Successful Virtual Event ,plenty of businesses host virtual events. For example, you might start your morning by answering emails and editing a colleague’s blog post via Google Doc. Your colleague is working from home today, so you Slack him to let him know when the piece is ready.
In the afternoon, you have a 1:1 via Zoom with your remote manager.
Then, around 4 PM, you log into a company’s webinar to learn more about Social Media Marketing in 2020. The webinar has a panel of experts, and you’re able to download the recorded webinar later for future reference.
Undoubtedly, online tools and experiences are an integral part of a modern marketer’s role.
However, there is one aspect of business that seems, until recently, almost entirely untouched by virtual experience: conferences.
Our historic mindset around conferences is that we board a plane to a conference, bring our business cards, and prepare ourselves for a week of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking events that enable us to spread the word about our own products and services, while collaborating with other marketers who might have useful tools or suggestions of their own, Successful Virtual Event.
In 2020, there will likely be a rise of virtual conferences. Here, let’s explore the benefits of virtual conferences, take a look at some examples of successful virtual conferences to inspire you, and check out a few tools that can help you plan your own.
But first — let’s talk about why virtual conferences can benefit your business in the future.
Virtual Conference Benefits
there are plenty of major benefits to hosting a virtual conference.
For one, it can lower the price of admission, enabling smaller businesses with limited budgets to purchase tickets to your conference and offer their own unique insights.
It also lowers the cost your business would have to pay for conference space, on-hand staff, catering, security, and much more.
Additionally, it allows people from across the globe to interact with each other without needing to spend exorbitant amounts on flights and hotels. Imagine how much easier it is for marketers from India, Ireland, Australia, and the U.S. to collaborate virtually, rather than trying to gather in-person.
It also may help you attract high-demand speakers who don’t have the time to commit to an in-person conference, but are happy to share industry takeaways via a quick video call or pre-recorded presentation.
an online conference enables you to create a product — recordings from your conference — that you can continue to share and use as a lead generation tool for months and years after the initial live launch.
And, finally, there’s the obvious: sometimes unforeseen circumstances can make in-person conferences in certain locations simply impossible.
Emily Raleigh, HubSpot’s Marketing Manager of Brand and Strategic Partnerships, provides some advice if you suddenly find yourself shifting your in-person event to a virtual one: “If you are shifting from a live event, try to add extra value to the viewers who are now tuning in online. Do an extra session. Offer more Q&A time. Give an extra special offer. Find creative ways to add extra delight moments.”
Now that we’ve explored a few benefits, let’s dive into tools that can help you create your own virtual conference.
Virtual Conferencing Tools
Hopin is an all-in-one platform for planning online conferences, offering everything from a virtual reception to breakout sessions, a mainstage, and networking events ,Successful Virtual Event.
The networking tool is particularly helpful, with a timer you can set for each attendee to mingle with another for just a couple minutes before moving onto the next conversation (and, if the conversation goes exceptionally well, they can click “Connect” to receive contact information of the other attendee to follow-up later).
Your event can include both webinars and live-streams, and a Live Chat function enables attendees to ask questions in real-time. Additionally, attendees can use virtual booths to promote their products or services, and offer discounts as well.
The Whova Event App has been a leader in attendee engagement and networking since 2014. For four years in a row, Whova has received both the Best Event App award and the People’s Choice Award from the Event Technology Awards ,Successful Virtual Event.
Event organizers can use Whova to help make online events highly interactive, fun, and productive before, during, and after the event. The tool directly integrates with live streaming and video hosting tools such as Zoom, Google Hangout, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. It also provides live Q&A, attendee networking, a discussion board, meeting-matches, a virtual exhibitor hall, and even virtual meet-ups.
Many organizers provide access to the Whova app prior to their events to let attendees virtually socialize and discuss various topics, one-on-one or in virtual groups, making everyone feel more connected by the time the event comes around. Every attendee has a professional profile, allowing them to find others with whom they have common interests.
The ice breaker and in-app chat, in particular, make it fun for strangers to get to know one another on a personal level and communicate with both new and old friends.
