Searches for virtual event-related information on Google have increased 50-fold since the start of March 2020, showing there is a clear, growing demand for virtual conferences, webinars and other events.
However, organisations should not make the mistake of assuming virtual events are simply a cheap, fast alternative to their live events. The virtual event market is becoming increasingly crowded, and companies need good strategy, content and marketing to stand out from the crowd.
Events must be thoughtfully designed to encourage audience participation, ensuring participants feel the experience has been valuable. The three key questions any organisation must consider when hosting a virtual event are:
-Is the format right?
Senior executives often find networking a key factor in choosing which events to attend, meaning that smaller virtual roundtables may work well to engage the C-suite, while broadcast webinars can work well for panel discussions, product demonstrations and launches.
-How will your virtual event be promoted?
Virtual events should be promoted across multiple channels, with integrated digital advertising and social media promotion.
-What is the value to my audience?
Although the barriers to attending a virtual event are low, the barriers to not attending are equally low. Virtual event organisers must consider what concrete benefit attendance has to their audience, and ensure this is communicated.
How will success be measured?
The experts interviewed for this eBook agreed that capturing and analysing data from virtual events is vital. Understanding who participated, what questions they might have asked, and what topics they were interested in allows more tailored follow-up by sales, ensuring that virtual events deliver the best possible ROI.
Few organisations currently have all the skills available in-house to plan, deliver and follow-up on virtual events. Over the coming years, these skills must be built, either internally, or through partnerships with capable third parties that have proven expertise in creating engaging virtual events.