Conferencing, training, and expos have always been a vital part of B2B business. But, with COVID-19 and the two-year impact it had on the industry, virtual and digital solutions had to be found.
Virtual events are still popular and a key part of the business world, although some events are going back to in-person. With this, however, comes a lot more overhead and a lot more work for the organizing company.
So, just how do you launch and host a successful event? What are the measures you should take to ensure that it is a success? We spoke to some companies who have had success in hosting virtual events and found out what makes theirs successful. Let’s take a look.
The first thing that you want to make sure of is that you have the right platform to host an event. Think about it. In an in-person event, the venue is key for your attendees.
Not only does it create the look and feel of the event for you, but the platform dictates your capabilities and the ability to host it smoothly and efficiently. There are a plethora of virtual event platforms to choose from. The tricky part is finding one that works for you.
First, consider your budget. If you have a smaller budget, there are options out there for you. But, if you want more capabilities, have room options, and want to allow for interaction and engagement, you will need to start putting more toward the budget.
What is really great is that the virtual event platforms have evolved significantly over the last few years. Your sponsors can be effectively branded. Meet-and-greets are streamlined and effective. There are also multi-room options where your attendees can choose what panels they want to join, if they want to be a part of a workshop or if they simply want to mingle with other attendees.
We have seen numerous businesses simply throw an event for the sake of it. Events can attract a variety of attendees and sponsors, all come with high price tags for the opportunity to be a part of it. However, a lot of these events fall flat and are not repeated based mostly on the fact that there was simply no content behind them.
So, do your research and development months before the event. Know what attendees want to see. Find out what problems they need to solve and then create the event around that. From there, you can take the requirements to the sponsors and get them on board to pay to be present and display their brand at your event.
In the conferences and workshops space, it is key to focus the theme of the event around the content that your attendees want to see. Speak to them directly and create an agenda based on their direct needs and requests.
Whether you are hosting a conference, workshop, or a more informal event, getting the right host is vital. Not only do they need to be full of character and be able to resonate with the audience but you will also want them to be knowledgeable about the event.
So, if you are hosting a customer experience-related conference, for example, be sure to pick a host that understands the subject matter. You will want them to be well-informed about everything as they will be engaging with the other speakers and presenters.
On that note, choosing presenters is also a key part of putting together a successful event. You will want presenters who are well-spoken, have practical insights, can engage with the audience, and can present content that educates the audience. Peer presenters are a great option for conferences as audience members tend to learn more from someone who is facing the same issues and problems as them.
Market, Market, Market
Even if you do have a list of attendees ready to go for the event, spread the word about the event. You never know if you can throw a bigger event the next time or if you can get more sponsors interested in the event. And we all know that means more money.
Get your website up and running, leverage social channels, invest in an email platform, and start writing a blog. Create as much content as you can in the run-up to the event. Copy, images, videos, and affiliate content should have similar messaging and be aligned to your brand. Not only should you be promoting the event but you should also focus on educating your audience at the same time.
This will establish you as an authority figure in the industry, and promote people to attend your events.
You need to keep in mind when you host a virtual event that you will still need to spend money on it. Sure, it might not be the same kind of expenditure that you would in a physical event, but you have to spend money to make money.