Plan ahead to create a successful virtual event.
Plan for a successful virtual event by preparing ahead of time, providing technical assistance and marketing your event thoroughly. — Getty Images/chee gin tan

Virtual events are quickly becoming the go-to for many companies because they’re less expensive to host and easier for more people to attend. If you’re considering hosting a virtual event, here are seven tips to help you get started.

Find a way to differentiate your event

Virtual events are quickly becoming commonplace, so you need to find a way to make yours stand out. A great way to do this is by making your event as interactive as possible.

Nobody wants to attend an all-day webinar, so you need to figure out ways to engage your audience. You can do this by incorporating multiple speakers, break-out sessions and live demos or competitions.

Anticipate technical difficulties

When you host a virtual event, you’re inevitably going to experience technical problems. Even if the tech is running smoothly on your end, it’s likely that at least one of your participants will have a hard time logging in or experience some type of problem on their end.

You should prepare for these challenges as best as you can ahead of time. Make sure you have dedicated staff members that can assist participants in any technical troubles they are having.

In addition, test the video conferencing software and your speakers before the day of the event. It’s also a good idea to create backups of all of your slides and visuals in case something unexpected happens.

Optimize your event for mobile viewing

Many of your participants will attend the virtual event from their phones, so optimizing the event for mobile viewing is crucial. Choose a video conferencing software that supports mobile viewing and allows audience members to participate from their phones.

If you plan to use slides during a presentation, make sure they are easy to read on a mobile device. Use a font sizelarge enough to be seen on a phone screen, and don’t put too much text on any one slide.

Promote the event on social media and through email

Planning the event is going to take a lot of effort, but you’ll need to put even more effort into promoting it. If you don’t promote your event, you will lose out on potential sales, and all of your hard work will be wasted.

Guest registrations will spike about two to three weeks before the virtual event, so you should focus most of your promotion efforts on this time frame. Make sure you have a clear value proposition and that your audience understands what they’ll gain from attending your event.

[Read More: 6 Ways to Use Social Media for Public Relations]

Virtual events are quickly becoming commonplace, so you need to find a way to make yours stand out.

Provide incentives to engage your audience

Giveaways are still one of the best ways to keep your audience excited and engaged, so why not incorporate a few into your virtual event? In order to win, your participants can post something on social media using the event hashtag. This type of contest is a great way to engage your audience and build brand awareness for your company.

Obviously, you won’t be able to hand out gift bags or prizes during the virtual event, but there are other ways to make this work. You can offer digital prizes that participants will receive immediately or promise to mail prizes out after the event is over.

Include a call to action

You shouldn’t end your event without letting your audience know how they can take the next step with your company. You can offer them a limited discount on your product or service if they sign up within a certain time frame.

Make sure your offer is straightforward and easy to sign up for. And be sure to let your attendees know that the offer is time-bound and will only be available for a short period of time.

Gather feedback after the event

Once your virtual event is over, you should request feedback from all of your participants. You can do this by sending them a survey asking them what they enjoyed about the event and what areas they think you can improve upon.

Sending a survey can also be an excellent opportunity to solicit feedback for future event topics. The point is, you want to use your virtual event as a jumping-off point to build an ongoing relationship with your audience.

[Read More: Hosting a Virtual Event? Here’s How to Do it Right]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published June 22, 2020