Ever since the pandemic, every company has to rethink, adapt, and even cancel planned events. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have events anymore. With the advancement in technology, it’s very much possible.
Getting together virtually is not a thing in the movies anymore. As we embrace social distancing, virtual events became a necessity. However, there are a lot of things to consider and prepare for such events.
In this article, we outlined different types of events you can host online. Aside from that, here is a list of things you should do before, during, and after a virtual event.
What are Virtual Events?
Virtual events are an online version of a face-to-face event. It is possible with just a computer at hand and a good internet connection. People worldwide can attend conferences, meetings, and even recruitment fairs. This can be done even in a remote setup.
This is all thanks to virtual event management platforms. With platforms like Association Management Online, it has the same feel as in-person events. Although there are programs like Zoom, an event management platform helps you accomplish more.
For example, in Association Management Online, you can:
- Set up and manage online events among members on different devices
- Send out important announcements to your members with its built-in email system
- Have multiple rooms and generate group discussions
- Take advantage of a variety of tools to increase audience participation
How to Organize Virtual Events During the Pandemic?
Before the Event
Choose the Theme of Your Event
First and foremost, you need to know what your event is all about. The content is the most important aspect of the event. Your focus areas should appeal to your audiences.
There are different types of events to host online. These include:
- Networking events – Events like these gather people up to connect. This allows individuals in different industries to reach out to each other and offer their services.
- Team-building events – Because of platforms, you can host team-building events virtually. Your team members can still get to know each other and boost their team spirit even on a remote setup.
- Fundraising events – These events help people raise money online for charity or a movement.
- Shopping events – With the growing interest in E-commerce, virtual shopping events are also becoming popular. Marketers can demo their products in the event, while shoppers choose the product they like.
Once that is clear, you can now focus on other aspects like promotion and manpower.
Lay Out Your Goals
The next thing on your to-do list is your event goals. How would you determine your event as a success? Should it attract new leads? Is it for brand awareness? To meet these goals, you also need a set of KPIs to guide you. Getting answers to these questions will help you get the most out of your event.
Remember, the goals you create should be SMART:
You can have a list of goals and how to achieve them compiled in a document. Setting up SMART goals will help you focus on what needs to be done.
Pick Out a Channel That is Easily Accessible
A channel is one of the most important parts of organizing a virtual event. This is the platform that will handle your whole event. Additionally, it is the platform for your audiences to connect and participate in the event.
Many programs allow you to customize your virtual venue. And some have an integrated event planner. This will help you send out reminders about the event to your audiences. Not only that, but you can also manage the registration and payment process with such software.
While choosing the best association management software, there are factors to consider. Your association management software should:
- Support every event you will host
- Allow you to manage end-to-end event processes (invitations, registrations, and payments)
- Be simple and easily accessible for everyone
- Allow for event customization
- Allow you to stream live content aside from pre-recorded ones
- Increase audience engagement
- Provide for different means of discussions (video calls for both small and large groups)
- Have tools that promote sponsorship
Set Up the Right Time and Date
Choosing the right time and date for your event requires a lot of effort. You don’t want to coincide with other big events, like Black Friday sales. If you did, your audience will be torn between choosing which event to attend.
You need to do some research before you promote your event. This will ensure you that there will be no conflicting events or holidays that affect attendance.
Let the Word Out
If you want your event to be successful, you have to know who your audience is. This way, you will also know what marketing techniques to use. An effective marketing campaign includes:
- Event pages or websites
- A FAQ page
- A registration link or page
- Email and social media marketing campaign
- A list of event itinerary, panels, and speakers
Additionally, you can also set up promos and giveaways as rewards for attendance. By doing so, more people will be interested in attending your event. And make sure your audience knows about these giveaways. Inform them through social media posts and digital ads.
To make the most out of your marketing campaign, you need to leverage certain social media features. For example, hashtags get the word out easily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This will get your event trending on these platforms and reach more people.
Rehearse Your Program
You can prepare everything to prevent any troubleshooting and error in your event. However, you can’t possibly account for everything unless you test it. That’s why it is advisable to rehearse before the actual thing, especially if it’s a live event.
Make sure that the equipment you’re using is functioning perfectly. It includes all of the video and audio equipment. Most importantly, test your internet connection. Audiences paid for the event, therefore they deserve a smooth delivery of the event. If not, you might be forced to cancel and move the event to a different date.
This can be disastrous and you will lose so much from it.
During the Event
Follow Your Planned Schedule
You should have a detailed schedule of everything that is going on in your event. This includes which of your members are assigned to a task. A schedule will guide your team members on when they should perform their tasks. Aside from that, your audience will know what to expect at which time.
It is also important that you strictly follow your schedule. Some participants have other important business to attend to. Keep in mind that you’re just borrowing some of their time.
If your event needs more time, you can schedule another on a different day.
Make Use of Good and Appropriate Music
Good music creates the mood of the event. If you’re hosting a webinar about mental health, you need calming music. If you’re at the games part of your event, an upbeat song can keep the audience engaged.
Most importantly, to avoid awkwardness during technical issues, you can play music.
After the Event
Follow-Up With Your Participants
Your event should not end just like that. After thanking your participants in an email, you can offer an invite for your other upcoming events. Or you can send them a link to your website, urging them to subscribe for more content.
Aside from that, a blog post about what went with your event will keep the discussion going. With association management software, you can immediately post a blog on your site. A blog post provides an opportunity for your audience to recap their experience. This will, then, create a community surrounding your brand.
Having an online community about your business promotes brand loyalty.
Email A Recorded Copy of the Event
Some people may have connection issues or weren’t able to finish the event. By giving them a recorded copy, they can rewatch the parts they didn’t understand. In addition to this, it’s a way of showing how you care for them. In return, this helps you build a positive reputation.
Make Your Speakers Feel Appreciated
Your speakers are one of the highlights of your virtual events. Naturally, you need to thank them. However, you can do more than just emailing a thank you message. This will create a long-lasting impression on your company. They can even be potential customers in the future.
Review Your Events’ Data
Lastly, you need to know if your event was successful. To do this, you have to review the data from your events. These can include:
- Number of people who registered
- Number of people present during the event
- Demographic information of your participants
- Rates of email click-through
- Audience engagement
- Generated leads
- Feedback from your participants
With association management software, you don’t need to worry about collecting such data. Aside from this, you don’t have to give them links to a different page. Such software has a feature where you can create post-event surveys for your participants. This will make data gathering so much easier.
Who’s to say you can’t plan an event during this pandemic? Of course, nothing beats the traditional face-to-face meetups and events. However, there are also perks with hosting virtual events.
With this guide, you can safely break the barriers that this pandemic has brought.