VIRTUAL EVENTS GUIDE :
THE ONLY GUIDE YOU'LL EVER NEED!

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1. Introduction

Introduction

Virtual events have been changing the conventional method of conducting on-ground events. Although the importance of face-to-face interaction will never fade, recent times have taught us that interacting virtually for events gives a completely different experience. But the question is how would you convert a multi-day conference, including various networking opportunities, educational gatherings, and the accurate acumens of the attendees from the virtual events? And once this is done, how do you make sure attendees are involved completely during the event? Conducting virtual events needs the same consideration and preparation as an in-person affair. With both forms of events, you have to efficiently promote the event, retain your attendees, plan significant moments for attendees, and determine event success.
The significant determinant that sets online events apart is the selection of a 100% customizable virtual event platform. With excellent engaging features, interactive tools, and a customizable & user-friendly interface, you can host even more successful virtual events, conferences, or meetings.

2. Types Of Events

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Virtual events include the same primary components that in-person events do. They are proficient in comprising various topics and delivering fruitful outcomes. The process of choosing speakers, clocking the event, calculating out how long it’ll last, designing its frequency, and selecting an audience to target can maximize your organization’s desired outcomes. Let’s review the types of events that exist:

  • Online Events

    Online events are those which people would classify as webinars, GoToWebinar, WebEx, Zoom,webcasts, web briefings, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Google Hangout. The primary approach is that you’re inviting a group of people together for the general idea of experiencing the content in a live virtual arrangement.

  • Webinars

    Webinar

    Webinars allow attendees to hear or see a speaker present content, irrespective of their location. Webinars usually take place for 45 to 80 minutes. Organizations normally impose an admission fee for attendees who wish to attend a webinar, though there are webinars that are available for free. Webinars make use of videoconferencing software, which enables the presenter to conduct Q&A rounds, give live or taped video presentations, and most importantly, the content can be perceived post the event on-demand basis. Webinars also include external and internal training sessions. Since their informative essence is habitually a one-off, webinars have historically flourished with audiences that are 100% virtual.

  • Virtual Conferences

    Just like in-person conferences, virtual conferences require complex, vital agendas. They comprise breakouts, keynotes, sessions, and many more. Few virtual conferences emphasize content that includes various sessions and may employ tools to enhance community engagement. Virtual conferences allow attendees to see real-time keynotes, communicate with others in attendance, see content on-demand and create appropriate agendas of their own.

  • Internal Hybrid Events

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    These events occur in the form of department conferences, training sessions, companywide events, product launches, and town halls. For various organizations that have a huge footprint and separate operations, it is very difficult to invite all the internal stakeholders at the same time in one room for a meeting. In such situations, internal hybrid events can occur where essential internal staff come together while following proper social distancing and hold remote virtual conferencing for all others.

  • External Hybrid Events

    These kinds of events welcome people outside your organization. They may be conducted in the form of conferences, business meetings, or user concerts. External events assure video production levels of better quality so that the entire audience has the same experience. External hybrid events allow people who can’t attend an event in person. It can be difficult to deliver the same type of content to the audience at these types of events, in comparison to physical events where people can easily connect and interact with others.

  • Physical Events

    A physical event is one where the attendees meet up face-to-face and exchange handshakes or eye contact in person. It normally includes a big group meeting where audiences exchange ideas and present a particular topic.

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3. Physical Events V/s Virtual Events

  • Cost-Effective

    Physical events require investments like venue rent, staff, and attendee expenses (travel, food, transportation)

  • Flexibility

    Physical events are limited to shelf life of a few days.

  • Detailed Analytics

    Gaining insights is a tedious task as it requires deep knowledge to close the sales and target prospects.

  • Audience Reach

    Physical events need to restrict the number of attendees due to geographical and logistical reasons.

  • Eco-Friendly

    Physical events call for more paper wastage, emission of gasses through vehicles. It does not contributetowards an eco-friendly environment.

PHYSICAL EVENTS
V/S
VIRTUAL EVENTS
  • Virtual events let you save on the cost of location, travel, hotel, meals, and other expenses.

