As we entered the digital world, digital ways are overcoming the in-person activities with each passing year. Going virtual has become the new norm. An incline in a large number of virtual events has been witnessed across the globe in the past few years. The worth of face to face interactions and in-person events holds its impotence but going digital has become a necessary part of organizing events in today’s era.
Virtual events have gained up their pace and became immensely popular in recent times. Whether you are planning for multi-day conferences, meetings with clients or delegates across the globe, internal team meetings, organize educational sessions, all can be carried out well digitally on the virtual event platforms.
Virtual event solutions not only boost your audience attendance as they overcome the barrier of geographical constraint but also helps in keeping them engaged throughout the event.
It come with various benefits apart from being a more reachable and cost-effective measure, it makes it easy to measure the success of an event. Hosting a virtual event requires some planning, of course, less than in-person events, to promote the event, engage audiences, and create lasting memories for audiences to reminiscence in the long run.
It can resolve all your worries about booking a venue, accommodation, foods & drinks, travel expenses. You can now create an impactful hybrid event that adds value, boosts engagements, and delivers memorable experiences much beyond than a rectangle screen. Time to take a plunge in the digital world and start delivering events with lasting memories.
In this article, we are sharing all about virtual events and how it’s beneficial for any business or an event.
What are Virtual Events?
An event that is organized digitally and potential audiences can enjoy it irrespective of their location from the comfort of their own space, are known as virtual events. It allow attendees to attend an event online rather than gathering in-person.
You must have experienced virtual events at least once. If you have attended a conference from your desk using video conferencing or watched an on-demand lecture or attended an online class from your home, attended a webinar online, all are the forms of virtual events.
Nowadays, virtual event services have become an integral part of every organization. The unfortunate situations happening around the world like today made more and more organizations adopt virtual event solutions to carry out their events without getting affected by the external environment. The future of virtual events is anticipated with an incline of a huge percentage of organizations and businesses with each passing day. If you have not yet planned for a virtual event, now is the time to step up your game and compete with the changing dynamics and enter the new world.
Types of Virtual Events
Virtual event services enhance your event experiences thus boosting your presence and delivering exquisite results. Let’s have a look at some major types of virtual events you must have experienced once in a while.
A seminar that is organized on the web and allows audiences from around the world to join in, is known as a webinar. It is a type of virtual event that lasts for around 40 to 80 minutes. A Webinar has one or more speakers to present the content in front of the event attendees. Companies select a speaker that can hold audiences interactively throughout the event and have a thorough knowledge of the subject. The webinar speaker answers the attendees questions. Companies may sometimes even decide to charge the attendees at the time of registration or offer a free webinar. Here is a complete guide to webinar services and solutions.
Interactive tools like Q&A sessions, chats, audio & video conferencing, etc. allow you to interact with attendees during a webinar. On-demand virtual webinars are even available for later use in case if someone missed it. An increase in the percentage of audience attendance has been seen when compared to in-person events as it reaches its audiences irrespective of geographical locations.
2. Virtual Conferences
Conferences conducted over the web in a digital space to connect with business partners, clients, shareholders, and so on residing in any corner of the world without having to travel are known as virtual conferences. Interactive tools used during virtual conferences makes it easy to share slides and presentations during a hybrid conference. It allows attendees to share their feedback and thoughts with other attendees in real-time and build their agendas.
3. Internal Virtual Events
Internal events are a part of every organization nowadays. Whether you want to plan a virtual town hall meeting, offer training to the newbies of an organization, hire new employees, onboard new employees, conduct department or team meetings and so on all can be carried out digitally. Organizations are adopting the best virtual event services that make it easy to carry out internal communications on the best virtual events platforms that are safe and secure, keeping your privacy intact. Some organizations are widespread across the globe and gathering all the employees at a single place is nearly impossible. It help to bring the employees of an organization under one roof in a digital space and communicate the message to them with ease thus saving time and resources.
