VIP room at virtual event

Networking is the number one reason that people attend events. Being able to connect with your peers and industry leaders in a meaningful way is what brings people together at conferences and events. With virtual events and experiences taking center stage, virtual networking events are becoming immensely popular and have proven to support physical events by reaching a larger group of people without any geographical barriers. So how do you put on an event where people feel like they are able to connect in a meaningful way online? 

People might find virtual networking events a scary place to strike up a conversation. However, with the right virtual event platform features such as fun games, polls or breakout rooms, you can initiate tons of connections and conversations from your virtual experience.

Guide to Hosting A Successful Virtual Event

If you’re trying to figure out the best way to host successful virtual networking events, the following guide will help you find the inspiration you need to design your next event.

virtual presentation panel

Before the virtual networking event

1. Come up with the overall plan

What are your event goals? What are you looking to achieve from the event? It’s important to sit down and plan the skeleton of the event to understand your overall goals and how you will structure the event. This plan will help you define your customer base, what kind of activities you will have, who the guest speakers will be and what will drive people to the event.

2. Plan the overall design

Take some time to come up with a theme and the branding for the event. People love to be a part of a fun theme and it’s a great way to have your audience engaged from the start! Take this planning phase to figure out how you want the flow of the event to be such as Q/A sessions and breakout rooms for attendees to network in. Additionally, think about your branding and how you want your business to be seen at the event.

3. Choose the right platform

Finding the right platform for your event is extremely important. As you understand your goals and what you need for the event, you need to find the platform that will have all the features that will drive engagement and ensure a smooth event. This could be features like gamification, social media integration, customer support and other networking capabilities.

4. Figure out the logistics

There are so many platforms and apps out there for virtual events. It’s important to figure out the logistics of how you will bring people together. Make sure you test the platform out completely and ensure that attendees are able to seamlessly log in and navigate the platform. You don’t want your attendees to be frustrated with technical difficulties or other issues that can be ironed out before the event goes live. Additionally, try to have a calendar invite with all the information required so everyone will be able to get a reminder and be able to access the event easily.

5. Decide on the guest count

You don’t want to be stuck with a huge guest count where it’s chaotic for your attendees to network with each other. Consider keeping your count to a manageable size. If your group can be segmented, it might be a good idea to break them up depending on the segments. You can do this by creating breakout rooms that are relevant for each group depending on specialties and topics.

6. Market your networking event

Don’t forget to promote your event! Use social media and other marketing channels to get word of your event out there. You can create a social media contest to encourage sharing among attendees and get their help in spreading the word. Depending on your budget you can even send relevant gift bags to further promote your event.

panel discussion at a hybrid event

During the virtual networking event

1. Have an introduction session

Depending on how large your guest list is, it could be a fun idea to have an introductory session where attendees can introduce themselves to each other. This can also happen in breakout rooms or other sessions to facilitate conversation before other events start.

2. Start the conversations (if needed)

It could be a good idea to head to chat rooms or other chat sessions and start a conversation with a question to encourage participation. Sometimes attendees might not want to be the first to say something or they might not know how to start a conversation. You could use this opportunity to create a game or a fun quiz around topics to further encourage conversation.

3. Make sure sessions aren’t drawn out

People have short attention spans. While you might have made sure video broadcasts aren’t too long, you cannot predict what your guest speakers might do. If you feel that topics are getting drawn out or that speakers are going off on a tangent, it could be a good idea to set reminders or have a way to signal them when it’s time for them to wrap up. This will only help make sure the event continues to run smoothly without any delays. 

virtual meeting room

After the virtual networking event

1. Send a thank you note

Make sure to send a thank you note or email after the event to all your attendees. This will help the attendees continue to feel connected and give them the opportunity to provide feedback  after the event. It could be a fun idea to include any highlights from the conference to further gauge attendees’ memories.

2. Gather feedback

When you send your thank you notes, use this as an opportunity to gather feedback for any improvement in the future. You can send out a post-event survey or poll to make it as seamless as possible for people to respond.

3. Analyze the event

Once you gather your reports on engagement and participation, it’s important to analyze this report to see where and what the strong points were of the event and where you could improve. The numbers you get will be extremely telling in understanding your audience further so you can continue to tailor your services to what your target audience wants.

The more you host virtual events, the more comfortable you will be and understand how your audience works. It might take a while to give everyone exactly what they want, but that’s what feedback is for and what will help you continue to improve and host successful virtual networking events in the future!

Hybrid events have almost become the norm for businesses that host events and conferences. If the goal of your event is to create awareness and reach a wide audience - hybrid events can do just that and go above and beyond your target reach. Not only are you able to increase exposure to your brand but you can also make a lot more revenue in the long run.

Still trying to convince yourself why hosting a hybrid event is a good idea? We’re going to share with you some major benefits you and your business can gain from a hybrid event.

7 Benefits of Hosting a Hybrid Event

There are so many factors that have made hybrid events a popular way to host events. From increased engagement opportunities to making more profits, here are seven benefits your business can take advantage of.

1. Increased reach and attendance opportunity

One of the biggest advantages of a hybrid event is the large audience your event can attract. Not only do you have in-person attendees but you also have a virtual audience that can attend from anywhere. some of the major factors that deter people from attending events is the time restraints and travel costs that come with it. With hybrid events, participants have the choice to attend in person or decide to log on from their bedrooms.

