While budgets have been growing year over year for in-person events, virtual events are an opportunity that most event managers have yet to seize.
In-Person events will always have their place as the only method of 3D marketing available to your business, but virtual events are a amazing opportunity to complement your existing digital marketing strategy; providing a quick yet effective means to drive your marketing message.
Studies show that despite the advances in virtual event technology, the willingness to embrace it is slow. This is likely for two reasons:
1. Perceived ineffectiveness of virtual events - From a marketing perspective, you cannot compare virtual events to in-person events. The outcomes are different. Once you realize you have to adapt your goals to what is possible in a virtual environment, you'll begin to see the benefits.
2. Barriers with event technology - Event technology is commonly outsourced to various 3rd parties such as J.Shay Event Solutions because its an entirely different skill-set from event planning and management. While you cannot have one without the other, event software is constantly changing, being updated, many times requires dedicated FTEs to build and manage the technology. When you take away the aspects of an in-person event, it leaves event professionals with questions as to how they can apply their skills to a virtual environment.
The statistics speak for themselves:
Virtual events are an amazing opportunity to bolster your existing marketing strategy by providing valuable content that can bring in new prospects. Most of your competition probably isn't close to considering virtual as a viable option, and perhaps they are even decreasing overall marketing activity.
Offer new prospects valuable content that will give them confidence in you as a new provider.
There are times when you'll need to pivot to a virtual event because of unforeseen factors outside of your control such as budget, venue, speakers, local government interference and more.
As long as you have the right infrastructure and virtual event planner, you can make the shift.
Aside from mitigating damage from logistical items like travel, lodging and F&B, moving the content to a virtual format is doable, depending on your goals and audience.
Questions you need to ask before transitioning:
Virtual event planning is similar to live event planning at a fundamental level: Market your company in the most experiential and effective way possible.
While virtual events are limited in how you can support your messaging and content, there have been big strides in virtual event management software that will enable you to engage your audience.
To host a successful virtual event, you'll potentially need to rely on new resources to achieve your business goals. And that may mean new faces and new brands.
Your opportunities to deliver an effective virtual event will require:
There are 3 main types of virtual events you can host.
The most commonly used type of virtual event, but also the one not typically thought of like a virtual event.
Because you're limited to the experience you can provide to your attendees and the data you can collect.
These events are more closely related to live events and are built to accommodate a more intricate agenda such as:
Hybrid events are a supplement to your live events and usually involve live-streaming your pre-existing internal or external conference, townhall, sales kick-off, and more.
Many of the same components that you rely on for live events are also required for virtual events.
While there is a greater emphasis on your speakers and content, the digital requirements are imperative.
Ensure you don't drop the ball when planning your first virtual event by having every element you need available.
If technology isn't your strong suit, you may be looking at outsourcing your virtual event logistics to someone else.
Virtual events rely 100% on technology to engage your attendees, from start to finish.
Consider these applications you'll need for an effective event, how you'll set up and manage, and troubleshoot any problems you have during the event.