Over the last 2 years, people have realized the benefits of virtual events and how they can help them reach larger audiences and increase brand visibility. However, we understand that virtual events are a new concept and the term might still sound confusing to you. This virtual event guide consists of all that you need to know to clear your confusion.
Read further to understand everything about virtual events.
What are Virtual Events and How Do They Work?
Virtual events are gatherings that let people communicate and interact online. They are pretty similar to physical events, except that the virtual events are hosted online and have no physical presence. Whether it is a small team meeting, a large scale conference or an expo, everything is organized virtually and can accommodate an unlimited number of attendees.
Hosting a virtual event does not require any advanced equipment. You can simply host a virtual event using your laptop through a social media platform or a virtual event platform. The only difference is that the organizers do not require any physical location to host a virtual event.
Why are Virtual Events Better than Physical Events?
Let’s dive deeper into the world of virtual events and understand why they are better than physical ones.
Reach a Global and More Diverse Audience
While the pandemic made it difficult for people to meet, virtual events emerged as the most effective solution. Virtual events allow you to reach out to remote audiences without geographical and financial restrictions. Connecting with people from different nationalities also helps increase brand visibility for the organizer.
Hosting Virtual Event Saves Your Precious Time
Creating a virtual event experience can help save your precious time that you can use in developing customer-centric strategies. Putting together a virtual event is a lot less time-consuming than a physical event. All the time and effort that goes into selecting a venue and managing the logistics does not feature in the to-do list for virtual events. Moreover, it is easier to get speakers on board as there is no need for traveling.
Virtual Events are Scalable
While physical events are restricted by audience capacity, virtual events are easily scalable. Therefore, they can cater to a wider audience and let you represent your brand to more people. A customizable event platform that can accommodate an unlimited number of attendees is the best choice for hosting a virtual event.
Virtual Events are Cheaper and Have a Higher ROI
Reducing costs and maximizing ROI is the primary objective of every organizer while hosting a virtual event. Virtual events reduce the costs incurred on renting a venue, catering, lodging, and traveling. In addition to this, you can also invest in economical virtual event platforms like Mixhub. Given the wider audience reach, and the time and cost savings, virtual events also promise a higher ROI.
You can Have Smooth Data Tracking and Analysis
Unlike physical events, the process of tracking and recording analytics is automated. The event details are recorded in real-time and hence are more accurate. Moreover, virtual events can track more complex virtual event data. Mixhub is a dynamic, all-in-one event hosting platform that can make event data tracking easier for your brand.
What are the main types of virtual events?
Let us look at the main types of virtual events that you can organize –
- Virtual conferences and summits – Virtual conferences or summits are large-scale events that facilitate communication and interaction between the attendees.
- Virtual Expos, exhibitions, and trade shows – Organizers can host tradeshows and expos virtually with the help of a self-managed virtual event platform. These platforms enable the exhibitors to customize their booths.
- Online Fairs and Workshops – Virtual workshops and fairs have recently grown in popularity. Workshops hosted using event hosting platforms for agencies promote one-to-one interaction and improve communication.
- Webinars – Webinars enable the participants to engage with the speakers in real-time, ask their questions, and even download the presentation.
- Virtual meetings and social events – You can also host private or team meetings through a virtual event platform. Online event platforms like Mixhub promise to keep your data safe by allowing only the invited attendees to join the meet.
- Online concerts – Online concerts are more flexible compared to physical concerts. While the attendees can enjoy the event according to their comfort, performers have the flexibility to perform at their convenience.
- Virtual product launches – Organizing a virtual product launch is a brilliant way to present your product offerings to a broader set of audiences.
Did You Know?
As many as 63% people believe that the ideal time for hosting a virtual roundtable discussion is between 60-90 minutes.
What to Keep in Mind While Choosing a Virtual Event Platform?
Your selection of a virtual event platform can either make or break your virtual event. Here are some features you should consider while choosing an online event solution.
The Platform Allows Customization
Customization is an essential feature that every virtual platform must provide. This feature enables you to create a virtual venue with different spaces and rooms such as a lobby, a networking lounge, auditorium, breakout rooms, etc. DIY virtual event platforms like Mixhub allow you the flexibility to create a virtual event experience that is nothing short of physical events.
