2020 was the year of pivots: Teams going from in-office to remote working, traditional brick-and-mortar stores bringing their businesses online, and organizations transforming massive in-person conferences into successful virtual events. The list goes on.
A huge part of shifting from in-person to online events is ensuring everything runs smoothly remotely and figuring out how to keep attendees engaged. Here are a few key principles to keep in mind if you want your next virtual event to be a massive success.
1. Find a reliable platform
While every event is unique, there are a few standard features you need in a platform to host a successful virtual event. Think an automated registration process, the ability to attend sessions via desktop or phone, live chat features, and so much more.
You have to know what you need out of the platform before you settle on “the one.” Here are a few questions to get you started:
- How many attendees are we expecting?
- What is our budget for this event?
- Are we live-streaming the event? Will we record it?
- Who is attending? What barriers to entry should we avoid?
- How are we collecting payment? What platform supports integration with our own?
- How do we want attendees to connect with the speakers? With each other?
If you’re at a loss for where to start, Zoom is a popular option for digital events and business meetings. Whova is another all-in-one platform perfect for large and small-scale events and conferences.
2. Lean into collaborations
Even though in-person events have moved online, the power of word-of-mouth marketing should never be forgotten. Have speakers lined up? Create a strategy for how they can promote the virtual event and their specific role in it.
Even if the event isn’t open to everyone, this social proof is important to maximize impact and create buzz surrounding the event, organizations, and speakers involved.
3. Have a plan
Another way to maximize impact is to outline a strong strategy, build out an agenda for the event, and have a plan for each speaker, staff member, and volunteer.
Plan early and meticulously. You don’t want to discover mid-event you’re missing something (or someone). To avoid this, here are some excellent questions to ponder:
- What kind of experience do we want to deliver?
- Will the event be free or by purchase only?
- When is the best time to host the event?
- How will we promote the event?
- Do we plan to work with any sponsors?
- Will people still have access to the event once it’s over?
- What metrics do we plan to track?
4. Keep it engaging
Whether it’s with breakout rooms for small group discussions or an option to submit questions to be answered live, engaging an audience online is essential for a successful virtual event.
When you break up attendees into smaller groups, it creates a more rich event experience. In a room of 50+ people, getting a word in becomes almost impossible. Connecting in a room of 2-5 people leads to a much more lively, engaging discussion.
5. Don’t forget the food
You wouldn’t skip the cheese platter at an in-person conference, would you? Then don’t forget about the food for your virtual event either.
Hors d’oeuvres at a typical in-person event consists of cheeses, bite-sized sandwiches, and muffins of all kinds. Not exactly the kind of food to keep your mind sharp and your energy levels high.
A better option? NatureBox’s ZoomSnacks.
Bring the offline fun to the digital space with functional, healthy, and delicious snacks sent to virtual event attendees with the click of a button. NatureBox has automated this process to under 3 minutes, which makes ordering snacks smart and simple.
Skip the empty calories from cookies and sugary granola bars and bring event attendees on a functional food journey with tasty treats that keep them alert, awake, and absorbing all the incredible knowledge from the events’ speakers.
There’s a lot to plan and prepare for when it comes to hosting a successful virtual event. The key is to bring what works from the in-person events to the online space in a way that surprises and delights.
Next time you’re planning and hosting a virtual event, think about how to engage attendees remotely. It’s easy to tune out and sign off of an event online, so make sure you have a platform to support engagement and a game plan with a solid strategy to set you up for success. An added bonus? Send attendees a sweet reminder that just because you’re remote doesn’t mean you can’t connect with others over a delicious, good for you snack while you discuss the day’s events.