7 tips to plan a successful virtual event

While virtual events are relatively inexpensive compared with in-person events, that doesn’t make them any easier to plan and host.

Virtual events are online events that happen on such platforms as Instagram, Facebook, Zoom, Twitter and Clubhouse, just to name a few. In addition, there are an increasing number of specialized virtual event platforms specifically designed to support webinars and conferencing.

Types of virtual events include:

  • Fundraising events
  • Social gatherings
  • Networking events
  • Shopping events
  • Team-building activities
  • Hiring events

While about 92 percent of companies have continued hosting virtual events even after physical events resumed after the pandemic, about 53 percent of attendees are experiencing “virtual fatigue,” and about 48 percent of companies say that pushing attendance is their biggest challenge.

The following are seven tips to plan for a successful virtual event.

Start with clear goals

How do you know if a virtual event is successful if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve? Before you dive into planning mode, take a moment to solidify your goals.

Why do you want to throw this virtual event?

Commit to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and communicate those to your team so that everyone is on the same page. S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

Check out our seven tips to set achievable goals.

Consider your target audience

When it comes to the consumers you’re looking to reach, it’s important to consider whether a virtual event makes sense for them. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • How tech-savvy are they?
  • What subject areas in your industry are they most interested in?
  • How familiar are they with social media and other webinar platforms?

The answers to these questions will help guide you with the premise of your virtual event and how to execute it.

Not sure about who your target audience is? Check out our seven tips.

Choose the right platform

As mentioned above, there are many platforms to consider when planning your virtual event. Whether it’s a general social media platform where you want to go live (like Facebook or Instagram) or a more specialized platform, the key is that it fits your needs and budget.

Other considerations include:

  • Target audience
  • Ease of use
  • Any special features
  • Reliability

Although you’ll want to plan for one platform, it never hurts to play it safe and have a backup platform in mind in case there are any audio or video issues that arise.

Timing is everything

Timing truly is everything. Picking the best time for your target audience can be tricky. You might want to send out a survey in advance, or there might be a time that was successful in the past.

Either way, think about whether other time zones are in factor, as well as how long the actual virtual event should be.

Create a clear virtual event agenda

Your agenda entirely depends on the type of event you’re planning.

Are there speakers? Needed Q&A time? Structured introductions? You’ll want to build in engagement opportunities with your audience to keep them engaged during the event.

Whatever is involved should be mapped out time-wise so that there is no confusion and no awkward downtime. You can even plan ahead for what links might need to be shared and at what time.

Moderators can help keep everything on track, so it doesn’t hurt to identify who can work in the backend to make sure everything stays on track.

Promote, promote, promote

The promotion of your virtual event shouldn’t be a surprise. In fact, it’s likely the first thing you might think of when it comes to planning.

You’ll want to think through all the ways you can reach your target audience while also communicating why this virtual event is something they should attend. What will they get out of it? What’s in it for them?

Also, give yourself enough time. Most marketers need between three and six weeks to promote a small virtual event successfully, but for large virtual conferences, about 65 percent of marketers need more than six weeks for promotion.

See our eight tips to make your event marketing even better.

Plan for after the virtual event

Once your event is over, your work is not done yet. You should plan to communicate with your attendees afterward. You can thank them for attending, ask for any feedback and even promote other events you might have in the future (or how to find out about future events).

In addition, you’ll want to debrief with your team internally. What went well and what could have gone better? Were the goals you set reached? What takeaways can you apply to future virtual events?

In conclusion

Remember to keep your target audience in mind and give yourself enough time to plan and promote effectively.

As you’re planning your virtual event, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 tips to make your event marketing better

Understandably, event marketing is a broad strategy that can be used within your digital marketing, based on the events you may or may not be hosting.

But for businesses that do host or attend any sort of event (in-person or online), it’s critical to think through your event marketing strategy. Doing so helps you optimize the natural content and engagement opportunities that exist with events.

About 61 percent of marketers believe that in-person events are the most critical marketing channel.

