Since the turn of the century, the Internet has grown rapidly, affecting nearly every aspect of our lives, from education to business to communications to entertainment. Similarly, it has affected virtually every area of how we organize and manage events and how we create and broadcast events in the previous decade. Virtual events (online exclusively) and hybrid events (those with both in-person and online audiences) gained popularity in the 2010s owing to their ease and novelty. With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, many event professionals, corporations, and organizations have been obliged to take online events more seriously as a primary means of engaging their audiences. An online event platform, like Mixhubb, comes with basic features one will need when conducting a virtual event. After the pandemic, there has been a rise in the number of such platforms.
10 things to consider before planning an online event
Here is a list of questions every organizer must ask themselves before planning an online event.
1.What kind of event is one organizing? What is the event?
This is the beginning place for any physical or virtual event, whether in-person or virtual. It is both the primary purpose for organizing the event and the primary takeaway or sensation one wants his/her audience to leave with. And the exercise of defining it will most likely lead one to decide whether the event should be in-person or virtual.
2. What kind of content would justify this event and convince the audience to attend?
This is an important question in virtual event planning since it demands one to first understand his/her target audience’s interests and requirements. In this context, “content” refers to more than just what appears on the screen. It covers everything that the audience sees on the screen, everything that the presenters say throughout a session, and the media types that are utilized to transmit specific information.
3. Is the Virtual Event format appropriate for the intended audience?
There is no doubt that virtual events, in the current scenarios, are unambiguously more useful than in-person ones. They expand the audience reach and attendance across geographical borders while keeping costs to a minimum. But the main concern here is whether it will appeal to the target audience and engage them in a way that they will understand. As a result, before one hurries to create an event format or select an event platform, attempt to learn about the audience. How comfortable are they with attending online events, using virtual event elements, and so on?
4. How can one attract sponsors for their online event?
A backup source of funding is required if one is preparing for a large-scale event. Sponsorships provide this cash for events. Sponsors are regarded as the backbone of an in-person event budget for business events such as conferences, product expos, award presentations, and so on. So, attracting sponsors becomes an important as well as a difficult task for the organizers.
5. How will you handle event attendees?
If one wishes to use a web application to manage the front desk, he/she must have a reliable internet connection. One should test the network on-site, whether one is hosting an outdoor event or in a sophisticated conference room.
6. How can one meet their audience’s demands and needs?
This is an important matter in planning a virtual event since it demands one to understand the target audience’s interests and requirements. If one doesn’t know who they are, one may find out by conducting an online survey of possible attendees. Even if one already knows them, perform a poll nevertheless, since one will most likely discover something new.
7. What technology and gadgets will one’s attendees/participants use to attend/participate?
Is the target audience young or old? Do they favour cell phones or computers? Are they tech-savvy, quick-to-adapt entrepreneurs? Are they unable to identify their preferred browser or operating system? Or are they someplace in the middle? Questions like these will help one establish the type and amount of event technology one will need to use, as well as the level of customer service one needs to provide.
8. How can one increase his/her audience reach?
The vast audience reach that virtual events have over in-person events is a significant benefit. While a physical venue is restricted by geographical distance and capacity, a virtual platform allows participants from all over the world to attend the event in large numbers, up to a few hundred thousand at a time. The only problem here is reaching the relevant audiences through the appropriate methods. To guarantee that the audience may attend from multiple social platforms other than the online event platform, set up live broadcasts on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and so on.
9. Which virtual platform or event type is ideal for presenting the content?
This is where one should think about the scope of their virtual event. Is it a straightforward webinar, a bigger virtual meeting or conference, a full-fledged virtual summit with networking rooms and virtual exhibitors, or something different? Begin by selecting the best techniques for communicating the material or achieving the objectives – keynotes, panels, video presentations, courses, online chats, and Q&As – and then evaluate the framework or structure that will best include those approaches.
10. Should one think about audiences that speak various languages?
A significant issue in virtual event planning is how broad one wants to open up before his/her audience. If one wants or needs to traverse borders, one should consider live translation as well as closed captioning. One should alternatively look for an online event platform that supports live captioning.
Finally, keep in mind that regulating consumer expectations is an important part of preserving client satisfaction. It is critical to make the most of these queries. Include them in the event management strategy right away. This would make the strategy stronger. In addition, one would be developing a long-term relationship with his or her customer. Another great option is to accompany the client as they fill out the questionnaire. Those questions can be asked concurrently. In real-time, one may provide more context and scope for the query. This increases mutual understanding of expectations, processes, and potential consequences.