Around 67% of businesses use virtual events to complement in-person events, says research by Markletic, yet as the current health crisis has shown, streamed events can be practical lifesavers for organizations wishing to host conferences, talks, product and service launches, and other events which may be simply impossible to hold in current times.
If you have a mobile phone, fast connection, and someone with something interesting to say to your industry, you are probably ready to host your first ever virtual or live-streamed event.
What Engagement Can You Expect?
The extent of your event’s success depends to a great extent on audience engagement. In general, attendance figures for these events are on the up. Wild Apricot reports that around 45% of people who register attend events live, while a further 20% prefer to consume this content on-demand. In 2020, the number of businesses planning a virtual event doubled, which is indicative of the buzz this form of communication is making across a wide gamut of industries.
Preparing For A Virtual Event
Your initial worry may be whether or not you have the tech to present a savvy event, but in fact, most of the work will come beforehand. You should, for instance, set up a website for the event, indicating key information (including dates, times, speakers and topics to be discussed). Your site should contain event registration technology and (if relevant) your payment page.
Currently, around 80% of virtual events are free, as organizers see this as a good way to attract a wider audience and remove barriers for registrants who may initially be unsure about whether or not they are interested in your event. Finally, you should consider what equipment you will be using.
Even though a smartphone will do, a good digital video camera and optimal lighting, plus a quality microphone, are all key if your audiences are to enjoy a top audiovisual experience. The WiFi in the area you are emitting from should be strong, so test it out prior to your big day. Although virtual conferences are not as new as they once were, they are still very challenging to execute well. Sending attendees a carefully designed gift bag is one of the least expensive ways to make a memorable impression. You can give gift boxes for virtual events. You may visit Swag Bar to know more about this.
Tools That Make It Easier
Common software or apps used to hold live events include Zoom, Google Meets, and Skype, but savvy organizations are taking it a step further with virtual event platforms that can be used with existing software like Zoom while connecting them with thousands of attendees with minimal latency.
Virtual engagement tools include Q&A sessions for attendees, live polls, and different ‘rooms’ covering different sub-topics. Attendees can use their time wisely by avoiding talks they aren’t interested in and heading straight to their specialty or area of interest.
Tracking Your Event’s Success
After the event, analyze the extent to which you have achieved your goals. Check aspects such as email open rates (pre- and post-event), see if your likes and follows have risen on your social media channels, analyze the results of polls regarding the value of your event, check on click-throughs and downloads, and identify the best-reviewed aspects of your event. Study which rooms or talks were most viewed, seek feedback from attendees and set up meetings to determine ways you can plan the next successful event.
Virtual events have grown exponentially in 2020, both as a result of the health crisis and of the realization that they are an easy, cost-effective way to reach a wider audience.
To ensure your event is a success, utilize all tools available – including platforms that allow you to personalize and brand your event – and use aspects such as polls and event divisions. Finally, track the success of your event, identifying its strong points, and working to eliminate any weak points you discover.