Virtual conferences have been utilized by businesses for a long time now, but have recently spiked in popularity as COVID-19 has faced us with the need to adapt how these types of events are being hosted. Virtual conferences an efficient and convenient means to stay connected and continue our current business practices, minus the hassle of driving or commuting all the way to the office or corporate event venue.
However, making the shift to virtual conferences to keep your company up and running even from a home-based setting isn’t always easy. It may take some time to adjust to the temporary new normal. New approaches and tools are invented on a regular basis and it can be difficult to navigate which methods are the best to use.
In this blog, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about how to plan a virtual conference of your own. Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Determine Your Marketing Goals
Just as with in-person conferences, the first step in planning your event is determining your marketing goals. Identify what the purpose of your conference is. What is the objective and what do you hope to achieve?
Step 2: Find Opportunity Amid Crisis
While you may not be surprised that most people prefer actual in-person interactions, it appears that virtual and digital solutions will have to be our new normal until the pandemic’s curve is flattened. However, instead of perceiving our current circumstances as a roadblock, try your best to find the silver lining.
Moving your business onto a digital platform for the time being is a smart and convenient way to keep your company afloat. By holding online conferences, businesses have the opportunity to re-adjust their strategies to various kinds of environments. It shows that even during these times of crisis, there are opportunities for your business to grow.
Step 3: Curate a List of Attendees
Creating engaging content is one thing, but curating a list of people to attend is everything. This rings even more true with regard to virtual events. There will be no physical venue, no decorations, no elaborate sound equipment, and no catering. All your virtual conference hangs on is your list of attendees and your planned program.
One of the main points to keep in mind when curating this list is to know whether these individuals would be interested in the topic of your conference. Why should they attend your conference?
Moreover, virtual conferences also serve as a platform for people to collaborate in creative ways and as a catalyst to stay connected with one another even after the conference. Even before the onset of COVID-19, people have been utilizing virtual apps to interact with each other, therefore, it’s only natural that they’ll stay in touch beyond your corporate conference.
Step 4: Invite Compelling Speakers
A vital attribute of your virtual conference is putting together a compelling roster of speakers. Keep things as interactive as possible by giving the audience the opportunity to send in questions.
Depending on the program flow, make sure to inform the audience about how and when they can submit questions for the speaker. A lot of video platforms that can be used for your virtual conference have a chat capability, allowing your event attendees to submit questions in real-time while a speaker is talking. You can either make these questions immediately visible to your speaker or make note of a few for them to address at the end of their talk.
Step 5: Plan for Potential Technical Issues
One important thing to keep in mind when planning a virtual conference is to conduct a comprehensive Audio/Visual test before it begins. You can never be too thorough because you wouldn’t want a technical glitch or poor AV quality to disrupt the flow of your online conference. Check everything from the internet connection, audio, video, screen, and messaging functions on the day of the event.
In-person conferences are conducted within controlled environments. This means that A/V technicians will be overseeing the entire event, and can step in to save the day in case of any technical difficulties. Unfortunately, this is not the case with virtual conferences. Regardless of how strong your internet connection is, you’ll never really know what kind of network disruptions could occur during the event.
Develop a backup plan in case this happens. For instance, if your speaker will be utilizing Google Slides or other visual material, request that they send you a copy. In the event that the speaker loses connection, you can jump in and present the slides for them.
Step 6: Provide Takeaway Material for Your Attendees
Attending a live event comes with all the anticipation and excitement of dressing up, travelling to the venue, enjoying the atmosphere, and interacting with people around you. You may even leave at the end of the event will a complimentary swag bag. Even if that won’t be possible with online events, it is still important that you give your audience something tangible as a souvenir.
For instance, you may consider giving them a discount for one of your speaker’s books or a synopsis of your keynote speaker’s main points. Everyone loves a good takeaway, so this technique is undeniably fool-proof. By doing this, you instantly boost your digital conference’s value and credibility.
We hope that this step-by-step guide on how to plan a virtual conference was helpful! The world hasn’t paused. Let’s make the most of this time before we revert back to our regular day-to-day lives.
However, when that day comes, we’ll be there for you as you plan in-person live events and gatherings once again. Love Child’s beautifully designed and versatile event space is ideal for a wide range of events including corporate events, private functions, live music concerts, wellness retreats, workshops, meetings, speaking engagements, cocktail receptions, sit down dinners, and weddings.
Click here to learn more about our services and booking process.