The value of in-person interactions will forever remain. However, sometimes it is necessary to hold your event virtually. But how can you turn a face-to-face multi-day event full of educational sessions, networking opportunities, and attendee insights generated by these events into one virtual event? Even after you go virtual, how can you keep the attendees engaged all through the event?
Virtual events also require attention, effort, and time to plan or host like an in-person event. With both, you must craft a reliable strategy to engage the attendees, promote the event, prove event success, and create some memorable memories for your attendees. The only thing missing is the physical attendees on-site and the venue.
However, you could succeed by thinking of a virtual event as a value-added engagement-driven experience instead of a webinar or small one-off presentation. You can create an impactful event extending beyond the smartphone or computer screen. Below is the complete guide on virtual events in 2022.
Table of Contents
What’s a Virtual Event?
A virtual event refers to an online or internet-based version of a physical event. They come in various sizes and shapes, incorporating anything from interviews and tutorials to conferences and webinars. Backed up by technology and features like networking, live chats, and webinars, virtual events ease the process of connecting with a global audience at a lower cost.
Types Of Virtual Events
There are many options at your disposal if you are considering virtual events. However, these can be divided into four common types, each with features and use. Therefore, before you plan a virtual event, you will want to understand its application.
This refers to a web-based seminar, a familiar tool among marketers. One or several presenters join the host and discuss a topic for a specific duration, generally within one hour. Webinars provide an interactive and collaborative platform for the host to connect with the attendees within an intimate setting. Webinars are well suited for education and learning, especially when using interactive features, including live chat, whiteboards, and surveys.
These are similar to any other conference, only that they are held entirely online. They are usually built around a complex, live agenda that includes the sessions, keynotes, breakouts, etc. Virtual conferences also include multi-session content, from networking and tutorials to press conferences. This is enabled by on-demand video content and live streams. They may involve community management and engagement tools like Q&As, polls, and live chats. Virtual conferences are usually highly interactive.
Live streaming is entirely live. It cannot be cut or edited like the pre-recorded videos. The attendees can follow the event live as it unfolds.
This makes them feel like they are attending in person, so it works well when matched with social media. It is an excellent way of engaging your audience with authentic undistorted content that can generate a buzz. They are used in interviews, product launches, and press conferences.
Hybrid events combine the elements of virtual and physical events into one. Hence, the virtual and live attendees can interact and participate together. This offset the drawbacks of both kinds of events. A hybrid event allows you to have a larger audience in attendance. Hybrid events can be further categorised into internal hybrid events and external hybrid events.
Why Should You Host A Virtual Event?
The basics/fundamentals of event marketing don’t change; they are the same for virtual events as any other event type. True, physical interactions are gone with a virtual event. However, the goals of building brand awareness, boosting customer loyalty, and generating leads are still the same and highly achievable. Besides this, the main reasons that make virtual events stand out are the main reasons.
Virtual events are highly flexible, far from the venue’s confines. You will have an option of pre-recorded or live content, different language options, and engagement tools regardless of the kind of event you are hosting.
You only need two things: an internet connection and a smartphone or a computer, to attend any virtual event. Hence, you can join the event from any location, including your international audience. Such accessibility works very well at increasing brand awareness and potentially boosting sales.
Virtual events are highly cost-effective since they don’t have a venue or include other related costs like travel, catering, and staffing. At a 75% lower cost, you can reach a more expansive audience through virtual events. The only costs involved are a subscription to the platform and maybe professional video services.
When it comes to hosting virtual events, there isn’t too much to think of, unlike in-person events. The main content that you might have to think of are the content and how you will deliver it in a seamless experience to the attendees using the right or reliable hybrid technology.
The carbon footprint is comparatively lower than in a physical event in a virtual event. No travelling is needed, and since they don’t involve catering and printing, there are no associated wastes like you’d find in an in-person event.
Easily Measure Data
Virtual events use event platforms that feature analytics tools. Monitoring the most popular sessions, the ones with the highest attendee engagements, and the duration the attendees stayed at the session, measuring the data, and determining the success rate of your event is easier with virtual events than face-to-face events.
Components of a Virtual Event
The DNA of any virtual event is different compared to its physical counterpart. This has a huge say in where your priorities lie. Below are the primary areas you should consider the most.
Virtual events, and for that matter, any event, are entirely about content. Specifically, they are about offering the audience value and variety. This forms the primary priority for any session in your event. Much of the effort should go to the speakers at your event and the meaningful content they’ll bring to your event.
One of the advantages of virtual events is their more reach and larger audiences. However, you must promote the event using the right channels and techniques to achieve this. Consider the elements you can use in its promotion from social media, landing pages, email campaigns, and several others.
Technology is among the critical components of virtual events. It binds all the components of your virtual event together. It can also make the difference between high-quality and low-quality events. Virtual events couldn’t happen without technology, from landing pages to tracking and streaming data.
Since face-to-face interactions are not present in a virtual event, we are forced to be more innovative when considering engagements. This includes emphasising tools like polls, live chats, and quizzes to ensure the audience is engaged. Remember, the audience in virtual events is prone to online distractions, short-term concentration, and “zoom” fatigue.
The event marketing landscape quickly changes from what or how it was traditionally known to leveraging technology. The newer ways of holding events like hybrid and virtual events have many benefits, but convenience is probably the greatest. There are many logistics pre- and post-virtual events that you must take on to ensure the event’s success and measure how successful the event was. Leverage the complete guide on virtual events in 2022 above the next time you’re planning or hosting a virtual event.