Virtual events have become an increasingly popular option for businesses to utilize. They allow you to access a global audience, as well as create some interesting new content for your business. Virtual events can be an incredible marketing tool for any company - if done correctly.
No matter what type of virtual event you’re running, there are a few essential tips that you should be following to ensure success. Because a virtual event with no attendees or hype is just kind of embarrassing 😔
Follow this guide to find out how to run a successful virtual event that will help to grow your business.
Understanding Virtual Events
Quite simply, virtual events are any kind of event that’s held online. This can be completely open to the public or restricted to a select few with invites. Virtual events can have limits on how many people join the event, and they could be free or paid.
Virtual events could cover anything. Maybe you’re organizing a live summit, hosting a virtual music concert, or doing a demo of your product. Anything you can do in an in-person event can be done virtually.
There are various different platforms where you can host a virtual event. This includes platforms like Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram, Remo, or Vimeo Live to name a few. Make sure that you use the right virtual event tool to cover the event on your preferred platform.
Since the world has taken a major shift towards remote work, virtual events have become increasingly popular. Not only are these events so easy to organize, but they also offer various marketing advantages for your business 💪
Why Run a Virtual Event?
So, why run a virtual event in the first place? There are loads of benefits to these events, and they can be helpful tools for any kind of business - no matter the size or scale.
Firstly, virtual events are an excellent way to generate new leads for your business. When attendees register for the event, they will be asked to provide their names and contact details. You can then remarket to these attendees using email marketing. Because these people are already showing an interest in your business and industry, you know that they will be good-quality leads.
Virtual events are also incredibly easy. Traditional events require loads of planning, setting up a venue, and preparing a physical space. In comparison, running a virtual event requires half the effort. You can just log into your streaming platform and start broadcasting your event around the world.
Virtual events also allow for way more participants. According to the streaming service and package you’re using, there can be no limit on how many people attend your event. There is also no physical restriction to who attends your event. This makes it easy to reach a global audience.
Virtual events can also be easily recorded and reused as marketing content. You can include them in a blog post, send the event out via email marketing, or even use it as a lead generation tactic hidden as gated content.
A recorded virtual event is also just a really useful piece of content for your business to have. An interesting event can be great content to help you get more backlinks to your website.
Running a successful virtual event will help to position your business as a thought leader within its niche market. This is a great way to build up authority, attract new customers, and show people just how great your product or service is.
10 Proven Tips for Running a Successful Virtual Event
Setting up and running a virtual event may be easy, but you need to make sure that the event is successful. Without a good number of sign-ups and attendees, your event might not help you achieve your marketing goals. Follow these tips when putting together a virtual event to make sure that it’s a success.
Start With a Clear Goal
The first thing to do when creating a virtual event is set a clear goal. Your events need to have a purpose, and this should be measurable. Having a clear goal for the event allows you to set the event up and promote it to make sure that you achieve this goal.
Some examples of goals could be generating leads, promoting a specific product, providing helpful content to your existing customers, or educating new customers about your product. These are only a few examples.
Once your goal is established, you can start to set up your virtual event around it. This will help measure the success of the event and make sure that the event helps grow your business.
Create a Landing Page
You will need to have a dedicated landing page for your event. When users want to sign up for the event, they can be directed to this landing page where you can capture their lead information. The landing page could have all of your event information and registration process visible.
A great tactic, if you’re promoting your event to your email list, is to offer one-click signups. This helps you get way more registrants through a far easier signup process. To do this, you will need to be using a good lead management database connected to your email marketing. You will be able to create a list of each person who clicked the link, and you can store this list in your leads database. These will be your virtual event registrants. Now, you can send a personalized email to this list with a link to your event, and any event details.
When they click the link, they will be directed to a landing page that could say “Thanks for registering for our event”.
Offering one-click signup means users don’t have to manually give you their details. There’s no need to fill in a form or spend any time registering for your event. This makes people a lot more comfortable, which will result in more people being interested in your event. One-click signups save your audience loads of time, as well as help them gain more trust for your brand.
Choose the Right Platform
You have many different options to choose from when it comes to the platform that you will host your event on. This is one of the most important considerations.
You want to choose a platform that you know your audience will be comfortable using. It should also present your event in a good way. The best platforms should also offer you clear metrics on the number of viewers you get and who they are.
Using a virtual event platform like HeySummit makes it easy to set up your event for the right channels.
Choose the Right Time
One of the biggest features of running a virtual event is that people all around the world can join it. This is why it’s so important to come up with a good time for your event that makes sense for your audience.
