COVID-19 blindsided event planners and their sponsors. The 2020 calendar of conferences, conventions and customer meetings were unceremoniously shut down in March, leaving thousands of hosts to wonder, "What do we do now?"
Figure out whether you want to give up your scheduled events completely or move them all online. That decision should start with whether the event will work in a virtual environment and deliver the intended value. If your goal was to build new connections you may not want to go virtual, because it will be hard to get new people to show up. But if the event is meant to accelerate sales, or build loyalty with existing clients, it may make sense. In these cases, you already have an audience for the event—you just need to figure out how create virtual content that will add value for them while promoting your brand.
6 Tips for Creating Great Online Events
Here are tips for business leaders trying to figure out how to host a virtual event or webinars that will wow attendees:
1. Create stand-out experiences
This is not a place for presentations or long speeches. If you want people to stick around, give them opportunities to interact with their peers, ask live questions of speakers, watch exciting events and participate in games or treasure hunts. These are the kinds of events that people get excited about.
2. Consider what really needs to be live
A popular keynote speaker or live training event may be an appealing draw for attendees, but product demos, marketing content and other static information should be left on your website.
3. Keep it brief
Consumers have a short attention span for virtual events, so keep things moving.
4. Focus on networking
Interacting with attendees is one of the most valuable features of any live event. So, find ways to make that happen through small group breakouts, networking sessions and chat features.
5. Sample the technology
There are dozens of virtual event platforms on the market, ranging from simple inexpensive solutions to more customizable platforms with lots of added features. Take the time to run through their demos then choose the solution that meets your needs and budget.
6. Get inspired by your competitors
Attend other virtual events to see what kinds of content get people excited and which ones fall flat, then let the best formats inspire your own event.
Virtual events or webinars can be tricky to pull off, and likely won’t generate the same level of excitement of a live event. But it can help you stay connected with your audience so that when the pandemic ends, they will be excited to come back.
This article was adapted from an earlier version https://amex.co/2XPH0JP
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It should not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitute for professional advice.