Virtual events are the marvels of this digital world. Everything from staff meetings to large-scale conferences to expert panel discussions has moved to a virtual platform.
And since digitalization and technology have rapidly advanced, virtual events have become part of the best practices for event marketers. With unparalleled opportunities in virtual space, events are never the same as before.
Virtual events offer some unique benefits, such as:
- Saves time and costs
- Higher attendance
- Global reach
- Brand awareness
- Accessibility and flexibility
According to LinkedIn research, 51% of event marketers say they will continue organizing virtual events, and 42% marked them as environment-friendly.
The global virtual event market size will reach USD 657.64 billion by 2030 with the advances in communication and collaboration for content delivery.
Event branding, awareness, personalization, and content marketing are a few tactics that can help you deliver a valuable experience for your attendees. Learn virtual events’ best practices to engage your audience and execute your next event successfully.
6 Best Practices to Host a successful virtual event
The key to a successful virtual event is knowing your audience and understanding how to connect with them.
- Defining Objectives and Goals
- Setting a Realistic Budget
- Choosing the Right Virtual Event Platform
- Designing a Compelling Event Website
- Creating a Captivating Theme and Concept
- Incorporating Gamification Elements
Here are some best practices for virtual events that will help you host and leave your attendees with a mesmerizing experience.
1. Pre-Event Planning
Everything you do at this crucial stage will impact the execution and attendee experience on the event day. If you develop an event marketing checklist, you can make things easier and create excitement and fun.
Pre-event planning is one of the best practices for online events that marketers must ensure to keep everything on a piece of paper rather than in your thoughts, ideas, and tasks in your head.
Here are some of the most essential pre-event planning tips to follow:
- Set a clear goal
- Structure your campaign
- Track your finances
- Plan milestones and checklists
Defining Objectives and Goals
Do you want to end up wandering or want to navigate with a plan in mind? First and foremost, you need to know how to host virtual events by defining objectives and goals. Otherwise, you won’t be able to achieve the desired outcomes.
Defining objectives and setting goals for your virtual event can help you plan your next big win. It enables you to build a connection with overall marketing goals, lead generation, revenue growth, and brand engagement. Also, it will help you determine key performance metrics to evaluate the event ROI.
Here are some common event goals and objectives:
- Goal 1: Increase registration and sell tickets
Objective 1: Set a target for registration and tickets you want to sell. A feasible number can be derived from previous similar events.
- Goal 2: Increase brand awareness
Objective 2: Keep track of event followers, registrations, and attendees. Also, the number of people who mention or share about your event.
Setting a Realistic Budget
As an event marketer, you always think about how to organize a virtual event within budget. As no company has limitless resources for event marketing, and there is a budget in hands that stakeholders share.
Here’s how you can set a realistic budget for your virtual event:
- Set expectations
- Map budget to prioritize
- Create budget plan
- Plan revenue streams
- Set measurable metrics
- Evaluate ROI
- Plan your unexpected eventualities
A realistic virtual event budget will help you stay organized and utilize your resources efficiently. Also, it can help you stick to your goals and objectives, avoid distractions and adequately measure success.
Choosing the Right Virtual Event Platform
Ready to discover the right virtual event platform? With so many options available, choosing the best one for your virtual event becomes difficult. Not all virtual event platforms are the same. But you need to look for a platform that offers powerful tools and features to create an immersive event experience and enable connection for a truly global audience.
Here are some must-have features you should look out for:
- Live chat and messaging
- Breakout rooms
- Engagement tools
- Gamification integration
- Event branding tools
- Ticketing and registration solutions
- Customization options
- Event registration software
- CRM integrations
- Backstage management
Avoiding glitches and hassles is essential to ensure seamless functionality during the virtual event. Here we’ve listed the top platforms to host virtual events:
Designing a Compelling Event Website
The event website provides information, educates potential attendees, and registers them for the virtual event. Also, it is the most convenient and accessible way to increase your virtual event ticket sales. Here are 5 crucial things you must consider when designing an event website.
- Simple SEO-optimized content
- Strong visuals
- Clear information on the landing page
- Seamless ticketing experience
- A strong call to action
If you don’t have the technical expertise, you can take help from expert events marketing agency to help you design a compelling event website.
For example, the event webpage for Tech Summit provides clear information about the event, date, time, location, and CTA to get tickets. Also, the event page includes a countdown that creates urgency among the potential attendees to register before registration closes.
Source: Tech Summit
2. Crafting Engaging Content
It is important to understand event content marketing tactics before crafting engaging content. Developing the right content that clicks to the customer’s mind can add value to your event.
For that, you can breakdown your content strategy and ask a few questions addressing the customers:
- What impact will this event have on the attendee?
- What are the goals of the event?
- How do I want attendees to feel when the event ends?
You can build a strong foundation once you’ve figured out the answers to these questions. Content that resonates with the attendees helps you build brand awareness and reputation.
Here are the 5 tips for creating effective event content:
- Map your event goals
- Structure your event story
- Start with a hook
- Focus on SEO
- End with a call to action
By understanding your audience, you can drive results for your virtual event through engaging content. Remember, the key to effective content marketing is using the best practices and building a relationship with the audience.
