Thanks to increased convenience, expanded reach, higher level of safety and other great benefits, the virtual events industry has seen an exponential growth in popularity. Whether for business expos, product reveals, trade shows or speaking engagements, there are a ton of reasons to put your upcoming event online for easier access. When used side-by-side along with an in-person event, you can even capitalize on the best of both worlds via a “hybrid” approach. And, after the events of 2020, including a virtual viewing option has become the norm rather than the exception, so it’s important to meet your audience’s expectations.
However, with great power comes great responsibility, and there are always risks when streaming content to a virtual audience. So if you’re trying to avoid many of the common problems associated with this process, then keep reading to find out three risks you absolutely need to avoid at your next virtual event.
The Benefits Of A Virtual Event
With the interconnected nature of modern business industries, there are many benefits of virtual events for the host, speakers and the attendees, alike. Enjoy such advantages as:
Virtual events are safer and adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions, particularly important for a global audience.
Virtual events expand your reach to anyone in the world, via a simple internet connection.
Virtual events are budget-friendly for everyone, lowering venue, travel and staffing costs.
Virtual events promote strong networking and engagement activity through an event platform that offers live chat, agenda management, analytic insights and other tools.
Virtual events are easier to manage and require fewer logistical hoops to jump through, when you’re properly prepared.
Risk 1: Mismanaging Technology
When adding a virtual component to your upcoming event, you’ll need staff members with technical expertise. There are many things to examine from the outset, including an optimized flow of content, the ideal engagement strategy and a high-quality streaming service, for example. If this is your first time hosting a virtual engagement, it may be wise to hire a third-party producer who is dedicated solely to the needs of online attendees.
One way to do this is through the use of an integrated event platform that automates many essential tasks, for both event management and lead generation purposes. Make sure to choose a platform that provides crucial tech support so that any issues are handled quickly and professionally. They can also help individual attendees with specific issues while you’re busy on the job.
Virtual Event Technology Tips
Networks go down sometimes, so pre-record your most important presentations. Live interaction is important, but a recording is the next best thing. You can also use it as a marketing asset in things like social media posts, email campaigns and newsletters.
A first-time virtual event planner may consider participating in a few online events to see how things operate, and apply them to their own scenario.
Risk 2: Poor Event Content Flow
When hosting a virtual event, realize that there should never be long breaks in content. This will only kill the buzz for your online attendees. Format your virtual event as though it were a radio show – make sure there are no lulls or awkward silences. These types of breaks, although inevitable as you switch between speakers or break-out sessions, can bore your virtual audience to the point where they disengage or even log-off entirely.
To remedy this, make sure every minute of your virtual event is planned, even during the short transitional breaks. Whether this means including some pre-roll introductions, sponsorship messaging or fun behind-the-scene recordings, you need a way to bridge the gaps that happen between your main pieces of event content. Other ideas include live Q&A sessions, group chats with the presenter, or even a taped musical or comedy performance. You need to do everything you can to keep your users interested in what’s happening on the screen.
Virtual Event Audience Tips
In addition to visual content, include some directional content, whether that’s a timer until the next presentation, polling features, or email registration forms for lead capture.
An occasional longer break is fine during virtual events that last a day or longer. Make sure to provide some time for these attendees to get up, stretch, grab coffee or lunch and make it back in time for the next speaker.
Risk 3: Not Implementing A Virtual Pipeline
Many companies experienced a drop in revenue due to the restrictions placed on live audience gatherings through 2020. And, some may not be as experienced in capturing those same qualified leads in a virtual environment. However, by using the right platform, you get even more methods to capture attendee data, which can then be used to help usher them into the sales pipeline.
With better analytics and automated reporting, virtual platforms help you get some of that lost revenue back by capturing user information and metrics through features like personalized forms, one-on-one chat, and specific metrics like session duration, click data and more. And, just like an in-person event, audience engagement doesn’t stop once the curtains close. Post-event outreach allows you to gain the highest-quality leads. Following-up with feedback requests, event highlights, and recordings of the day’s events will help keep your brand top-of-mind for attendees.
Virtual Event Lead Generation Tips
Throughout a hybrid event, consider posting gated content that’s exclusive to your virtual audience. Capture name, email, employer and any other data that you find crucial.
Think of other monetization opportunities, including online-only sponsors, exclusive virtual event booths, or advertising space on your website or app.
Are you ready to host an unforgettable virtual event?
Discover the advantages of using a secure, seamless and stable hybrid event platform from Second Stage. We’re the country’s leader in audience engagement, and can help you provide the ultimate virtual experience. From live streaming to recording capabilities, digital breakout rooms to networking capabilities, and so much more, our end-to-end platform and integrated in-house production team is your all-in-one solution to crafting an amazing event.
Let our team show you the benefits of a unified experience that is branded to your event – contact us today to learn more about our solutions.