August 17, 2020

5 Steps to Ensure Successful Virtual Events

In these last tumultuous months of COVID-19 and lockdown, the world and many businesses have had to find their new normal. According to a survey by PCMA, a network of business events strategists, 66% of respondents have postponed events as a result of the pandemic while a staggering 87% reported that they had cancelled their events altogether. For those that postponed their events, 70% moved their events partially or fully to an online conference or webinar platform. In fact, according to a Forbes interview, virtual events have increased by 1000% on a single virtual events platform with an astounding 52,000 events and subevents since the pandemic struck. From Zoom, to Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and everything in between, the success of these platforms shows the feasibility of adapting eventing strategies rather than removing your events from your calendar completely. To assist you in ensuring that your virtual events are as engaging and professional as your physical events, we have created a step-by-step guide on what steps to take to ensure a successful virtual event.


Define your goals and use them to make a detailed event plan

The first step when planning any event whether it be a webinar, virtual conference, internal hybrid event or external hybrid event, is to decide the goal for the event. This will assist you in defining the type of event you will hosting. There is a myriad of event types, each with their own unique process and method of engaging with attendees. It’s important to choose an event type that fits the content and goal of your event. For example, for an event based on multiple talks from industry leaders, it would be better to have a conference set-up that allows people to attend the talks that they are interested in, rather than a livestream that would require them to sit through many talks where they may only be interested particular speakers or subjects. Once you have finalised your goal and event type, use this to plan other elements of your event such as what platform the event will be hosted on (website, social media platforms etc), how many attendees you would like, if you are charging for the event, the fee structure, need for sponsors and how the payment and access control will be managed.


Ensure that your speakers, hosts and/or content are engaging and popular

Once you have an outline of what you want to achieve and a plan on how to achieve it, it’s time to ensure that any speakers, hosts and content that you showcase will get people’s attention and entice them. Investigate the best and most influential speakers of your industry, provide the most interesting, up-to-date and relevant content in addition to well-known and popular hosts and use these factors to create an event that will appeal to and draw in a much greater audience. Your event is only as good as its content, so ensure that attendees leave the event feeling that their experience was valuable, whether that value comes in the form of useful and interesting information, inspiration, or simply good entertainment.


Promote your event carefully

Within your event plan it is important to include the channels and methods you will use to advertise this event and the unique selling point that will define the message to draw in potential attendees. Part of this process will include defining your target market and coming up with a strategy on how best to target those within it. Remember that promoting with a strategy behind you will provide better results than filling every platform with news of the event, as some platforms will require a slightly different approach, and some may not even be necessary.


Test all aspects of your event and do multiple dry-runs where possible

To ensure a smooth event, it is important to iron out any potential problems well in advance. To do this, you must test all equipment, hardware, software and do a dry run of the event to see where issues may arise. This gives you time to correct any errors with software and equipment as well as provide fall-back solutions should difficulties arise that are out of your control (such as power outages or connectivity problems). When doing a dry run, also consider that people will be accessing the event from different devices and browsers, so be sure to test them all to ensure that all attendees can access the event unimpeded.


Gather data and attendee feedback to judge the success of your event

To ascertain where your event succeeded and where it can improve in the future, it’s paramount to get feedback. One of the unique and wonderful things about virtual events is that it can easily provide a wealth of information regarding your event that may be less easily obtained with a live event. This includes data such as: number of registrations, number of leads, attendee registration demographics, email open and click through rate, buying interest, session length/interest as well as social media engagement and reach. In addition to this, personal feedback from your attendees is also very important as they can give you insight into the experience of an attendee and how you can improve it. With virtual events you can request this information easily by sending out emails or, in the case of a website event, have a feedback page that an attendee can fill out before they leave.


Planning and executing a virtual event can be more complicated than it seems, so why not leave it to the professionals? Black Snow Group has a team of experts that can assist you in creating an event that will wow your attendees and have them talking about your brand long after the event has ended.

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