In the ever-evolving world of event planning, virtual events have become the new norm. Whether you’re organizing a conference, workshop, or trade show, mastering the art of virtual events is crucial to your success.
In this article, we will share 15 essential tips to help you run an effective virtual event that engages your audience and achieves your goals. We understand that planning and executing virtual events can be challenging, but with the right strategies and tools in place, you can create a seamless and unforgettable experience for your attendees.
So, let’s dive in and discover how you can host a successful virtual event that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.
Virtual event benefits
Virtual events provide the unique opportunity to teach, connect, and inspire each other and our communities. Virtual events also provide substantial advantages like increased attendee engagement and more profitable revenue generation for organizations that do them right.
15 tips for managing your virtual event
We want to help every organization incorporate virtual events into their overall strategy. Virtual events will never replace live events, but they can certainly be a strong substitute to complement your organization’s overall efforts. These 15 tips for managing your virtual event will give you a strong start to launching your organization’s next or first virtual event.
Show your video stream
Display Zoom, YouTube, Twitch, and Vimeo videos on each of your dedicated session details pages. This includes pre-recorded videos, live meetings, webinars and livestreams. This allows attendees to view sessions without navigating away from your Sched event website.
Not using any of the above services? No problem! Sched will turn your video links into a button your attendees can click to view your sessions.
Support every time zone
Your virtual event may have attendees from around the world. Allow your attendees to select the time zone they’d like to view the sessions. Alternatively, you can include links to each timezone like All Day Dev Ops did for their conference in 2018. This makes it much easier for your attendees to know when things are happening in their local time zones so they don’t miss a thing.
Your partners can sponsor specific sessions. When attendees are creating their personal agenda, they’ll see which sponsor is hosting and during the session times, there’ll be an influx of traffic to each session page and sponsor profile.
Add your exhibitors
Create a complete directory with all your event exhibitors. Attendees may not be able to stop by a physical booth but with all the details added to your event, they can browse exhibitor websites and connect directly with Exhibitor representatives.
Schedule messages to keep attendees engaged
Use scheduled messages to send announcements and stay connected with your attendees throughout the event days. You can create a timed campaign to highlight sessions, speakers, sponsors, and more. You can even send out vendor or sponsor offers to get your attendees interacting with the exhibitor profiles you just added.
Make real-time updates to your event
There is more flexibility to make last-minute additions or changes with virtual events. When you update your event on Sched, changes are instantly live across all platforms for your attendees.
Expand your audience
Your event is no longer held back by location and venue constraints. Participants who couldn’t attend because of travel costs or scheduling limitations can take part from anywhere. Think about additional target audiences that can benefit from your event and reach out to them.
Another great opportunity is the ability to book any Speaker or Presenter. Now that you don’t have to deal with travel limitations, you can invite more speakers to present from anywhere around the world. These speakers don’t have to deliver their presentations live. Speaker presentations can be pre-recorded, edited, and shared at the appropriate times.
Overcome venue constraints
Just as the distance is a constraint, event space can create limitations too. With attendees joining from the comfort of their homes, there is no need to worry about session space being too small, too big, too warm, too cold, too loud, or too hard to find. A computer and a decent internet connection are all your attendees will need!
Invest in the experience
Balancing out your event budget just became substantially easier. Virtual events eliminate the typically largest live event costs: venue costs and food and beverage costs. Live events also eliminate travel costs and can result in substantial reductions in speaker fees as well. Reinvest these savings back into your overall event experience by taking your event experience to the home or office of your audience.
You can go even further with Sched by creating an unlimited free trial to get your event page looking perfect and upgrade when you’re ready to go live. Your organization can also partner with Sched to help organize and manage your virtual event.
Don’t “recreate,” keep creating
You can’t just plop a live event into a digital framework and expect attendees to find or create the same kind of magic. If all or parts of your event just can’t quite fit into the virtual landscape, try changing up what actually happens at the event. If it was supposed to be a team-building activity in person, maybe it could be a team story-writing experience through Google Drive.
Keep it easy
If you’re asking your attendees to download a new app, pay for it, update their OS to make it work properly, check their email for a code to confirm, create an avatar, etc., etc., etc., all to access an event they’d originally planned on just walking into… you’re giving them too many opportunities to say “screw this” and go turn on the TV. Keep barriers to entry as low as possible and keep access in mind (not everybody is on a fancy new laptop, in a quiet room, alone, available at a given time, etc.).
Keep it active
It’s not exactly breaking news that our attention spans are teeny. Remember that you’re trying to reach real people, sitting on their couch, surrounded by their home distractions. Try to honestly assess if this is something you’d want to do yourself and something that could really hold your attention. Consider if there are opportunities to hide moments of surprise and delight within the programming, or encourage real interaction from your virtual attendees.
Now more than ever, as we’re all testing out weird new systems that we’re just not used to yet, be sure to help your audience understand what to expect. Double-check your instructions (which are hopefully quite simple, to begin with), and try to include enough information and foresight to mitigate the feelings of, “Am I doing this right? Is this the thing? Am I missing something here?” When possible, a video illustrating what the guests will see when they join/login/etc. can be very helpful.
Rethink your metrics of success
We’re used to navigating an online world of information, entertainment, and experiences that are typically cheap or free. If you can’t charge what you’d like (or anything) for the virtual version of your event, consider what kinds of integrations and activations might help you hit other metrics that can be valuable moving forward. Social sharing, click-through purchases, log-ins, demographic or psychographic info, and more can become the metrics you gather this year to help you sell in sponsors and advertisers next year, when – hopefully – we’re all back together again.
Make a positive environmental impact
Your virtual event will leave a profound positive impact on the environment. Virtual events mean little to no paper is involved and people will not have to travel. This means the carbon footprint of your event is significantly reduced. With a virtual event, you’ll fully eliminate the need for paper and for folks to travel.
Need help or advice?
If would like a demo of the Sched platform for virtual events, or need any other help or advice please get in touch.