Creating a Captivating Theme and Concept
Virtual event themes and concepts can be derived through the purpose. This will be the foundation for the event from the start to end. Here are some of the important aspects you must consider before setting the theme for your virtual event:
Virtual event has more than just inviting some speakers and gathering online attendees. The real event strategy includes the concept that makes your event unique and stands out. Each event concept is different. But, if you miss out on the concept, you will most likely feel unorganized and chaotic. Event concept helps you set the road for success and impress your audience.
Incorporating Gamification Elements
Adding gamification to your virtual event will spark engagement and interest from your attendees. You can use game elements with instant gratification, rewards, and recognition by tapping the spirit of competition and driving maximum engagement.
For example, you can add the following types of games to your virtual events:
- Virtual escape rooms
- Scavenger hunt
- Trivia and visual puzzles
By immersing your attendees in engaging games, you can increase event session time, create a sense of purpose, and ensure an epic event experience.
3. Promoting Your Virtual Event
As virtual events have become increasingly common and popular, creating a promotion strategy to set yourself apart is important. You can promote your virtual event to the right audience with the right online event platform and channel.
You must include the four key elements in your virtual event promotion strategy.
- Utilizing social media platforms: You can promote through social media event marketing by targeting the audience. You can use organic and paid advertisements to attract potential attendees.
- Leveraging email marketing campaigns: Emails are a great way to capture sales, enhance customer engagement, create brand awareness, and emphasize personalized communication.
- Partnering with influencers and industry leaders: Influencers, collaborators, and leaders from the industry can help you promote virtual events by spreading awareness and developing interest among their followers.
- Implementing early bird and referral programs: Rewards are the best way to promote virtual events, and as humans, we’re always looking for discounts and extra off through referral programs.
4. Enhancing the Attendee Experience
As an event marketer, you always look for ways to enhance the attendee experience. With rapid digitalization and changing landscape of virtual events, creating meaningful attendee experiences has become imperative.
To truly capture the essence and enhance the attendee experience, follow these tips:
- Ensuring a seamless registration process
- Providing user-friendly virtual event platform navigation
- Designing appealing visual and audio elements
- Offering multiple language options
- Leveraging data insights
- Facilitating networking opportunities
Remember, a virtual event has the power to attract a truly global audience due to its flexibility and accessibility.
5. Maximizing Audience Engagement
It is useless if your virtual event misses the engagement factor, no matter what keynote speakers you gather and the topic you discuss. You must learn to create a hook and connect with your event attendees in a way that they initiate discussion.
Here are some of the best ways to maximize audience engagement at your virtual event:
- Encouraging live chat and Q&A sessions
- Hosting online polls and surveys
- Implementing virtual exhibitor booths
- Organizing virtual networking sessions
- Incorporating live polls and contests
The point is that the virtual event industry has become quite competitive, and it can be a daunting task to maintain attendee interest and engagement.
6. Post-Event Activities
Your game isn’t over once the virtual event ends. It is the best time to promote virtual events and maintain the buzz even after the event. A post-event evaluation allows you to understand the defeats and win from your virtual events. It can help you refine the next event’s marketing strategies and best practices.
Here are some post-event activities that you must conduct after your virtual events:
- Post a thank you note for your attendees
- Request testimonials and reviews
- Conduct post-event surveys
- Analyzing success metrics
- List down all the lessons learned
Engaging Virtual Event Examples
1. SBC Digital Summit
The SBC digital summit 2020 was one of the best virtual events in the gaming industry that offered a unique opportunity to interact with the leaders and sidestep the physical events while maintaining the purpose and meaningful experience for the attendees.
The Salesforce virtual event led through change was a live broadcast featuring speakers and industry experts. This virtual event was a success as it gained attendees worldwide and forged a path forward to innovative ways of conducting events.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I identify my target audience for a virtual event?
5 Steps to identify your target audience for a virtual event:
- Define event purpose and goals
- Narrow down your target audience
- Consider attendee’s expectations
- Conduct research through surveys
- Create attendee persona
What elements should I consider when designing an event website?
6 Design elements to consider when creating an event website:
- Maintain brand theme
- Use visuals and videos
- Big CTAs
- SEO Optimized
- Mobile responsive
How can I create a comprehensive marketing strategy for promoting my virtual event?
Follow these steps to create a comprehensive marketing strategy for promoting a virtual event:
- Define your event purpose
- Identify your target audience
- Plan pre-event marketing
- Social media event marketing
- Email marketing campaign
- Ask sponsors to spread the word
Which social media platforms should I use to promote my virtual event?
Social media platforms to promote virtual events are as follows:
One thing is for sure; virtual events are here to stay! Virtual events may determine success differently than in-person ones and are imperative for brands to stay competitive and connected with their audience. People want to connect and interact with brands, and virtual events are the biggest opportunities to build a one-on-one relationship in a highly positive way. You can win the game by following the best practices for virtual events discussed in this blog.