With in-person events cancelled for the foreseeable future, many businesses are scrambling to put together new ways to promote new products or simply stay on top of industry trends. Perhaps you’re one of them.
The good news is that there are plenty of online alternatives that your business can take advantage of to stand out from the competition and drive sales . Plus, moving your event online has never been easier.
Want to learn more?
Read this blog and discover four key topics that you need to consider before planning your virtual event.
Think About Why People Attend Business Events
In-person events and trade shows have long been an integral part of a business’ sales process. So much so, that we often don’t stop to consider why we truly attend them.
There are many reasons why you may decide to attend one. They include:
- Launching a new product or service
- Learning what your competitors and other businesses in your industry are doing
- Discovering industry trends
Your job, as the event creator, is to convince potential attendees that your virtual event addresses these reasons. That might sound daunting. Don’t worry, our job is to provide ideas and simplify the process.
One way to get your message across is to state clearly in your invitation what will be covered. Include an itinerary of events. That way those interested can quickly determine if there’s something for them in the event.
An example of providing the experience of learning about industry trends is to host an experts’ panel. Invite key figures within your industry to speak about what they are doing differently right now.
How Will Your Digital Event Be Different from The Rest?
Yes, it’s true we’reall used to sitting in on Zoom meetings. The problem is, you don’t want your event to be like a regular conference call you have with team members or suppliers. Fortunately, they don’t have to be.
Thanks in part to everyone working remotely right now, many providers have been hard at work to bring much of the physical world online. Companies such as iVent, AVSC, and others host fully virtual trade shows and allow attendees to move around the show floor as if they were there in person.
Not all digital events must replicate the trade show experience exactly. Some companies create products that can be layered on top of a Zoom call, bringing the needed boost in production quality and excitement to a familiar setting.
VMix is one such product. Their platform allows you to produce high-end live streams and broadcast them to your audience, no matter where you are. They take the production room of a broadcast studio and bring it online. Those behind the scenes can brand the event, add transitions to video, set a custom background, among many other things.
It’s not about revolutionizing the way online events are held. The goal is to stand out and engage people with a higher level of production than that of the average Zoom meeting. A memorable experience can be created at all budget levels. And the more memorable your presentation, the better chance you have of building relationships and engaging with clients.
Give Attendees Opportunities to Network
The social aspect of events and trade shows is a key reason for their large attendance. Not only is it beneficial to speak with people in your industry who may offer new and exciting perspectives, it can help your business in the long run. Attending events has the benefit of building brand awareness for your company while helping you gain and nurture new leads.
One drawback many businesses are finding with the shift to the online world is the diminished opportunity to network. That doesn’t have to be the case. As we mentioned above, iVent allows attendees to hop into a private voice or video chat and network, similar to how they would if they were physically in attendance. There are also apps such as Grip that recreate the in-person networking experience.
Even without a networking platform , there are other ways to provide an atmosphere conducive to networking. Host small group discussions on Zoom after events or presentations and encourage attendees to join and discuss what they had just experienced.
Save Room for a Q&A Session at the End of Events
Saving room for questions is always a good idea. First, it brings a touch of interactivity to the event, boosting the attendees' engagement. And secondly, having people ask questions also provides for crucial moments of clarity for your audience that they otherwise would not have gotten.
The problem that the online sphere presents is how to best conduct a Q&A. In a physical space, the event host might have people lineup behind a microphone to ask questions, or simply put their hand up.
One approach is to have attendees submit a question before the event. This helps the event organizers get a feel for the most commonly asked questions, ensuring those are answered. However, a drawback is, it doesn’t allow for people to get clarity on any of the topics discussed during the event.
A way to solve that is to make use of the ‘Raise Hand’ function on video conferencing tools like Zoom. When the time for questions arises, tell attendees to press the raise hand button if they have a question. Then, you can work through as many questions as time permits.
Another solution is to have a live chat component to the event and have someone behind the scenes monitoring the questions that come in. This approach has a few advantages.
First, like allowing questions before the event, it allows the team to get a feel for the most commonly asked questions. This helps them determine what points were not expressed clearly during the event. Second, it allows those who have questions to type them right away and not have to worry about committing their question to memory or writing it in a notepad.
Hosting a virtual event is a large undertaking, one that many companies did not anticipate having to plan for at the beginning of this year. Regardless it’s the world we currently occupy and we must deal with it in the best way possible. With these tips, you should feel confident in planning the next stages of your digital event.
Transform Your Virtual Trade Show from Good to Exceptional
Our webinar will teach you how to take your virtual trade show from good to exceptional. We'll cover: tips on developing your virtual trade show strategy, how to use experiential content to stand out from the rest, how to use multiple channels together to create an amazing experience, and more!
Digital Marketing Strategist Holly loves communicating with others, sharing information, and building connections. With creativity and technical skill, she uses her storytelling talents to communicate effectively with key audiences. One of her favourite things is helping clients meet their goals, whether that means increasing online influence, acquiring more leads, or growing a customer base.