Planning a virtual event on your own is a nightmare, especially when you have no itemized checklist or a general idea of what you want. Additionally, people tend to be fickle about webinars and virtual events, so the pressure's on to make yours great.
The goal is to execute a fabulous and engaging event, and the way to achieve this is to use the best virtual event planning checklist available.
Skip the hard lessons on planning a virtual event; here are our tips to make yours a complete success from start to finish. These virtual marketing ideas apply to every virtual event.
Before the Event
1. Start planning now
Have a virtual event in the next few months? Now’s the time to begin planning! Use expert virtual event technology to ensure you have the right tone and style for your event, even if all your attendees will be present from their homes or offices.
Early planning eliminates many what-ifs and allows plenty of time to make changes. Consider the following situations during your brainstorming:
- What if the main speaker cancels?
- What if there are technological issues?
- What if a surge in attendees results in the virtual event being rescheduled or modified?
- What if you exceed the budget?
The earlier you plan your virtual event, the more time you have to make changes and avoid panicking.
2. Have a Plan B
Even if you iron out every detail well in advance, you should always have a Plan B. Plan B is the schedule and event roll-out you’ll rely on if issues arise in your preferred plan during the event. The show must go on, and your Plan B will ensure this happens.
3. Pick the time and date
Marketing events should have a set date as soon as they’re announced. The venue's date and time is the foundation of your virtual event planning checklist. You can handle this yourself or pass the task to a third party.
4. Avoid clashing with other events
The last thing you want is to compete with another virtual event similar to yours. Your engagement marketing team should browse virtual events in your niche and identify when they're scheduled to ensure that A) yours doesn't launch the same time and day, and B) yours is better or different. The best virtual event tools will prevent you from booking yours concurrently with someone else's event.
5. Leverage entertaining and engaging incentives
How will you entice virtual event attendees to show up? Is there a giveaway at the end? Will there be guest appearances by known artists and performers or a keynote speaker who’s difficult to book? Will you run a contest for attendees to participate in?
Make the virtual event engaging from beginning to end and mix it up. An ideal virtual event is a blend of professional engagement, humor, suspense, and entertainment. The right engagement marketing will incorporate these elements to ensure yours is a success.
This is why planning early is so important: It gives you the time needed to schedule your virtual event down to the last minute. If what you're planning doesn’t even interest you, adjust your agenda.
6. Have a flexible budget
Here's a hard truth: The less money you spend on your virtual event, the less value it offers. Make your budget flexible so you can host a virtual event that’ll retain its guests and be memorable in positive ways. You have one shot; make it count and don't cut corners.
Your event budget comprises the following elements:
An advantage of virtual events is not having to wine and dine guests and attendees. Use the increase in budgeting to make your virtual event pop.
7. Maintain sight of the goal
The goal of a virtual event is to grab attention, create new partnerships, gather more sponsorships, and generate customer awareness. The money you invest in a virtual event should go toward achieving all of these and any other specific objectives you have. Engagement marketing has little value if you fail to pay attention to your virtual event ROI as well.
Don't lose sight of your objective(s). Rather than focusing on how many people attend your event (although attendance is important), the goal is to boost your business and create excitement. Whether you're merging with another company, bringing on new staff, changing or improving your brand, asking for or celebrating sponsorship, or just showing appreciation for your team, your event needs to stay on point for the takeaway to remain clear to all attendees.
Here's how to maintain focus on your goal:
- Craft a mission statement at the start
- Have all teams work closely together
- Seek input from all team leaders
- Match your virtual marketing ideas to the end goal
Revisit your goal(s) often to ensure the mission statement and other expected results remain consistent. If an objective changes mid-plan, regroup and work on an improved agenda as needed.
8. Craft the guest list
You have the main speaker, the guest speaker, the host, the itinerary, the topics of discussion, and every detail settled. Now, you need the attendees, which means it's time to create the guest list! Don't wait until the last minute to put it together; have an ongoing list of people who’ll attend throughout the planning process. Scratch off and add attendees as you plan.
Who will attend your virtual event? Remember, the people who come to your virtual event will make or break it and determine its overall success, so choose wisely. Consider these potential invitees:
- Guest speakers
- Formal invitees
- Higher-up team members
- Industry thought leaders
- Open invitation guests
Visit your virtual event platform to determine how massive your guest list can be. When in doubt, crop out.
9. Generate a registration link
Give your virtual event an air of professionalism by creating a registration link that guides potential attendees to your virtual event. Then, send out a reminder a few days and hours prior to the event.
Don't neglect the unregistered either: Gently nudge those who haven't committed with a questioning email or a special invite.
During the Event
1. Communicate and check in often
No event in history has ever gone without a hitch. Communicate with all staff members in charge of the virtual event, including tech pros, hosts, and scheduled artists to ensure all components are in order and each role and time is understood.
Check often that time slots and marks are hit appropriately and that the virtual event retains audience interest. The best virtual event tools enable communication at all times.
2. Have a social media moderator
Someone must be in charge of online communication and chats, making social media moderators mandatory. If any aspect of the event tanks or shows negative social media support, be on top of damage control.
3. Always remain calm and ready for Plan B
Anticipate problems for every live event. Issues can include a host failing to show, the internet lagging, a virus blocking attendees, or a typo scheduling the event for the wrong day. When you-know-what hits the fan, keep a cool head and activate Plan B.
After the Event
1. Perform damage control
With the advent of social media, it's all too easy to post a negative remark or inaccurate statement about a host, sponsor, keynote speaker, or live guest. Your damage control experts will keep these comments to a minimum or at least offset them to hold trolls at bay.
2. Follow up with attendees
Every guest, from the main speaker to the invited attendees, need a personal note of appreciation for their attendance. Do this a few days after the event ends. Include a reminder of any future events for relevancy as well.
3. Invite feedback
Send a follow-up survey or feedback questionnaire to give you helpful information for future events.
4. Calculate your success
How much did your virtual event end up costing? How many of the total number of attendees remained engaged throughout the event? Did your event have a similar, better, or worse outcome than previous ones?
Measure your event’s success so future virtual marketing events can be an even bigger hit. Keep in mind that a planning checklist for all virtual events is crucial to minimize stress and ensure everything goes smoothly.
If you’re looking for a seamless way to set up, manage, and follow-up virtual webinars, Demio helps you achieve all this and more. You’ll be able to build your brand, successfully engage your audience, and promote future events with ease. Best of all, Demio’s smart event analytics suite helps you measure and improve all future webinars to bring in more leads and drive revenue.