Event marketing ultimately involves the tools and techniques you use to promote an event, usually with the goal of getting individuals to attend (whether they must pay to do so or not). Of course, on the flip side, it’s important to capitalize and follow through with those leads once you capture them going into the event, during the event and after the event.

The following are eight tips to make the most of your events and boost your overall event marketing.

Set your event marketing goals

Goals always end up being at the center of any successful digital marketing strategy. Understanding not only what you want to achieve but putting that to specifics so that you can lay out the action steps that need to be taken to get there.

Learn more about how to set effective marketing goals.

Consider multiple ways to send invitations

Obviously, you’ll want to invite people to attend your event, but in what ways can and/or should you invite them?

Methods include:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Direct mail

Choosing any or all of the above methods depends on who you’re trying to reach, but no matter what method(s) you use, make sure you can track invitations against your database and have a streamlined way of collecting reservations.

Leverage your social media for overall event promotion

A lot can be done around events on social media. For instance, a “save the date” campaign can help raise overall awareness of an event and can even include a “countdown” component to boost excitement.

You’ll want to use all the available tools at your disposal, including live videos, infographics with facts about the event and so on.

Then, monitor social media before, during and after the event. Ideally, you’ve established a specific hashtag for your event to make this easier on most platforms.

The monitoring can help you understand what’s happening in real time and respond to any complaints or requests during the event from your attendees.

Think beyond social media

Of course, as handy as social media is, there are other channels to consider for your event marketing, especially when you’re going beyond direct invitations. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Blogging (including guest blogging on other sites)
  • Partner outreach (such as potential collaborators and media partners)
  • Email marketing
  • Early-bird discounts on any channel
  • Pre-event landing page
  • Paid advertising
  • Formal press releases
  • Attendee referral incentives
  • Influencer marketing
  • SMS text marketing

The direction(s) you go in always should touch back on your goals for the event in question. 

Manage your event registration process

Speaking of collecting reservations, your event registration process should be a priority. Obviously, this should be online (whether your event is in-person or not). But beyond that, you have options as far as the method or tools you can use.

Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Have a way of tracking the source of each registration, which can done through custom landing pages and/or tracking codes.
  • Include sign-up deadlines that should happen automatically.
  • Capture and store all relevant contact information for individuals.
  • Have automated confirmations and reminders sent to registered attendees.

Incorporate event confirmations and reminders

As part of your event registration process, you’ll want to ensure that you’re sending confirmations whenever an individual RSVPs, as well as reminders as the event gets closer.

In fact, if you have any digital assets to share after the event is over (such as a recording or worksheet, etc.), consider including them in a follow-up email thanking all attendees and offering those assets, especially for those who might have missed the event.

Of course, the more you can automate this process, the better.

Capitalize on lead capture

Events naturally lend themselves to significant lead-capturing opportunities. This happens not just during the promotion of the event, but also during the event itself.

It’s important to capture all contact information for use in drip campaigns later. Be sure to have a data collection process in place during the event, whether that’s a business-card scanner or an online form. This is particularly important if your business is at an event (like a trade show) where you do not have attendee registration information.

You’ll also want to input that contact data into a marketing automation platform or CRM system as soon as you can after the event (ideally, the same day).

If possible, score and prioritize the contacts you made from the event. Depending on the marketing system you’re using, you can direct warmer leads to more of a sales-driven drip campaign, while cooler leads can be directed to more of an educational drip campaign.

DailyStory does offer a lead-ranking system within our platform to help target your marketing.

Measure your performance

When it comes to event marketing, there are a number of different metrics you can use to understand the success of your event. 

And the metrics you use largely depend on your goals for your event marketing. This can include:

  • Event attendance (especially out of those who registered)
  • Lead collection
  • Lead conversion
  • Revenue generated

DailyStory can help with event marketing automations (as well as in other types of digital marketing). And our platform offers even more than automation capabilities. Schedule your free demo with us today.