Additionally, having your event streamed online allows social media sharing and videos to be shared with other potential customers. Imagine the overall reach your event and brand can have by attracting multiple customers in different avenues.

2. Improved engagement at a hybrid event

You can provide the engagement tools to boost participation and networking opportunities among audience members for your event. Gamification and social media integration is an integral part of a hybrid event that can keep your audience engaged and immersed the entire time. One of the main aspects of a conference or an event is the ability to network with peers and industry leaders. Make sure you have an easy way for attendees to interact with each other.

Examples of networking opportunities include live Q&A sessions, break-out rooms, surveys and polls, live chats and much more. Take advantage of offering multiple features that will get the audience chatting among themselves as well as with virtual participants. 

3. Reduces overall costs for attendees

With in-person conferences, there are so many costs to consider such as tickets, hotel stays and meal stipends. Sometimes, these costs factor into whether someone would want to or be able to attend an event. Additionally, companies might not have the budget to send their employees to an event. By providing the option of attending virtually, you reduce overall costs for attendees, giving them more of a chance to attend your event.

Giving your target audience the chance to attend virtually opens the doors for more attendance and the possibility of increasing exposure with your potential attendees.

virtual presentation

4. Efficient and effective data collection

Data collection is of the most valuable aspects of having a virtual audience. While you can track certain engagements and feedback from in-person attendees, by adding a virtual element you can truly track and monitor how your audience engages, where they were spending most of their time and what the most popular section of the event was.

This is vital information that can help you provide better services in the future and truly measure, analyze and understand who your audience is and what they like.

5. Flexibility and adaptability

What’s amazing about offering a hybrid event is that they are extremely flexible and adaptable to any situation. While we can’t always predict the weather correctly or control flight changes, hybrid events can be a great option for attendees to have as a backup if they are running late or even missed their flight.

On the other hand, hosts are able to continue with the event if the venue cancels on them or a physical event cannot take place for some reason. It’s a win-win for any scenario.

6. Attractive to sponsors

Sponsors love a hybrid event because they know the reach and awareness it can generate. When you find a sponsor that suits your audience and aligns with your values, you can reduce your overall costs. How? Sponsors pay you to place their ads and other marketing materials to showcase during events.

You can also have full control of this and charge accordingly to ensure that your sponsors don’t make your audience feel that they are being spammed. 

7. Fresh revenue stream

If you’re looking for a way to grow your revenue, a hybrid event is the easiest and best way to do so. Not only is this an innovative solutions for your business, by adding the hybrid element you can generate a fresh stream of revenue from your virtual participants in addition to your in-person attendees.

Hybrid events are attracting a lot of customers as people find it convenient to attend and network. Because your reach is greater, the potential for profits is also greater.

Start Planning Your Next Hybrid Event

Hybrid events will only give your company an edge. Widen your reach and give your clients and customers a new way of doing business. A great avenue for you to make more $$$ and generate new customers awaits. If you’re not sure where to start, we've got the perfect guide for you. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Planning a Successful Hybrid Event to feel inspired.

GVAS virtual conference with space theme and audience

Meet the ‘new norm’ of networking - Hybrid Events. Last year we were wowed by the possibilities and reach of virtual events and experiences. So many individuals were able to attend events globally through their screens and continued to keep connections and conferences alive among lockdown and social distancing rules. While in-person events may be coming back, you can’t deny the benefits of virtual events for business.

So, what does that mean for events moving forward? Here’s introducing hybrid events.

What is a Hybrid Event?

Let’s first chat about what a hybrid event is. A hybrid event will have a mix of virtual and in-person attendees. While there is the option for attendees to go to a venue to experience the event, they will also have the option to sign in online if they are unable to make it in person. 

Usually, travel expenses and distance are major factors for people not being able to attend conferences and events. With hybrid events, attendees have the opportunity to participate and engage in important conferences and events in the comfort of their own homes.

How to Host a Hybrid Event

panel discussion at a hybrid event

In order to host a successful hybrid event, you need to go above and beyond simply recording the in-person event and streaming it to your virtual audience. You need to make every attendee, in person or virtual, feel like they are at the event and keep them engaged throughout.

Let’s go back to the drawing board and come up with the important things you need to do and plan for in order to host a successful hybrid event that will make you money.

1. Prepare in-person attendees and speakers

One of the most important ways to ensure your event will be a success and that it will run smoothly from start to end is preparation. The tricky part of hybrid events is that not only are you meeting the needs of the people who are physically at the event but even of those who are attending virtually. This means that all the speakers, presentations, live shows, performances, and Q&A sessions need to be effective when being live-streamed. 

It's a good idea to run rehearsals with speakers and with the technology you are using for the event. This will help you fine-tune any audio and video issues that may arise. You need to make sure that everyone tuning into the event will be able to access it and also enjoy the clear streaming and audio from beginning to end.

2. Choose the right platform

Choosing the right virtual event platform is important. Every event is different and you need to find the one that suits your event needs appropriately. As you plan out your event, you need to make sure that the virtual event platform has these important features:

3. Find innovative ways for attendees to stay engaged

Remember, you are not only engaging a physical audience, but also a virtual one. Your audience could also be from all over the country or even the globe! Keeping all attendees engaged during your event will be tricky but doable if planned correctly. Make sure to encourage participants to post on social media and share their experiences on their accounts. 

