Embracing virtual events has fast become an essential strategy for marketing teams. For many, this is unknown territory requiring quick learning and adaptation. For those new to virtual events or looking for new ideas to revamp your event program, here are 10 steps to make sure your event is set up for success.
10 Steps for Producing Successful Virtual Events
1. Find the right platform
There are a variety of tools to choose from when considering the right virtual events platform for your business. Consider what type of functionality is needed and what integrates easily with your current tech stack. Here are a few things to consider when evaluating potential webinar and virtual events platforms:
- Do you plan to create your own registration page or use the platform's registration feature? If using the platform, can it be customized?
- Does it integrate with your CRM and marketing automation tools?
- Can you easily share resources with your attendees?
- Is there a registration limit?
- Does the platform allow for recording and viewing on-demand?
- Can you produce more than one webinar or event at a time?
- What is your budget?
Don’t hesitate to start with something simple and intuitive as you launch your virtual events program. The ability to subscribe monthly is a great option if you’re just getting started. This allows you to get comfortable producing great events while still learning about additional functions you can use to make your events unique.
2. Establish and assign distinct roles
It’s important to have clear and distinct roles for your virtual events and webinars. A lot of us have to be scrappy and do a lot with a little. Though it is possible to produce a great virtual event with one person responsible for everything from start to finish, it can lead to things slipping through the cracks. We recommend dividing up responsibilities for pre-event, active event, and post-event roles. Roles include:
- Producer: The producer is the event’s point person. They are responsible for:
- Setting up the event within your platform.
- Building the Registration and Thank You pages.
- Managing the live event, which includes launching the event, hosting Q&A, and dealing with any technical issues (they will come up).
- Wrap-up, including setting up the event on-demand and hosting a post-event team meeting.
- Host/Presenter: The host of your virtual event leads the content and presentation. The host may moderate a panel, introduce your guest speaker, or present your organization’s own best practices and thought leadership. They work closely with your speakers to make sure your event’s content hits the mark.
- Campaign manager - The campaign manager will lead the promotional efforts around your virtual event. They will support the event by building email, social, and other outreach campaigns. They also own event follow-up and promotion of the event on-demand.
Depending on the size of your team, a person may have one or multiple roles. Whatever your team’s size, make sure that ownership is clear and that you have open lines of communication from the start.
3. Create a impactful Thank You page
Every touch point with your audience is important. Your event’s “Thank You” page is a great tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. Done right, the page can be used to further the conversation around your webinar topic. It can direct your audience to valuable content that builds a deeper connection with your brand. It can also lead them to take an action like following your company on social or booking a demo!
4. Provide your audience with a calendar invite
Most people live by what’s on their calendar. If an event is not on their calendar, something else is going to be booked in its place. In order to keep your virtual event top of mind, make sure to give your audience the ability to easily add the event to their calendar.
Most webinar tools enable you to send confirmation emails that include an “add to calendar” feature. This is a great option since many programs require dynamic login links for each audience member. If you’re building your own confirmation and reminder emails through your marketing automation or email platform, you can use built-in integrations or programs such as AddEvent and Zapier to pull the dynamic login information.
5. Create content that provides solutions
When developing the content for your virtual event, focus on how you can empower your audience to find solutions and grow in their roles. If you need to showcase your product, format it in a way that does not come across as a sale pitch. For example, can you share how your company uses its own product to support your business?
Highspot recently produced a webinar for content leaders. Instead of talking about how Highspot can solve the problems content marketers face, the team shared how they approach content and sales enablement. They provided solutions and ideas that anyone (even non-Highspot-users) can implement. The team still managed to showcase their product by using slides and sharing their own experiences and best practices.
6. Create an event prep doc
Tracking all your event information in one place helps make sure your team is prepared, your speakers and guests feel confident, and your overall event is set up for success. Your prep doc should include contact information, details for accessing the virtual event, the timeline leading up to your event (date slides are due, etc.), and your run-of-show.
7. Make sure to share
Don’t forget about the great promotional channels available for getting your virtual event in front of your audience. A lot can be done organically with just a bit of work upfront.
Make sure to utilize your company's social channels to reach their built-in audiences. You can also look to your guests and your team to promote on their own channels. Provide your presenter(s) with copy they can either post as-is or edit to match their voice. Make sure they know the event’s hashtags as well as any vital information you want them to share.
8. Send out reminders
People sign up for webinars and virtual events with the best intention of going. Often life and work can get in the way. Your audience is busy and they have a lot of things fighting for their attention. Reminders are a great way to stay top of mind with your audience. Your audience is likely seeing multiple emails for various events every day, so be strategic around when you send out your updates. Options that have worked well for the Banzai team include (pick 2-3):
- 1 week before
- 2 days before
- 1 hour before
- When the webinar is starting
Another way to compete against the daily noise is to find ways to remind your audience outside of email. You can:
- Publish in-app updates
- Send push notifications
- Post reminders on social media
- Send SMS to opted-in audience members
Reminders are a must-have for making sure your registrants turn into attendees.
9. Host a run-through
No matter how many times you produce a virtual event, it’s important to set aside time for an event run-through. The practice session can consist of a quick technical run-through or a full dress rehearsal. The goal is to make sure everyone involved is comfortable with the flow of your event, as well as all technical aspects.
10. Don’t forget to record
One of the most common questions the Banzai team gets about their virtual events is “will the event be recorded?” Creating an on-demand experience will enable your event to drive pipeline long after the live program is over. Most hosting platforms allow you to turn on automatic recording when you set up your event. Always check to make sure the right light is blinking when you launch your virtual event.