Virtual Event Planning Guide for 2021
Virtual events are gaining popularity and not just due to physical distance restrictions and cost benefits. Improvements in internet services, video conferencing software, and virtual event services are also encouraging the adoption of virtual events. Virtual events vary in form, size, complexity, and mission, from live streaming a Q&A on tweeter to sharing Beyoncé’s Coachella performance online.
Whether as company events or business ventures, planning a virtual event in 2021 and beyond requires proper preparation. We have formulated the ultimate virtual event-planning guide to help you host a successful event, market your business, and event successfully while maximizing attendance.
Planning a Virtual Event in 2021
The key to planning a successful virtual event includes understanding the problems and solutions. A concrete plan covers all bases on a virtual event, from the speakers or performers, technology, the event’s goal, marketing and sales, and the audience. Let us look at some of the questions that guide you when planning a virtual event.
Types of Virtual Events That Are Common In 2021
The first step to planning the ideal virtual event is knowing what kind of events exist. With the type of event in mind, you can select the appropriate format, theme, and marketing strategy. Of course, if you’re new to planning, you probably don’t know the types of virtual events you should consider. Let’s explore some examples.
1. How To’s And Tutorials
Are you planning to launch a new product line or service? Are you looking for a creative way to showcase a skill while engaging your audience? A How-To virtual event or a tutorial is an excellent way to promote the product and answer questions.
Tutorials are excellent for businesses and entrepreneurs, such as cooks and fitness instructors. For example, as a yoga instructor, you can easily display a pose for your clients practicing at home.
2. Training and Courses
Established businesses can host webinars and courses for complex topics. These virtual events may include seminars hosted by a panel or an expert discussing a specific topic such as ” The effect of coronavirus on video conferencing in the United States” and accepting questions at the end of the discussion.
3. Behind The Scenes
Take your audience behind the scenes through a virtual tour and show them how certain events work, production lines in a factory, your life working or studying in an organization, and what certain places, destinations, and landmarks look like.
A virtual tour is a great way to sponsor products such as real estate, promote a company through sharing a work experience, and encouraging an executive to engage clients by showing a behind-the-scenes for in a factory.
4. Interviews and Performances
You can never go wrong with interviewing executives for your show while allowing them to share knowledge through a Q&A session. You can also invite comedians, artists, and speakers to give a live performance.
5. Conferences and Shows
Largescale virtual events often come and conferences or shows. Hosting a conference includes planning for different speakers, time zones, technological barriers, and intense marketing. Some conferences also have meeting rooms and networking sessions.
Shows such as Coachella and Tomorrowland stream a live event so that those who cannot attend physically have a chance to enjoy the performance too.
How To Choose The Topic Or Theme Of Your Virtual Event
Your virtual event needs a concept to help you plan, send the right message, market your event, and drive engagement. To set a theme, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What is the key takeaway of the event?
There should be a clear message and goal for holding the event. Are you launching a product or hosting marketing experts to discuss social media marketing? Are you showing your audience how to prepare lasagna, or is it a makeup tutorial?
2. Is your theme relevant to your target audience?
What is your audience interested in? Who are they, and why would they want to attend your event? Where can you find them online- Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, or Zoom? How old are they, and how tech-savvy are they?
It all boils down to knowing whom you want to attract to the event the message you wish to share with them.
3. What are your event parameters?
The type of virtual event affects the specificity of the theme. For example, annual conferences and shows may run on the same theme for years but have different sub-themes and performers yearly. However, a one-day live stream on Twitter may require a specific theme.
4. What are the trends?
If you’re a trendsetter or looking to attract more people, it helps to understand what is popular. You can have themes inspired by political movements, musicians, success stories, movies, and sports.
5. Incorporating the theme into the event
Once you settle on a simple yet concise theme for your virtual event, find creative ways to include it in your event. The theme should appear in your posters, invitations, memorabilia, and choice of topics, performers, and interviewees because it reinforces the message.
Creating an Agenda For Your Virtual Event
Have you attended a poorly planned meeting where people discussed whatever they wished for, however long they pleased? Many of us can confess how frustrating and time-wasting such arrangements can be. The problem with such meetings is the absence of an agenda.
If you want to keep your audience engaged, you need to define your virtual event’s agenda. The agenda schedules the list of activities to take place during the virtual event. The agenda shows:
- When your event starts and ends. If you’re hosting people in different time zones, it helps to share the time in various time zones.
- How long each session lasts
- The speakers or panelists
- When people go for bathroom and snack breaks- most people focus for 90 minutes at most before being distracted.
Finding The Right Tools For Your Virtual Event
Since your virtual event takes place online, your platform choice significantly affects its success. There are several tools and virtual event hosts on the market. Ultimately, the choice boils down to the format.
1. Online Discussion
A live discussion is best hosted on a chat-based platform. It’s best to select a platform where you’re active and have an audience.
- Live Tweeting- be sure to add a hashtag for people to find you.
- Slack for in-house events
- Reddit to keep the discussion anonymous and open to anyone
Stories are a popular way to chat with an audience, share a tutorial or experience at an event, and share AskMeAnything sessions.
