How Do You Plan a Virtual Event?
Planning virtual events is a multitasking marathon—you have to set goals, find a virtual space, promote the event, manage invitations, plan activities, troubleshoot technical issues, keep participants engaged, analyze event data—needless to say, event planners are masters of their craft to keep track of it all.
If you’re looking for a virtual event planning guide to hone these skills, you’ve come to the right blog. We’re covering the basics and beyond to answer the question all event planners have—how do you plan a successful virtual event?
How Do You Successfully Plan a Virtual Event? 7 Tips to Get Started
To give your virtual event a higher chance of success, keep in mind these seven tips:
1. Set a Goal First
How many participants do you want in attendance? What actions do you want your audience to take during and after the event? Do you have a set conversion goal or number of products you’d like to sell? Clearly define short- and long-term goals to direct the rest of your planning.
2. Use a Quality Virtual Events Platform
The quality of your virtual meeting space will have a major impact on the efficiency and enjoyability of your event. Look for a platform that offers more than just a basic meeting room. It should be user-friendly with break-out rooms and multiple other options that will improve the overall event experience.
3. Promote the Event
Let your target audience know the event is happening in as many ways as you can. Paid ads, email blasts, social media, an event webpage, sponsor announcements, press releases—use all of these promotional tools to your advantage.
4. Send Out Invitations and Reminders
Invitations should have the date, time, and login information front and center. You can also include an event description, sponsorship information, and other attention-grabbing items, but the focus of your invitations should be how and when to participate. As the date gets closer, send out a few reminders to keep your event top-of-mind.
5. Have Moderators on Hand
Even if you’ve dotted every “i” and crossed every “t,” your virtual event will likely have a few issues that require some troubleshooting. Ensure you have a moderator (or a few, if your event is large) to help participants, speakers, hosts, and everyone else involved if any problems come up.
6. Follow Up With Participants
How do you know if a virtual event is successful? Just ask! Send out a survey to participants after the event is over and inquire about their thoughts. What did they like? What didn’t they like? What did they wish was included in your event?
Evaluating your event afterward might be the most crucial step. You’ll likely have data to sift through and analyze, attendee surveys to review, and other feedback to consider. Use these valuable insights to inspire or modify your next event and continuously seek ways to improve.
What Are the Five Biggest Challenges to Conduct Virtual Events?
Even if you’ve mastered the basics of event planning, you’ll still likely encounter five big challenges in the areas of:
We’ll take a look at each below and give you some solutions to combat these event planning headaches:
Every event planner knows the e-word—engagement. It’s always there in the back of your mind. Will this email description seem intriguing? Are participants going to lose interest if this runs this long? What if people don’t like the line-up of speakers? Engagement should dictate every aspect of your virtual event.
An easy way to create engaging and successful online events is by including a variety of interactive activities. For example, you could offer a speed networking module that allows participants to connect with their peers in a one-on-one setting. This provides value to all stakeholders in that:
- Participants get to make professional connections
- Event planners can increase engagement
- Sponsors will want to sponsor again when the event is a hit
Even the most tech savvy of us have probably encountered a hiccup when it comes to putting on or attending virtual gatherings. But the tech challenge goes beyond the simple stuff, like broken internet connections or forgetting to press the unmute button. Virtual event planners need to think about how they use technology to create a memorable experience for participants, one they’re likely to walk away from feeling motivated and energized. Research creative ways to use the virtual space to your advantage, and look for a single platform that offers organization, inspiration, and multiple other features to keep things streamlined.
Have you ever multi-tasked during a virtual event or meeting? A recent study by Microsoft revealed that virtual meeting multitasking is a common behavior. This is something event planners must keep in mind for virtual events—you are competing for participant attention. It’s likely going to happen no matter what you do, so embrace it. Find ways to make your event flow with the many other items vying for people’s attention. Give attendees varied participation options so they can pick and choose what interests them and what fits into their schedules.
One of the benefits of virtual events is the treasure trove of valuable data they can produce. However, collecting and analyzing that data can get a bit messy, especially when you’re hosting in one platform and gathering data in another. Use a platform that has hosting and data analysis features to ensure you don’t miss anything. With SpeedNetworking.com, for example, you can host a virtual networking event and receive actionable analytics during and after the occasion.
If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we all need human connection. Psychological studies, recent research, and a wealth of other evidence supports the importance of human interaction to our physical and mental health.
How are your virtual events serving this need? Many virtual events require participants to sit through presentation after presentation with minimal opportunities to comment, converse, or simply interact in some way. As a virtual event planner, it’s your responsibility to create those moments for your attendees. Give them multiple opportunities for feedback and one-on-one moments to talk things through with other participants. Let them feel heard and take an active role in shaping your virtual event.
Need Some Successful Virtual Event Ideas?
Consider adding a speed networking activity to your next virtual event with SpeedNetworking.com. All the challenges we’ve mentioned above? We have plenty of ways to solve them, including:
- A virtual event platform that prioritizes user experience for participants and planners
- Private, one-on-one virtual video conferencing
- An event manager dashboard to keep track of all the details
- A virtual lobby option where you can greet and inform participants as they arrive
- Machine learning algorithms and smart match scores that pair participants with common interests
- Sponsorship and monetization opportunities
- A post event participant portal, so your attendees can stay connected with each other
- Integration and automation capabilities
- Actionable analytics during and after your virtual event
To see how it all works, take SpeedNetworking.com for a test drive today!