Attending all day conferences is becoming less and less feasible, especially as your attendees have more to do. And virtual events are a great way for them to obtain all of the great information they can get from a traditional conference, but without the high cost. Plus, virtual events are often more convenient, as attendees don’t have to travel and be stuck in a convention center or hotel all day.
However, there’s a common misconception that a virtual conference doesn’t require as much rigorous planning as an offline event and as a result, many companies do not budget enough time to get all the components together. For those looking to run a top-tier virtual conference, here are some helpful tips and tools to ensure your event is a success.
1. Create a Sponsor Prospectus
Although the cost of a virtual event is typically much less than an in-person event, virtual events do cost money. Having sponsors helps to cover your cost, expand your reach with co-marketing, and you can get great speakers in the process! In order to attract sponsors you will need to provide them with information in the form of a sponsor prospectus. To create a cohesive and thorough prospectus, you will need to have mapped out everything from your virtual event theme to your agenda.
Consider creating different tiers for sponsorships, just like you would a physical event. An example would be to have your highest tier include a virtual booth, a speaking spot, and a dedicated email before the event, your mid tier can include a virtual booth and a speaking spot on a panel, and your lower tiers might include only a virtual booth.
2. Focus on Speaker and Session Quality
Virtual environments are becoming a lot more commonplace, which is why it is important to focus on how you can make your virtual environment stand out from the crowd. Make sure that you have enough quality content that people not only want to attend one session, but they want to come back again.
The quality of your speakers is the first place you should spend your time. This will be the biggest draw for your audience. To ensure speaker quality, have onboarding sessions where your speakers understand expectations. You also want to make sure that you or someone on your team is looking over the speaker content, to ensure it is on-topic and relevant. You can have your sessions recorded beforehand, or you can do the sessions live. We recommend that you have them pre-recorded so you can keep your eye on session quality. Once the speaker has recorded their event it is important to have them review their sessions and audio edit them if they have made any mistakes.
3. Remember Lead Fulfillment Requirements
When your virtual event is executed, consider that the easy part. Virtual events often require lead fulfillment if you have different sponsorship levels, so it is incredibly important to make sure you send the right leads in a prompt manner.
The best way to do lead fulfillment is to create a checklist that details what types of leads each sponsor gets. For example, you might have sponsorship levels that receive the whole event list and you might have other sponsorship levels that receive only leads associated to their sessions. Make sure you have a central depository of these lists so that you can quickly compile a list for each separate sponsor.
4. Staff Your Day of Event Appropriately
If you’re running a large scale virtual event you may think that because everything is online, event execution will be simple. Think again. Virtual events are more similar to a physical events than you think. You’ll want to make sure that all your sessions are running on time and that you have the technical support contact information if something goes wrong. We recommend having a moderator per session who is answering content questions, and a technical support representative.
You’ll want to make sure that someone is staffing networking lounges and is answering chat questions. Plus, someone should be in charge of answering sponsor questions to make sure everything is going well.
Running a virtual conference is just like running a physical event. At the end of the day it is about providing your attendees with the best experience possible.
What online events do you run? What are some important learnings you’ve gained?