Hosting an event is a very common way of getting your message across, whether it’s for a product launch, an awards function, a corporate gathering and more. It’s not always practical to host a real-world event, where everyone who is attending is expected to front up at a specific location. These days, many events are hosted online as virtual events, where participants are connected via a video and audio feed.
With this in mind, let’s look at some key steps you can take to organise a virtual event and to ensure it’s successful.
Start With a Clear Goal For Your Event
Before you even begin to plan or organise your virtual event, you’ll want to clearly define the goals, objectives and desired outcomes of the event. In other words, what are you hoping to achieve? What message do you want to convey?
Everyone involved in the planning and hosting of the event also needs to be aware of what the objectives are.
Once you know what you hope to achieve by hosting a virtual event, you can start the planning phase.
You Need a Platform To Host Your Virtual Event
One of the very next things you’ll need to make a decision about is what platform you will be hosting your virtual event on. There are quite a number of platforms available but you are often better served if you can find a platform that’s been specifically designed for virtual event hosting, something dedicated to virtual events.
Some research online for your general location will give you some options to look at. For example, if you’re in the UK, you could search for virtual event platform UK or virtual conference platform UK.
Along with having a dedicated platform to host your event on, you may also want to seriously consider the next point.
Hire An Events Management Company
If you really want to guarantee your virtual event is successful, well organised and goes without a hitch, then you might want to seek some help from event management specialists. Better yet, find an events management company that also has its very own hosting platform dedicated to virtual events. This way, you get the best of both worlds. They’ll be able to help you organise and plan your event and will also be able to set up and manage the hosting platform for the duration of your virtual event.
It only makes sense to enlist the services of a professional company that lives and breathes event management and has experience in hosting virtual events. They’ll be able to provide the right platform and set up all the audio and visual equipment you require.
Factor In Different Time Zones
If your virtual event is going to be attended by people from other parts of the world in different time zones, you’ll need to factor this into your event planning. While it will be virtually impossible to find time slots that are convenient for everyone, you’ll want to give time zones some thought as you map out the program for your event.
Time zones could impact event attendance and how much time you can allow for things like Q&A sessions and so on.
At the very least, you might be able to schedule replays for key sessions at times that are more convenient for people on the other side of the world.
Although time zones could impact event attendance in some ways, in other ways virtual events can attract larger audiences due to the fact that participants don’t have to travel to attend the event.
Formulate a Budget For Your Event
Virtual events are often more budget-friendly than events held in a venue. For starters, you don’t have to budget for venue hire. However, virtual events still cost money, so you’ll need to come up with an event budget.
Make a list of everything related to the event that could cost money and estimate the cost of each item. It’s also a wise idea to allocate a little extra cash to cover any unforeseen costs that may crop up.
Market and Promote Your Virtual Event
In order to ensure a good attendance, you have to actively market and promote your virtual event well ahead of the start date. If you have an email list of customers or people who are interested in your products or services, you can promote your event to your email list.
Social media is also a very effective way to promote any event in the modern world, in particular virtual events. Make announcements on your Facebook page or Instagram profile or any other social media platform you use and have a decent following. You could even pay to advertise your event on social media sites to reach a larger, targeted audience.
Plan Activities That Promote Audience Engagement
Events that are nothing but a series of speakers and lectures are usually not particularly entertaining and won’t hold the attention of your audience for very long. You need to mix things up a bit and include activities that are more interactive and engaging.
Always encourage participants to ask the host or speaker questions to promote audience engagement. Plan interactive activities such as Q&A. If you can, inject a little bit of comedy and humour into the event, as this always helps to keep people engaged.
Another tip is to keep each session of the event relatively short to guarantee your audience will remain focused.
Always Gather Data
You should really be coming up with ways to gather data before, during and after your event has finished. Some information you might want to gather includes:
- Total number of registrations
- How many people actually attended and during which times
- Demographics of attendees
- Location of attendees
- Post-event surveys
- Session feedback
- New email subscribers
- And more…
Although virtual events differ from hosting a live event at a venue, there is still a lot to consider and organise. To guarantee the best results, hire an event management company that also has its own platform dedicated to hosting virtual events.
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