Face-to-face is still the preference, but virtual events are on the rise.
The possibility of reaching an unlimited audience in a cost-effective and no less engaging way is the crux of this rising platform. Attendees can embark on a personalized experience that begins on their own time wherever they are, and still reap the rewards of networking, breakout sessions, exhibits, sensory experiences and educational elevation. All of this, of course, intensifies the need for virtual events that integrate and navigate this changing event landscape. Here are five tips to help you navigate through this new hybridized event environment.
Integrate Virtual Event Strategies into Webinars
Webinars are becoming hybridized by technology that essentially reimagines the live event atmosphere. As such, it’s important to integrate virtual event strategies into your webinar such as event agendas, social media feeds, real-time polling and news feeds and networking opportunities in addition to the usual chat and Q&A options.
Mapping the “Live” Environment
At a virtual event, exhibitions, breakouts, peer-to-peer discussions, one-on-one networking, and multiple presentations may be happening simultaneously. It’s important to map the event landscape in a way that allows the same level of organization and flitting among preferences as in-person conventions—interactive sessions to discussion rooms. You may also want to create a playback room with viewable or downloadable content where attendees can catch up on what they missed. Typically, only half of all attendees who registered for an event show up on event day, making evergreen content even more valuable as time goes on.
Style It Up
Virtual events can embody the same sense of place and style as traditional live events. Be sure to put some time into how you plan to style up (including attendee customization options) pre- to post-event. Will your “rooms” look like booths? Will the main theme be a hotel, a fantasy land or faraway destination? How will you interpret sensatory experiences into the event? The possibilities are endless.
Virtual events push the door wide open on your ability to track participation, particularly attendee behavior and engagement. Sessions that utilize PowerPoint, for example, can be used to monitor engagement per slide or how they interacted with links, videos, etc. Customized engagement metrics could even show attendee interests or which senior-level attendees were most engaged, and then pass this info along to marketing and sales reps as valuable leads. And, of course, gauging event ROI even down to the very basic metrics is always a plus.
Face-to-face is still king when it comes to networking. So why not integrate one-on-one face-to-face appointments into your event? Or seminars, networking areas, event booths and live chats that integrate web conferencing where attendees can pick colleagues out of a crowd, join panel discussions and otherwise see and be seen.