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A Complete Guide to Virtual Events

 /  News  /  Virtual Events: A Complete Guide
michel-roux-jr

A Complete Guide to Virtual Events

What is a Virtual Event?

A virtual event, also known as an online event, is an organized gathering that convenes virtually rather than a physical location. Unlike physical events, online events aren't geographically restrictive. Attendees from all over the world can participate, providing they have access to the internet.

The COVID-19 Coronavirus has indefinitely postponed in-person events. Fortunately, contemporary technology allows individuals and companies to host incredible online events that rival their physical counterparts. Whether it's a small-scale directors meeting, a virtual team-building day, or an online trade show for thousands, virtual events allow your finger on the pulse during the lockdown.

The Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Event

1) Cost-Effective

In the current climate, saving money on meetings and events is integral. Thanks to online events, the total cost of your meeting or event is dramatically reduced. You won't have to hire a venue, pay for staff, pay travel expenses or attendees' accommodation.

2) Global Outreach

Virtual events are not geographically restrictive, meaning attendees from all over the world can participate. Through marketing the event on social media and web channels, a company can reach demographics previously untenable.

3) Lasting Business Relationships

At physical corporate events, it's hard to keep track of the many people you come into contact with. With virtual events, you can simply jot down important contact information on the device you're using.

4)Freedom

Virtual events are more flexible than their physical counterparts. If your keynote speaker cancels, the weather is particularly bad, or a flu outbreak hits the office, you can simply postpone your online event to another day.

5)Time-Effective

Nowadays, organising a physical event takes time and effort. Finding an equidistant venue, hiring venue staff and organising travel requires great thought. A virtual event takes minutes to set up, allowing employees to focus on more pressing matters.

Platforms for Online Events

Finding a platform to host your online event can seem like a daunting prospect. Which platform is the fastest? Which platform is the safest? Which platform is the most user-friendly? Here are our

Top 5 Platforms for Hosting a virtual event:

1) Webex

Webex is the perfect choice for corporate meetings that want that 'boardroom' feeling. In light of COVID-19, the longstanding conferencing service is offering unlimited usage to customers.

2) Skype

Simple sign-up process and easy to navigate user interface, Skype is the father of video conferencing software.

3) Zoom

Zoom is available on mobile devices as well as desktop. Up to 100 participants at one time and HD video and audio.

4) Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams provides web, audio and video conferencing from the device of your choice.

5) Google Hangouts

250 participants on a call, live-stream for up top 100,000 and Google Drive can record your meetings.

How to promote a Virtual Event

If your company was hosting an in-person event, you'd most likely promote the event to people in the local area, business contacts and corporate acquaintances. The same principle goes if you're hosting an online event. Through utilising online marketing, you can attract key business professionals to your event.

  • Promote the event through your social media channels
  • Include event information in your company's newsletter
  • Use email marketing to inform your contacts
  • Ask partners and sponsors to spread the word
  • Send out a press release
  • Create an event page on your website

How to keep virtual attendees engaged

Immersive Virtual Events

To deliver an immersive virtual event, attendees must be engaged and interested. So how do you make a virtual event fun?

1) Personalised Experience

Tailor the virtual event to the audience, adjusting the schedule to suit the size, makeup and familiarity of the group.

2) Clear Aims

There's nothing worse than a drawn-out lecture that's wholely non-beneficial. Set out clear goals and aims of the event from the outset.

3) Interaction

Split the event up with interactive activities such as a pop quiz, Q&A session or brainstorming session.

4) Virtual Entertainment

Keep your attendees engaged with exciting event entertainment. Keynote speakers are the ideal entertainment for virtual events.

5) Look after your guests

Make your virtual event stand out Keep the event succinct, provide interactive resources and have a clear aim throughout the event.

How to make your virtual event stand-out?

Virtual events are becoming part and parcel of the business world. The COVID-19 Coronavirus has forced companies to tackle online events and step into the virtual realm. So how can you make your virtual event stand-out?

1) Virtual Entertainment

Hire a celebrity keynote to inspire and invigorate your attendees. A keynote speech from an A-List celebrity is the perfect way to break up your event.

2) Innovative Events

Experiment with different types of virtual events. Try a Q&A session with an industry professional, a pub quiz hosted by an iconic celebrity, or an off the wall team-building exercise.

3) Sponsorship

Through collaborating with a sponsor, you can elevate your virtual event to new heights and reach an unprecedented audience.

4) Clear Aims

Outline the aims of your virtual event right at the start. Let your attendees know what information they will learn and what takeaways they will glean from the event.

5) Platform Experimentation

Experiment with new video-conferencing software. Different platforms suit different events and occasions.

Types of Virtual Event

###1) Virtual Conference

Virtual conferences allow businesses to bring directors, employees and loyal customers together in a celebration of industry and achievement. Utilise keynote speakers, Q&A sessions, networking seminars and live chat to create an immersive virtual conference.

2) Networking

Host a virtual networking event to bring industry-specific professionals together. Include a virtual panel discussion, allowing attendees to ask questions to industry professionals.

3) Roundtables

A virtual roundtable allows professionals to network, learn and engage in a specific topic. Attendees have to opportunity to take part in a structured dialogue around a certain relevant topic.

4) Teambuilding

Whether it's a virtual cooking class, wellness and wellbeing course, or employee personal training, teambuilding exercises can work wonders for staff morale.

5) Webinars

A host will present a seminar on a specific topic. Webinars are perfect for large-scale virtual events.

6 Steps to Hosting the Perfect Virtual Event

###1) Planning

Understand what online event you want to create. Explore what type of virtual event will best suit your audience, demographic and event aims.

2) Timing

If you are creating a global event, make sure the event is accessible for all time zones. Ensure your event doesn't clash with competing events.

3) Marketing

Utilise website, social media and email automation to efficiently market to your target demographic. Provide attendees with key information regarding the makeup of your event.

4) Preparation

Choose the correct platform for your conference and ensure you understand the workings of it. Send out a set of instructions to attendees briefly explaining how to use the video-conferencing application.

5) Engagement

Keep your attendees engaged throughout. Don't be afraid to improvise, if you are losing interest, divert to a quick Q&A or interactive activity.

6) Feedback

Understand what aspects of your virtual event went well and what could be improved.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 Coronavirus has certainly shined a spotlight on the often underrated world of virtual events. Though many businesses are using virtual events as a temporary solution, online events have countless benefits. Virtual events are flexible and cost-effective, allowing companies to expand their reach globally. For more information about virtual events, get in touch with our Customer Services Team today. They will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have.

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