Hosting a virtual event, the benefits and our take on the best software available
Hannah Bergman-Brown

Hannah Bergman-Brown

Published Friday 24th April 2020

Hosting a virtual event, the benefits and our take on the best software available.

 

Why host a virtual event? A virtual event has many of the benefits of a real-life event, giving the opportunity to engage, meet and collaborate with others, globally if required.  Virtual events and digital collaboration are now key tactics for PR and Marketing Directors to explore, for any event.

 

But how viable are they?  What would be the benefit? Hosting a virtual event obviously lowers your costs substantially in that you are not having to pay for event space, staff, catering and so much more. It also allows people from all over the world to interact, without expenses of travel and accommodation.  

 

Additionally, for your ongoing marketing communications the ability to track your data and measure your KPIs, attendance and engagement is invaluable as is repurposing the recording of the event. 

 

We know how well they work for our clients, and it’s good to share our experience.

 

A great example of a virtual event we are working on is vtdthefuture.com. The future of autonomous vehicles and transport depends on perfecting testing, safety and validation. Our client, Hexagon MSC Software,  planned to launch its latest solution to its global audience with a full blown conference in Germany in June. With coronavirus lockdown,  this had to change.

 

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 12.27.24

 

We took the materials we had already developed for the live event and adapted these seamlessly for the virtual event.  Hugely important, of course, is the build of  the online tools to run the event. See for yourself at vtdthefuture.com 

 

If you’re thinking of converting an event to virtual or hosting a new virtual event and would like our help, do  just get in touch today.

 

Our top tips for running a successful virtual event pre-planning and preparation are key:

 

  1. Decide on the date and time for the event. Plan who you are targeting, remembering outside UK time-changes and local holidays will impact.
  2. Who is the event for? Will it be live? On demand? Gated? Free? Do you need registration?
  3. What experience do you want to give your audience? Nail down the theme for the event. 
  4. Create your messages, brand and promotion to market your event, just as you would for a live event. Have you got a good incentive, or selling point, to make people attend?
  5. Harness attendees, delegates, speakers to include your event in their own promotion. Encourage engagement.  Send in questions, for instance.
  6. Carefully select the virtual event platform which will suit your event and, importantly, attendees best.
  7. Plan how best to present complex information and presentations. A computer screen is very different to face to face, so keep it simple. Be inclusive with clear fonts, high colour contrast.
  8. Make sure you have a clear storyline, just like you would at a real-life event.
  9.  Engage a good host who will stitch proceedings together well and deliver with consistency
  10. Make sure you test your event and technology before the date to make sure everything runs smoothly

and….Don’t panic! If you have planned your virtual event with the same precision as you would for your live event, you’ll be fine. Research shows that registration tends to increase two weeks before the event so plan your promotion to ramp up then.

 

During the event, do check-in with the attendees regularly throughout, respond to comments and any engagement.  Record the event and keep the assets used, testimonials and comments to use to promote your next event or for ongoing communications, including sharing the slides.

 

Here are some software options for virtual events:

 

GlobalMeet

The GlobalMeet platform redefines the way people work by providing the freedom to communicate and collaborate in a whole new way. From conference calls and meetings to online events, GlobalMeet is a business communications platform that helps take you where you need to go. Contact a sales representative today and learn how the GlobalMeet platform can transform your business.

The benefits are:

 

Cisco Webex

From planning to follow-up analysis, Cisco Webex Events provides the features to effectively host company meetings and corporate events or market products and services to target audiences anywhere. Boost attendance, engage your audiences and increase leads, all while using a scalable and highly secure platform.

The benefits are:

 

ON24

The ON24 Platform powers live, always-on and personalised experiences that businesses need to create engagement, deliver data, find demand and drive revenue. At a time where connecting in-person is impossible, ON24 helps enterprises build human relationships and drive revenue growth.

The benefits are:

  • Allows recording
  • Can chaptalise and translate recordings into 35 languages
  • Audience features such as Q&A, speaker bios, group chat, poll, surveys, tests
  • Allows custom branding
  • Role-based access
  • Customisable registration forms
  • Has built-in Marketo integration - https://www.on24.com/marketo/

 

Zoom

Zoom has an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, conference, huddle, and training rooms, as well as executive offices and classrooms.

The benefits are:

 

Explore New World Marketing by Carswell Gould

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A Guide to Smarter Marketing Communications in the New Normal

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