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Interacting with person to person is the preferred way of conducting an event for many businesses. For many years, live events have been at the forefront of the entertainment and event industry. Conferences, tradeshows, and meetings have seen face to face meetings to make and build a connection.
As technology evolves and time calls, virtual events are on the rise and have become an important part of every event program. Virtual events are on the increase and very valuable for connecting individuals and organisations with their audiences.
Whether you are prepping for your first virtual event or you’re an events pro and want some new creative ideas to engage your audiences, this guide will have you covered. Hosting a virtual event will require the same amount of time, care, and attention as an in-person event. We recommend using a professional company such as Fusion Virtual Events.
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is where participants experience an event online rather than an in person gathering at a physical location. They can be hosted from home or an office all you need is an internet connection and laptop or desktop equipment. The event can be hosted through recorded videos, live streams, audio calls, and any other form of digital communication. Virtual events can range from group sessions, smaller meetings, to large-scaled conferences with thousands of attendees.
Types of virtual events
There are many different types of virtual events. They all cover a broad scope of topics and produce various outcomes.
- Virtual Conferences
Virtual conferences are built around a complex and live agenda that involves sessions, keynotes, breakouts, and much more. Some conferences involve community engagement tools and multi session content. Although virtual isn’t as effective in terms of networking and lead capture as an in-person event, virtual conferences do allow the participants to take notes, interact with other attendees, and build their own agenda from on demand and relevant content.
A webinar generally lasts between 45-80 minutes. Holding a webinar virtually will allow all attendees to join in from anywhere around the world. They can listen to one or more speakers present their content. Some companies can charge people an admission fee to join the webinar, but most are free of charge. Virtual webinar involves using videoconferencing software which will allow the presenter to hold question and answers sessions, allow the presenter to speak their presentation through live or pre-recorded video, and once the event has ended all the content can be viewed on demand. Webinars are usually an educational one-off, so they usually strive as a 100% virtual audience. They also involve internal and external training sessions.
- External Hybrid Events
External events are held outside the organisation. They can be held as industry conferences or user conferences. External virtual events do require high quality video production so that all attendees and presenters can experience the same quality as an in-person event. Any attendee who may be unable to travel can still attend and learn from their own home.
- Internal Hybrid Events
Internal events involve training sessions, department meetings, town halls, companywide happenings, and sales launches. For organisations that span continents or countries, hybrid events will allow companies to share their message to the whole company even when employees are not in the same place.
Why host an event virtually?
Going from in person events to virtual digital events can be a difficult choice. Making the decision on hosting a virtual event may be easier during times that travelling and in person events aren’t possible. Virtual events allow you to hold an event and reach your audience no matter where they are. Here are a few reasons why you should hold a virtual event:
If your organisation is trying to lower costs, then holding a smaller virtual event is the ideal way for saving money and reducing the budget. Beverage, food, and venue are all costs for a live event so virtual events will eliminate these costs. It will also help with the hybrid option as the attendee can budget if they are unable to travel to the event.
Unlike live in person events, virtual events will allow you to accommodate the attendees who may not be able to travel due to travel limitations or budget. Lodging costs, time spent travelling, and transportation costs are all costs that the attendees have when considering attending or not to attend a live event. Virtual events eliminate these costs giving you the opportunity to open your content to more people.
- Lack of options
If you are holding an in-person event and you may need to cancel due to weather conditions or travel bans, in such cases a virtual event can be hosted instead allowing everyone to attend from their own home.
Virtual events technology and platforms
Quality technology and platforms are required to run a successful virtual event. Computers and devices are required for a virtual event. There is more to a virtual event than video conferencing tools. Just like an in person event requires event technology and platforms to allow you to market, run, and execute an event successfully. Here are some of the most important technology and platforms you will need to run a successful virtual event:
To promote your event, you will need a website. A website is your key to entice attendees to sign up or register for your virtual event. Your event website should display the schedule, the value of your virtual event, should include FAQ’s, reveal presenters, and show attendees how to register.
- How to register
Registration is an essential part of your event. It is your first tool for data collection. Registration will allow your attendees to register for your event online, enter personal information, submit preferences, and provide their payment if it is required. A robust online registration provides planners and marketers with the data they need to plan and run an event to success and allows attendees to register more efficiently and easier.
- Mobile event app and online event guide
Mobile apps and an event guide are the foundation for virtual events. Mobile apps are also significant for running a virtual event. Event apps can function on every mobile device and all website browsers. Agendas with links to sessions will put content right at the attendee’s fingertips. Event guides will allow planners to collect data about attendee engagement, and it will enable every attendee to choose the session they would like to attend. These tools will allow attendees to network virtually, foster connections, and connect everyone together.
- Email marketing
Increase registration for your event through email. All who is attending the event can be notified about the event leading up to it. Feedback surveys can also be completed through email marketing. Emailing is one of the best tools to communicate with the participants at any stage of the event.
Ideas for Virtual Events
There are so many different virtual events to choose from. Whether you are planning a conference, or a virtual meeting all of these have gained popularity around the world. Here are some virtual event ideas that you could use for your next event:
- Virtual Concert
A virtual concert is sure to make for a memorable and entertaining event. When it comes to the planning of a virtual concert it is essential to organise it in a way that suits the virtual environment. A virtual concert should be immersive. Don’t just stream a video feed, create something that is specific to the virtual world. Produce a concert with an LED stage and multiple camera angles.
- Virtual cooking class
Cooking classes are a fun option for a social event. Cooking classes are a great way for culinary based brands and food bloggers to connect with their audiences. It will offer attendees some much needed social contact while also allowing them to learn some new cooking skills all in the comfort of their own home. You should consider sending out the key ingredients that would be required for the class allowing them to prepare beforehand.
- Magic Show
A magic show is an amazing and entertaining show that would be ideal for a virtual audience. A highly interactive show with a performance of magic tricks to keep your audience entertained and to feel socially connected again.
Make the transition to virtual today. In times of uncertainty, virtual events are worthwhile. With the right technology and plan it will allow you to transition over and deliver engaging and informative experiences to any audience near and far.