)
- Require higher levels of video production to provide a similar quality to in-person attendees
- Allow attendees who are unable to travel to participate and learn
- Not as effective for networking as in-person events
- Can attract a wider audience via digital
- Provide an enhanced experience for both the audience and marketers/event organizers
- Allow for interactive features and easy access to resources
- Showcase product offerings in intimate settings
- Can be brought online with the right technology
- Can provide a similar level of engagement if planned properly
Virtual Trade Shows
- Work best as in-person experiences but can also be held virtually
- They need to be approached differently and require the right strategy to thrive in the virtual world.
Why Host a Virtual Event?
In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, hosting virtual events has become increasingly popular due to the convenience and accessibility they offer. Virtual events can provide a way to connect with a global audience, reduce costs, and offer flexibility for attendees to participate from anywhere. Below are some of the key reasons why hosting a virtual event may be a smart decision for your organization.
- Accessibility: A virtual event can be accessed by attendees from anywhere in the world if they have an internet connection, making it easier for people who might not have been able to attend an in-person event.
- Cost savings: Hosting a virtual event eliminates the need for venue rentals, travel expenses, catering, and other associated costs that come with in-person events, making it a more cost-effective option.
- Flexibility: Virtual events offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling, as they can be held at any time of the day and can be pre-recorded, giving attendees the option to view content on their own time.
- Data and analytics: Virtual events provide organizers with valuable data and analytics on attendee engagement and behavior, allowing them to track and analyze attendee participation and feedback to improve future events.
- Sustainability: Virtual events are a more environmentally friendly option, as they reduce the carbon footprint associated with travel and other physical event logistics.
How Do You Plan a Virtual Event?
Planning a virtual event can seem daunting, but the process is quite like planning an in-person event. As with any event, it is important to put yourself in the attendees’ shoes and consider their experience. You don’t want to bore them with long stretches of content or neglect their need for engagement and interaction. By following standard planning tips and tricks, you can create and execute a successful virtual event.
Define Your Objectives
The first step in event planning is to define the purpose and goals of the event. Event planners need to identify the target audience, the type of event, and the objectives that need to be achieved using technology. For example, if the event is a conference, the objectives may include providing attendees with access to high-quality presentations, networking opportunities, and the ability to interact with the speakers and other attendees.
Here are some questions you should be asking before planning any virtual event.
- What do you want to achieve through this event?
- Is it to generate leads, build brand awareness, educate attendees, or something else?
- What will be the session length and event length?
- Will you charge for the event, or will it be free?
- What information will be shared with the attendees?
Defining your objectives will help you make informed decisions throughout the planning process.
Choose the Right Platform
The most crucial step in hosting a successful virtual event is choosing the right platform. Samaaro’s virtual event platform offers a wide range of features and customization options to make your event stand out. Some of the features include:
- Custom branding: Samaaro’s virtual event platform allows you to brand your event with your company’s logo and colors, making it feel like a natural extension of your brand.
- Interactive elements: Samaaro’s virtual event platform offers a variety of interactive elements like live polls, Q&A sessions, and breakout rooms, allowing you to engage with your attendees in real-time.
- Analytics: Samaaro’s virtual event platform provides detailed analytics on attendee engagement, allowing you to optimize your event and improve your future events.
Consider factors such as the number of attendees, your budget, and the type of event you’re hosting when choosing a platform.
Set a Date and Time
Once you’ve chosen your platform, it’s time to set a date and time for your event. Consider your target audience’s availability and choose a time that is convenient for them. Avoid scheduling your event during holidays or peak business hours.
Create an Agenda
Creating a clear and concise agenda for your virtual event is crucial. This will help you stay organized and ensure that your event runs smoothly. It will also help your attendees know what to expect from the event. Samaaro’s virtual event platform allows you to create a customized agenda for your event, including details such as the event’s start and end time, speakers, topics, and any interactive elements such as polls or Q&A sessions.
Choose Your Speakers
The success of your virtual event largely depends on the quality of your speakers. Choose speakers who are knowledgeable and engaging and who can offer valuable insights to your attendees. Samaaro’s virtual event platform allows you to invite and manage speakers for your event, making it easy to collaborate and ensure that your event’s content is top-notch.
Promote Your Event
Promoting your virtual event is crucial to ensure that you get the attendance you need. Use social media platforms, email marketing, and your website to promote your event to your target audience. Samaaro’s virtual event platform offers marketing tools like customizable email invites, registration pages, and social media sharing options to help you get the word out about your event.