- Instagram stories
- Facebook stories
Usually, webinars happen as live events though you can record them and share them later. In most cases, the presenter needs to share their screen to share notes and examples as they speak. Participants ask questions through a live chat feed on the platform. The needs of the webinar influence your choice of webinar tools. Some useful features include:
- Easy and fast registration
- Social media integration
- Real-time analytics to help you monitor an event
- Allowance for live-or pre-recorded webinars
- Private chats
- Interactive polls
- Integrations with other tools such as analytics tools and chat platforms
- Recording webinars
Most social platforms have livestream features. You can choose:
- Facebook Live
- Instagram Live
- LinkedIn Live
- Twitter Live
- YouTube Livestream
If you’re hosting a virtual conference, you need a platform that supports:
- Multiple companies and speakers
- Networking events
- Live ticketing and registration
- 24/7 customer support
- Live chats and polls
- Breakout sessions
- Templates and promotional tools.
How To Market Virtual Events
Excellent marketing ensures that your virtual event does not get lost in digital noise. Several marketing strategies help you attract a massive audience for your event.
1. Creating An Event Page
Annual conferences, webinars, and shows need a dedicated event page that shares all details about the event. You can link all your social media and blog marketing to this page. Ensure that all the graphics, colors, themes, and images on your event page are bold and high quality to create a great first impression. On this page, share:
- Keynote speakers and performers with high-quality photos
- Time and dates of the virtual event
- The agenda
- Secure payment channels
- Sponsor information
- Registration links
- Sneak-peeks of the event
2. Offer Peeks
Offering peeks of what’s to come is an excellent way to engage your audience and pique their interest. A peek is like a trailer of the event, often sharing bits of information, punchlines, and funny moments all edited into a short clip. You can use Twitter for short videos and punchlines, YouTube video marketing, and LinkedIn for statements by speakers.
3. Social Media Marketing
Use social media platforms for marketing your event. Choose a platform that your business or company is active in and has the target audience. You can share the posts on your account and encourage other users to re-share, pay influencers to promote your event or pay for social media ads.
Remember to create a hashtag for your event, and use easy to share posts. Keep the stories around the event relevant to avoid boring or confusing your audience. Ensure you post regularly to remind your audience to register and pay early. If you’re on a picture or video-based platform, share premium edited images and videos that capture the audience’s attention.
4. Use Email Marketing
Bring out your email list and forward short, concise yet captivating messages with your audience. Create an email marketing plan for the virtual event that includes informing them about the event and agenda, registration links, enticing speakers and attendees, and payment channels.
5. Ask For Promotion From The Sponsors And Speakers
Ask the sponsors, speakers, and performers to share the link and ads for your virtual event. It’s best to create customized ads for each company and individual to maintain consistency in the theme and avoid miscommunication. Most companies and speakers will gladly promote themselves to their audiences.
Why Virtual Events Are Great Marketing Channels
1. They Cross Physical Barriers
Let’s face it- meeting physically is not always an option, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic. Virtual events eliminate the physical distance barrier and bring people across various time zones and geographical zones together. Live events are an excellent way to market a product or service to users across the country, continent, and globe.
2. They Utilise The Power Of Internet Marketing
Hosting a virtual event helps you utilize the power of internet marketing. You can advertise your event on various social media platforms by making posts on your account, paying influencers, using the power of social sharing, or paying for social media ads.
You can also create a dedicated event page and research keywords to create organic traffic. With videos, you can market your event across various platforms on the internet. Every time a user interacts with your virtual event ad or post, they recognize your brand.
3. Ad Placement
Even if you’re not hosting a virtual event, you can choose to place your business ad in the live event or sponsor the event for advertising.
Virtual events accommodate people with mobility, hearing, visual, and speech disabilities by supporting video and text. This means that they market themselves to a broader audience than physical events.
How To Increase Virtual Attendance
1. Have an Agenda
Your audience avoids disorganized meetings and events as much as you do. Be sure to have a concrete agenda for the audience to look forward to.
Have a marketing strategy for your event. No one will show up for an event they didn’t hear about.
3. Select Your Speakers and Performers Wisely
Any guests on your live event should either have a following, be experts in their fields, or deliver excellent performances for your audience. Your audience should trust their opinion and look forward to engaging with them.
4. Choose Your Platform Wisely
Select a platform you understand and have access to. Your audience should also have an easy time accessing the virtual event online and registering or paying for the event. Any delays could mean losing potential attendees. If you’re hosting the virtual event on a social media platform, select one with high engagement for your business.
5. Select The Time and Schedule Appropriately
If you’re hosting people in different time zones, you want to consider a time that allows maximum attendance in different time zones. You may also want to schedule keynote speakers for high-attendance periods. It’s also essential to pick a date when there are no competing events or holidays.
6. Live-Stream Or Pre-Recording
While live-streams are excellent for virtual events, it may be best to pre-record a webinar, conference, or performance and share it with an audience to ensure quality and availability. You can share a pre-recorded session several times to accommodate people with varying schedules and in different time zones.
7. Include Everyone
Keep the virtual event accessible to everyone by sharing a video, audio, and subtitles. You can also pick a platform that supports language translations, zooming in and out, various font sizes and colors, and color contrast.
When hosting a virtual event, it’s essential to know your goal and theme, identify your target audience, set an agenda, invite the right guests, market, and use the right tools. Undertaking these activities requires support from a Zirtual Assistant. Contact us today for help when planning and hosting your virtual event.