10 Aug Experience Shares on Planning Virtual Events
Over the past few months, I have learned SO much about virtual events. My team and I have been using zoom for like five years now, so virtual planning is not new to us. What is new to us, is holding the attention of guests to these online events as the game has completely changed. I am kind of glad that this has forced the business workforce to adopt technology and all the amazing tools that are around us. I am very thankful for our clients that trust me and my team to use new platforms and trust us to ensure the experience of their guests is over the top with a great virtual experience.
As professionals we have to remember that if we get too comfortable we are not pushing ourselves and we get way too comfortable. So the shake up for me and our clients has been a wonderful opportunity to pivot and grow. Yes, it takes time to research new vendors, test the platforms, but I love it; and now other planners can turn to a consultant for help. I don't mind trying new things and pioneering something new.
The key is to have a strategy, goals, and keep user experience and digital marketing in mind.
Virtual Production is Underestimated.
One of our clients hired us to do their first virtual events, beginning to end. It was a 3 day virtual summit and the ticket price was was SO low. The client was not interested in making a profit, but wanted to cover their costs of planning, production and marketing. One part of planning was handling the email campaigns. I remember one lady replied to one of the marketing emails about the summit that said something like, “I can't believe you are charing for this. There is no food and booze or hotel, this is so selfish.” Little does she know that instead of having 500 people at a hotel in a large city and spending over $100K on food and booze, that money is allocated to building out an amazing virtual experience that can reach 5000+ people! Which by the way, this is not free people! It's ALOT of planning and work behind the scenes to produce these lives events. A flawless, professional production is expected now by audiences and it can go a long way toward engaging your audience. There is a cost that comes along with that. I did email her back nicely to educate her:)
Memorable Experiences Win.
While content and value is key we don't want to overwhelm the audience. There is such thing as computer fatigue. The audience has shorter attention spans and so many distractions. Creating connection has never been easier around the world given the tech tools we now have at our finger tips. Be sure to create an option for your attendees to connect over chat, social media integrations, Q&A (the is the benefit from being LIVE!). And remember the extras, which may be more of an investment, but well worth it. Some platforms we work with have digital game rooms where attendees complete activities throughout the day and win prizes-good prizes! Creating memories come at an investment, but the ROI comes when you create that perfect virtual experience.
Test Everything. Schedule It.
Just like at a Live event, you would have rehearsal for speakers, band practice, sound check and more. A virtual event is no different. Scheduling time slots to ensure everyone involved is comfortable with their audio, video, working their presentations, and more, is key to ensuring you have a flawless event. And guess what…technology is not perfect and you may have some hiccups. But learn from them and you will get better and better each time you plan a virtual event.
I don't know when the world will get back to normal with events. In fact, I don't think it will ever be what is was in the past. Now that companies are seeing the power of technology and the power of tracking and reaching more people, who knows if we ever will go back. Get used to this being the new norm for events, at least for a while!