  • Virtual events can be running 365 days a year.

  • During virtual events, one can promptly examine metrics such as the communication level of attendees, target audience which will enhance event effectiveness.

  • Virtual events have no restrictions concerning the number of attendees.

  • Virtual events assist in minimizing the carbon footprint, thus leading to an eco-friendly world.

Cost-Effective
  • Physical events require investments like venue rent, staff, and attendee expenses (travel, food, transportation)

  • Virtual events let you save on the cost of location, travel, hotel, meals, and other expenses.

Flexibility
  • Physical events are limited to shelf life of a few days.

  • Virtual events can be running 365 days a year.

Detailed Analytics
  • Gaining insights is a tedious task as it requires deep knowledge to close the sales and target prospects.

  • During virtual events, one can promptly examine metrics such as the communication level of attendees, target audience which will enhance event effectiveness.

Audience Reach
  • Physical events need to restrict the number of attendees due to geographical and logistical reasons.

  • Virtual events have no restrictions concerning the number of attendees.

Eco-Friendly
  • Physical events call for more paper wastage, emission of gasses through vehicles. It does not contributetowards an eco-friendly environment.

  • Virtual events assist in minimizing the carbon footprint, thus leading to an eco-friendly world.

4. What Exactly Is A Virtual Event?

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Virtual events are similar to physical events, the exception being that the foregoing is conducted virtually on the Internet. Virtual events can be hosted in the form of music concerts, global gatherings, product launches, trade programs, conferences, etc. These events can take place at any location in the world. All you require is a reliable online connection along with a mobile or laptop.

Moving to new technology can still be a challenge for many. Also, it takes confidence to try it out. But if we do not try then, how we will find out what works or what not.

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5. A Quick Checklist Before You Host Your Virtual Events

Virtual-Event-Checklist

Event planning comprises various fundamental points. Both in-person or virtual events are expected to be a part of your combined marketing mix.

  • Planned Show Flow

    The expertise of an excellent show flow is the best way to create a memorable virtual event.

  • Secure And Trusted Virtual Platform

    Choosing a reliable virtual platform is very essential to showcase or conduct the events in the desired manner.

  • Content Is Power

    In a virtual environment, great content creation is the tool for success. Effective keynotes and interactive sessions tailored to your audience are crucial.

  • Attendee Networking & Engagement

    You have to keep the virtual attendees involved. Present alternatives or options that are beneficial for each attendee.

  • Technical Support And Management

    Even if you are completely prepared for your virtual event, like in-person events, the uncertainty of errors is likely. Since everything is done online, for virtual events, the possibilities of technical failures are much more than at an in-person event.

  • Detailed Data Analytics

    Data is an excellent method to determine event success. Focusing on engagement and obtaining attendee data is the only way to enhance event ROI and initiate the buyer’s journey.

6. How To Host A Virtual Event?

Organising a virtual event is not so different from a physical one. Here also, you need to make plans and strategy. And this planning can be divided into three stages –

  • Before the Event
  • During the Event
  • After the event

Before the Event

  • Recognise Your Objectives

    The first step in planning any event is understanding your objectives. Ask yourself questions like why you want to hold this event? What do you want to accomplish from this event? Define your goals. These can be connecting people, making new connections or generating revenue.

  • Understanding Your Target Audience

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    After having an understanding of your goals, you need to select your target audience. For whom you are organising this event? Or whom you want to target with this event? Also, you need to understand your audience. What are their aspirations, thought process or attitude towards virtual events?

  • Preparing A Strategy For The Event

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    Now that you are clear about your goals and target audience, it’s time for planning your event.

    • Firstly, you need to decide the format of your event. Will your event be live-streamed or pre-recorded?
    • Which platform will you use for your virtual event?
    • What will be the timings of your event?
    • Where will your event be available?
    • Who will be able to access your event?
    • Which social media channels will be used for promotion?

