It’s too easy to embrace the excuse of the ongoing pandemic and simply abandon all of your event planning goals for the upcoming year. After all, if in-person meetings in larger groups aren’t permitted, and social distancing will prevail well into 2021, what could you possibly do? Well, for one, you can definitely not throw in your towel just yet. Let’s switch the perspective and try to look at this pandemic as an opportunity to become more proficient at organizing virtual events in all of their glory.
Perhaps they aren’t your strong suit, or you believe that your audience won’t enjoy the process as much as they would with a real, on-site, catering-and-all event. It’s true that you cannot possibly recreate all of those features digitally, but the extent to which your audience will enjoy and participate depends solely on how well you organize your event. Without further ado, let’s name a few core tips to create engaging virtual events that will inspire more than just attendance, but active participation, positive feedback, and people asking for an encore as soon as possible.
Start with planning the perfect agenda
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No matter how snazzy and smart your marketing will be, and we’ll soon get to that point, the main reason for anyone to attend your event is the core agenda. Who will be the key presenters? What topics will they cover? Are they going to offer actionable, practical advice for people who are trying to grow their own businesses? What about Q&A sessions? What’s in it for them?
- Pick topics that you are familiar with, and even more so, that you have expertise in since you need to carefully position your brand and protect your reputation in the process.
- Reach out to accredited experts in your field who can contribute to your virtual event, and discuss potential topics with them, too. Perhaps their insights and ideas might be more on-point than yours, or you can come up with the perfect combination together.
- Go for hot, relevant topics that people care about right now.
- Consider multiple formats to find what works best for your topics and audience. It can be a seminar, a workshop, an entire conference, a live-streamed AMA (ask me anything), or anything else that fits your needs.
Marketing your event is vital
Now that you have your brilliant theme and content prepared, you should use it as the perfect bait to get people interested and to have them booking their spots as soon as possible. Marketing your event effectively includes various steps that will differ from industry to industry. Still, the most important thing to remember is that you need to advertise and promote your event where your audience spends their time.
- Collaborate with social media influencers if they are relevant to the event and if they’ll be taking part. Keep in mind that experts in your field are considered influential, too, so encouraging them to talk about your event will get more people interested.
- Send out email alerts to your subscribers to give them a heads-up and let them know they can book their spot first – treating them as your top priority will be a further incentive.
- Create a landing page to share key information about the event, be it in video format or as a simple listicle, whatever works for your audience.
Make sure your technology is up to par
The element upon which everything else depends, your technology will determine your event’s quality and the delivery of your presentations. To ensure success and higher engagement levels, many businesses and entrepreneurs will look for specialized virtual event solutions that utilize the most reliable technology and online platforms.
This will help you take care of the quality of sound, video, effects, as well as the ability to keep your event interactive through multiple channels. By integrating it all into a single system, you can focus on delivering your content rather than the tech behind it. Remember to empower engagement in the first place. You need the right technology and digital solutions to help people connect with ease.
Rely on analytics and feedback
Whether you’re organizing a brief seminar or if you’re preparing a PR event, you need to focus on your core goals and how you can best achieve them. Once you define what you want to accomplish with your event, you need to also define the key metrics to help you understand if you are successful or not.
You can rely on your website and social media analytics to measure and track how much traction your marketing is getting. On top of that, you can seek direct attendee feedback through surveys that you can email after each presentation or the entire event to see what you can do better in the future.
Introduce real-life elements
We all miss exploring branded stalls with all the flyers, exchanging business cards, and the endless supplies of canapes. Until that can become a reality once again, you can give your virtual events a touch of those delightful real-life elements. For example, when you get your RSVPs, you can send out little gift baskets containing a booklet with all the presenters’ biographies and topics they’ll cover, as well as the business cards of other brands and entrepreneurs that will attend – with their permission, of course.
You can include even a baggie of edibles such as handmade chocolates or gummy bears, or anything that is more in line with your brand image and tone of voice. If you’re a fitness guru, you cannot possibly send out sugary sweets. Instead, you can send protein bars or a sample of a brand-new protein beverage you’ll be selling soon. Such details can instantly give your event a more tangible value and something to incentivize your attendees for future events, too.
It will always be a challenge to get people engaged when distractions around them abound. You cannot possibly change the fact that some of your guests will likely have toddlers running around them for hours or that some will have unexpected visitors, a health issue, or trouble with their internet connection. However, taking the listed precautions in ensuring engagement will definitely skyrocket your brand’s presence and help transform your ordinary virtual event into a goldmine of networking and interaction.
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