The new normal during and after COVID19 includes the conversion of product offerings to digital, and this includes events.
A virtual event strategy should be very similar to a physical event: start with your content, define your target, define your marketing plan and go to market.
However, there are some key elements you shouldn’t forget:
1. Set the objectives of the event, including the creative brief
Don’t treat it just like a webinar. Work on a summary that will help you define the event beyond the platform itself, such as value proposition, networking value, content value.
2. Calculate the budget
Although some virtual conference platforms are very low cost, there are others on the opposite extreme. Charging for virtual events tends to be a challenge. So try to plan mainly with your sponsorship revenue in mind.
There are a ton of solutions out there. Just make sure you select one that is not an overkill for what you are trying to achieve.
3. Prepare to be on a screen
Appearing on a computer screen, even though a studio camera format, is a very different experience than presenting to a live audience.
4. Be careful with your platform and the registration process
A critical component of a digital event is making sure the site doesn’t crash if too many users try to log in and authenticate themselves, verifying their data and identities at the same time.
5. Keep the audience involved
Reducing and dosing presentations improves audience reception by streaming. Experts suggest more content, about 15 minutes or so each session, rather than long sessions of more than an hour, to keep the audience tuned in on their computers. TED type conversations could work, mixing content with other elements, such as audience polls or games or even trivia sessions.
6. Networking is key
Interactions between attendees and speakers can still occur in a virtual environment. Some companies have virtual rooms for networking where attendees can send messages to each other and take a conversation on the phone or in a side chat format. Everyone must be given many opportunities to interact. It will never be the same as having a coffee together, but you can still meet people.
7. Send reminders regularly
Unlike in-person events, where attendees are likely to have to travel and have hotel stays and air travel scheduled on their calendars, virtual events may need more regular reminders. Sometimes people forget that the web event is scheduled and do not register. Regular reminders should be sent out in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the event to keep attendees interested and engaged and to make sure they don’t drop out at the last minute.
Everything points to the fact that virtual events are not going to displace face-to-face events, but that the commitment to digital will be greater.