In recent months, events and conferences around the world have gone virtual.
While there was plenty of shock and dismay at the outset, these negative feelings have since been replaced with ample unexpected benefits and endless possibilities. From lower costs to expanded reach, organizations of all types and sizes are reaping the rewards of going virtual. But there are some unique nuances that can make or break the online conference experience.
In this article, we’ve compiled seven smart tips to help you host your next virtual event like a pro.
- Decide on the appropriate format. A virtual event is any organized meet-up that takes place online rather than face to face in a physical location. They can range from small training sessions to massive virtual conferences with thousands of attendees. Start by considering your audience, outlining your objectives, and envisioning what you want your event to look like. For example, do you have a complex product that needs some explaining or are you launching a new service? A how-to class or tutorial is a good way to provide tips and instruction. For more complex topics, webinars or workshops might be a better fit. Even larger scale summits and conferences can take place entirely online, complete with meetings and networking opportunities.
- Choose the right time. Before you send out any “save the date” emails, conduct some research. Make sure there are no holidays or competing events that would interfere with attendance. Take time zones into consideration, too, and try to select a time that works for as many potential attendees as possible. After live presentations, it’s generally a good idea to make sure that the content is accessible to those who were unable to attend.
- Don’t forget to promote your event. Think about the key selling points your event has to offer. Will you be showcasing a noteworthy speaker? Are you offering valuable networking opportunities? Whatever value proposition you choose, make sure the benefits are clear in your marketing. Share the event details by email and on social media platforms. Research indicates that registrations tend to peak two to three weeks prior to an event, so ramp up your promotional efforts at this time.
- Be consistent with your branding. You might be thinking of your online events as separate from everything else you do, but they’re actually an extension of your brand. That’s why it’s important to align your virtual event materials with your brand’s aesthetic. Use the same logo, colors, fonts, and other elements that match your identity. This will create a consistent experience for your attendees and potentially boost brand awareness, too.
- Be mindful of mobile users. Many attendees attend virtual events via their phones, so it’s important to optimize for the mobile experience when creating your materials. Select a platform that supports mobile devices with its interactive features so attendees can easily participate or ask questions. If you’re using slides, keep the text on each slide to a minimum and make the font size large enough to be readable on a small screen.
- Engage with your audience. People are more likely to connect with brands and organizations when there’s a two-way flow of information. That’s why it’s crucial to promote audience involvement in the form of online Q&As, games, polls, quizzes, and open discussion forums.
- Do a test run. Well before the day of your event, schedule a rehearsal and act as if it’s the real thing. Make sure your slides are in order, the equipment is working properly, that you’re comfortable using it, and that your speakers are fully prepared. This is also the time to get a second opinion on your sound, video quality, backdrop, and anything else that can impact the audience experience.
Virtual events offer a fun, safe and effective way to reach people all over the world.
They can also save your organization significant amounts of money, increase engagement with your audience, generate leads, and build your brand.
Are you ready to take your events virtual? IBC’s experienced software solutions team can help! Please contact our helpful professionals to get started.
About Intuitive Business Concepts (IBC): Since 2001, IBC’s cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning technology services have helped associations, non-profits and unions increase their operational and financial performance. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective iMIS Engagement Management solutions, IBC is uniquely adept at identifying and applying the integration techniques that save membership organizations time and money. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at www.ibconcepts.com or call 443.603.0215.