• Virtual Events

The event format
of the future

Your guide to virtual events

We are currently experiencing a worldwide change of unpredictable proportions and the event industry - like so many others - is directly and very strongly affected. In recent weeks, numerous events have already had to be cancelled or been postponed indefinitely. So far the announcement is as follows: No major events until at least 31 August 2020 (in Germany), what comes after that is still unclear.

But as usual, for every problem there is a solution. In this case it is called: Virtual events. This article will tell you everything you need how to become a virtual event organizer.

In this article you will learn how you can take advantage of virtual events, which tools you need and how MATE can support you.

Let's start with the basics: What is a virtual event?

Unlike a physical event, where participants meet on site, a virtual event takes place partly or exclusively online. It doesn't matter if it's a webinar, an online concert, a digital lecture, a virtual conference or all of them together: Thanks to the technological progress, numerous formats are possible and there are almost no limits to creativity. Virtual events also include hybrid events, which additionally transfer physical events to the Internet in order to increase the target group, or which are digitally expanded in order to offer users on site new ways to experience the event.

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What are the advantages of a virtual event?

First of all of course: A virtual event - if it takes place exclusively online – is not affected by social distancing. On the contrary: As an organizer, you can even benefit from the fact that many people just have more time than usual to educate themselves, expand their network and open up to new topics.

But even despite of Corona, virtual events have some huge advantages. One of them is the already mentioned versatility in terms of formats and concepts. With innovative ideas and the right technology, you can speak to your target group directly without any logistical effort or high costs. As venue, catering, travel and accommodation costs are eliminated, therefore virtual events are easier to manage and also work with a small budget. Instead, you can focus entirely on the content. The organizational effort for your participants is also reduced, because you don't have to travel separately. In addition to a positive environmental approach, this ensures an increased number of participants and therefore more reach with less effort. The same applies, of course, to potential speakers, who you can win over more easily if they don’t have to travel for their presentation. With the right tools, real-time interaction between speakers and audience is easy. And after the event, you have all click and view figures at a glance, so when you evaluate the event, you can see exactly what your participants found exciting and what not, so that you can plan subsequent events even better.

Why should you host a virtual event?

When you host a virtual event, you do so for the same reasons you would host a personal event: Because you want to drive leads and sales, connect with partners and customers, and get your company's message across. Whether a personal, virtual or hybrid event makes the most sense, depends on various factors such as budget, type, target audience and external circumstances.

Generally speaking, every type of event has its advantages and disadvantages. So when you think about whether a virtual event makes sense in your individual case, think about the big goal. What do you expect from the event? What is necessary for you to achieve this goal? Is a personal presence of the participants necessary or does the whole thing perhaps work better digitally? What are the general conditions under which the event should take place? Which tools are suitable for the implementation? Virtual events should never be considered separately from other events. Rather, all your events should be holistically intertwined, so that the general program helps you pursue and achieve your goals.

What do you have to pay attention to for a successful virtual event?

Once you have decided to hold a virtual event, the planning phase begins. If you know your goals, half the work is already done. The important thing is not to simply transfer the elements that make up a personal event 1:1 into the web, but to consider how you can use technological possibilities to convey your content in an ideal digital way.

Remember: If location, decoration, catering, etc. are omitted, your content IS your event. So pay special attention to relevance and high quality and book exciting speakers who can captivate your participants for several hours. See the event through the eyes of your target group: Who are they? What is their background? Are there differences between different target groups (e.g. industry, position, etc.) or is it homogeneous? Depending on this, offer options so that your participants can choose what is particularly interesting for them from the program. This makes it easier to keep participants engaged during the event and motivate them to actively participate, e.g. in live chats. And, of course, they should take the opportunity to use the existing data to evaluate their event, to demonstrate the return on investment(ROI) of an event and to learn for future events.

Conclusion

Without question, Corona has turned the event industry upside down. And yet, you should not let this unsettle you: This time is also the chance to open up new possibilities in event management, from which you will benefit beyond the crisis. After all, regardless of pandemic-related contact restrictions, there are scenarios in which a virtual or hybrid event makes more sense than a personal one - be it for cost reasons, for logistical reasons or to expand the target group.

It is important to always keep the participants focused, in order to offer them the added value – the reason they are participating - regardless of the type of event. You can find more information on how to plan and implement your perfect virtual event here.

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