Keep discussions consistent and encourage attendees to network in chat rooms and break-out rooms with the virtual audiences. Most importantly, ensure that the guest speaker is able to communicate and answer questions from the live audience as well as with the virtual participants so no one feels left out.

4. Stay flexible and open to ideas

 If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for any issues or hiccups that might come your way. It’s important to try and stay flexible if any changes within your speakers and sponsors occur. Whether this means to have back ups or switch to a virtual presentation you should be ready for anything. You can even allow for the audience to share their opinion and ideas that could improve user experience.

Why Should You Host Hybrid Events?

virtual presentation panel

In-person conferences will start picking up again, but that doesn’t mean you should say goodbye to virtual events any time soon. Here’s why you should consider hosting hybrid events moving forward:

1. Wider reach at hybrid events

The beauty of a hybrid event is that you can reach a much wider audience. Without the physical barrier of distance and costs of hotel stays, you are able to reach attendees in different parts of the country and even the world! Additionally, people who are not able to come because of cost, time or other restrictions, have the flexibility now to attend from wherever they want to with ease, giving them more of a reason to attend overall. 

2. Ability to collect more data

The added element of virtual participants allows for extra capabilities of capturing data and analyzing patterns they exhibited during the event. This is valuable information that can help companies generate leads, audit content and understand what their audience is really looking for.

With this information, businesses will be able to improve on their offering and tailor their products and services accordingly. Imagine all the revenue your business can incur when you tailor your services exactly to your audience's tastes and preferences.

3. Increase engagement with your brand

Technology has made so much possible. Not only are we able to instantly connect with someone from across the world, but we are able to share with and reach a larger audience. Hybrid events allow you to be creative and create components for the virtual audience to contribute to and have fun with during an event.

We are also able to gain valuable feedback and other questions answered by sharing surveys and polls that make it easy for people to submit. There are so many ways for your brand to create conversations with your audience than ever before. This is extremely important to keep your customers constantly engaged and entice them to share your brand with others.

Questions To Ask Yourself When Planning Hybrid Events

planning process

When planning any event, you first need to ask yourself a few important questions in order to have a solid plan moving forward. Some important questions to ask yourself before planning a hybrid event include:

The Future of Events is Hybrid

There are so many benefits to hosting hybrid events for your business. Imagine the possibility of reaching hundreds of millions of people worldwide who can learn more about your company and build on their interest through your conferences because they can log on from anywhere!

If you’re new to planning virtual events, check out our Ultimate Guide to Planning a Virtual Event to get inspired to design your next virtual event.

virtual-presentation-with-audience

Managing a virtual team has been a big learning moment for managers. When dealing with remote employees, managers have been trying to ensure everyone feels involved and a part of the team. Cue in the virtual meeting. Leading a virtual meeting or think tank conference might not be new but has become the new norm of conducting meetings nowadays. While we acknowledge that getting a large group together online and somehow keeping their attention throughout the event can be a little tricky, there are ways to overcome this obstacle and manage virtual meetings to deliver success.

An effective virtual meeting is one where all employees feel like they were able to share updates and gain insights into projects and other tasks. Employees need to feel like they are still a part of the team, even though they are not physically present. This is one of the biggest challenges of managing a remote team.

Top Secrets to Lead An Effective Virtual Meeting

When planning your virtual meeting, there are a few secrets to keep in mind to ensure an engaging and informative discussion takes place. The following tips will help give you an advantage when it comes to leading virtual meetings and conferences with your team.

1. Make video mandatory

Most people like to hide behind their screens, especially when they don’t need to have their video on during a meeting. This opens up the floor to zone out or do other things during the meeting. In order to avoid this issue, make sure your meeting requires all team members to have their videos on so that they don’t have a choice but to be attentive to what’s going on. This will force employees to pay attention whether they have something to say or not.

2. Have a virtual meeting agenda

Time is valuable. When you lead a virtual meeting, you need to make sure you are keeping time and following your agenda accordingly. Having a prepared schedule will keep you on track and also keep the audience focused on the presentation. Sometimes discussions can go on longer than expected and while this is okay sometimes, you need to bring the chatter back to the topic. Everyone has a busy schedule and you need to be mindful of that. Try to navigate away from tangents or opt to continue longer discussions after the meeting. 

3. Open with a question

A thought provoking or powerful question will draw your audience towards you from the start of the event. Think of opening the meeting with a question that sparks conversation. Having a good opening line will establish instant connection between you and the audience from the beginning. You will also feel a boost of confidence if you start the meeting powerfully.

4. Connection is key

Connecting with your audience is a top priority. Make sure you are empathetic, informed and approachable to your audience. Your tone and facial expressions are important. It is what your audience will be taking note of and those features are what will set the tone of the entire meeting. This also means that as employees talk to you or one another, everyone should maintain respect and have empathy to ensure the meeting is effective and efficient.

virtual meeting room

5. Everyone should get chance to speak

As you facilitate the virtual meeting, it is important to open up the platform for everyone to speak up their thoughts, answer or ask questions. If time permits, ensure that everyone has gotten the chance to share what’s on their mind as you don’t want to miss something important. This will also give an opportunity for the more quieter employees to be able to share their thoughts and give any important updates as necessary. 