Here is a list of few internal virtual events organised these days by almost every enterprise:
a) Virtual Meetings
It is one of the most common virtual events carried out by almost every organisation around the globe. Virtual meetings enable you to connect with business partners or global delegates right from your own comfort to discuss a meaningful agenda. However, team leaders can organise a virtual meeting with their team members located in various remote locations to have work discussions. Virtual meetings are in trend and an integral part of every mid to large-scale organisation.
b) Virtual Town Halls
Town halls are an essential part of any corporate organisation. It is held to make an announcement or update company employees with the latest policy change. However, it can even be organised to discuss the future goals of the teams and appreciate the team who has achieved targets. Gathering all the employees of an organisation under one roof is just not possible when social distancing is a mandate or the organisation is widespread globally. Virtual town halls are the solution to it. It brings all the attendees under one roof virtually. Thus, making it easy for corporations to make an announcement or update any policy changes. However, virtual town halls can be available on-demand as well even when the townhall concludes. It allows employees to catch out with missed parts if they were not able to attend it due to any reason.
c) Virtual AGM
One of the most significant events for any company that is held annually every year. AGMs are held between the director of the company and the interested stakeholders to discuss the overall performance of the company and decide upon future goals. Today, AGMs are shifted to virtual mediums like any other event. Virtual AGMs offer endless possibilities to organisations to reap maximum benefit out of it. It allows interested shareholders to participate in the meeting right from the comfort of their remote locations without having to travel. It resulted in enhanced participation in meetings which was missing out from In-person AGMs.
d) Hiring and Onboarding Virtual Events
With the change in times, today global organisations around the world adopted virtual hiring and onboarding processes to hire new employees. It has helped the organisation in many ways. It has opened doorways to tap the most talented individuals suiting job openings.
e) Virtual Reward and Recognition Ceremony
Hosting virtual R&R ceremonies is in trend these days. As the majority of organisations have adapted work from home culture and everyone is at a distance, recognising the hardworking people of your organisation has become even more important. It helps in keeping them motivated.
f) Virtual Corporate Parties
Organising virtual corporate parties is another effective way to uplift the mood of your remote workforce. You can organise engaging games during virtual corporate parties to boost excitement and keep everyone engaged. Thus, delivering an immersive experience.
4. External Virtual Events
Various external events can go digital just like the internal events of the organizations. External events require a little more work when compared to internal hybrid events. Trade shows and expos are one of the external events that can be hosted on virtual events platforms. It resulted in increased audience attendance and reduced costs. External virtual events reach millions around the globe and allow attendees to tune in live irrespective of their location. Try using interactive tools not only help in engaging your attendees interactively but even results in better lead generation and conversion rates. Here is all about virtual events and B2B Marketing.
Here is a list of few external virtual events one may lookup:
a) Virtual Trade Shows and Virtual Exhibitions
Today, virtual trade shows and exhibitions are hosted around the world. Sponsors and exhibitors are more willing to participate in an online event. It offers them an opportunity to showcase their product offerings to a wide array of attendees globally. Thus resulting in better reach, exposure, attendance, engagement, and revenues.
b) Virtual Product Launches
It is another type of external virtual event. Virtual product launches make your latest product launch reach millions instantly as soon as it is launched and make its space in the competitive marketing dynamics.
c) Virtual Product Demos
It is another type of event that can take place virtually. Virtual product demonstrations give insights into the product and how the product works to an ample number of attendees at once. It helps in building a loyal customer base.
d) Virtual Networking Fairs
It is organised by universities to reach potential students located around the world who wish to pursue a course.
e) Virtual Wedding Expo
One of the most exciting events, that allows you to book your wedding vendors right from the comfort of your own space without having to travel much.
f) Virtual Concerts
Organising virtual concerts is a recent trend. You can enjoy the melodious performance of your favorite signers right at your convenience with virtual music concerts.
g) Virtual Training and Workshops
Online training and workshops reach a large number of people at a single point of time. Thus enabling them to learn a course or attend a workshop right from their home comfort.
Why Host Virtual Events?
It have been on a rapid rise in the current era due to their sets of various merits. Every virtual event has its purpose and a different set of potential target audiences. Interactive tools like chat rooms, help desks, etc. used during hybrid events help to interact with the global audiences throughout the event and keep them hooked.
Virtual event solutions help to bring a wider segment of audiences at a single space digitally, thus boosting presence and increasing revenues. Consulting a virtual event service provider helps you to carry out your hybrid events seamlessly on the virtual event platforms thus overcoming the barrier of geographical limitations, time, and resources.
If you have not yet switched from conventional ways of organizing events to hybrid events, now is the time to plan and host a virtual event.
Benefits of Virtual Events
1. Virtual Events are a budget-friendly measure
Virtual events are cost-effective when compared to in-person events and deliver valuable experiences to audiences worldwide. In-person events require you to invest lots of money on venue, accommodation, foods & beverages, travel expenses, marketing, and so on. Virtual events cut off the amount spent on these completely. Whether you plan for a corporate event or a brand event, virtual events result in saving resources and are the best bet to rely on if you are on a budget, thus achieving your set goals.
