Just when we thought COVID-19 cancellations were finally a thing of the past, the roller coaster continues to rise and fall, and it has become clear that, like many things today, the timing of the return of in-person events is still somewhat blurry.
Lucky for us, recent research by Any Road (a leading data and insights platform) shows that online events are becoming mainstream and now have a similar impact on brand perception as in-person events. NPS scores for online events are also soaring and landing close to those of in-person events.
So, if you’ve once again been faced with cancelling an in-person event or it just feels too risky to plan one soon, don’t fret – online events are making a huge impact, and we’re here to help; Moving events online is what we’re tackling today!
Okay, ready to turn your in-person event into an engaging virtual one? If your answer is yes, keep reading for 5 key ideas to quickly and smoothly convert your physical event to a virtual one:
1. Review your goals and understand what your community wants
As you dive into virtual events, understand that your virtual event strategy will not be 100% the same as your live event strategy – and that’s okay. Adjusting your plan for virtual events opens up new possibilities, and that’s exciting, but there are a couple of things to consider before moving forward.
First and foremost, revisit your goals and priorities. Ask questions such as:
- What needs to change with a virtual event?
- What type of event will work best?
- What can be replicated and what just won’t work?
- What content types will work best?
- What programs generate the best results?
The main goal is to understand the foundation of your event and the real reason why participants want to attend it. If you can attract an audience, deliver value and drive action, you’ll have yourself a winning virtual recipe.
2. Think Globally, Not Locally
When you go virtual, you go global. You may lose the human-to-human contact that a live event fosters, but you gain the ability to expand your event to a broader universe in return. Take this opportunity to uncover new markets and expand the reach of your attendee pool outside your usual sphere. Right now, community is more important than ever before, and yours may be wider than you think, so cast your web as wide as possible.
3. Redefine “Engagement”
This is a time to really get creative, have a point of difference, and stand out from the crowd. With online fatigue growing, having unique audience engagement is an absolute must to mimic the face-to-face atmosphere and keep audience attention. Just like live events, you must give attendees a reason to be interactive; from online quizzes to audience polls; to virtual Q & A’s, you can initiate interaction with attendees through live, active participation, not just passive viewing. Even gamification features can work and will support keeping viewers in the moment and distraction at a minimum.
4. Find the Right Partner
There’s more to producing a virtual event than downloading Zoom and changing your background. When transforming a vision from live to digital, it’s a whole new world! Ensure you have the right people in your corner who understand how to transform your plans into the virtual world. And what a coincidence we know a team that would be perfect (wink wink). Click here to connect with the April5 team. We’d love to hear about the plans you have in the pipeline.
5. Create Community & Connection
Just because we’re screen to screen and not face to face doesn’t mean we should lose a sense of connection. Virtual networking exists too. Think breakout rooms (aka virtual hangouts) where people can connect through shared experience or share a virtual happy hour – Rosè anyone?
Just like your speakers, have attendees share short bios and connect via social channels like LinkedIn or Slack. This helps people get a sense of who’s on the other side of the screen and creates the opportunity for lasting connections even after logging off.
Creating personalisation and personal connection, wherever you can throughout the event, is a crucial way to keep people engaged and make a virtual event feel as authentic as a live experience.
With these tips in mind and an experienced partner to help you with technology, infrastructure, and marketing, nothing is standing in your way of transforming your live event into a powerful and impactful virtual one.