How to Run a Successful Virtual Event

Nowadays, a lot of the aspect of business have moved online and is done virtually.

For instance, in a day you might have to answer emails and edit a colleague’s blog post via Google Doc. Your colleague is working from home today, so you Slack him to let him know when the piece is ready. You might attend a 1:1 via zoom with your remote manager.

Undoubtedly, online tools and experiences are an integral part of a modern person’s life and more specifically in the life of a marketeer.

However, there is one aspect of business that until recently has been almost entirely untouched by virtual experience: conferences.

Our mindset around conferences usually is that we board a plane to a conference, bring our business cards, and prepare ourselves for a week of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking events that enable us to spread the word about our own products and services, while collaborating with other marketers who might have useful tools or suggestions of their own.

Virtual conferences are often multi-day, are hosted online, and can include keynotes, panel discussions, live entertainment, educational sessions, training and certification, sales product demos, solution sessions, industry trends/thought leadership, product training/adoption, and more. The purpose of virtual conferences is lead and demand generation, adoption and retention, brand awareness, and relationship building. A virtual conference is a great alternative, or companion for hybrid events, to an in-person conference.

In 2020, there has been an incredible rise of virtual conferences.

Virtual Conference Benefits:
There are numerous benefits to hosting a virtual conference.

For one, it can lower the price of admission, enabling smaller businesses with limited budgets to purchase tickets to your conference and offer their own unique insights. Additionally, it allows people from across the globe to interact with each other without needing to spend exorbitant amounts on flights and hotels. It lowers the cost businesses would have to pay for conference space, on-hand staff, catering, security, and much more.

It can also help businesses or people attract high-demand speakers who don’t have the time to commit to an in-person conference, but are happy to share industry takeaways via a quick video call or pre-recorded presentation.
Goals or KPIs of a virtual conference It is important to note that you’ll need to set goals and identify key performance indicators (KPIs) before the event in order to assess event success at every stage, as well as compare event performance across every event in your event program.

When planning your goals for a virtual conference, succinctness is important. It is more challenging to attempt to achieve multiple, segmented goals when virtual. Instead, create a single goal that drives the mission of the virtual conference. There are two different streams to look at when creating goals – business goals and attendee goals. Understand what your goals are for each.

Potential business goals

  • Brand awareness or lead generation
  • Immediate revenue
  • Product adoption and lifetime value
  • Customer appreciation or loyalty
  • Membership growth

Potential attendee goals

  • Networking
  • Learning or training
  • Entertainment or celebration