2. Increased Accessibility
As compared to in-person events, virtual events are highly accessible. It can be accessed by anyone living in any corner of the world which is far beyond the reach of physical events. The barrier of geographical constraint has been completely resolved with live virtual events thus boosting more interactions and leads. Virtual event solutions allow anyone to access the event from the comfort of their own home and from the device and browser that best suits them.
3. Virtual Events work on a casual approach
In-person events are exclusive and one needs to dress up to attend a physical event. Be it a conference or a meeting a formal dress code is a must. Virtual events alleviate the formality while making it a more convenient and casual event for attendees where all decked up in a formal suit no longer holds importance.
4. A time-efficient measure
Physical events require planning from six months before the actual event. Right from meetings with sponsors & vendors to selecting a location for the event all are done a few months prior to the event. In events, a virtual event platform takes about a month for complete event set up, a lot less when compared to physical events. Customer support is offered by Virtual events platform service providers before, during, and after the event. Apart from it, they even look for any technical glitches before an event and hire a staff that runs a virtual event, thus resulting in saving time.
5. Virtual Events deliver valuable experiences
It offer valuable experiences to each audience, thus making an event more successful. It allows audience to interact directly with the brand by asking relevant questions and sharing their feedback through comments in real-time. The brand itself answers the most important questions in events. Brands take feedbacks into consideration results in boosting better engagement.
6. Virtual content is sharable on various platforms
Videos of virtual events can be shared on various social media platforms that help in reaching targeted audiences. Clips of hybrid events can even be used on websites to generate traffic while showing them a glimpse of the previous events.
The possibilities of virtual events are endless and would benefit you in great ways in the times ahead.
What are the key elements of Virtual Events?
Attendee engagement, data, and content are the key components of successful virtual events. However, video and audio quality, connectivity, a website where the event agenda is displayed even hold utmost importance in curating a successful virtual event. An amalgamation of pre-recorded and live content helps to deliver a successful virtual event with immersive event experiences. The key elements that together curate a remarkable virtual event are:
- A well-curated Event website
- Easy Event Registration
- Live Presentation Content
- 2-way interactions via live audio/video chats
- Question and Answer Sessions
- Live polling and Surveys
- Note-taking/Favorite slides
- Pre-Recorded Content
- Feedback Surveys
Event Technology to Host Virtual Events
Technology plays a crucial role in virtual events planning and execution. Virtual events heavily rely on event technology for the seamless delivery of an event. Attendance at virtual events won’t be possible without the usage of smartphones and desktop computers. Same as on-ground events, virtual events utilise event technology to promote and execute virtual events seamlessly. We have listed some of the most relevant event technology pieces that help in executing a successful virtual event:
1. Event Website
An event website is a place where every attendee lands to gather the most relevant information regarding the upcoming event. It is an effective tool for event promotions and to attract your attendees to register for an event. Your event website must contain all the relevant information about the event right from the event date, time, agenda, speakers bio, registrations, and a direct link to redirect to the event.
Registrations are a crucial tool for collecting the attendee data. With an easy and seamless registration process, attendees can register easily for virtual events, submits, conferences, or any other digital event. The robust online registration method enables planners to gather the most relevant attendee data to plan and execute a successful virtual event.
3. Email Marketing
Marketing your event creates a buzz thus resulting in increasing the number of registrations at the event. Email marketing is one of the best ways since ages to communicate with attendees, before, during, and after the event. Utilising email marketing tool and send branded and personalised messages to potential attendees over email.
4. Online Event Guide
Creating an online event guide helps attendees to navigate seamlessly throughout the event. Online event guide is one of the most important pieces of event technology directed for virtual events. It helps in making user journey easy by making them familiar with various spaces in virtual events.
5. Event Feedbacks
Unlike physical events, virtual events do not enable planners to capture the attendees facial reactions during the event. Collecting the feedback of attendees post event becomes crucial to measure the success of an event. It helps in identifying the most qualified leads that can be later converted into sales.
6. Social Media and Emoticon Integrations
Event technology is used to integrate social media channels in your virtual event to maximise your reach. Integrating emoticons in your virtual events enables attendees to show their appreciation towards an session or speaker. It helps in engaging attendees effortlessly.
How To Host Successful Virtual Event?
Hosting a successful virtual event is not as tough as it seems to be. With the right planning, it is easily achievable. Time is calling to embrace the virtual event platforms and solutions. Let’s take a look at certain points to keep in mind to host a virtual event.
