How to plan and execute a successful virtual event

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Once upon a time, I predict that the majority of your customers would have balked at the idea of a virtual event.  Skype, Facetime, and the odd webinar were about as adventurous as most of us got with online events a year ago.  Now virtual events and even hybrid events are much more mainstream, but how do you plan and execute a successful virtual event?

First of all, you need to treat it like any other marketing campaign and set a goal.  If you don’t know what you want to achieve with an event you won’t be focused and you will not know if your event was a success.  You won’t even know who to invite!  When you know what the goal of your event is, you will know who to invite and how to measure its success.

Once you know why you are doing the event, the next step is to set the theme – one single theme!  When you have the captive attention of your customers, for instance at a new product or service launch, it can be tempting to spend half of the time recapping everything else you do, or muddying the message with other things you want to tell them.  The key to a successful event is one theme, one goal.

The other most important part in planning an event is inviting people.  Whatever your goal is, a virtual event is only going to be deemed successful if people actually attend.  Start with your existing customers, and reach out to them in any way you can, including fliers, invitations, and email marketing.  Having existing happy customers interacting with potential customers allows them to act as influencers, selling on your behalf, so even if the campaign targets new customers, it does not hurt to have some of your biggest supporters there to cheer you on!  Then go wider with social media, local media, influencers and more. 

Those are the main planning areas, but what other key things do you need to think of when planning your event?

  1. The format: Will it be a seminar, a workshop, or a keynote?
  2. The platform: Vimeo paywall, Zoom webinar, Facebook livestream – there are a lot of options out there, which suits your needs best?
  3. The host: Who will be the ‘MC’ of your event, introducing speakers and covering the Q&A if there is one?
  4. The manager: Who will be fielding the technical issues, managing the chat function and answering any live social media or email questions?
  5. The venue(s): Will your speakers be in their homes or offices?  How will they manage other household members?  Can you vet their backgrounds before they go online? 
  6. The technology
    Are your speakers’ cameras and microphones high enough quality? What is their lighting like?
  7. When will it be held?
    Do you need to consider time differences? Should it be during work hours or in the evening?  How long should it last for?

Just like putting on a live in-person event, there are a lot of decisions to be made to put on a virtual event, but the more you plan, the bigger a success it will be – good luck!

If you think you might need a helping hand in planning and executing your virtual events this year, get in touch with us at LJM VA Services! We would love the opportunity to help you make your virtual events a success.

 

 

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