As the coronavirus pandemic has everyone canceling travel plans, it poses a dilemma for event organisers and marketing personnel. Many on ground events had to be scrapped due to safety measures and social distancing regulations, such as in Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore, where corresponding lockdowns are imposed temporarily to limit contact and prevent spread of the COVID-19.
As a result, companies have to turn to other creative means and transition their onsite events into virtual ones. While this transition poses some challenges, it is not impossible to pull off.
With the right approach on event planning, you can create an online event that generates promising results. Below are some of the tips you can follow on different stages of event planning:
There are plenty of reasons why companies invest time and resources on industry conferences and trade shows but it boils down to one thing – to generate leads. If you are planning such an event, then chances are your end goal is to gather leads. This can be challenging when you lack the face-to-face aspect of an in-person event. An even bigger challenge is to convert your remote attendees into potential leads for your products and/or business.
Here are the key elements of a successful event online:
Identify the goal(s) of the event so you can measure success. For instance, you want X number of attendees to sign up for your service or fill in a contact form at the end of the event. You may need to pivot your offline conversion goal to one that is more suitable for virtual event.
Create a compelling message to entice people to join the event.
Establish and communicate a clear format of the event and/or activities so your attendees know what to expect during the event.
Put as much effort as possible in a professional video production in order to make your virtual event enticing and compelling. You want the online event to be a projection of your business brand.
Have an actionable Call to Action during and after the event to convert attendees into leads.
Converting Your Offline Event Setup into a Virtual One
Shifting from planning an offline event into an online one is never easy. You can try these strategies and tools to increase your chance of a successful event.
Step 1: Choose an online event platform.
Firstly, compare webinar platforms to find one that makes hosting virtual event easy, and can deliver content to your remote audience well. Here are some web conferencing tools that you can consider:
This is a simple to use platform that makes it easy to launch your audio and video meetings. There is also a facility to send automated emails, live chat with participants, and the ability to share recordings and files from the event. Noted as one of the best web conference tools around, it facilitates an interactive discussion because participants can ask live questions or join in on discussions.
This has plenty of built-in features that are vital to a successful online event, such as screen sharing, multiple language support, previewing slide presentations, and phone-in availability for remote attendees. You can even customize the platform in order to brand your event, such as changing it to match your company colors or adding your logo.
Step 2: Live stream your online event.
Expand the reach for your online event by live streaming so your target audience can participate in real-time. The idea is to recreate the live Q&A sessions that a lot of attendees look forward to in an in-person event. A well-planned virtual event must utilise a live streaming tool in order to address questions from the audience in real-time, while also making them feel like they are truly part of the event. If possible, have someone moderate their questions before they are allowed to partake in the conversation so you can maximise every form of audience participation.
When it comes to streaming event online, you can use a number of live streaming tools such as:
Step 3: Pre-record videos and presentations.
An extraordinary virtual event experience often provide solid content for the audience even before and after the livestream. Offer additional materials by mixing different forms of quality content, such as short, pre-recorded 15-minute videos in the form of TED-style talks.
Extra materials to consume before a livestream can also prepare your audience to engage and participate more actively during the live session. Alternatively, try to present the more interactive videos during the live virtual event and make long-form videos available on demand so your audience can come back to them after the event.
Promoting and Marketing Online Events
You’ve done all the strategising and planning to shift your offline event into an online one, now it is time to market and promote your event.
When promoting your online event, consider your audience first. Think about how you craft your marketing message to spark their interest. It also pays to analyse user behavior and preferred platforms for your target audience. This will help determine the most effective platform to use when promoting your marketing message for the virtual event, for instance through Google Search Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads for paid methods or organic outreach through members on groups and pages on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Be sensitive when communicating about the event to your target audience. Do understand that your audience is receiving tons of emails and virtual communication these days. Make sure your email stands out enough to get them noticed. Think about why your audience will care and most importantly, how they will benefit from it.
Finally, make it easy for them to sign up to the event. Use a trusted online event booking system such as EventBrite. The booking system you choose must have a reliable and secured online payment channel. Your goal is to generate revenue for your event while also building your brand. The platforms you choose need to reflect a certain level of quality as it also represents your brand.
With these suggestions in mind, you should be ready to move your events from offline to online.