Best practices for hosting a successful virtual event

 

With the mass cancellations of group gatherings, the number of online events have been accelerated considerably. Events businesses have to find solutions to find new ways to reach customers and give valuable insights to people without having to get together in person. Now more than ever, technologies are playing a crucial role in keeping our society functional in a time of lockdowns and quarantines.

To help you host a successful online event, we would like to share with you 6 practicable tips. 

 

Organise yourself with a plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

You have to think and define a strong strategy to adopt in order to make your online event successful. There is no ideal starting date, the sooner, the better.
If you don’t know where to begin, you can start by listing and answering some key questions:

  • For whom this event is made for?
  • What king of experience do you want to deliver?
  • What is my value proposition?
  • What kind of format do you want to have? 
  • Will it be free or profitable?
  • If profitable, what would be the price?
  • At what time do you want to organise your event? 
  • Will you require registration?
  • How will you promote it?
  • Will people be able to watch the event in replay?

 

Choose the platform 

A good tool improves the way you work. A great tool improves the way you think”.― Jeff Duntemann

 

There are many different platforms to host online events. Choose the platform that fits best the type of event you are organising. Here is a sum-up of the most efficient platforms for online events:

For webinars:

  • Gotowebinar
  • Zoom
  • Livestorm
  • Youtube Livestream
  • WebinarNinja

For conferences and networking events:

  • HeySummit
  • 6connex
  • HopIn
  • Brella

 

Optimize your communication

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”―Tom Fishburne

 

Going virtual with events that would otherwise take place in-person will require some additional pre-event communication. You need to explain to your audience what your new value proposition is and how you’ll help people through this new format.

First, share a clear message. Identify the key assets you can offer through your events and explain it clearly in your own words. Whether it is an opportunity to network with peers, learn about certain topics, develop brand awareness.

Determine the channels you would like to use for the promotion of the event: social media, website email campaign… You have to choose carefully, according to your audience and be ready to adapt your message according to the media you are using.

Another way to promote your find is to build strategic community partnerships to reach more people and gain visibility.

 

Prepare technical details

“A champion must be ready at all times.” ― Cris Cyborg

 

Always remember that practice makes perfect. Make sure you have tested everything before your event.

Firstly, you have to test the software you’re using as well as your internet connection. The best way to be 100% sure that everything is working properly is to organise a prep session with your speakers and colleagues to test out how it will look and feel when you get to the main event.

Similarly to a physical event, you’ll need to set up roles for your team and everyone needs to have their responsibilities. An essential role for running virtual events is to select someone to manage technical troubleshooting during the D-Day.If your chosen technology fails, this person would be in charge of emailing all attendees to ask them to reboot, or provide information about Plan B technology if you need to switch tools mid-event.

Don’t forget to send technical details to your attendees (link to access the event) with a reminder 1 or 2 hours before and make sure you’re available by phone and email to manage last minute technical issues.

 


Make your attendees participate

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

 

One of the biggest challenges in organising virtual events is to maintain your audience focused until the very end of the event. Creating engagement is the best way to capture your audience’s attention by providing a fun and interactive experience.

  • Hold contests. 
  • Use breakout groups. 
  • Launch polls
  • Use the chat
  • Encourage Q&A
  • Find ways to surprise your audience: last minute speakers, activities, networking times.

 

Stay connected after the event


The event doesn’t end when the live is finished. There are many things to do post-event.

First, it’s always good to send a post-event email to thank attendees and ask them to give their feedback (the best way to improve the next events!). The email can also contain a recording of the session, photos for souvenirs, a date for the upcoming event and some general information about your brand.

 

Secondly, it is important to build a report in order to track data and make some recommendations for the next events. How many people joined the session? What are the most important insights from your survey results? What anecdotal stories came out of this experience? Use this data to improve and build out your next event!

 


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