Due to the pandemic and social restrictions in the past year, some Australian companies have held their annual general meetings completely virtually, while other businesses and organisations have dipped their toe into hosting a variety of virtual events realising they can work well and even attract more attendees and increase audience engagement than an IRL (in real life) event.
Are you thinking about taking your next physical (IRL) event into the digital world? Here’s 6 easy ways to get started.
If one of the reasons you’ve been hesitant to host a virtual event is that you fear you’ll lose the authenticity and community that comes from gathering in-person, that’s a fair concern. In the past it has been difficult to replicate the experience of a live event— but this doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Quality virtual event platforms have put a lot of energy in recent years into improving their technology so that the virtual experience replicates and in some cases even enhances many of the positive things that we love about live events. Many offer exceptional HD-audio and visual quality, and are equipped with features such as live chat, Q&A sessions, and live polling to encourage interactivity.
Events that work well live streamed include:
An easy way to get started with virtual events is to pre-record your event, edit it for length and clarity and promote it online. This allows you to test the waters and see how your audience engages with your content. You can also segue into completely virtual events by hosting a hybrid event, in which you have both virtual and physical attendees.
Pre-recorded events are a great option for educational organisations who don’t require the same level of interactivity and want to supply learning-based materials.
Events that work well when pre-recorded include:
One of the benefits of moving your physical events online is the accessibility. Not only can you attract attendees from all corners of the world (which is great for your bottom dollar) but the speakers you can engage also open up a whole new world of opportunity.
If you’re worried about whether people who enjoy your physical events are going to be open to making the move online with you, offer them extra value in the form of exciting speakers you may not have been able to secure for your physical event.
As an added bonus, speakers often charge less for virtual events than they do in-person, and you’ll save the cost of transporting and accommodating them.
Including take-home assets like brochures, PDFs, study guides and other collateral is a key component to many physical events. And there's a good reason for this. Not only do they help keep your brand top of mind, act as marketing collateral and handy study aids, but they help attendees remain engaged with your content throughout event proceedings.
The good news is that there’s no reason why you can’t bring these valuable assets with you from the physical to the digital world. Use the guest registration process to direct attendees to your virtual files, so they have access to them throughout the event.
If you use a managed virtual event provider, you can even use insights from the detailed post-event report they send you to segment your attendees and supply them with customised follow up materials based on their interaction data and other indicators.
Part of the transition process from physical to digital is keeping your existing attendee base excited while vying for the new audiences that have opened up now that your potential reach has increased. A great way to keep this momentum going is to use your online communities such as social media and client lists, to create touch points before your event begins online.
For example, you could set up a Facebook or LinkedIn Group for prospective event attendees and invite all your followers to join. Encourage group members to then send out invites to their networks. Build buzz for your event by leaking teasers or highlighting your speakers. Keep these community touch points going throughout your event by posting talking points in these groups to encourage conversation throughout the event. You can even offer virtual breakout sessions so that people can get together for a face-to-face meet and greet.
At the end of the day, the virtual event platform that you choose will make a big difference in how seamlessly you transition from physical to virtual events.
The biggest leg up that you can give yourself is choosing a platform that offers a managed event service, where a team of professionals oversee the end-to-end running of your event and ensure that it is seamless. Not only will they give you invaluable advice on how to make the transition, but good virtual event providers also offer 24/7 support pre, during and post-event, so that you have peace of mind knowing it’s going to be stress-free and successful.
Look for a managed virtual event platform (VEP) that has:
If you’re ready to enjoy all the benefits of moving your physical event online, get in touch with the team at Express Virtual Meetings. We are experts managed virtual events and can give you the best advice to fit your unique circumstances. You can work with us to manage your hybrid event too if you need to combine your in-person event with a virtual one to satisfy the needs of your entire audience.
We’re also completely Australian-owned and operated with 20+ years of experience helping Australian organisations of all types, with their video conferencing needs.
We’re confident that you’ll love hosting your next virtual event with us, so we’re backing it with a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee. Request a callback with the team or call us on 1300 849 300 between 6 am and 9 pm Monday to Friday (excluding Australian national public holidays). You can also chat with a real person on weekdays from 9 am - 5 pm (bottom right of your screen).
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