    You can also look at previous events for referencing

  • Inviting Sponsors And Exhibitors

    Sponsorship

    Sponsors and exhibitors are essential for your event. They will determine the budget of your event. And also, your event’s reputation will be directly linked with them. So try to get as many highly reputed sponsors and exhibitors onboard as possible. The better sponsor and exhibitor you will have for your event, the better the hype will be. It will keep the attendees excited and will pull more people.

  • Deciding The Budget For The Event

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    You have prepared a strategy for your event. And now it’s time to decide the Budget for your event. It is one of the most crucial steps because the execution of your strategy depends upon it. So carefully plan the allocation of funds for each part of your strategy.

  • Selecting A Right Platform

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    You need to opt for an apt virtual event platform for your event. This platform should provide you with solutions and services that will provide your audience with an immersive experience. For this, you should select a virtual events agency or company that holds experience in hosting virtual and hybrid events. While selecting a platform, look for features like Networking tables, 2-Way interaction, AI Matchmaking, B2B Meeting Scheduler, Dynamic Lobby, Access Management, Animated Dynamic Banners, Seamless Navigation, Teleportation, Gamification, and Live Q&A to begin with.

  • Content Creation And Promotion

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    The promotion of your event begins with impactful content. Remember, you are going to communicate with the world through this content. Your content will not only introduce your event to people but also promote it. The content has to be tailored according to the format of different social media platforms. And lastly, it should have the ability to force people to take action (looking for your event/registering for an event).

  • Testing The Selected Platform/Identify The Technical Issues

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    Before the D-day, you have to test run the platform. See if it is working perfectly. Also, you need to identify the possible technical issues that can happen at the event. Comb these issues out and prepare with back-up for these issues.

  • Register Your Attendees

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    Register your attendees in-advance for the event. This will reduce the load on the server during on the spot registrations. Also, remind people about the timing of the event through notifications, emails and messages.

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During the Event

  • Share The Crucial Info

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    It is highly advised to share crucial information about the event with people during the event. This information can be Agenda, speakers and guest and how to navigate through the event. What and where are the different sessions and other information about the event. This will provide a lot of convenience to attendees.

  • Engaging Audience

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    The success of your event depends upon the experience of your audience. For this, you have to keep them engaged. You can conduct polls, surveys and Q&A sessions to interact with your attendees. Also, you can Gamify your event. You can place a leaderboard and ask your attendees to play a game or visit all corners of the venue to score.

  • Provide Opportunities And Options

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    Apart from entertaining, you can offer your audience a value proposition. This proposition can be anything like an opportunity to connect with speakers and guests. You can include Networking lounges,Networking tables, AI-matchmaking and similar options for exchanging virtual business cards and so on.

  • Have Breakout Sessions

    If you plan to host an event that is long in duration or have many sessions, you need to provide breaks. This will save your attendees from complete exhaustion or burnouts. For this, include breakout sessions. Give your attendees time to relax, comprehend the previous session and get ready for the next session.

After the event

  • Collect And Analyse The Feedback

    Point-6_Collect and nalyse the Feedbac

    Before the attendees leave the event, ask them for feedback. And collect this feedback. This will help you understand the individual's preferences, expectations and experiences from your event. And based on that, you can make changes to your next event. Also, you can analyse the visitors' activities to get a better picture of the same.

  • Post Photos And Videos On Social Media

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    Share the photos and videos of your event on social media. This will help you to demonstrate the success of your event. People who didn't attend your event would like to know more and attend your next event.

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7. How To Choose The Right Virtual Event Platform?

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Virtual event platforms come in various kinds of shapes and sizes. What might appear like a genuine solution for one event might not work for another event. So how would you pick the best one?

  • End-to-End Event Control

    Whether it’s virtual conferences or online events, you’ll always require a reliable system that enables you to handle invitations, registrations, plans, and payments. The virtual platform should be able to easily integrate with the other tools you’re utilizing during your events so that info is efficiently transferred from one device to another.

  • User-friendly interface

    The virtual platform you use has to be simple and convenient to log in for your attendees, speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors. Remember that a major part of their event experience will be based on this platform and you don’t want them spending time thinking about how to make things work.

