Even a minor lapse in logistics can ruin a virtual event. From the moment that your event is live you’re in the firing line, and any detail (however small) can be quickly noticed, scrutinized, and shared across social media.
That’s why virtual event logistics are so important. From virtual stages and integrations to live chat and attendee engagement, follow this checklist to ensure that you provide your attendees with a smooth, well-run event from A to Z.
Landing page: Your landing page is the first glimpse that attendees will have of your event. First, consider the copy. Make sure that you have all of the necessary information about the event i.e. dates, program, speakers, and sessions. Then think about the design, make sure that it is easy on the eye and well-presented in a clear and concise manner.
Registration: So you’ve set the tone with your landing page, now it’s time to turn contacts into attendees. To make this as easy as possible for attendees, the registration process should always be user-friendly and intuitive. This should take no longer than 5 minutes and should only require attendees to enter in the basics like name, email address, billing information, and preference choices.
Collecting fees: Avoid any unnecessary complications by offering multiple payment options. This means credit and debit cards along with online payment options such as PayPal and Google Pay. Finally, if you have any international guests make sure foreign payments are accepted.
Consider the timezones: To get as many attendees as people consider where your attendees will be tuning in from. Of course, you won’t be able to please everyone but you should also have a good idea of where your attendees are located. To make sure that none of your attendees will be up through the early hours, use this tool from the World Clock Meeting Planner which creates a timezone with the most compatible times.
Email campaigns: Chances are that your attendees will be unfamiliar with some of the elements of virtual events. Whether that’s figuring out how to schedule a one-to-one networking session or what, if any, plugins need to be downloaded prior to the event. Email campaigns provide a great platform to answer all of these questions, along with reiterating key information such as the dates, program, and speakers.
Invitations: When it comes to types of invitations you have 2 options: Printed invitations (the real pièce de résistance) or digital invitations. On both types, you’ll want to reaffirm the key information. In addition to this, consider when is the best time to send the invitations. This is about finding a balance that’s early enough to start sparking interest, but not too early that people lose interest.
During the Event
Equipment: Having the right equipment ensures that you’ll be delivering high-quality content throughout the virtual event. First, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got all the right equipment (meaning microphones, cameras, and even a studio) then have plenty of trial runs to ensure that you’ve got the best possible setup. This also applies to your speakers, who need to be prepped before the event.
Event schedule: A strong event schedule needs to be fluid, integrating the different elements of the event into one. This requires a lot of thought and effort. Start off with the keynotes speeches then identify how other sessions such as workshops, Q&As, and product launches can be successfully integrated into the agenda. Always make sure to map out the schedule from the perspective of your attendees to see how the event runs.
Virtual stage: For the virtual stage, create a ‘one-to-many’ video experience. Speakers, hosts, and guests will appear on the big screen whilst the audience comment through a live chat feature. The virtual stage is where all of the big conversations take place; this can be in the form of keynotes, product launches, or interviews. For the attendees, this is about absorbing valuable content and less about the interaction.
Virtual lounge: To take a breather from all of the content, create a virtual lounge for your attendees. This is a place where participants can connect in a virtual room via chat windows and live video. Not only, does this allow attendees to feel familiar aspects of event spaces through virtual elements, but it also keeps them away from just clicking through screens and videos that all look the same.
Simultaneous sessions: To provide virtual attendees with a great experience, you’re going to need to offer different sessions. Of course, you’ll want to keep the virtual stage as the main attraction, but away from that, try and offer something for everyone. This could be a workshop for startups or a Q&A for leaders in e-commerce. Whatever it is, you will be giving your attendees with sessions designed specifically for their needs.
Virtual networking: In this format, attendees schedule one to one meetings via a video chat. Just like at any other event, either the attendees or the event organizers can choose who connects to who and for how long. Then depending on the allocated time slot, the attendees will be automatically selected with another person. Networking is a key part of any event, so be sure to give your attendees plenty of time to mingle.
Breakout sessions: To provide something different away from the virtual stage include breakout sessions such as workshops, discussions, or panel discussions. Carried out in small groups, ranging from 5 to 50 participants, these can be done on any webinar or virtual meeting platforms. What’s important here is that participants have the chance to speak when called on.
Chat: By encouraging guests to engage in the comments and chat section you provide a space for people to interact, share their thoughts, and discuss the event in real-time. Go through your agenda and identify which sessions will be best suited to live chat (this will be the vast majority). To make this as successful as possible, have some moderators to facilitate the conversation with prompts, questions, and a plan to steer the conversations.
Pre-recorded sessions: To save yourself some time try and record some sessions before the event. Of course, you won’t be able to offer any live engagement so identify which sessions will work best in this format. For a smooth operation, collect video samples from your speakers before they do the recording. This way you’ll be able to make sure that the setup and format are exactly how you want them to be.
Live sessions: For any live sessions that you’ll be running, give yourself and your speakers plenty of time to prepare. Before the big day have a run-through and check that everything fits within the allocated time frame. Make sure that all of your speakers are well versed and know what to expect. Also, spend some time thinking about how the different sessions will work around each other and who will be doing the intros and outros.
Technology integrations: First things first, identify what tech you’re going to be using for the different elements of your events. For example, for webinars and meetings you might be using Zoom or Demio, whilst for live streaming you might be using OBS or Wirecast. From this, you’ll then need to map out the different technology and how it’s going to integrate into the event. To make things a lot easier, use an online events platform, like Eventtia, which provides you with an all-in-one platform that will put everything together for you.
Engagement tools: Live polls and quizzes are a great way to break down barriers between you and your attendees. This is a great way to keep attendees actively engaged. To maximise their use, make sure to analyse each session to identify where they can be used. Also, take into consideration what technology you will be using, how to set it up, and whether attendees need to download anything prior to the event.
Online surveys: It’s hard to say exactly how your event went without seeking feedback from the people that were there. That’s why you must send out a survey immediately after the event, so plan this well in advance. Ask participants for feedback on the date, location, speakers, session topics, vendors, and the overall ambiance of the event. Make sure the surveys are direct and get straight to the point.
Repurpose any content: To ensure that attendees are still engaged with your brand long after the event, make sure to repurpose all of the content that you’ve collected. There should be a lot of it to keep the conversation going long after the event has finished. Spend some time after the event to identify the most popular content along with how it can be leveraged. This could be in the form of a new podcast series or a series of video snippets from your keynotes.
Email sequences: The conversation doesn’t have to stop once the event is over. Combine all of the repurposed content that you have email sequences so that you can continue to engage with your attendees. Segment these sequences into the different attendee personas that you’ve created. Not only will this help you to continue building a stronger relationship with your attendees, but it also means that they’ll be ready to go for your next event.
As you can see there’s quite a lot to take in here and virtual events definitely require a lot of thinking ahead. The good news is that the logistics before and after the event are almost identical to that of a live event. The big difference here is during the virtual event and more specifically, all of the technology that needs to be mastered. Get a good grasp of this and you’ll be able to deliver your virtual event logistics down to a tee.