The recent global crisis caused due to the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an upheaval of events in day to day life. It has adversely affected almost every sector across the globe. The travel bans and restrictions imposed on public gatherings have resulted in the cancellation of various events, thus affecting the event industry and bringing businesses at a halt. Today, almost every industry is facing challenges and loss of revenues due to the cancellation of events or due to travel restrictions, which are mandatory to ensure public safety.

Organizations are working on coming up with innovative ideas to recurring financial losses. However, organizations are exploring new avenues and relying on virtual conference solutions to alleviate their issues. Businesses are switching to practical alternatives to keep the business running even in the time of global turbulence.

Many organizations and marketers have shifted their events online to reach the audience remotely irrespective of geographical constraints, thus safeguarding the health of people. Virtual conferences and events have become an integral part of most of the organizations to carry out internal and external events seamlessly.

Virtual events have existed for long. But if stats are to be believed, a sudden bump in live virtual events has been witnessed recently in the past few months due to lockdown scenarios. Hosting virtual events on the best virtual event platform enables you to reach a wide audience segment thus resulting in increased accessibility, participation, interaction, and engagements. A win-win scenario for all.

Organizing a virtual conference or a virtual trade show or exhibition helps the business to keep the audience engaged thus generating leads and revenues. Earlier it seems like converting an in-person event into a virtual format is a daunting task, but while walking with the latest trend it has become the first choice for marketers that saves a lot of time and revenue and delivers the same experiences as in-person events without having to spend on travel and accommodation. In this article, we have shared a step by step guide for event organizers to move their events online in a virtual space with minimized efforts. Before getting started, understanding what virtual events are is a must.

What are virtual events?

The definition of virtual events may vary from person to person. But in general, events that are carried online in a virtual space on the best virtual event platforms and offer interactive features to enable real-time networking between audiences, organizers, speakers, exhibitors, and shareholders irrespective of geographical location are known as a virtual event.

Webinars, virtual conferencing, online product launches, virtual meetings, virtual trade fairs, and virtual exhibitions and so on all are the part of a virtual event that is carried out seamlessly in a digital environment to deliver immersive experiences to attendees.

There are many virtual event service providers available nowadays that offer customized virtual conferencing solutions depending on the need of the organization. Selecting the best virtual conferencing platform depends on the needs and requirements.

Steps to move in-person events into a virtual format

1. Inform about your switch to online events

Virtual is the new normal that every organization is adopting with each passing day. Once you decide to move your events online and Go Virtual, make it a point to inform your attendees about the shift. It helps in eliminating the uncertainty and prevents attendees from the hassle of traveling and booking tickets beforehand to attend the event. Announce to them on all social channels and the measures you can take that events have been moved online with the revised date and time if it is not happening on the same date. Giving them a brief insight into how virtual events will deliver the same value and immersive experiences as in-person events. Apart from posting on social channels, you can take the help of a press release, or send email to registered attendees along with follow-ups, inform the help desk about the same to inform your attendees.

2. Shift event registration online

Once you have informed attendees about the switch, working with a virtual event service provider to set up a landing page is the next step. Work on the landing page that informs about the benefits of live virtual events along with interactive features. Apart from benefits, the landing page must include the date and time of the virtual, schedule of speakers and the list of sponsors and exhibitors. Deciding on the format of registration depends on which registration policy suits your virtual event. You can keep the open entry that is accessible to the public without pre-registration and share a link at the landing page. If your event demands some privacy, you can keep the event private. You can go on with the invitation-only format which only allows entry of authorized members who are on your list to invite.

If your virtual event includes a virtual booth, lobby, etc. create a separate page for it and promote it through social channels, PR, email marketing, and so on.

3. Request Speakers

Request the finalized speakers of your in-person event to the part of your live virtual event. Ask them to join the virtual conference or webinar with a strong internet connection from their place and deliver the speech to evoke audience interest and keep them hooked throughout the event.
Have a word with your guest speakers over the call or email and tell them about shifting the sessions online. Elaborate on the advantages of this arrangement and tell them that they are free from the hassle of traveling. You can schedule your webinar as per your guests. With virtual events, you can opt to go live, semi-live, and even offer on-demand videos to attendees who missed it.

4. Time to set up virtual booths

If setting up a booth for an event is in your plan, virtual event platforms enable you to create an immersive walkway and set up virtual booths and lobbies for exhibitors and sponsors.
Virtual event platforms backed by 24*7 customer support helps the organizers in setting up virtual booths in time without any hassle.

5. Inform about available networking options

The virtual event platform has an in-built chat interface that allows attendees to interact with each other in real-time. Inform the exhibitor about the chat models or interactive features that platform compiles such as grout chats, live chats, one on one sessions, audio/video/text chats, and so on.

6. Run a trial

After you are done with informing attendees, moving registrations online, creating a landing page, having a word with speakers, creating virtual booths, and looking out for networking options now is the time to run a trial. It is mandatory to run a trial for virtual events to verify user experiences. The trial run helps in looking out for any missed expectations or any technical glitches before the actual event.

7. Open the gateway

Make it a point to promote the virtual event as much as possible to boost maximum attendance and interactions before it goes Live. Check out on staff beforehand and ensure that they are all set to answer the questions. Answering the questions asked by attendees on time contributes to the success of your virtual event. Send thank you emails to attendees who showed interest as a sign of gratitude.

Planning to move your conference, meeting, trade show, and other events online? We have summed up a step by step guide to minimize your friction and move your events in a virtual space. If you are still thinking of online events, now is the time to embrace it and get started.

Author's Bio: 

Abhinav Puri is a social media marketing manager and a personal blogger who has written a couple of blogs on health care, Technology, Virtual events, social media, science, and health benefits that are liked by many. he keeps herself updated with the latest in the world of social media and imparts her knowledge with her followers through her health care blogs. Sharing her views on health care remedies, an effective diet to stay fit and healthy and following a regime for a healthy lifestyle are some of the topics that hold her interest. he loves to read and travel and share her piece of knowledge with her experiences.