1. Determine the objective
Before hitting the live button to attract the potential audience, the objective of hosting a virtual event should be clearly defined. The topic of an event should be clear to a broadcaster & speaker to achieve set goals and desired outcomes.
2. Content is the king
Content is still the king whether it’s a blog or a virtual event. Unique content is a must to evoke the interest of audiences and keep them hooked throughout the event.
3. Create an outline for the budget
Decide on the budget before proceeding with the planning for your virtual event. Make a checklist of resources and where to allocate them to make your virtual event successful.
4. Time to plan your virtual event
You must be clear about what work you need to do before, during, and after a virtual event. Plan your event accordingly. Decide beforehand on the format of the event, time & date of the event, interactive tools used during the hybrid event to engage audiences, how many sessions you need to host, and so on to carry out your digital hybrid event successfully.
5. Select the right virtual events platform
Several platforms with brilliant features are available nowadays to host an event. Selecting the right platform depends on the type of event you want to host and the audience you want to reach. Go with a platform that offers robust data tracking capabilities, seamless networking and engagement opportunities, and customisable solutions.
6. Offer temptations
Create offers that your audience can’t deny on. Organize Q&A sessions that allow the audience to ask questions and their queries directly. Offer on-demand recordings of the virtual events to audiences who missed it thus resulting in more reach.
7. Keep the audience engaged throughout the event
Keeping the audience hooked with the event is a must to make your event successful. Work out on effective marketing strategies that attract a wide segment of audiences around the globe. Keeping audiences hooked with the event is a must as it contributes to the success of an event. You can organise contests or quizzes, offer giveaways to winners, gamify your event with exciting activities like spin the wheel, crossword puzzles, shooting game and more. Additionally you can host q&a sessions that helps in gaining attendees insights while keeping them engaged with the event.
8. Set date and time
Select the date and time of your virtual event as per your target audience. If your event is targeting audiences around the globe, consider time zone in mind while selecting the date-time of event.
9. Promote your event
Promote your event 3 weeks before the event on social platforms to make your audience aware. You can send reminders a day or two before the actual event.
How to boost engagements at virtual events?
Virtual event platform comes with an extensive list of the most promoting engaging features. You can utilise them as per your event requirements to boost engagements at your virtual events.
Here are some of the most popular virtual event engagement features, have a look:
a) Live Polls
Conducting a live poll in your virtual event helps in gaining your attendee’s perspective while keeping them engaged with the event throughout.
b) Q&A Sessions
Organising interactive live Q&A sessions boost engagement at your virtual event. It enables attendees to ask questions or queries directly to the speaker in real-time.
c) Live Survey
You can opt to do a live survey during your virtual event to gain attendee’s insights and opinions. Thus, keeping them engaged with the event throughout.
d) Social Wall
Enable organisers to embed a social wall in their virtual event to boost interactions and engagement. Social wall curates the most relevant feed across all social platforms with event hashtags on a single wall during the event. It allows attendees to have discussions during breakout sessions.
e) AR/VR Photo Booths
Integrate photo booths in your virtual event to engage attendees effortlessly. Offer them the chance to get clicked with branded photo ops virtually.
f) Signature/Pledge Wall
Incorporate a signature wall in your virtual event. It allows attendees to leave a small note along with the signature while leaving the event.
g) Organise Quizzes and Offer Giveaways
Engage your attendees by organising some fun quizzes or quizzes related to event topics. Offer the top 5 winners exciting giveaways to boost excitement.
h) Offer Digital Certificates
Give digital certificates to attendees who attended the event till the end. It will help in motivating attendees to remain hooked with the event.
i) AR/VR Virtual Games
Integrate AR/VR games in your virtual event to boost excitement and keep attendees engaged. You can integrate games like spin the wheel, crossword puzzles, shooting games, and more, or ask us to customise a game as per your requirement.
Some Innovative Virtual Event Ideas
You can host ample number of virtual events by leveraging the right technology and utilising the comprehensive virtual event solutions. But, when it comes to curate an innovative virtual event idea the task becomes a little more tricky for many planners. Right from gamifying your virtual events to drive engagement to adding some some fun to your virtual events by organising virtual concerts, cooking classes, comedy show the possibilities are endless. To know more about virtual event ideas, read 25 Innovative Virtual Event Ideas for Your Next Event.
Times ahead are calling to go digital, if you have not yet entered the gateway of digitalization, now is the time to switch from in-person events to virtual ones!