Most people nowadays have either attended or been involved in the planning of a virtual event in some capacity. Yet there is so much white noise and confusion about how to host a virtual event that we would like to offer some advice on how to successfully plan your next virtual event. That is why we are sharing with you our top 5 tips and things to do when planning a virtual event.
Top 5 Things To Do When Planning A Virtual Event
1. Consult with an experienced event professional who produces virtual events so that you cover all of your bases.
When choosing to work with Bright Ideas on your virtual event not only will you get completely personalized service, you will also have access to our vast knowledge of virtual events and our 33 years of event planning experience. From the initial call to the debrief meeting, we are there with you every step of the way.
After initially completing the quote request form on our website you will be contacted by one of our team members to schedule your 30 minute complimentary consultation call. During this call, we review your event goals and objectives, collect event details, discuss the ROI for your event investment and even go over preliminary theme ideas. You then will receive a preliminary quote which outlines concepts and estimated costs of your event along with our Terms and Conditions. If you choose to move forward with our consultation or event production services a retain deposit is required.
If you are unsure as to what type of event consultation you require for your virtual event, we will help guide you through the four different types of consultation services that we offer. To get started check out our consultation services on the website!
2. Select a platform that allows your event to shine
Before you select a platform you need to establish what your event looks like. It is important to spend time planning the event structure first, determine what data you want to capture and then focus on the attendee experience. Many people choose the platform and build their virtual event around the platform features. This is backwards. We recommend starting with the WHY and building from that.
Everything should serve the goals and objectives of your event. Remember that the digital experience is the only experience for your online attendees. So, be sure to focus on the opportunities and advantages of going online.
The first thing that you should do is make a list of the different experience options for attendees. For example, chatting, networking, breakouts sessions, virtual trade show booths to visit, gamification to play, one on one meetings, past lectures to watch, teambuilding, healthy lunch and learns, etc. Next, identify what is the most important “Must Haves” for your virtual event. This will help you to find a platform to support those “Must Haves”. We recommend selecting a platform that allows attendees to have fun while they learn.
3. Plan your agenda to keep guests engaged
When designing your virtual event agenda, it’s important to know your audience and plan around this. As companies get busier, guests have less time to dedicate to full-day events. That’s why the average virtual agenda is only 1 – 2 hours.
If you have planned your event to take place over multiple days there is a higher chance you will lose participants. Instead, think of ways that you can condense the agenda to lose fewer attendees. Now a days the majority of people only attend 40% of the event they sign up for. So be sure to make that initial 40% of the agenda engaging enough that they will want to stick around!
When working with Bright Ideas, we will work with you to identify the key components of the event and build a successful agenda around that. Some of our favorite interactive components to keep guests engaged include team-building activities, networking and games combined.
A helpful exercise is to survey your attendees before you plan your event so that you are planning an event they will look forward to. A great time to do this is just after your current event when the attendees are on a high and will be eager and willing to provide feedback for an incentivized survey.
If you are looking for more ideas on how to keep your guests engaged be sure to download our FREE E-Book, Donuts In The Lunchroom!
4. Provide an incentive for your activities whether it be bragging rights, monetary or physical items
The inclusion of gamification in events has become increasingly important. This is because attendees are overwhelmed by the vast array of virtual events to attend. Therefore they may need an incentive to attend your event. It is helpful to start offering incentive rewards the day they sign up for your virtual event. Then continue to offer incentives throughout the event as well as afterwards.
It is no surprise that the majority of people are naturally competitive and are social creatures who seek personal connection. When you encourage attendees to connect and offer a prize for the best networking, the participating rate increases. Be sure to offer a variety of ways that attendees can garner points, as everyone connects differently.
Your attendees will learn more when they are provided with interactive and engaging activities. That is why we recommend engaging with your audience before, during and after your event. Some of our favourite ways to encourage participation is to incentivize trips, offer team prizes and even give out virtual trophies or badges.
In fact, as an attendee of The Sustainable Events Forum, I won a free trip to the Dominican Republic as an incentive to participate in the most networking initiatives. Not only did this incentive encourage me to participate, it also helped me connect with two prospective clients.
5. Hire a Virtual Event Expert who can guide you to produce a seamless event
By hiring a Virtual Event Professional, you will allow yourself the ability to stay focused on the event blueprint. You will have more time to establish the event goals and objectives, build content, attract attendees, develop your persona and map out your data acquisition strategy.
Bright Ideas supports our clients throughout this process with our internal virtual step-by-step planning guide. We will also develop customized event management documents where shared responsibilities are monitored and managed. Our team can be responsible for the pre-event planning, day of event production (managing virtual partners and staffing) and post-event duties.
It’s a “Bright Idea” to hire an Event Consultant!
There are many important factors to consider when planing a virtual event. From the hosting platform to your agenda and everything in between. Most importantly we encourage you to try to not replicate the in-person event experience. Not everything in your virtual event needs to be live and shouldn’t be. Just because you go digital, you don’t have to throw away the fun!
We want to help you make planning a virtual event fun! Whether it’s assisting through event consultations or letting our event producers handle the whole thing! Reach out to us to schedule your free 30-minute consultation call today!
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