  • Customizing Abilities

    There are various features to think about here but one of the most significant components of customization is branding. Being capable of combining your company’s branding and interacting features on the virtual event platform will help build a faithful experience for your audiences.

  • Support Live & On-Demand Content Delivery

    To deliver seamless event experiences, event organizers usually look for an ideal virtual event venue that can support both live sessions and on-demand content. Hence, the ability to live-stream, conduct pre-recorded sessions, and provide on-demand content delivery is an efficient aspect of an enterprise solution.

  • Audience Engagement Tools

    We all understand how remote attendees can face both off and on-screen intrusions. When it comes to picking the best platform for your event, ensure you inquire the vendor what means they provide to promote engagement with other online attendees. Features such as chat rooms, forums and virtual breakout sessions, Q&As, live polling, social sharing, quizzes and surveys should be implemented

  • Engaging Sponsors & Exhibitors

    Monetising virtual events is extremely important for the organisers. The approaches you can apply are infinite – but you have to ensure your virtual event platform consists of means that let you fulfil these ideas and make them engaging for your sponsors too.

  • Data Management & Analytics

    Analytics and broadcasting are relevant to any kind of event. How?? Because the data lets you learn your event’s progress and figure out what amendments you need to do in the prospect. The obtained data is also one of the chief considerations for your sponsors and exhibitors to keep investing capital in your event.

8. How To Keep Your Attendees Engaged?

Now that you have decided to host a virtual event, you must look for ideas to engage your audience. The following list will help you do the same:

  • Winning Content And Marketing Strategy

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    A virtual environment entails drafting exciting marketing strategies for your audiences, that brings their attention towards the cause of your virtual event, and is proficient in cutting other distractions.

  • Invest In Production Quality

    Point-08_Invest-in-Prodution-Quality

    In the attempt to deliver a fully branded experience for your virtual attendees, it’s necessary to spend on the production quality. Investing in production quality demands employing the best virtual platform to offer an immersive experience to your audience. Being capable of combining your organisation’s branding and interactive features on the virtual event platform will help build a genuine experience for your audiences.

  • Design Interactive Sessions

    Design-Interative-Sessions

    The usage of surveys, chat boxes, quiz sessions, Q&As, polling, enhance the presentation of virtual events and make remote audiences feel like they’re an integral part of the conversation. Another vital feature is question submissions. With the appropriate platform, you facilitate two-way video communications (such as hand raising feature) between a presenter and attendee that all other audiences can observe in real-time.

  • Hold Shorter Sessions

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    Engaging attendees at virtual events or live stream sessions are very essential for event success. Being a part of an in-person event that involves music, performance, and motivating speeches is entirely different than attending an event virtually. Virtual events appear longer and there are chances that audiences might move away during an online event. That’s why keeping shorter sessions increases the possibilities of amplifying engagement.

  • Networking Opportunities

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    Undoubtedly, networking is the basic key point of event success. Networking zones like networking tables and lounges invent virtual social spaces, where audiences, exhibitors, and speakers can interact. Since they’re not engaging face-to-face, there should not be any miss in the leads during virtual events. Using AI matchmaking, it becomes easier to list common interests and find possibilities to interact with like-minded members.

  • Make The Most Out Of Gamification

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    Adding enjoyable and different games can eventually help enhance the overall event experience. Features like social space and sign wall let you maximise your global reach.Digital games like word puzzles, spin the wheel, shooting games, etc are excellent alternatives to avoid attendee distraction. These games will not only keep the attendees engaged but also reduce fatigue during the events. You can use them to reach out to exhibitors, connect with other companions, compete and collect points. In the end, everyone loves to win.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” - Alan Kay
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9. Benefits Of Hosting Virtual Events

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  • Budget-Friendly

    Hiring a venue for conducting an event along with food and drink, accommodation for speakers, and venue security can be very high-priced. With virtual events, these expenditures do not exist.

  • Flexibility Of Time

    Dreaming to have an entirely branded, multi-use event place that is accessible at any moment, from any location worldwide? With virtual events, it has turned into a reality.

