With restrictions easing events now seem a possibility. We are however a long way from large numbers of people gathering together to watch sport, listen to music…but it’s a start and one we should be grateful of. So, on the subject of events let’s talk about the newish kid on the block – Virtual Events (entirely on line). Yes, its today’s’ must have. If events form part of your marketing or financial strategies then in order to continue to serve, connect and help your clients and customers then you need to find a way to remain front of mind. If you don’t then, they are likely to go elsewhere.
Virtual events done well, are a great alternative to face to face. I like them. So, let me outline why you need to do virtual events and what the key factors are in delivering a great virtual experience.
The world of virtual events
In short: virtual events are an on line event with engagement tools to aid participation. Your primary audience is connected to the event remotely. Typical virtual events include workshops, webinar, virtual conference, virtual trade show, meetings, auctions, launches, fireside chat, team building, and hybrid events.
Virtually brilliant events: harnessing the virtual events opportunity
Virtual events offer a wide range of benefits. Here’s why you do need to seriously consider them. They offer:
- Control: offers cancellation protection against political, environmental and health risks
- Higher attendance and reach: new and global audiences, more inclusive + diverse, entry barriers reduced
- Better metrics: real time insights – what works, what doesn’t: vital future planning aid
- Sponsor opportunities: larger audiences, more opportunities + better metrics
- Flexibility: people / companies get the choice how they attend if circumstances change
- More sustainable: reduction in events carbon footprint, enforced travel
- Cost effective: reduced costs, more economical alternative
- On-going marketing funnel: re-purpose, share event content
- Community building / on line networking
- Financial lifeline and revenue stream
Delivering a virtually brilliant event: key components
Not surprisingly virtual events do share some common planning ground with face to face events but please do not assume you can simply move your face to face events on line and think they will work. They won’t!
Here’s a list of the components of a virtual event you need to get right!
- Pre-event market research: provide a solution to a problem for a defined audience
- Content is key: Only pick hyper relevant topics. Virtual events are a lot shorter and your audience’s attention span limited!
- Consider the format of your event: single, multiple speakers, interview, mix of live and recorded – with live Q & A
- Timings: how long is too long, time of day, which day, time zones
- Speaker selection is everything: skilled in on line delivery
- Audience engagement: Chat, Q & A, polls, competition
- Skilled moderator: to aid transitions, fill, weave together
- Networking element: break out areas, meeting software
- Compelling promotional copy
- Event priced to sell. They don’t have to be free.
- Platform selection: simplicity and great user experience
- Select platform: reverse engineer your event around the platform you want to use or understand your event objectives, build a technology stack to deliver it
Although there is some cross over areas with the face to face world of events, they are different things and if you get it wrong, your audience will with one key stroke…leave the meeting: right before your very eyes.
Virtual events…a REAL opportunity
As I see it, in the coming weeks small face to face events will return but with low sign up rates. I think we are a long way from having a room full of people at our events: maybe next year? My thoughts are that having a ‘live only’ events programme is a risky strategy. The world has changed and it is time to adapt to survive. Your audiences are now comfortable with technology and will demand the option to attend in person and or remotely. You now need to give them that option.
Virtual events are this years’, next years and future years MUST have events strategy.
Need a little virtual events help?
As I have watched this crisis unfold, I have been taken by how quickly some companies and organisations have grasped the virtual events baton, run with it and reaped the rewards. So, if you would like to join the virtual events world and would like me to guide you through the process then my Virtual Events: How to design, plan and deliver successful and rewarding virtual events is just what you need.
In a nutshell: This virtual events course helps turn event managers into confident and skilled online event producers able to deliver brilliant virtual events…even if they are new to the online events world.
What do you think?
Virtual events and in time hybrid events are a must do, not a might do if, you really do want to keep a real connection with your clients or members.
Yes, count me in! If you would like a copy of the programme and course price please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
About Chris Powell, The Event Expert
I run an event management training and consultancy company (The Event Expert) delivering In-house and On-Line event management training courses and event consultancy services
that help turn event planners into confident and skilled event professionals: able to deliver successful and rewarding events. My courses cover Business, Virtual, Public, Community, Major events and Event Health and Safety.
My courses are based on 20+ years of practical event management experience. I practice what I preach!
My clients come from the world of business, education, sport, the public and charity sector, training companies, tourism, creative agencies, universities and festivals.
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