10 tips from the expert – for successful virtual events
How do you make a digital event as popular and successful as possible? Are there any special conditions that apply when the event takes place online or can you do as you usually do when you arrange a physical event? We asked the event experts in our Customer Success team list their ten best tips.
1. Adapt the event to the target group
It may sound obvious – but always start from the target group. This is a critical point that is often overlooked during the planning stage. But once you know who your target group is and what it appreciates, you can make strategic decisions about content, features and the type of event platform needed.
2. Keep the commitment alive from invitation to event
Build an expectation before the event. A common “missed opportunity” is to drop the communication with the participants as soon as they have bought their ticket. Do not do that! Email them and remind them of all the fun things that will happen at the event. Share surprising news ahead of the opening and tell them what to expect. Encourage interaction in the event platform even before the event.
Maybe they can send you pictures or answer questions that can then be shown during the event? If you manage to create a buzz around the event before the opening, there is a greater chance that more people will show up and get involved on the spot.
3. Create the right atmosphere online with color, shape and design
Your event does not have to be boring because it is digital. On the contrary, you have the chance to play with your visions, use fun effects and great layout. You can create simple recognition factors with break-out rooms that lead to the “Coffee Machine” or “After Work Mingle”. How you name the rooms is a small detail that contributes to the good mood. Do not forget, you are the one shaping the participant experience.
4. Move the virtual event to the participants’ homes
The event is ongoing. And even though your participants are gathered in different parts of the world, it should not stop you from creating a wonderful atmosphere and community. You do this by incorporating fun hybrid elements into your digital event. Teambuilding works great online too. You can find examples of slightly longer virtual team building exercises here.
Offer entertainment like amusing guest speakers or videos during the lunch break. If all participants are in the same country, you can even invite them for coffee. Send an SMS code before the event that they can use to pick up buns and coffee in the nearest grocery store. A really appreciated gesture!
5. Schedule physical breaks in your virtual event
It is easy to lose focus if you’re sat in front of a screen all day. It is proven that physical activity can help. So a smart trick is to schedule breaks for walks. Maybe offer your participants an inspiring podcast that they can listen to in the meantime, and then discuss it together when everyone is back.
You can also use short breaks for questions in the middle of presentations. Or break off stagnant listening with surprise interactivity to raise energy.
6. Build an event team and delegate responsibilities
Nobody can do everything but everyone can do something. There is really no difference between a digital and a physical event, it requires just as much preparation and planning. Divide the responsibility between everyone in the team so it is clear who is responsible for e.g. entertainment, technology and support. If you have a tight team that works well together, it will shine through in the production.
7. Get help from professional event organizers
What you can not do yourself, you can get help with from experts. Hire a production company for your session broadcasts. If it turns out really well, you can save the material and reuse it. Use a virtual event platform that is adapted to your particular event. You can also brainstorm with event agencies to get an event with a wow factor. If you have suppliers who can give you support all the way, from vision to finished results, you can feel confident that the work you put in provides the desired result.
8. Set aside time for pause and mingle in the agenda
One of the big challenges of having digital participants is to keep their focus. In addition to walks, it is a good idea to schedule breaks. That way everyone will know for sure when it’s time to stretch their legs and when they have time to catch up and answer emails. This will result in participants being more involved when workshops and lectures are running.
9. Use an event platform
Take advantage of the opportunities with a modern event platform. The standard tools for video conferencing are simple and we have all learned to handle them. When it comes to full-scale events, however, they lack many of the features needed for networking and engagement. Evaluate different tool options. Start by mapping out what needs you have today and what scenarios you may face within a reasonable future. Will you need to handle both digital and physical events?
10. Evaluate your event and learn for the future
What did your participants think about the event? Did they miss something and what did they find rewarding? Take the opportunity to learn from the participants by asking them. It is easy to send automated questions to the participants. Just remember not to send too many questions, preferably no more than three at a time. And do ask while the event is running, for a better chance of receiving answers.
Also, do not miss the opportunity to ask your partners, sponsors and colleagues what they thought. Maybe invest in in-depth interviews with open-ended questions, to get more in-depth feedback. Do not be afraid to get critical answers. We learn through our mistakes!