What are the differences between virtual and face-to-face events? How do you launch virtual events? How do you gather virtual attendance? These are some of the questions event and marketing professionals are asking themselves.
We’re used to planning in-person events, so moving to designing online experiences can be challenging. It’s a new skill people will want to develop if they plan to capitalize on virtual events and extend their outreach. But how they can do that without wasting too much time and effort? The answer is simple: Although different, a virtual event’s planning logistics are similar to live events.
You still have to create an event website, set up a registration process, communicate with your attendees, present the program, etc. And instead of searching for a venue, you’ll have to create an online environment through which people can connect, listen to your speakers, ask questions, engage, and network. The best way to do that is by using the right platform for your virtual events. And considering how many digital tools for virtual events have popped up, it’s good to know how to assess all the options and go for the one that suits best your needs. Here are some tips that will help you choose the right planning platform for your virtual events:
Tip 1. Choose an all-in-one platform
The last thing you want to do when planning virtual events is to jump from one digital tool to another to accomplish different tasks. Imagine having to use a tool to set up your event website, use another tool to design the registration process, and then another tool to create the virtual stage. It’s both confusing and time-consuming! Instead, search for an all-in-one virtual events platform that will let you accomplish everything you need within the same software package or at least integrates them seamingless. By centralizing all of your efforts, you’ll waste much less time and effort on learning individual tools and getting your virtual event set up.
Tip 2. Go for an event technology that offers virtual networking
As you may know, your online attendees can interact with the event through live polls and Q&As. However, they’ll miss out on being able to talk to other attendees, the moderator, and the speakers like they would at a face-to-face event. You don’t need to deprive your online attendees of this experience. When you search for a virtual events platform, always pay attention to the virtual networking options—a high-quality platform will have one.
Tip 3. Look for integrations with other tools you may use
Integrations are important when it comes to adopting a tool into your workflow. For example, you may want to store the virtual event videos on a specific platform you’re collaborating with or use a certain payment tool to collect registration fees, such as PayPal or Stripe. A good virtual events platform should always integrate seamlessly with most tools you’re already using. These integrations will help you maintain your familiar workflow and enjoy a complete infrastructure to plan and run memorable events for your virtual attendees.
Tip 4. Make sure the platform provides a branding option
There’s nothing worse than using a platform that you can’t tailor to your brand. And it’s double annoying when it comes to a virtual events tool. After all, you’re running virtual events to strengthen brand awareness, so you really need a platform you can redesign in terms of color, elements, and fonts so you can align it with your brand identity. A solid virtual events platform will always offer you a branding option.
Tip 5. Pay attention to the platform's user experience
Apart from being your virtual attendees, these people are also users. The moment they connect to your virtual event platform, they’re having a user experience, meaning they’ll have certain emotions about both your event content and the event platform you’re using. Having this in mind, you’ll want to make sure the platform you choose is easy to use and navigate so your attendees have a positive user experience. Focus on exploring how easy and intuitive the platform will be for your virtual attendees. If you find the user experience difficult or unfriendly, chances are they will, too.
Tip 6. Go for a platform that provides you with additional insights about your online guests
How many people connected to your event? How many virtual attendees disconnected from a certain session? How many people connected via computer and how many used their phones? How many of them engaged in conversations or responded to the call to action you launched during the event?
Without knowing the answers to these questions, you won’t be able to evaluate the ROI of your virtual event and improve it next time. So when you’re looking for a virtual event platform, make sure to understand the additional insights you’ll be getting about the behavior of your online guests. This data is crucial for your future events, so the right event technology platform should help you collect and analyze it.
Obviously, these aren’t the only aspects you need to consider when choosing a platform for your virtual events. After all, you may have specific needs and requirements that aren’t covered by this article. However, good virtual events software will always provide you with a wide variety of planning, promoting, and running tools.
Also, it will enable you to design a networking session for your virtual attendees. Plus, it will integrate easily into your workflow and let you emphasize your company or organization’s brand identity. Moreover, it will offer a friendly and intuitive user experience for your online guests and help you collect useful data about their behavior during the virtual event. So make a list of potential virtual event tech providers and start analyzing what they have to offer.