6. Keep people engaged and involved

You need to keep your audience engaged throughout the meeting. In order to capture and maintain your employees' attention, your presentation should be on point, contain visuals and should have elements of audience engagement. This could include break-out rooms for the team to discuss, real time polls/Q&A and maybe even a light game to end the meeting with.

7. Virtual meeting goal reminder

Every meeting has a goal. As you begin the meeting you will talk about the goal, therefore, you need to have a reminder of the goal at some point of the meeting. You can do this with having your goal written down on every slide or even set it as the title of the meeting.

8. Set rules and guidelines

Guidelines are set to ensure a smooth run of any event or meeting. Make sure to send attendees your rules for the meeting. This will help them understand what to expect and what is expected of them. For example, you could set guidelines for attendees to log on 5 minutes earlier. You can also request for everyone to have clean backgrounds free of clutter and even ask attendees to stay muted until they need to speak.

The Virtual Meeting Might Be Here to Stay

We know there are many challenges that come with navigating a more digital world. The business landscape is changing and we need to be proactive to find innovative solutions. The good news is, we can always learn from past mishaps and make the next meeting or agenda an even smoother and more successful one. 

Before you plan your next virtual event, our guide to hosting successful virtual events will help ensure you plan a great meeting from the start.

Virtual awards show with a stage and tables

We can’t deny the fact that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay. As you plan your agenda of the event event, you need to think about audience engagement throughout the virtual conference. After all, your attendees are probably going be logging on to the event from their couches. Having them completely immersed in your virtual event is your key to success.

“It's important to understand your target audience and how they digest content to give them the best possible experience." Stephen Handisides - CEO of V-Unite.

This brings us back to the big question, “With thousands of individuals attending your virtual event, how will you ensure audience engagement throughout virtual event?”

Ideas to Improve Audience Engagement During a Virtual Event

You need to plan your event accordingly and have some tricks up your sleeve that will ensure that your audience will stay engaged in the virtual experience you provide. Here are some helpful ideas to start thinking about today.

1. Create a theme

Go all out and add a theme to your virtual event. Whether you choose an intergalactic theme where you take everyone to space, or opt for a gala dinner to present awards to your employees, setting a theme for the event is an instant crowd pleaser.

Think about it. If you choose to do a fun 60s or 90s theme, your attendees will love to use this as an excuse to dress up at home. Attendees will be excited about having to switch up their routine and wear a fun outfit for an event they are attending from home.

2. Social media contest

Everybody likes to win prizes! Use social media to your advantage and create a contest that encourages attendees and even prospective attendees to engage and promote the event on social media. We mention prospective attendees as this contest could potentially be a way to attract a wider audience and get them to attend your virtual event.

You will be surprised how competitive your attendees will get with these competitions. You also just got an easy boost of awareness around your event.

3. Content. And More Content

As you plan your virtual event, you need to make sure you are going to have content that is relevant and important to your audience. Remember, your audience is attending this conference through a screen. You need to make sure they won't get easily distracted and zone out if they are bored.

The content you are providing should be engaging and also thought-provoking so the audience will be intrigued as the event goes on. A good idea could be to have break-out rooms to encourage different types of discussions after each speaker or presentation to continue the conversation.

4. Add gamification features

Similar to the social media contest, adding gamification features to your event is another exciting way for the audience to get involved. You could design a leaderboard for the audience to earn points as they move around the virtual platform. Trust us, people get competitive! You can also have interactive games at sponsored booths to help them stay engaged during the event.

GVAS virtual conference with space theme and audience

5. Live Q&A series

If you have live speakers and presentations at your virtual event, it could be a good idea to have a live Q&A session for the audience to get even more involved.

Especially for topics that are more complicated or focused on learning, a Q&A session where the audience can then ask questions after or share their feedback, will keep them around until the end. The Q&A sessions also ensure attendees feel involved which boosts engagement in the process.

6. Surprise guests

Keeping a little mystery around the event could cause intrigue and have the audience buzzing about who or what the surprise at the event could be. If possible, bring on a notable speaker or a surprise performance by a popular artist to really get the audience engaged and excited!

7. Live entertainment 

Virtual events can become heavy with speakers and presentations. It could be a good idea to have a "fun" room for the audience to take breaks during the event. Additionally, you could also plan a live performance mid-event to really get the crowd going during the conference. Plan events that may not be too information heavy so your audience does get too overwhelmed before the event ends.

8. Virtual gift bags

Depending on if budget prevails, you could send your audience a token of your appreciation with a gift bag related to the event. You can also gift your attendees something they could use during the event. Your audience would then most likely head to the booth where they can use the gift which could get them more engaged around the virtual platform.

9. Networking opportunities

One of the main reasons to have trade shows and conferences is for the networking possibilities. Your event should encourage peer to peer networking within your platform. Whether this is through break out rooms or online groups to facilitate chatting, networking capabilities is important.

There is a high possibility that your audience is at the event to network with industry leaders and other peers. You need to make sure they are able to connect with other attendees conveniently.

