March 17, 2020

These event planning steps will get your move to online events off to a great start.

Getting started

We’re all learning to manage business continuity in an unprecedented environment where in-person events are on hold for the foreseeable future. Nimble marketing teams are rapidly pivoting to online events to maintain customer connections and move business forward. Whether you’re just getting started with an online event or already in the midst of a transition, these simple and practical considerations will help you succeed.

Revisit business goals

Moving an event online makes it more affordable for you to reach more people with content. At the same time a broader audience may be interested in tuning in as the cost to attend is lower. Consider how  you can adjust business goals to align with the new opportunities of a shifting audience.

  • Drive new lead generation
  • Connect with a new audience
  • Build greater community engagement
  • Expand training offerings

Choose the right content

Online audiences need engaging content tailored to their interests just like an in person audience. With the right event tech, you can deliver content in multiple popular formats such as:

  • Thought-leadership keynotes & panel sessions
  • Interactive breakout presentations with live Q&A or polling
  • Attendee to attendee networking & interaction
  • Birds-of-a-feather discussion groups
  • Sponsor content
  • Live or pre-recorded content

Adjust pricing and registration strategies

Online events frequently use free content access as a way to drive registration with new audiences. Not all content needs to be free though. Some options include:

  • Free keynote accessible to all who register with an email address
  • Fee & more detailed registration process for in-depth training sessions
  • Invite-only conference requiring registration & password to access
  • Free for anyone to register and access content

Choose an online event platform

The right event platform depends on the content and engagement levels you want to deliver. This can be as simple as a landing page with an embedded live stream or as immersive as a full virtual conference platform. Some technologies to consider include:

  • Live stream software
  • Webinar software
  • Chat
  • Polling
  • Audience Q&A
  • Screen sharing
  • Immersive virtual event platform

Map the attendee journey

Similar to a live event, an online attendee journey starts pre-event, runs through event day and continues on through post-event follow up. Plan each engagement attendees should flow through and how that engagement takes place.  Include items such as:

  • Registration
  • Pre-event engagements
  • Event login
  • Navigating the event platform 
  • Content access
  • Attendee to attendee interactions
  • Attendee to speaker interactions
  • Push communications 
  • Gamification
  • Post event follow up
virtual attendee journey

Set requirements for production quality

Different content types will call for varying levels of production quality and the AV equipment to deliver it. Live streaming a heavily attended keynote calls for professional grade equipment while small group breakouts can usually get by with less. Options vary among:

  • Entry level using low-cost live streaming through webcams
  • Medium grade production leveraging a small professional team, with higher-end cameras & equipment
  • High quality production with a larger crew, multiple high-end cameras, switcher to control among available shots, audio mixer, & pro lighting
  • Plans for video recording and editing for post-event share

Plan filming & live stream locations

Hosting an online event opens up a world of engaging filming locations and strategies. Create the feel of a big event by live streaming keynotes from a branded professional stage setting. Get creative with where breakouts are filmed if remote speakers can’t travel.  Rent a local production studio for an hour, or send a basic production studio in a box so your speakers can film their own high-quality presentation in an interesting local location.

Promote participation on event day

Online events are great for boosting registration. Be sure you have an event day strategy to remind all those who registered that it is time to attend.

  • Gamification/ promotional incentives to tune in live
  • Email links to registered attendees on event day
  • Real-time social sharing of content 
  • Embed live stream on your company website
  • Speakers promoting their own talks
  • Sponsor promotion of their participation
attendee engagement

Monitor the data that matters

Your online event opens up new opportunities for gathering attendee data. Review your options for data collection through live streaming and other online event tech and create your plan to track and report on useful data points.

  • Live stream logins
  • Time viewed 
  • Number of sessions accessed
  • Interactive engagements 
  • Other content accessed

Prepare for post-event follow-up

Remember that you need to keep the conversation going with online attendees just as you would with live attendees. Be ready with a post-event engagement plan.

  • Thank you for attending email
  • Blog recaps and highlights
  • Promote availability of event content on demand for a limited time post-event
  • Email nurture campaigns
  • Follow up webinar invites

Ready to start planning your virtual event ? Contact Shiloh to get started today.

Get Your Event Started

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