Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, businesses around the world have re-adjusted to remote working modeling. Across the globe, events have either been cancelled or postponed. For the resilient event organizers, transitioning to online events is the answer. Moving forward, more organizers will consider online events and businesses will see virtual events as a lucrative way to build brand awareness and increase long-term profit and exposure. However, even though online events don’t have the same limitations as in-person events, there are still a few hurdles to consider. With that in mind, here are a few tips for hosting a winning online event:
Create Clear Goals
Your event should be based upon a set of clear, measurable goals. Each of your sessions, speakers, and activities should be relevant to the theme you’ve chosen to base your goals upon. For instance, if your theme is real estate, you might want to feature successful real estate agents, but you’ll also want to focus on the future of real estate and address current concerns such as navigating real estate amidst a public health crisis. Your goals will ultimately guide how you create your event agenda, the speakers you choose, and how you’ll communicate your event.
Create a Direct Mail Campaign
Direct mail is a strategy where promotional materials and offers are sent to a consumer’s home address. Direct mail was highly popular in the 1950s, but with the proliferation of the Internet and email, it started to feel obsolete. Now, however, direct mail is making a major comeback. According to the Data & Marketing Association, the direct mail customer response rate has increased by 43%, and nearly 200% since 2015. You can leverage this for your benefit. Use classy 5 x 7 envelopes to send formal invitations to your online event, giving current and prospective attendees something to stick to their fridge as a reminder.
Use a Virtual Event Provider
Your virtual event provider exists to help your event go smoothly. Each virtual event platform comes equipped with a variety of features that help you plan, promote, and execute your event. Fortunately, there are several to choose from. For example, Hopin boasts several interactive features that make it easy for event goers to communicate and participate, including breakout rooms, immersive expo booths, video networking, and live stage broadcasting.
On the other hand, InEvent offers powerful hybrid virtual and in-person events and a customizable virtual lobby. Check out this list of virtual event platforms to learn more. Be sure to trial each to get a better feel of which platform works best for your specific needs.
Reach Out to Your Speakers
The great part of online events is that you aren’t limited by geographical barriers, which means you have easier access to speakers that you may not have had otherwise. With your talent pool significantly larger, do your research and create a list of names whose presence can not only add significant value to your event, but whose industry knowledge or skill is highly relevant to your event goals. LinkedIn and platforms like SpeakerMatch are great ways to connect with potential speakers.
Build a Marketing Campaign
No matter what industry you’re in, you cannot afford to skip out on marketing. Every event organizer is responsible for spreading the message about their event. Social platforms are a great place to start. On social channels like Facebook, you can use rich advertising features to hone in on your ideal target market and reach the masses. Video advertisements prove particularly useful, and you can work with your chosen speakers to create a commercial advertisement for your social media ads. The goal here is to get as much exposure as possible.
Communicate Your Agenda
Your event agenda offers a clear way to communicate how your attendees can experience your event. This is particularly important if you have several speakers. To help guide you in the right direction, take a look at some of the agendas—both virtual and in-person—from previous and future in-person and online events. As you build out your agenda, don’t forget to include breakout sessions and ample time for breaks and intermissions. Be sure to include your agenda on your website and send an email version of it to attendees who have signed up.