How to Host a Virtual Event

How to Host a Virtual Event

  5 minute read

Working remotely has never become more prominent than it has today. According to the Facility Executive, 88% of companies have required their employees to work from home during the Corona Virus pandemic, and according to Global Workplace Analytics, 4.3 million Americans work from work at least half the time. When you consider the number of freelancers who primarily work from home, this number increases exponentially. According to a survey done by Upwork and American Freelancers Union, 53.7 million workers in America are freelancers.

The facts are undeniable: remote work is now a fact of life for many people—but that doesn’t change many of the challenges that still hinder remote work. For instance, productivity and keeping track of time is always a critical concern for business owners, and finding the right tools and platforms to help keep your organisation going can be daunting. We’ve written a blog post about this particular topic to assist those of you who are tackling these challenges for the first time.

One of the more common questions we get with regards to working remotely is how to handle meetings and events when you’re working from home. Of course, there are a multitude of tools that you can use to accomplish this task, but how exactly do you get the most value from these meetings?

This blog post will help you gain an overall perspective on how best to run virtual events and meetings and how to achieve the most value out of them for your sales and marketing teams.

The Types of Virtual Events

Identifying the kinds of virtual events that are available will help you better plan out your event. Each different type of event will have different content, a different tone and operate very differently. Here are the four main types of virtual functions you can consider.

Webinars

Webinars allow attendees to connect to the event and listen to one or two speakers present on a particular topic. Companies are known to offer webinars for free or to charge for entry, but they typically all offer some kind of educational content through video conferencing tools like GoToMeeting. Webinars usually consist of a Q&A session, a live presentation and are provided on-demand or as a recorded video. Webinars typically last somewhere between 45 and 80 minutes.

Virtual Conferences

Replicating in-person conferences, virtual conferences include keynotes, sessions, breakouts and more online. Virtual conferences allow attendees to view keynotes in real-time and build their own agenda from relevant, on-demand content. Virtual conferences also include interactive tools so that attendees can network with other participants. For example, Hopin includes a ‘connect’ button that, when clicked by both parties, exchanges contact information for easier networking.

Internal Hybrid Events

These are internal company meetings or companywide events for training, sales kick-offs and more. For organisations that operate across the world with remote workers, hybrid events share a message to the entire company and allow employees to participate. 

External Hybrid Events

These events are usually user conferences or industry conferences and are used when some attendees cannot make the event, but would still like to attend in some fashion. It is challenging to provide the same quality to these attendees, but it is possible.

The Three Questions for Events

Now that you understand what kinds of events you can host, it’s time to start laying down the structure of how you will host the event itself. 

All events have a basic structure and parts that need to be in place to prepare for the event. We’ve distilled these down into three questions you must ask yourself before doing the groundwork.

  1. How are you going to market the event?
    All events need good marketing. Without any kind of promotion or notice, attendance suffers.

  2. What content are you including?
    When it comes to a virtual event, content is your entire event. Whether it’s a power keynote, educational exposition or networking sessions tailored to your audience, you must have engaging content that keeps your audience on the hook for your event to be successful.

  3. How are you going to measure success and capture data?
    You need to be able to have the ability to measure how successful your event is to prove if it should be done again or rather left behind. Measuring engagement and capturing attendee data are the best ways to prove event ROI and gain value from your event.

The Elements of a Good Virtual Event

As you can tell from the above questions, a great virtual event is built around content, attendance, engagement and data. Without these four pillars, your event will fall flat. To foster these aspects into your event, the following elements must be in place to help your event be a success.

  • Event hosting website
  • Event registration
  • Live presentation content
  • Audio and video capabilities
  • Question and answer session
  • Live polling
  • Note-taking
  • Slide sharing
  • Post-event recorded content
  • Interactive video conferencing
  • Feedback surveys

If you manage to cover each of the above elements for your virtual event, you’ll have a good chance at hosting an engaging, successful event.

Let’s discuss some of the tools you can use to assist you in planning and implementing a virtual event.

Tool Tips for Hosting a Virtual Event

Event website hosting page

Your event website is your primary means of convincing people to sign up for your event. Spend time on developing an engaging landing page that covers all the bases. The content on the landing page or website should communicate the value of your virtual event, contain the event schedule, the speakers, include an FAQ and guide visitors to the registration form. 

Registration Forms

Registration tools are essential to your event. They allow attendees to register for your event and submit their details. Online registration tools can help you gather the details you need to make your event a success. You can also include an option for attendees to allow you to contact them after the event with marketing materials. This can help boost your marketing efforts after the event.

Email Marketing

Email marketing and marketing automation are great tools to drive demand and increase registrations for your online event. You can use them to keep attendees informed before the event and use it to keep your attendees interested through regular emails. Finally, after the event concludes, you can use email marketing to keep the conversation going should your attendees be willing.

Online Event Guide

While not as crucial for the other types of virtual events, virtual conferences benefit significantly from online event guides. They allow attendees to pick and choose what sessions to add to their agenda and will enable you to gather data on which sessions are the most popular and engaging. They also allow attendees to access messaging tools to encourage them to network and communicate virtually.

What Data to Gather 

Hosting virtual events is a lot of work—so naturally, you’d want some kind of ROI generation. ROI generation from events come in the form of data; however, you need to know what type of data you have to gather. 

Here is a list of the most valuable data you can gather from a virtual event.

  • Number of Registrations
  • Demographic Attendee Information
  • Session Registration data and details
  • Email Open and Click-through Rates
  • Post-Event Survey Results
  • Number of Leads interested in a particular topic
  • Buying Interest
  • Session Ratings
  • Session Feedback
  • Social Media Engagement and Reach

Once you have gathered this data, it’s essential to enter it into your marketing and sales tools like HubSpot to enrich your sales and marketing efforts.

Your Key For Online Success

Once you have mastered the art of creating and hosting online events, you will be able to generate leads while engaging your current customers. Virtual events may prove to be a lot of work and planning, but they’re worth it in the long run.

If you would like a partner to help guide you and give advice for your own virtual events, consider Demodia. As a premier digital marketing consultancy, Demodia has helped companies around the world get the most out of their digital marketing and virtual events. Whether it involves the setup of marketing automation or the optimisation of marketing campaigns, Demodia has the tools and experience you need to drive sales, boost leads and improve your ROI.

 

Topics: Digital Marketing