10. Polling series

An easy, yet effective way to ensure audience engagement is to have polling series before, after and throughout your event. This will keep the communication lines open and will also keep the feedback coming during the event. Additionally, as you get this feedback, you might be able to make small changes to improve user experience and ensure your audience is staying engaged. 

Conference room for virtual meetings

Audience Engagement is Important

You need to make your audience feel like they are as much part of a ‘live’ event as possible. If your attendees feel like they were able to network with peers from your event, they will keep coming back for more.

Now that you have these techniques to consider for your next event, make sure you check out our ultimate guide for hosting successful virtual events as you plan your next virtual experience. 

Woman in a virtual office

According to Capterra, the leading online resource for business software buyers, V-Unite has been named one of the best virtual event platforms of 2021! Look no further than V-Unite as your virtual event platform for your future events.

We have the perfect software for you to design your own branded corporate events. Think trade shows, conferences and even think tank meetings. V-Unite also has bonus features like social media integration, gamification and other add ons to keep your audience engaged.

Virtual and hybrid events have become the new norm as more companies become remote. While we have all adapted to the WFH routine, meetings and events don't need to stop! Networking events, trade shows and other conferences are still important to conduct business and give employees and clients a sense of belonging. Additionally, these events and conferences give the audience the ability to network with their peers.

While we all might be craving an in-person event, virtual events are a great solution to continue business. Budgets, time restraints and travel can come in the way when it comes to attending an event. The solution? Finding the right virtual platform that can make you feel like you are at a live event. 

What is V-Unite?

V-Unite is an easy-to-use, cloud-based software application that enables organizations to save time and money conducting high-quality virtual events, conferences or trade shows. The virtual event platform empowers the user with the ability to set up, schedule and organize virtual events. Clients also have a choice of including multiple features including a hybrid of pre-recorded and live presentations for hosting their event.

The result? A fun and interactive virtual event experience that improves attendee participation and attention. V-Unite also allows the user to store and deliver their content for continued ongoing training objectives and future events.

Why Go Virtual?

Adaptability! Many successful events now incorporate a digital or online element in their business. Whether it's streaming content or live chat functionality to facilitate better attendee engagement. Companies are looking at virtual to increase their exposure and revenue by running a series of virtual events throughout the year. As the business climate evolves, it’s important to be proactive and adapt to every situation. That's how you can set your business up to thrive in any environment.

The pandemic has affected so many live events, conferences and even training and sales meetings. Why not overcome this obstacle and set up virtual sessions that can make your employees and clients feel like they are almost at a ‘live’ event?

Choosing a Virtual Platform

There are tons of benefits of hosting besides engagement at virtual event. Your business has the ability to increase exposure and make revenue with a virtual event. Whatever physical event you are planning, our team can help you create a virtual experience to match without the obvious physical handshake!

COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION

Virtual events are a cost effective solution for all. Without a physical venue and other costs associated with a live event, organizers are able to use their budget elsewhere. Attendees also benefit from travel and hotel cost savings. Not to mention the convenience of being able to attend an event from their homes.

TIME & RESOURCE EFFICIENT

By their nature, virtual events are time efficient. Not only does it save time for events’ personnel tasked with delivering the event but also for attendees who can save on travel time. Without the issue of time zones, attendees are further able to beat the time that factors into the commute of attending a big event.

IMPROVED ATTENDEE ENGAGEMENT

It is notable that delegates are far happier to ask questions online than at a live event. Attendees also find meeting other attendees much easier online than walking up to a ‘stranger’ to introduce themselves. The opportunities of networking at a virtual event are endless, thus creating a highly engaging event.

ON-DEMAND CONTENT

One of the best parts about a virtual event is the ability to share content on-demand after the event. Virtual events can be used alongside a live event, often to create an ‘on-demand’ element where event delegates can revisit the event to gather information, content and resources at a convenient time. Additionally, if a virtual event is created, it can be left ‘on-demand’ to attract those who were unable to attend the original virtual event.

V-Unite is a virtual platform like no other. Contact us now to schedule a demo!

virtual-convention-design

What is a virtual event?

You may be seeing virtual events popping up all around you lately. Before you ask the question “How can I create a virtual event?” you may want to understand what a virtual event really is. Over the past year we are no longer strangers to the term “virtual”. With so many businesses having to shift to remote work and host virtual meetings and training, we have all slowly adapted to incorporating the virtual world in business.

A virtual event is an event that is held online where a virtual event platform replaces the physical location. This means that one will attend the event from any location they choose via their chosen device as opposed to attending a physical event. With virtual events, the possibilities to reach a vast audience as endless.

Virtual events has given businesses more opportunity to connect with their audience. There are other benefits of hosting an event virtually including the ability for guests to be attending from anywhere in the world. With travel times reduced, people no longer have to worry about time difference or commuting across the country or world for an event. Additionally, costs associated with travel are also reduced due to the ease of accessibility. A virtual event also allows for teams to stay connected and collaborate in a similar fashion of being physically in a room together. 

Awards Room

 Where do I host a virtual event?

Where you choose to host your event will determine how you plan your event. It is extremely important that you choose a virtual event platform that will best suit your needs. In the process of choosing a platform, you may want to consider factors such as accessibility, privacy and data security, and functions. You want your event to be easy to access and this will depend on your audience of which you are reaching.

