This year hasn’t turned out how anyone expected or hoped for, but there’s still time to make the most of it and capitalize on virtual events. While some planners are working hard to figure out if pivoting to virtual might be indeed the saving grace for their upcoming event, many others are already leading the way with novel virtual event experiences.
The value of virtual events
While virtual events may seem like they’d be less engaging, you’d be surprised at the value they can bring. It allows you to bring together a wider audience, and travel costs that could have prevented attendees from being able to attend a live event are no longer an issue. Virtual also means less overhead costs — after all, you’re not budgeting for a venue, large event staff, and other in-person line items. So you get to drastically reduce your outgoings while spending more on curating the best virtual event content and experience possible.
New to hosting online events? Check out this article on how-to pivot to virtual events.
Lastly, there’s the data. It’s much easier to track who is watching what when everyone is tuning in online. All that attendee data is music to stakeholder’s and sponsors’ ears, which can make securing the best ones for your online event a whole lot easier.
To help you get inspired, here are a few ideas to inspire your next event:
- Host a live virtual auction entirely virtual to keep fundraising
- Teach a virtual workshop/training session on your business expertise
- Introduce a gamification element to your virtual event as a fun way to engage your audience
- Host a Virtual Graduation Event or Party
This article from Event Manager Blog, goes into some additional original ideas and insights from recent online events around the event industry to help you. Use some of these ideas as guidance to plan and deliver event experiences to attendees and stakeholders from the comfort of their home. Our favorite tips listed on there are #2 and #11 and for the sake of keeping this article short, we’ll go into more detail on the last one only.
Announce Your Virtual Alternative When You Cancel Your Live Event
This is a fantastic strategy especially knowing that you will have to either cancel or postpone your event and inform your attendees about this change. And while you’re doing that, why not capitalize on it and announce the virtual alternative you’ve been thinking and planning? It gives your attendees something to look forward now that their favorite in-person event has cancelled. Adding the ability to import this “Save-the-Date” announcement into Google or Apple calendars is another nice tool to use in making sure your attendees won’t forget about your virtual event when the time comes, a clearly successful strategy in maintaining your audience through the transition.
The age of virtual events might not be entirely new to the events industry, but the hybrid and 100% virtual event era is only beginning, and as these type of events continue to take place — especially from many major companies like Facebook and Microsoft that have now cancelled all live events through mid-2021 — there will undoubtedly be more ideas and innovation to look forward for inspiration, so stay tuned for more tips coming your way soon!