  • Maximum Global Reach

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    Virtual events make it more convenient to scale, implying you can welcome more people at a reasonable cost.

  • Amplified Engagement

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    The virtual event offers a lot more options for engaging the attendees.
    Gamification, AR Photobooths, Quizzes, Giveaways/competitions, and talent hunt are some of the options, to begin with

  • Make Connections that Matter

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    Along with a slew of advantages, virtual events offer added convenience in making connections or interacting with peers. For this, you can create places dedicated to connecting, such as Virtual Networking lounges.

  • Customizable Structure

    What’s exceptional regarding virtual events is that they can be customized to your business necessities. Right from designing the URL to the entire event environment can be customized.

  • Easy to Collect Valuable Feedback

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    The virtual event helps in collecting feedback. You plan it in-advance. And can fine-tune your visitors’ experience. Live polls, surveys, Push Feedback forms, Q&A and rating systems are effective ways to find out audience preferences for future events.

  • Environment Friendly

    We all know that in-person events are a source of paper wastage. And this is not good for the environment. Virtual events assist in minimizing the carbon footprint which leads to a cleaner environment.

  • Real-Time Detailed Event Analytics

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    Keeping a tab on visitor’s activity is not possible in a physical event. But this is not the case with the virtual one. You can maintain Real-time user activity logs. This can include the number of people who joined a live session, attendee locations, live chat and networking options. Also, you can see who got in touch with a particular exhibitor or sponsor, what they interacted, shared, downloaded, number of sessions they attended and a lot more.

  • High Success Rate

    The biggest concern for anyone is the result of their event. And virtual events have proved their worth in a shorter period by delivering optimal results.

The research by Technavio suggests that – The virtual events market will grow by $ 269.20 bn during 2021-2025. Whereas the year-over-year growth rate of the virtual event market for 2021 is estimated at 40.37%.

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10. ROI Effects

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Long-term ROI is tricky to estimate right away. Both physical and virtual events give great brand associations to the thoughts of the participants. The exception is that virtual events are capable of running longer, gaining more leads, and enhancing global reach. The big data collected during the event also generates a huge amount of revenue in sales as a consequence of lead sustaining. The champion? It depends on your organization’s goals, but the opportunities with virtual events are practically endless. How severely you approach virtual event ROI will leave an influence on the amount of the data you get. It’s amazingly beneficial for you to be capable of making revisions for future formats and to keep delivering excellence to your stakeholders.

11. How To Avoid Errors At Virtual Events?

Today, most virtual platforms already have built-in tech support. Most of the virtual event platforms have put their help and troubleshooting solutions on their platform. The only method by which you’ll really feel pleased with your technology and planning is to perform a dry run using them before your event. Test the virtual platform you’ll be using. Does it work accurately according to what you have planned? How reliable is your internet connection? By testing your equipment’s configurations and features, you can eliminate major obstacles. Also, you should have certain access control of the main event, in case if any technical error occurs or the attendee is unable to login or enter another speaker’s room, there should be immediate help on the platform.

  • Virtual Event Platforms must have an already built-in tech support.
  • Perform a dry run on the platform based on the planned show flow before your event.
  • Perform a through system check.
  • Ensure that you have a reliable network connection.
  • Check your equipment configurations to avoid device crashes.

12. How To Prepare Better For Your Next Events?

In a virtual event, organizers can promptly analyze key metrics like the interaction level of participants, which auditorium gained a larger attendance, which presentation was viewed the most, and more. An analysis of this sort will let you assess the effect and consequences of your event and also allow you to prepare better for the forthcoming events. This report will further assist in getting more leads and more sponsors for the future.

  • Keep a track of the key metrics & data that worked well during the event.
  • Take a learning about the features that did not gain much recognition, so you know what not to include for your next format.
“We hope this virtual event manual was extremely beneficial and we were
able to guide you on what virtual events are and how they are becoming more popular and adaptable.”

Connect with Dreamcast today to make your virtual event a success.

13. FAQ'S