Additionally, having the right features is also important for the event. The event will need to have features such as gamification, social media integration, ability to have breakout rooms and more to make sure you engage your audience. Attendees will also be looking for networking opportunities which you will need to consider when you plan your virtual event.

Something to keep in mind, if your event is targeting an audience that is above 65 they might have limited technological skills. It could be a good idea to choose a platform which doesn’t require complicated downloads and installations to ensure no one is frustrated and confused when trying to attend the event.

exhibition hall

How do I plan my virtual event?

1. Create a schedule 

No matter the type or style of event you choose to host, the planning aspect of the event is crucial. Have a schedule leading up to the event and one designed for the event. Decide on factors  such as fees, registration and promotions. Once you have decided on what your event is and how your event will run you can create a schedule for the event that outlines the programme. This is a necessary step to stay organized and prepared. You don't want to be stressed out at the last minute.

2. Timing is key 

It is important to pick the most appropriate time and date to maximize attendance for your event. Pick dates and times which are most suitable for your audience by considering holidays, time-zones (if your event is global), and competing or similar events. If you struggle with accommodating certain time-zones for your event, consider allowing your audience to access your event content after the live event.

This goes back to choosing the right platform for your event. If you want to have on-demand viewing, pick a platform that includes video recordings, that can be played back afterwards. You can also add the ability to download or connect to any content such as files or links relating to the event.

3. Plan for technical difficulties

A crucial point to keep in mind. If there is anything we’ve all learnt form our WFH situations over the past year is that having a good and stable internet connection is important, but it still fails from time-to-time. Buttons don’t always work when you click them and other features might have a glitch when you need to use them. While it’s not the end of the world when these things happen, it's imperative you plan to have backup solution. 

The event should also have a live help booth or a help chat feature incase your attendees run into problems. These booths are great for you to be in the know of whether everything is running smoothly and helpful if you need to step in.

4. Attendee engagement

Keeping your attendees engaged and entertained is the most important thing. You will want your event to be engaging to your audience. You need to make sure they are busy! There is nothing worse than sitting in front of your screen being bored, so make sure you plan the event with ways to engage your attendees. You can do this by physically involving your audience in answering live polls or participating in break out rooms. Your audience is attending your event for a reason and you need to show them the value your event provides to them.

Working remotely has become the new normal. We can conclude that having meetings and events digitally is a concept that is is here to stay. Now is the time to wow your clients with your innovative solutions. Virtual events are the best way to start doing just that.

Man doing research on a laptop

Here’s a fun fact - virtual events CAN drive revenue. With the rise of virtual events bringing people together, various virtual conferences, trade shows, meetings, training sessions and other experiences have proven to be the best way to educate, connect and provide networking opportunities for clients and employees. If you’re a company that has just tapped into the virtual event space, now is a great opportunity to monetize on your online platforms as you adapt to the ever changing business climate. 

We all know that planning a virtual event is no easy matter. Just because the event is online doesn’t mean that you can let things slide. After all, you’re still trying to impress clients and show your audience you value their time and investment. Another great result that comes from a virtual event is revenue, and if done right, you can make a hefty profit when hosting virtual events.

How To Make Money When Hosting A Virtual Event - 6 Tips

If you’re ready to host a virtual conference or event, here are some helpful ideas on how you can make revenue with your virtual event.

1. Charge for event access

As you host a conference or event with notable speakers and engagement activities, you can and should charge per ticket for your audience to access the event. You have put in so much work to plan the event so why should you give it away for free? Additionally, guests are also more likely to attend an event if they have paid for it making it open to serious attendees only. This helps to keep your numbers more accurate as you continue to plan your event.

Pro tip:  To figure out the ticket price, make sure that it covers your overhead costs and that you will end up making a profit! Analyze your audience and what you are offering at the event to figure out the budget and what you think your attendees will be willing to pay for the ticket.

2. Tier ticket options

Depending on your event, you can offer different experiences for each tier of attendees. You can prove basic content to the least expensive tier and the most content for the most expensive tiers. You can offer extra content or other access and exclusive deals after the event.

Pro tip: Split your options into 3 tiers where you offer a regular experience with general access, a VIP experience where your audience can have more features or more access to the speakers and an all-access pass where your audience can have the full experience. This tier could also have exclusive on-demand content access for a limited time as well.

3. Video-On-Demand

Jumping off the previous idea, you can charge attendees an extra fee for them to be able to access video-on-demand after the event. This is a great way for your audience to be able to attend or view the event at a convenient time for them. Video-on-demand is also a great way to allow attendees that were unable to attend, be able to view your content.

Pro tip: You get to control who has access to content and how much they can view. Therefore, you are able to control the pricing model accordingly.

4. Sponsorships

Sponsorships are a great way to make some revenue from your virtual event. Advertisers and marketers love to be in front of their target audience. They will also be more open to collaborating with your brand if your audience and brand aligns with theirs. Use this as an opportunity to get paid for these companies to sponsor your event.

Pro tip: It’s important to make them see the value in sponsoring your event so treat them with care and thank them before AND after your event! 