Engage Your Audience
Engaging your audience during your virtual event is crucial to keep them interested and invested in your content. Use interactive elements such as polls, Q&A sessions, and breakout rooms to keep your attendees engaged and encourage participation. Samaaro’s virtual event platform offers a variety of interactive tools to keep your attendees engaged and ensure that your event is a success.
Follow Up with Attendees
Following up with attendees after your virtual event is crucial to maintain their interest and build lasting relationships. Send a thank-you email or survey to your attendees, asking for feedback and offering additional resources or information. Samaaro’s virtual event platform offers a post-event survey feature that allows you to gather feedback and insights from your attendees, helping you improve your future events.
The Virtual Event Technology Checklist
To host successful virtual events, relying solely on video conferencing tools isn’t enough. A comprehensive event technology platform is essential for promoting, executing, and managing virtual events. Several important pieces of event tech are critical to utilize when hosting virtual events.
- Event Website – The event website is an essential tool for promoting virtual events. It serves the same purpose as an in-person event website by providing potential attendees with event schedules, speaker information, FAQs, and registration links.
- Ticketing & Registration – Registration tools are critical for data collection and attendance tracking. Robust online registration tools make it easy for attendees to register, provide planners and marketers with the necessary data to plan an event, and prove event success.
- Email Marketing & Promotions – Email marketing is a great way to drive demand, increase registration, and keep attendees informed before and after virtual events. Automated email marketing tools provide personalized emails, open rates, and click-through metrics.
- Mobile Friendly – The mobile event app can be handy, accessible and the main information hubs for attendees during virtual events. Attendees can pick and choose sessions to attend, allowing planners to gather data on session popularity and attendee engagement. It can also allow attendees to connect and foster virtual connections.
- Feedback and Analytics – Event feedback tools not only help in collecting attendee feedback and qualifying virtual leads, but they also provide valuable analytics data that can be used to measure the success of an event and improve future events. By analyzing the data collected through post-event surveys and other feedback tools, event planners can gain insights into attendee preferences, behaviors, and needs. This information can be used to make data-driven decisions, which can help increase attendee engagement and drive more leads to sales.
- Integrations – Integrations ensure that vital registration and attendee data is shared between event technology systems and virtual event platforms. Attendee data can be kept in one place, allowing planners to analyze key insights from events such as session attendance and engagement.
In conclusion, virtual events have become increasingly popular due to the convenience, accessibility, and flexibility they offer. They provide a way to connect with a global audience, reduce costs, and offer valuable data and analytics on attendee engagement and behavior. Hosting a successful virtual event requires careful planning and execution, and the use of the right technology. By following the tips and tricks provided in this guide, including choosing the right platform, marketing your event, and enhancing the virtual experience with technology, you can create a successful virtual event that engages your audience and meets your organization’s objectives. So, if you’re looking for a way to spice up your events and relationship with customers, consider giving the virtual world a try!
Samaaro’s virtual event platform offers a wide range of features and customization options to make your virtual event stand out. With its interactive elements, custom branding options, and detailed analytics, Samaaro’s platform can help you engage your audience, create a memorable experience, and build lasting relationships with your customers.
As virtual events continue to grow in popularity, businesses need to embrace the latest technologies and platforms to stay ahead of the curve. By following the tips outlined in this guide and leveraging the power of Samaaro’s virtual event platform, you can host a successful virtual event that drives engagement, builds brand awareness, and delivers value to your attendees.
Q: What is a virtual event?
A: It is a type of event where attendees participate and experience the event and its content through online means instead of being physically present at a physical location. It involves the use of technology such as live streaming, video conferencing, and other web-based tools to facilitate engagement between participants and speakers.
Q: What are the types of virtual events?
A: There are seven types namely webinars, virtual conferences, internal hybrid events, external hybrid events, virtual exhibitions, virtual seminars, and virtual trade shows.
Q: Why host a virtual event?
A: Because they offer several benefits such as accessibility, cost savings, flexibility, data and analytics, and sustainability. They can provide a way to connect with a global audience, reduce costs, and offer flexibility for attendees to participate from anywhere.
Q: How do you plan a virtual event?
A: Planning a virtual event is similar to planning an in-person event. It is important to define the objectives, choose the right platform, plan the content and schedule, promote the event, engage attendees, and measure success. The key is to use event technology to support the objectives of the event and enhance attendee experience.
Q: What is the virtual event technology checklist?
A: The virtual event technology checklist includes choosing the right virtual event platform, audio and visual equipment, reliable internet connection, engagement tools, and backup plans. It is important to test the technology beforehand to ensure a smooth experience for attendees.