Virtual events are a must-do for associations. They’re especially important for helping to replace lost revenue and member engagement from cancelled events. They’re also a convenient, low-cost option for providing members with learning and networking opportunities year-round.
As you move in-person events online – or create all-new virtual events – there are many things you can do to ensure success. But let’s look at two essential steps that will make sure your next virtual event is a hit:
- Engage attendees. One of the key elements that makes an in-person event appealing is interactivity. Look for event technology that helps to bring networking and interaction to the online experience.For example, here are some features to include in your online experience that will keep attendees engaged:Live Q&A – Incorporate questions and answers so attendees can interact with speakers in real-time. Attendee chat – Offer a live chat feature during sessions so attendees can share insights and swap ideas. Interactive polling – Ask poll questions and display the results to help attendees interact and feel a part of the audience.Surveys – Ask for feedback during and after each session, just as you would at in-person sessions. Breakout discussions – Encourage collaboration and leverage chat functionality for online breakout sessions, networking, and knowledge sharing. Community forum – Incorporate forums and chat rooms to extend the experience after each session.
- Incorporate sponsors and exhibitors.Incorporating sponsors and exhibitors in the online experience offers multiple benefits. It gives you the opportunity to generate additional revenue, gives companies in your industry the opportunity to reach a targeted audience, and extends more of the in-person experience to online attendees.Here are some ways to incorporate sponsors and exhibitors during your virtual event:Sponsor announcements – Allow industry partners to sponsor sessions and provide a one-minute sponsor announcement at the beginning of each session. Sponsored tab – Incorporate a custom tab in your session viewer that has text, videos, or downloadable content about a sponsor or exhibitor.Spotlight interviews or vendor demos – Pre-record spotlight interviews or vendor demos with your sponsors and exhibitors to play during session breaks. Networking or breakout session sponsorship options – Allow industry partners to moderate or sponsor breakout sessions on a certain topic. Sponsoring a virtual networking hour offers great exposure for companies as well. Recorded commercials – Optimize use of the time attendees spend waiting to join a session by displaying pre-recorded commercials or rotating slides from sponsors and exhibitors. Virtual exhibit hall – Give your attendees a place to learn more about important products and services with an online exhibit hall. Virtual exhibitors can host online booths and be available for live chats with attendees during pre-set hall hours.
Hear stories and lessons learned from the frontlines of real-life virtual events. Join this 1-credit CAE webinar on September 10 at 11:30am Eastern: Virtual Events Lessons Learned.