5. Earn affiliate commission

When you offer demos for your software or products, it might be a good idea to sign up for their affiliate program to earn commission. When you're part of an affiliate program, you will get a unique link to use during your event when you are promoting them. If an attendee buys or registers anything from the affiliate companies, you earn a commission. It’s a win-win! 

Pro tip: Research the most relevant affiliate programs for your platform. These links should compliment your software or provide extra value when purchased.

6. Upsell during the virtual event

During your event, you want to make sure you are selling your product to your audience. Whether it’s special add-ons to your software, a package bundle, online courses or access to products before they launch in the market, you can and should expand your bottom line by having these products and services for sale at the event. 

Pro tip: Get your attendees excited about these products and how it will help them in their work and business. This in turn will also help convert your attendees into loyal customers in the future. 

Drive Success with Your Virtual Event

Virtual events are here to stay. While in-person events will start coming back, we will continue to have the element of signing on virtually moving forward As you gear up for event season, you need to gauge the business climate and make sure you are not missing out on reaching potential customers. With the virtual element, the possibilities of reaching a wide audience are endless. We hope these quick tips will help you start making revenue and get you in the full swing of planning your next virtual event!

virtual-event-design

The rise of technology has opened so many doors. The biggest door it has opened for us is the door to the virtual world. With the pandemic affecting live meetings and events, moving online to virtual events has been the solution to continue training, daily meetings and even hosting employee morale-building workshops. It's no doubt virtual events have taken center stage lately. Which brings us to the big question, “How do we host a successful virtual event?” Our answer? We have the ultimate virtual event guide ready for you.

Just like planning a regular in-person event, the most important aspect of planning a virtual event is figuring out how to successfully keep your audience engaged. Whether it’s having inspirational speakers or an exciting performance, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when planning and executing a virtual event.

Ultimate Guide to Hosting A Successful Virtual Event

There are a few important tips to keep in mind to ensure the event runs smoothly. Follow along for the ultimate virtual event guide to hosting a successful virtual event - whether it is a conference, trade show, meeting or training.

Before the Virtual Event

planning process

1. Choose the most relevant platform

The first step in planning a virtual event is choosing the right virtual event platform. Your event might need certain features that one platform does better than others. Your audience needs to know how they will log in and any information that will help them sign on easily. They also need to know if they need to download an app or other software to attend the event.

It’s important to choose this platform carefully as not every platform works for every event. For example, you may choose Instagram Live for hosting interviews or briefings, or for larger events, Zoom or Teams. There is also engaging software that provides animations and avatars to make your event more unique and personalized.

2. Pick the right time

Taking a little extra time to research the most appropriate time to host your virtual event is important. You need to keep in mind important holidays and that there are no other big events coinciding with your event. You also need to consider when your audience will be able to log on and enjoy the event.

If you’re hosting a global event, it could be a good idea to go through your analytics to see what is the most popular time is for your community to be online and engaged. You can even conduct a survey to gauge the best time from prospective attendees. This is extremely important to make sure you get the attendance you need for the event.

3. Marketing is your best friend

You need to start putting the word out there, ASAP. Use all the appropriate tools and online channels to market your event and spread the word to your target audience. Let your potential attendees know about the key speakers, performances, networking opportunities and everything else they will gain from attending the event.

There are so many ways to market to your audience but you need to take a strategic approach when doing so. You will need to entice your target audience and show them what value you are providing at the event.  Using social media channels, online videos, and other social platforms are a great way to market your event to a large audience at a relatively low cost.

4. Make sure to register your audience

It’s helpful for you to start registering your audience before the virtual event. Not only to collect their information but to keep them updated on speakers and other information leading up to the conference. This is a great way to start engaging attendees and get them excited for the upcoming event.

Additionally, your audience will be able to see information on other members which could facilitate networking opportunities during the virtual event. Allow for attendees to set up profiles to everyone can learn about others before the event.

5. Plan on keeping your attendees engaged

How you will keep your attendees engaged the most important step in the planning process. This is what will drive success. Make sure you have networking opportunities available such as breakout rooms, engaging speakers with live Q&As and anything else that will provide value to your guests.

Your guests want to feel like they are learning and gaining something enriching from this meeting. With gamification features and other engagement tools provided by a virtual event software like V-Unite, you can keep your feel involved at the event.

6. Send a reminder

People forget. Everyone has a million things going on and might not remember certain events until it’s too late. To combat this issue, schedule a reminder email that attendees can add to their calendar to make sure they know when they need to attend when the virtual event goes live.

During the Virtual Event

virtual presentation panel

1. Create a social ambiance

Keep your audience engaged and encourage participation and networking opportunities among attendees. You can create dynamic live polls, Q&A sessions or even set up interactive group sessions for participants to share their ideas and chat with one another. The more engaged and social the attendees are, the more they will interact at your event ensuring a successful event overall.

2. Keep privacy intact

It’s important to keep your virtual event’s and your attendees’ privacy intact and safe as you collect information and data. Make sure you have the proper encryption and safety features setup and that the software is tested and double-checked before going live. Your platform should be extremely secure before you have people sign on. Additionally, only collect data from attendees that you really need for the event.