Understand where your main target audience is, and where you think most of your viewers will come from. Make sure that your event suits their timezone.
Building an Audience
The biggest challenge that anyone hosting a virtual event faces is gathering an audience of people to attend the event. In most cases, the success of an event is directly related to the number of people who attend the event.
So, one of the most important tips for a successful virtual event is proper marketing leading up to the event. Some of the most tried and tested promotion tactics for virtual events include:
- Sharing the event widely across social media
- Running ads targeted at the right keywords for your event
- Running a social media countdown
- Promoting the event on your blog and website pages
- Use influencer marketing
- If the event involves other speakers, you can ask them to help market the event to their audiences
- Promote your event using email marketing
There are loads of different options when it comes to promoting your virtual event. From events we’ve run, we’ve found email marketing to offer some of the best results for attracting and communicating with attendees.
This is because email marketing lets you reach out to your users directly. You can send your emails straight to your audience’s inboxes, and capture their attention with intriguing subject lines. You then have an ideal space to explain the value of your virtual event, and why they simply can’t miss it. Compared to social media channels, there is less risk of your event being lost or overlooked.
With the right email marketing tool, you should also be able to segment your mailing list into different categories based on their interests or previous interactions with your brand. Doing this allows you to send personalized content to each of your subscribers. This means you end up sending the right content to the right people - which results in more clicks and signups for your virtual event.
Stay Ahead of Any Technical Difficulties
Technical difficulties during a virtual event can be embarrassing. The best thing to do is to have a run-through of the event beforehand and troubleshoot any possible technical issues that could arise. Doing a dry run is always a good idea to make sure that everything is on track and ready to go live.
Test your internet connection, speakers, and make sure that any tech issues are understood. If you have speakers at your event, make sure that they fully understand any tech requirements from them. They will also need to have a strong wifi connection for live sessions. If you’re worried about bandwidth, running an event with pre-recorded sessions can be a great alternative.
Great virtual events will promote engagement with the audience. This could be through a chatbox, with a Q&A session at the end, through live polls, or anything else that gets the audience joining in.
Having a live chat box is always a good idea. If you encourage users to join this, make sure that you have a dedicated person who can respond to any messages in real-time.
Practice Out Loud
This may sound silly, but practicing your webinar in advance is so important. No, we don't mean just creating notes and going over them in your head. You should record yourself while you run through the webinar out loud.
Also, make sure that you go through a quick practice run with any of your guests. You don't want any surprises to take place and it’s important that you know what content they will be covering. Spoken practice runs also help you get a proper sense of time, and how long your event will take.
All of the people who registered for your event will become new leads for your business. When you’re gathering your leads, it’s important to be able to segment your leads into different lists.
For example, you could have a list for all registrants, a list for attendees, and a list for registrants who missed the event. You can store this all in your leads database, and send out personalized messages to each group. This will help you achieve a better marketing outcome for all of your new leads.
Following Up With Leads
Once you’ve run the virtual event, your job isn’t over. Possibly the most important part of a successful virtual event is how you follow up with attendees after the event.
Go back to your goals for the event. If your goal is to book more consultations for your business or sell more products, then send out an email to your event participants straight away with a special offer.
You want to get in touch with them while they’re still thinking about your business and the event is still fresh in their minds. This is when they will be most likely to become customers. So set up an email campaign consisting of two or three emails, and have it ready before your event starts. Send the first email 24 hours after the event, and the second one 48 hours after that.
There are many different approaches that could work here, so our best tip would be to A/B test these emails and find which elements your audience responds best to. However, here are some helpful guidelines to remember when crafting your follow-up email:
- Include a special offer or promotion in your email. People who attended your event have already shown an interest in your product, so offering some kind of special discount is a great way to turn them into customers.
- Include a link to the recorded replay of the event in your email (in case they missed out on anything).
- Remind people about the type of value that you can offer them. If you want to sell a product or service, don’t just list the features of that product or service. List the benefits and value that it offers.
- Keep it short, friendly, and to the point.
- Focus on crafting an attention-grabbing subject line.
- Make sure your email is personal. Send it from an actual person, not just a business address. Also, encourage recipients to respond. This will result in far better engagement and trust for your brand.
No matter what type of industry or business you’re in, running a virtual event is always a good idea. This can be a powerful marketing tactic to help you increase brand awareness, promote specific products, gather new leads, or position yourself as an industry leader.
Virtual events are also fun and easy to do. It doesn’t take much to run a successful virtual event, and the results and ROI for your business can be amazing. Follow the tips listed above, and you’ll see just how much a virtual event can do for your business 💥