When it comes to virtual events, should you just go with Zoom or Teams? Or does your event need an enhanced level of design and functionality? Picking your perfect virtual event platform can be quite the challenge.
We get it. We’re lucky to have so many virtual event platforms to choose from. But finding the option that has it all takes some legwork. To speed things up for you, we’ve put together a list of what to consider to make your virtual event a hit!
1. CREATE A VISION
Think about the perfect event for you:
- What does it need to deliver? For example – educational content, discussion groups, a new product or a product launch with real impact etc.
- Think about the kind of functionality and features you need the platform to have
- Do you have capability to build it yourself – or will you need a fully built system?
- Budget – have you got an idea of what it will cost?
Being clear about the size and shape of your programme helps you narrow down towards the right choice. You don’t want to get too far down the road and suddenly discover you can’t get the facilities you want. Which is why you need to…
2. KNOW YOUR MUST-HAVES
Use this shortlist to help you nail down your requirements. You might need other functionality, depending on your specific event. It all depends on your target audience.
- Filming and live broadcasting
- Pre-recorded content
- Custom branding – can you brand the event with your logo, custom colours and font?
- Exhibition facilities – what are the opportunities for sponsor placement? Virtual exhibition halls don’t always present as well as live ones. You might want to consider promoting content over branding.
- Networking facility
- Functionality – does the platform enable multi-day events and breakout sessions?
- Registration – does the platform have a built-in registration module? How advanced – and customisable – is it? Look into the payment feature and costs associated with any customisation.
- Q&A sessions
- Live polling
- Chat features
- Gamification – such as leaderboards or points collected through games
- Social media integration
When it comes to virtual events should you just go with Zoom or Teams? Or does your event need an enhanced level of design and functionality? Picking your perfect platform can be quite the challenge.
Being clear about the size and shape of your programme helps you narrow down towards the right choice. You don’t want to get too far down the road and suddenly discover you can’t get the facilities you want.
3. DON’T FORGET DATA
Another benefit of virtual events is how easy it is to run real-time analytics. Collecting data on ‘who watches what’ helps you identify the most relevant content. You can then apply that knowledge to improve the experience you offer in upcoming events.
Make sure your platform can provide this data both during and after the event. Depending on the platform, you can use everything from the Number of Clicks to the Length of Watch Time in order to create a road map/profile per attendee.
In-person conferences and meetings look different now, so think ahead to when you might want to run hybrid events. Will this platform grow with you?
4. SATISFY EXHIBITORS AND SPONSORS
You may be thinking how to run an exhibition and invite sponsorship for spaces and sessions. Well, it’s important to define what you want to be able to offer.
- Can there be an interactive expo hall?
- Are lead generation options available for exhibitors?
- Can exhibitors collect information on the attendees who visit their virtual booths?
- Can there be live engagement between attendees and exhibitors?
- Does your platform include features that let you showcase your sponsors?
5. MAKE ENGAGEMENT EASY
Aim to avoid that viewer fatigue we all know so well. Select a platform which allows attendees to join in with different parts of the event, and with each other, via:
- Panel sessions
- Audience polling
- Meet the Speaker opportunities
- 1-to-1 meetings
- Exhibitor get-togethers
And remember to allow for breaks!
Some virtual events don’t need a fancy platform. If you want to offer something a little slicker, first find out what kind of technical support your platform supplier can provide.
6. TAILOR YOUR TECHNICAL SUPPORT
Some virtual events don’t need a fancy platform. But what if you want to offer something a little slicker? First, find out what kind of technical support your platform supplier can provide.
- Can support be available during the live event to troubleshoot issues with attendees?
- Can they run support in the chat room(s) too?
- Can they offer a green room or holding room for speakers? Can it be staffed for technical support?
- How many holding rooms can the system accommodate?
When presentations need to be recorded in advance and then shared on the day, check that tech support will be available to integrate these smoothly.
7. MAXIMISE YOUR BUDGET
Many people assume going virtual means spending less – this isn’t always the case. Think about the kind of experience you want to give your attendees. The more seamless and customised the event, the higher the cost of the platform is likely to be. But of course, other costs such as hotels and travel won’t come up!
With planning, you’ll find the best fit.
There’s a wide range of platforms on offer. And, depending on what you need, a modest budget can enhance an event. But if your event calls for a more sophisticated set-up, it’s worth investing in a platform and support services that’ll impress the socks off your audience.
Need advice on choosing the best virtual event platform for you? Give us a call.