How to host your next virtual event like a boss

by
Shawna-Kay Thomas
Published:
March 19, 2021

Virtual events have always been a convenient way to bring people together.

Now more than ever, you don’t have to worry about coordinating venues, traveling and other associated costs. However, shifting from face-to-face events with plenty of networking and engagement opportunities to a digital space is much easier said than done. Online events require even more creativity to keep people engaged and have a lasting impact.

Here are six things to keep in mind when planning your next virtual event:

Create an event website

To grab the attention of your audience, an eye-catching website will kick-start your event promotion and entice your prospective attendees to register. It is the key to getting the attention of your audience and providing them with the information that they need to attend your event. Be sure to communicate the purpose of the event, time and date(s), an agenda, and speakers list. Whether your event is for networking or educational purposes, you will need to ensure you are dedicating time to attract prospective attendees.

Keep registration as easy as possible

Using an all-in-one event registration platform such as Eventbrite or Showpass is a critical way to keep track of event attendance and collect important information about your guests. Consider including optional fields as long registration forms may lead to frustration, with your attendee exiting the page before completing the form. Be sure to. Also be sure to optimize your registration page for mobile devices and find a platform that automatically sends a calendar invite after registration is complete.

Communicate how to attend the event in advance

Inform your guests ahead of time if they need to download an app to join the event and provide them with a password in the confirmation email or calendar invite, if required. Encourage them to complete their online profile in advance so they can make the most use of their time to connect with others during the event itself.

Get attendees involved

If you have a large audience and they are not expected to contribute to the event, consider using one-way webcasting. However if  your event will have two-way communication consider using question and answer capabilities, real-time polls and/or survey and online discussion boards available. Schedule time for feedback and discussion after each session so your attendees can engage with the speakers as well.

Think outside the box

If you normally cater your event and your budget allows, consider delivering food to each guest. For additional impact, you can also deliver branded swag items such as hats, pens or stickers. Encourage your attendees to take a selfie and post a pic using the event hashtag. During the break, keep your guests engaged with virtual games and live entertainment. Even though it’s virtual, you can still book a musician, a comedian or a DJ.

Watch the time

One way to combat screen fatigue is to keep your event 90 minutes or less. Be mindful of your attendees’ time. It’s better to end on a high note and leave with your guests looking forward to your next virtual event.

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Shawna-Kay Thomas

Prior to joining Virtual Gurus, Shawna-Kay has worked in journalism, communications and marketing for close to ten years. She is a strategic and creative communications professional who is skilled in media relations, writing and editing communication pieces, managing social media and planning events.

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