2020 was the year marketers scrambled to throw together virtual events.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to shift in-person conferences and conventions to virtual events. But as the dust settles from 2020, marketers can now be more intentional about their virtual event planning.
And there’s reason to believe that virtual events are not just a pandemic-induced blip on the radar. Many marketers predict that virtual conventions and conferences are here to stay.
“Even after live events and conferences make their way back into marketing strategies and budgets, virtual events will continue to be a part of the event industry,” Jennifer Best, Head of Marketing for the speaker’s bureau All American Entertainment, said.
So, what do you need to know about virtual event planning to make the most of this new, long-lasting trend?
Below are five virtual event planning tips every marketer should know. If 2020 was a scramble, these tips can help you turn 2021 and the years to come into a virtual walk in the park.
Virtual Event Planning Tips for Marketers
1) Don’t copy and paste:
The pandemic caused some organizations to take what they planned for their in-person event and make it virtual. Unfortunately, that copy-and-paste approach does not work.
Virtual events are uniquely different from in-person events, and you want to treat them as such. Virtual events require different agendas, tools, and mindsets than in-person events.
2) Get emotional:
Some say business and emotions do not mix but tapping into people’s feelings is a robust way to keep your virtual event attendees engaged.
It is easy to tune-out an event you are attending on your computer. That is why marketers need to focus on tapping into their guests’ emotions while planning a virtual event.
Worry less about theatrics, as you might with an in-person event, and zero in on making your attendees feel something.
Doing so does not have to be a downer. You can host fun, light-hearted activities, such as virtual scavenger hunts.
3) Have the right team:
Virtual events require skillsets different from those needed to plan in-person events.
For example, you need people with more technical backgrounds than you often do with in-person conventions and conferences. And social media can play a larger role in virtual events than it does with in-person events.
Ensuring your team has the skills and training best suited for virtual events is a critical step toward successful virtual event planning.
4) Expand your horizons:
In-person events often limit what you can host and when. If guests are traveling, they will be at your event location for a limited time. Or your budget might limit the number of receptions and other activities you can host.
You do not face these restrictions with virtual events. That means you can broaden your programming to offer more pre-event activities for your attendees. You can also provide in-depth post-event content, such as recorded sessions or answers to attendee-submitted questions from one of your keynotes.
It is vital in planning your virtual event to brainstorm all options to engage and deliver value to your guests.
5) Pick your platform wisely:
When organizing an in-person event, marketers will review and analyze locations, caterers, and more. You want to bring that same due diligence to picking the platform you use to host your virtual event.
Not all platforms are the same, and not all platforms can meet your needs. For example, some social media sites, such as YouTube and Facebook, feature live streaming. But because you can, does not mean you should, as such solutions may not be the best fit for your event.
Identify your needs and objectives early in your virtual event planning process. Carefully review each platform’s capabilities, support, and flexibility to make sure you pick the right solution. And reach out to your IT team for help.
A Trend Becomes a Reality
In 2020, many marketers found themselves doing virtual event planning for the first time.
And while there’s light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, many industry watchers expect virtual events are here to stay. That is why many marketers now realize that organizing virtual events is now a core part of their role.
The tips above outline a few crucial ways to provide a fantastic experience for your guests and deliver phenomenal results for your company.
Would you like to learn more about planning and hosting virtual events? Contact a Vbrick expert.