3. Run The World
Run The World is an all-in-one online conference platform with tools for livestream talks, discussions, and panels — additionally, Run The World ensures the social aspect of your virtual event is not lost, with a virtual “cocktail party” option, and an algorithm that matches attendees with other like-minded individuals based on questionnaires they fill out prior to the event.
Run The World is accessible to a variety of small and large organizations, including non-profits, startup and enterprise businesses, and individual experts who’d like to host online workshops or bootcamps.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the budget for a virtual conferencing tool or simply don’t need much more than a simple video and mic, you might consider video call tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or ezTalks.
Examples of Virtual Conferences
1. Game Developers Conference
The 2020 Game Developers Conference (GDC) switched its in-person conferences to streaming recorded versions on the GDC Twitch channel.
The conference will still have ceremonies for The Independent Games Festival (IGF) and Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), and will stream session content starting 9 AM PT daily, March 16-20.
The GDC has a well-organized itinerary posted on their website, with breakout sessions led by influencers and experts in the Gaming industry.
you’re able to pause Live sessions if you’re interested in watching at a later time, and the GDC has included “Recommended Channels” with headcounts on the left side of the screen. With some sessions evoking over 30,000 viewers, it’s safe to say the GDC has successfully launched a virtual version of their initially in-person event.
2. Webinar Mastery Summit
Jon Schumacher had hosted webinars online for a while with minimal results when he launched the Webinar Mastery Summit, a virtual conference for people who wanted to advance their webinar skills ,Successful Virtual Event.
His first virtual summit featured 25 experts, and generated 7,000 new email subscribers and over $55,000 in revenue with his All-Access Pass sales.
With All-Access, his participants receive lifetime access to 17 expert video sessions, full MP3 recordings of all sessions, three months of course creation software, and access to a private community for additional networking.
Ultimately, with virtual conferences, you’re able to create recorded packaged content for future lead generation and sales even after the initial live launch — something in-person conferences, for all its networking benefits, is unable to do.
3. How I Built This, by Women In Product
with the help of the Run The World virtual conferencing tool, the non-profit organization Women In Product launched an entirely virtual event March 7-8, 2020. The Women In Product conference included participants from China, India, Canada, and Silicon Valley.
The conference featured 10 speakers who’ve built successful products — including the Director of Product at GoDaddy, a PayPal Product Lead, and a Senior Product Manager at Ebay. The virtual event included fireside chats, keynote speakers, and networking events that enabled women to hear about the challenges and successes of product launches in different markets.
Personalize The Event With A Virtual Experience
If you don’t have anyone’s physical address, you might try creating a virtual experience that fits the theme of your event – or even use the activity as a brain break or “intermission” before the second half of the program.
AirBnB Experiences is a great place to start for inspiration. People from all over the world host experiences such as virtual magic shows, art walks, whiskey tasting, or even slime making. Get creative about your virtual experience and make sure it relates to the theme of your event Successful Virtual Event
Connect People And Give Them Something To Talk About
networking is one of the major reasons why people attend events, which means that you need to be very pointed about connecting attendees of virtual events. If you do nothing else – do this!
Think about prompting connections using breakout rooms. Try to organize people in rooms based on where they would get the most value and don’t leave people to their own devices. “If you don’t have breakout rooms, your audience is basically just watching a show.
In order to engage the audience, you must have breakout rooms so the attendees can meet each other and speak to the other members. We run our sessions as a regular Zoom meeting and not as a webinar for this reason,” said Sellers.
give the participants an interesting question to answer or fun topic to debate. Design the talking points to reveal information about people that would be useful in business. This way, people can get to know one another without a lot of pressure.
Sellers adds, “We thought going online would be disappointing to our members, however, the meeting has really opened up globally. We can bring in more speakers, and our attendees can meet more people because we’re not tethered to a physical location any longer.
The breakout rooms have pushed our attendees beyond their comfort zone because they are meeting people outside their normal circle ,Successful Virtual Event.
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