Major events such as festivals and sporting events have been cancelled recently due to the global pandemic but entertainment-based industries aren't the only businesses affected by group gathering limits and travel restrictions.
In fact, almost every industry in our economy relies on some kind of event (or events) to nurture and build important relationships. Public gatherings such as conferences, trade shows, professional development sessions, networking events, and more are vital to their business goals.
This has lead to a wide range of businesses looking for new ways to connect with people without those face-to-face opportunities they rely on. Virtual event hosting has been the answer for many businesses around the world.
For entertainment industries, the switch to digital events is more straightforward, such as turning a concert into a live stream performance. Other industries have to make bigger adjustments. Trade shows are designed to connect people in person, set up booths for viewing, get client leads, and hand-out physical product samples along the way. A virtual showroom with digital booths is a completely different environment.
Not only that, but online events are happening across all industries, which makes marketing and getting the word out about yours more difficult.
To successfully go online with your event and stand out from the competition, pay attention to these details.
Choose the right virtual venue, platform or application
Zoom.us is a popular option, but it isn't the only option. Research the features and functions of the different applications available and make sure it works best with the purpose of your event. There are several other platforms out there including, but not limited to GoExhibit, ON24, vFairs, Adobe Connect, Accelevents, Hopin, GoToWebinar, and Communique.
Provide attendees with instructions for the event's virtual space
While you may meet some tech-savvy attendees, it's more likely that you'll have to show new attendees around your virtual event application. Offer instructions for how to use profile photos, profile bios, backgrounds, chat boxes, and other features in an email or Google Doc before the event.
Give your speakers the tools to have engaging presentations
Live video keynote speeches will require different approaches than the in-person alternative. Before assuming that your speakers will all know how to adjust for digital platforms, provide tools or tactics for levelling up their presence in a digital event. The tips might include looking directly into the camera, keeping the camera away from a bright window, or limiting background noise. Check out this list from Harvard Business Review.
Have opportunities for two-way communication
Include break out rooms, Q&As, brainstorms, and worksheets. Encourage chatting, tweeting, and offering feedback. Avoid long, drawn-out keynotes with no interaction. Give attendees opportunities to engage and encourage conversations. Some attendees might be apprehensive about speaking up, especially if they're new to online chat. Break the ice a bit for them.
Send incentives, physical giveaways, invites, and swag
Make a personal connection by reaching out with a physical gift. Send attendees branded t-shirts to wear during video calls. Offer food delivery coupons to get their own lunch break snack. Mail invites with a QR code, so the recipient can visit a landing page for the event and add it to their digital calendar. Emailed invites are quick but easily lost in a list of unopened subject lines. If you're looking for a way to be different and memorable, try plantable seed paper invites. Made with recycled paper and wildflower seeds, the panel cards are customizable to your artwork and text.
Prepare SOPs and organize a team for potential technical troubles
Digital programs are sometimes complicated to navigate, and you may run into roadblocks. Application privacy settings might block your attendees from joining. Wifi might cut out. Hackers might get access to the wrong information at the wrong time. When you run into these problems, you'll be happy you designated a person to handle it all.
Record and repurpose video content from the event
Share your speakers' keynotes on YouTube, send screenshot images from the event to attendees, and create blog posts from the video call interviews. Keep the experience going after the event ends to keep the conversation going. Your speakers might want the content to share on their social media and attendees might want the content for future reference.
Go above and beyond to bring people together. There are ways to connect with others in meaningful ways through digital events. You just have to consider all of the ways to personalize the experience.
Browse seed paper products to plan a mailout for your event to generate hype and buzz for your event. Learn more about how you can incorporate eco-friendly seed paper into your next corporate promotion by subscribing to our newsletter and downloading our Seed Paper Promotions Catalog.