The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has ground in-person physical events to a complete standstill in 2020, and more organizations are leaning towards virtual events to deliver content to their audience.
Many prominent events have gone virtual recently, such as the annual TED Talks conference, the IBM Think Conference or HubSpot’s Inbound 2020. In fact, even before the pandemic many organizations were realizing the long list of benefits associated with virtual events.
That’s why, according to Bazzabo’s ‘Post COVID-19: The Event Outlook Report’, the majority (93 percent) of event marketers are planning to invest in virtual events moving forward.
If you are considering transitioning your company’s large-scale events to the digital world, whether they are trade shows, conferences, product launches, training sessions or networking opportunities, there’s a good chance you don’t know where to start. In this blog we take a look at what virtual events actually are, and how you can execute them seamlessly.
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is an event which brings people together on the internet to interact with each other on a digital platform, rather than meeting at a physical location. Virtual events feature industry experts that deliver useful content to your audience, and generally span multiple days and have a community component - just like your in-person conference or tradeshow would.
The growth in virtual events have been driven by technological innovations in the world of streaming media solutions. Streaming media solutions, such as webcasts and webinars, allow you to extend the reach of your event to a global audience across the internet, while at the same time allowing you to track attendance and behaviours just like you would for a physical event.
The benefits of a virtual event include:
- The ability to reach a global audience and grow your community
- Less expensive to host
- It saves both your business, and attendees, time
- It’s easy to collect feedback and measure results
- Generate increased revenue
- And much more!
How to convert your in-person event into a digital success
Thinking about transitioning to a virtual event can feel overwhelming at first, but it’s not as difficult as you think it is. In fact, planning a virtual event isn’t hugely different from planning a physical event. Sure, there will be some new challenges and considerations that you need to look at, but with good planning you’ll be able to build an incredible virtual event that delights your customers. Here are some handy tips that will help you transition your physical event to a virtual success.
1 - Plan out your event
Planning out a virtual event is no more challenging than planning a physical event. Planning, however, is absolutely crucial in making sure the event runs seamlessly and that you're able to deliver content that’s truly valuable to your audience. Make sure you visualize and plan out every part of the event. Here are some key questions to consider:
What type of event will work best? If you are creating a completely new event that your company hasn’t done before, then you will want to consider which style of event will be most effective to achieve your desired outcome. Do you want to host a trade show to bring your industry together? Do you want to organize a conference to help others in your sector grow? The style of event that you choose will have a direct impact on what both you, and your attendees, gain from the event.
How will attendees gain access to the event? At an in-person event there are plane tickets, hotel fees and a variety of other costs to attend. You need to decide if you want your attendees to pay for access, and how they will get access if not. Your event could be paid entrance, private access or completely open to the public.
What content will you include? All great events require great content. This is even more true when you are fighting to keep the attention of virtual attendees from the distractions they have in the comfort of their own home. Think carefully about the type of content that will most benefit your audience, and then consider how you want to deliver that content. This could be anything from live speakers, Q&A sessions and live polls.
How will you promote it? Getting a return on investment for your virtual event is all about getting a good number of high-quality attendees. To do so successfully, you need to promote your event effectively. Look at channels such as email, social or blogging, and use these platforms to promote new speakers and other features that will keep your audience engaged with the event.
2 - Be creative in how you engage attendees
Your event is now virtual. That means no one-on-one interactions, no corporate lunches, no after-conference parties and no meetings organized at the event between those attending. Instead, attendees are located in their own home and surrounded by numerous distractions.
That means you have to pay particular attention to engaging your audience. Your event needs to deliver exceptional value through speakers, educational classes, networking opportunities and product demos. If you deliver exactly what your audience is looking for in creative ways, then you’ll ensure that you are able to capture their attention and create new revenue opportunities. Your virtual event should be just as valuable to those attending as a physical event.
3 - Take cyber security serious
It can often be overlooked, but cybersecurity is an incredibly important element for your virtual event. To keep your audience coming back year-after-year, make sure you protect both attendees and partner data throughout the event. Methods can include password security, two-factor authentication, anti-virus software, encrypted sites and many others.
4 - Partner with a technology expert
Organizing your live event isn’t as simple as setting up a few Zoom rooms and letting your speakers talk. You’ll probably want a live video, you may want some pre-recorded clips and you’ll certainly need a team of technology experts behind you that know how to properly organize and execute a virtual media event.
By outsourcing your media streaming solutions to a highly-skilled outsourced partner, your company will be able to access world-class media streaming platforms and technology, as well as the planning, organizing and implementation knowledge that your business is unlikely to possess when it comes to virtual events.
Are you looking for more information on how to transition from physical to virtual events? Contact Genesis Integration today. Our team of technology experts and media streaming specialists would love to answer any questions you have.