3. Prepare for any kind of tech-related hiccups

The keyword here is to be prepared. Tech-related issues can always come up and it’s often hard to predict when glitches might happen. To make sure you are on top of things during the event, it’s imperative to do as many tests as possible and have your whole team do different tests on all their devices including phones, tablets and desktops and laptops.

You should ensure all your attendees have a good internet connection and it's a good idea to have a backup of speaker presentations and other files if possible. Also, always have a tech support booth or live chat available for attendees to reach out with any concerns they may have during the event.

After The Virtual Event

virtual presentation

1. Capture feedback from the attendees

Sending out a survey or poll or any way to collect feedback is important to collect post-event. You will be able to gain valuable insights on how the participants liked the event, what they enjoyed the most and what they would like to see improve in the future. This is a great way for you to learn more about your audience and what you can do next time to run an even smoother event.

2. Provide on-demand opportunities

Plan to give your attendees the option of viewing content on-demand after the event. This could be a great way for you to see what content was popular and gain any other feedback from attendees on the way the content was presented during the live virtual event. Additionally, you will be able to capture more of your target market who were not able to attend the live event. You can also charge a fee for the audience to view this content to earn more revenue in the process.

Plan the Perfect Virtual Event

ASDS lobby for event

Does this virtual event guide help you feel more confident about planning a virtual event? Always remember that the first step in planning a virtual event is to come up with the right game plan and the motive for the event. Make sure to keep the audience in mind. Ask yourself what attendees are going to get out of the event and how you can create more value. Good luck!

wine-celler-virtual-meeting

2020 has taught us the importance of being able to find alternate solutions to move forward when things don’t go as planned. One of the major changes that businesses have had to deal with is the loss of live and face-to-face meetings. The solution? To host a virtual event. Over the years, virtual events and experiences have slowly started to become the new way of doing business. Now more than ever, companies have been looking toward virtual solutions to continue their training, conferences, trade shows and even onboarding new employees.

As we start heading towards a more digital world, virtual events and virtual conferences can be a great solution to bringing people together cost-effectively and conveniently. While face-to-face meetings will eventually come back, virtual events and experiences will help so many companies, employees and clients to be a part of an important event if they cannot make a flight or have to be mindful of their travel budget that year.

8 Advantages of Hosting A Virtual Event

We’ve only just touched on some of the benefits of hosting a virtual event. Let’s do a deep dive into how virtual events and experiences can help your business in the long run.

money falling out of a jar

1. Cost effective

Hosting a virtual event might help your business to save money due to the reduced cost of putting on the event. When going virtual, you can save money on staff, setup and take down costs, hotels, travel, meals and so much more. Companies have found virtual events to be 75% less expensive overall. The only cost you have is the event platform you choose to go with and any additional features to enhance the over virtual event experience.

2. Saves time

Virtual events save the host time by eliminating the process of researching and choosing vendors for meals, hotels and travel logistics. Planners can then focus on booking their speakers as well as creating and designing the virtual experience for the attendees. On the other hand, attendees are also able to save time that they would otherwise spend on travel for the event if it’s held in another country. All that is required is a stable internet connection and attendees can log on from anywhere.

3. Reach a wider and larger audience 

Who wouldn't want the ability to reach an unlimited audience? Say goodbye to worrying about audience capacity at a venue because with virtual events, your reach just got a lot wider. Without this capacity limitation, your event can be attended by anyone who has an internet connection. With a good internet connection, you can reach about 100,000 people. The networking opportunities are endless!

glass globe on a hand

4. Global reach

Not only can you reach an audience who is sitting across the country but you might even pique the interest of potential attendees from across the globe with your virtual event. Imagine the possibilities that come with this wide reach! With the added bonus of being able to attend from home, you're about to get a lot more sign-ups for your event.

5. Event data and feedback

From attendees having to register online, you can collect information that can help you improve and plan your future events. You can see how many people attended the event, what their engagement and activity was, who they were most interested in listening to and more. Measuring the engagement of your attendees is a great way to ensure success for your future events since you are able to truly understand what your audience is looking for and cater future experiences towards their interests.

6. Innovative experience

Virtual events are still a new phenomenon and companies are still figuring out the best way to host events. You have the opportunity to be the most innovative company out there and wow your clients with your event. Your business can create a special and personalized feel to your event and improve the networking ability of your attendees. With various virtual event platform features, you can theme your events by hosting a wine tasting and sending wine to your attendees, add a cool space theme element to your conference or customize your offices to really make your meeting or event have a unique touch. 

7. Enhances value to sponsors and exhibitors

There is so much value that comes out of virtual events, especially when it comes to sponsors and exhibitors. Why? Because sponsors and exhibitors are able to collect data on who visited their booths, what attendees were interested in learning about, how many times someone looked into their products and so much more. 

8. Flexible and convenient

You can’t beat the flexibility of logging on from anywhere, even if you’re relaxing at the beach! Your audience will love the fact that they can sign on from the comfort of their couches. Additionally, they are also able to save on costs and time that usually comes with commuting to an event.

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Ready to Host Your Next Virtual Event?

With so many advantages to hosting virtual events, giving this innovative solution a shot is a no-brainer. As you come up with strategies on how to incorporate virtual meetings and events, you are taking strides in improving your employees’, clients’ and your target audiences’ experiences. Let's start planning your virtual event today!

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