In the blink of an eye travel has come to a halt, meetings have been canceled and corporate event budgets have been cut across the globe. With economic uncertainty and brand preferences shifting rapidly, the need to meet and communicate with employees, customers, distributors and dealers is as important as it ever was. With face-to-face meetings out of the question at the current time, businesses and event planners are quickly turning to virtual events that combine webcasting, video streaming, elements of trade shows and online chats to fill the void.
The good news is there’s a proven methodology for running a successful virtual event, however simply hosting a virtual event or creating a virtual environment doesn’t guarantee your audience will show up, engage with your content or drive your business objectives. To help you get started, here are three tips to make your virtual event successful and impactful:
1. Focus on the content and leave the event logistics to an expert
Every event producer knows that content is king. Delivering high-quality, relevant content has the greatest impact on audience engagement so you will want to develop content that is interactive, visually stimulating and that allows for re-broadcast on your website and social media channels. Spend your efforts here and let a partner organization help with logistics that include event design, registration, promotion, content collection, project management and technology ownership.
2. Production quality drives audience engagement
Great content, presented poorly is a significant risk with virtual events. In a live event your audience is typically captive and less likely to be distracted. In a virtual event you are in direct competition with the web-browser hosting your content, so your slide presentations should be visually stimulating, audio and video quality near perfect and it’s critical presenters have rehearsed not only their presentations but their transitions too. You will also want to have a back-up plan. If a live broadcast is interrupted due to a technical challenge, having pre-recorded content and hard-copies of the presentations available will save the day and keep your attendees engaged while your tech team resolves the issues behind the scenes.
3. The event isn’t over, when it is over
The live broadcast of your event is just the beginning. A well designed and facilitated virtual event will capture information about your attendees through the registration process, via interactive question and answer sessions and live polling. This data should be filtered for lead generation and post event marketing campaigns. In addition your entire event should have been recorded. This content can be edited for rebroadcast, sent to attendees via a link to re-watch or delivered to those who could not attend live. Perhaps most importantly you will want to dive into your event metrics which are rich in detail and available immediately following your event. This data will help you understand which sessions had high attendance and significant engagement. Ultimately the data will help you better prepare for your next virtual event.
Beau Ballin, Commercial Leader for North America at CWT Meetings & Events