A Team to Provide Live Support
Technology is quite unpredictable, and even a minor issue can adversely impact the attendee experience. Therefore, it is good to have a team to provide you with live support during the event. Having a technical team to help you out when things go out of control will make you feel relaxed and focus more on creating event strategies.
Live Chat and Live Polls Feature
Having unique engagement features is essential to replicate an in-person event experience. Therefore, features like live chat, live polls, Q&A sessions, virtual photo booths and gamification add the much-needed element to drive engagement at your virtual event.
The Platform Allows Gamification
While it might sound irrelevant when it comes to virtual events, games have a significant impact on the engagement levels of your online event. Gamifying different areas of your event can help improve the event statistics. You can choose from among the many gamified virtual event platforms like Mixhub for your digital event.
Multiple Opportunities for Networking
Networking is the key objective of the people attending any event, whether physical or virtual. Therefore, the platform you select must provide multiple opportunities for communication and interaction with the attendees. Features like 1:1 networking, private and group chats, business card exchange, and networking tables must be at the top of your list.
Real-time Event Analytics is a Must
One of the many advantages of hosting virtual events is the ease of collecting real-time event data. Virtual events make the process of data analysis easier and quicker. Therefore, live event analytics is a must-have feature for any virtual event platform. There are many cost-effective event hosting platforms that provide real-time data analytics.
The virtual event platform you choose must be easy to use and have a user-friendly interface. Selecting an easy-to-use virtual event platform is integral for the success of your online event. A complicated platform design might make you witness an increase in the attendee drop-off rates. Therefore, ensure that the online event platform has seamless navigation.
How to Make Your Virtual Event Engaging and Fun?
In order to bridge the gap between a virtual event and a physical event, you need to boost engagement at your virtual event. Here are some ideas to imbibe that fun element into your virtual event.
Conduct Live Polls
A virtual event with one-sided communication can get boring after a point. Live polls are a great tool to measure the alertness levels of the attendees and make your event more engaging and fun. You can include multiple live polls within the event. You can place them at the end of the key sessions. It provides the attendees with an opportunity to share their ideas and insights. Moreover, it helps establish effective communication and boost engagement.
Live Chat For Introvert Attendees
Include a live chat feature to make your event more inclusive by providing introverts with an alternative mode of communication. Virtual events consisting of a live chat feature is a boon for those who find it hard to speak during physical events. It is a great way to make your event more interactive and engaging.
Gamify Your Event
While it might sound weird, both kids and adults enjoy playing online games. Therefore, you must include popular online games in your virtual event and add a fun element. Including games and quizzes in your online event can help avoid boredom during long conferences and meetings thus, boosting the engagement levels.
Choose 3D Customizable Virtual Event Platforms
3D visual designs and customizable DIY virtual event platforms are the future of virtual events. A 3D DIY online event platform lets you customize the details of your event right from the design to the event’s execution and boost attendee engagement. Therefore, this feature must be at the top of your list of must-have features while choosing an online event platform.
Use Ice-Breaking Activities
Ice-breaking activities can work wonders and make everyone comfortable with others. Including ice-breaking activities in your virtual event will make it easier for the attendees to share their ideas and opinions. The ice-breaking activities could include an open-ended question or a team game that helps bring everyone on the same page. A simple introduction session can also prove to be a great ice-breaker.
Keep Shorter Sessions
If you are of the view that your physical event strategy will go down well with your online attendees, you are wrong. Online attendees are prone to many distractions and temptations that can make them leave the event at a click. Therefore, you must try to keep shorter sessions during the event. Ideally, one session should not last for more than 30 minutes. This is a great way to keep the attendees engaged and increase the event engagement.
How to Host a Virtual Event?
Hosting a virtual event for the very first time can get confusing and intimidating. But don’t worry! We are here with the steps you must follow to host a virtual event.
Identify Your Event Goals
For hosting a successful online event, you need to identify the goals of organizing the event from the very start. You must also identify your target audience and get insights into their problems, needs and preferences before planning it. This will help you align the organizational objectives with the needs of your target audience and devise great event strategies.
