What seemed like fun yesterday no longer applies to tomorrow. And all of the Zoom video calls that seemed like they would be a great way to connect to others during the shutdown are showing signs of fatigue.
As we all move into the new phase of potentially reopening, the reality is large gatherings are out of the question for now. But for those who still need and want to plan events, the new question is “how?”
We checked in with the experts of the event planning industry and found tips on pivoting from IRL (in real life) to digital. But before you’re ready to throw your first online mixer and send out hundreds of digital invites, get ready for a self-assessment on why, when and how you plan on throwing a virtual event.
WHY ARE YOU HAVING THE EVENT?
Are you looking to fundraise? Are you seeking to connect with potential new clients? Are you connecting others through networking? The reason you were having the event before may not be the same reason you are hosting the event now. Therefore, if you know what your objective is, that will help you develop the components for the event, e.g. if it is fundraising, consider the apps needed to pull off a virtual auction.
HOW LONG WILL IT BE?
What was once a multi-day event may now be reduced to a few hours. After all, people can only sit in front of their computers for so long. This is the time to take a step back and determine how much you will ideally expect attendees to sit and watch versus interact and ask questions. Picture being in their shoes: sitting through an event that started off with good intentions but ended up feeling like a boring lecture that ran too long. Also consider this: will there be videos attendees can watch in advance and at their leisure before the actual event or will the entire event be streamed live? So many options!
GIFTING AND OTHER OFFERINGS
There are dozens of creative gifts you can send to your virtual event’s attendees. Companies such as Brilliant and Gifts for the Good Life help make digital events even more memorable with customizable swag and branded materials. Both companies offer custom designs, fulfillment and shipping of your gifts directly to your attendees’ doors. This will leave participants thinking about your event long after it ends.
ARE YOU CONNECTED?
Technology is key right now to executing a flawless event and that begins and ends with the strength of your Internet connection. You wouldn’t want to log on to a virtual networking event only to experience the host’s voice cutting in and out and the video buffering every five seconds. Consider upgrading the current router provided by your Internet service provider and investing in a networking server instead.
A good router will also provide added protection from hackers. Experts also suggest hardwiring your laptop or computer to that new router with an ethernet cable versus wireless. Here are additional tips to getting the right tech in place.
KEEP THEM ENGAGED
BizBash recently addressed virtual fatigue: “Attendee engagement is the most critical component of every event—live or virtual,” says Adam Sloyer, chief executive officer, Sequence Events in New York. “The present challenge is virtual event fatigue, because of the sheer quantity of events that people are being asked to participate in. Attendees need to see a value prop to attend and then also be compelled to stay.” From providing gear to wear during the virtual event to new ways to utilize social media to incentivize attendees to participate, event planners are getting creative when it comes to keeping everyone talking, including developing drip campaigns to maintain engagement long after the event is over.
Now that you have a better idea about the fundamentals of what your virtual event should consist of and the technology needed to pull it off, it may be time to dive in deeper about the logistics and timeline of your virtual event. We’re here to offer sound, expert advice on what a captivating and successful virtual event looks like, even as Zoom fatigue sets in for many.
With creative thinking, strategic methods to keep your audience engaged, the right timing, a targeted purpose and the right equipment, your virtual event will stand out from the rest to help you reach your specific goals. We’re here to offer additional advice and guidance.
For more help on creating and executing you next event, contact us for more information.