With the current travel restrictions and continued limitations to in-person interactions virtual events are still on the rise.  Some may think that a virtual event requires less input than a physical event, but if anything they take much more planning to ensure they are engaging and your company stands out from the crowd.  You need to provide something tantalising and of benefit for your audience to encourage them to register and deliver this in an exciting and memorable way.

So, whether you’re gearing up for one of the regular industry events, a product launch or your annual employee event, here’s our 7 key steps on how to plan a virtual event to ensure a successful outcome for your organisation and maximise opportunities.

Take your audience on a journey in your virtual event

1. Identify and gauge your audience

First things first, you need to make sure you’re inviting the right people to the event and your message resonates with your target audience.  For example, if you’re giving a technical presentation and it involves a lot of technical information, it may not be appropriate to invite company Directors and CEOs, it’s far more likely to appeal to individuals in technical roles.  Make sure you align your message with the delegates and tell them why attending your event will benefit not only their organisation but also add value to their specific roles.

2. Set an engaging theme

Now you have your audience, how will you keep them engaged? A great format is to take them on a journey using a storytelling format.  Start at the beginning and do not assume they know who you are and what you’re talking about, you are there to inform.  Set the scene at the start and then progress through to the main focal point of the event, with a clearly defined outcome.  They should be left with a clear message, including plenty of takeaway ideas, concepts, information and most importantly a clear call to action.  What do you want them to do now they’ve attended your virtual event? Tell them!

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3. Create lively content

Virtual delegates have a short attention span so steer clear of using traditional PowerPoint slides.  While you can still use slides, they have to be vibrant and exciting.  Use plenty of eye-catching video clips or moving infographics.  Adapt your slides to your talking speed and keep it upbeat.  Schedule short breaks throughout the event to allow your audience to make notes and stretch their legs.  Keep it engaging using interactive polls, Q&A sessions and competitions.  Audience participation is a great way to keep your audience focused and engaged.  If you have a large number of people live chat can be extremely beneficial for fielding questions.  Use break-out rooms to put attendees into teams for activities, this is great for networking. 

Virtual events provide an excellent opportunity to include trivia, quizzes, and puzzles around the subject to inject a bit of fun and get everyone involved.  Why not include branded prizes to encourage participation? 

4. Get the right tools for your virtual event

If you are hosting a virtual event for the first time, ensure you have the right tools for the job.  Identify the number of attendees, the agenda and outline all of your events activities to make sure you have everything you need to make it run smoothly.

Choosing a robust and reliable platform to host your virtual event, that has all of the functionality to accommodate your requirements, is crucial.  For instance, when thinking how to plan a virtual event and selecting a platform consider:

• Can it handle the volume of people you’re inviting?

• Does it have a built-in registration process? 

• Will you or your audience need specific apps or devices? 

• Does the platform enable you to conduct real-time interactions and networking? 

• Will it enable you to schedule 1-1 meetings?

• Does it provide multilingual support?

• Can it easily be customised and branded?

• Are you running pre-recorded sessions?

• Can you measure and report on engagement and other KPIs? 

Markletic, a provider of business marketing strategies, compare ‘8 Brilliant Hosting Platforms for Your Virtual Event’ offering a range of different functionality, dependent on your needs.

We recommend doing a trial run at least one month in advance of your event with as many of your homeworkers as possible to test connections, make sure it can support all of your content and iron out any issues.

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5. Use passionate presenters and key speakers

You want your audience to stay connected and engaged throughout the event, you don’t want them logging off or getting distracted by their day-to-day work.  Therefore, you need really exciting, passionate and knowledgeable speakers.  Their style and tone should be matched to your target audience.  You want your speakers to be commanding and confident with your specific theme and really ‘work’ the audience.  A group or pair of speakers who can play off each other can be a good way to keep the tempo lively, animated and dynamic.  Selecting the right influential speakers who can provide value to the audience will help support your sales efforts and ensure attendance to your future events. 

6. Market your event

Just like any live event you need to build the hype and buzz well in advance to maximise attendee interest and ensure their availability.  Use multiple channels to promote the event such as your website, social media, trade publications and direct emails to inform and prepare your audience. Include everything they need for the virtual event, such as registration links, and make the benefits of attending clear and appealing so they won’t want to miss out. 

Once delegates are registered, you can create suggestion forums, where they can highlight ‘wish-lists’ and expectations for the event – this will help you with developing the right content for the event.

7. Promotional merchandise

Everybody loves to leave an event with a bag full of goodies.  For virtual events this requires much more planning in advance.  Promotional merchandise packs should be delivered to delegates a week before the event, to ensure they arrive in time.  This process can be complicated due to attendees working from home and global locations. 

We recommend providing attendees with a link to a secure portal to collate address details, which can also be used to give them the option to select a bespoke welcome pack including refreshments of their choice, relevant information for the seminars they are attending and other branded promotional merchandise they may need for the event. 

If your event has a sponsor it provides a great opportunity to use dual branding.  Talk to Jack on 01256 352415 who can guide you through creating and making the most of dual branded promotional items.  We can also set-up a secure portal to collate delegate address information on your behalf, develop a selection of unique branded promotional merchandise and deliver it directly to your delegates doors.

We’ve had years of experience helping our customers plan engaging and successful events, so if you need help on how to plan a virtual event for your organisation contact us, we’d be happy to help.


Marketletic: https://www.markletic.com/blog/virtual-event-platforms/