Architect Your Event Agenda
Having clear event goals and target audience helps you architect your event agenda more efficiently. Your event agenda should consist of the various activities and sessions that form part of your virtual event. It should also consist of the event details like date, time, and the speaker’s data. You can also send this agenda to the attendees before the event through email.
Did You Know?
On an average, it takes between three and six weeks to prepare, organize and promote a small-scale virtual event.
Develop a Budget Estimate
Once you have determined your goals and identified your target audience, you should develop a budget estimate. Having a budget will help you keep your expenses in check and plan your event effectively and efficiently. Moreover, it will help you select the most suitable virtual event platform according to your needs. You can also select an online event platform that provides a pay-per-use feature. This will help you host an immersive virtual event with a small budget.
Select a Virtual Event Platform
Just like a physical event venue, you need to have a platform that helps you create a virtual venue with spaces like lobby, auditoriums, information desks, lounges and theaters. Selecting the most appropriate virtual event platform is probably the most important step within the planning process. Having the right features to make your virtual event stand out and make a mark is essential to its success. Therefore, you must identify the features you will require depending on the type of event. For instance, if you want to host an AGM, you will need more networking features. Therefore, identifying the features essential to your online event will help you make the right choice.
Conduct Social Media Promotion
Social media is the most used tool for promoting events in today’s world. Remember that most of your target audience spends at least 2 hours of their day, scrolling through their social media accounts. Therefore, social media is the best tool for promoting your virtual event. You can create dedicated Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages to promote your event. Moreover, you can also create a website landing page. A website landing page is a great way to get your audience excited for your event. Make sure you include all the exciting event details on your website landing page. Furthermore, you can create blog posts and share them on social media pages using hashtags. This will increase audience engagement and allow the attendees to share their thoughts on social media.
Focus on Attendee Engagement
Engagement is the main factor influencing the success of any virtual event. Unlike physical events, virtual events lack personal touch. Replicating the same level of engagement at virtual events is a challenging task but essential for its success. Therefore, you must put a strong emphasis on increasing engagement at your virtual events. Create a great script for your event and collaborate with popular speakers to conduct your virtual event. Ensure that the speakers have a good sense of humor and a great personality. Also, make a list of all the activities and features you will include in your event to boost engagement. In addition to the above, you must also look for online event platforms that provide unique features and elements to increase overall event engagement.
Did You Know?
As per studies, around 89% of virtual event planners make use of social media for engagement before the event.
Source: Thrive My Way
Prepare to Troubleshoot
Troubles are inevitable while hosting a virtual event. Having a team ready to provide 24×7 support is a great way to troubleshoot the problems as soon as they occur. Even a minor technical glitch such as an unconfigured mic can lead to frustration among the attendees and make them click away. Therefore, having a technical support team is essential for the success of your virtual event. You can either create your team to provide during the event support or look for a virtual event solution that provides live event support.
Despite all the preparations and precautions, the actual event might witness certain deviations from the plan or even surprises that could cause you some embarrassment. Therefore, you must make it a point to rehearse well before the actual event. Gather all your speakers and hosts before the event, stick to your plan and rehearse for the actual event. This will help you avoid any issues at the last moment.
Conduct Equipment Check
Hosting a virtual event requires a variety of equipment and software like a mic, camera, and virtual event software. Therefore, it is essential to check that all the equipment is working fine and is well configured. Additionally, you must also check that all the software is ready to use.
Follow-up with Feedback
Asking for attendee feedback is essential to gather data about their experiences. This data helps the organizers conduct detailed analyses and identify the areas that need improvement. It also helps the attendees feel valued and respected. Therefore, taking attendee feedback is essential for the success of any virtual event.
Did You Know?
Studies have shown that as many as 90% of virtual event organizers conduct surveys to measure the attendee satisfaction.
Analyze Event Data
Virtual events let you gather real-time event data. It helps you get deeper insights into the engagement at the event and analyze the data derived to arrive at meaningful conclusions. This data can help the organizer get actionable insights into the event.
We hope this article helped you clear all the confusion and doubts you had surrounding virtual events. If you are planning to move forward and host virtual events in the future, you can go ahead and book a demo with Mixhub now.