How to Organize and Run a Virtual Conference?
What does it take to run a successful and virtual conference? Here’s valuable information to know.
While the restrictions regarding COVID-19 are slowly winding down, the popularity of remote working is increasing day by day. One of the most important elements of remote working is virtual conferences. Did you know that the virtual event market is supposed to be worth $504.76 billion by the year 2028? We are surely seeing a trend here!
If you have jumped on the bandwagon and are stressed about organizing your first virtual conference, this post is perfect for you. We will share tips and tricks that will help you organize and run a very successful virtual conference. Let’s get right into it.
Know Your Audience
The first step in organizing a virtual conference is to determine your audience. Your audience will impact the content of your conference, choice of speakers, and marketing campaign to promote the event. So, figure out your target audience as it is a starting point for everything else.
Select the Right Virtual Event Tool
You need the right tools to organize a successful virtual conference. The right conference management platform will make or break the deal for you. Choose a virtual event tool that allows you to host a conference on your big day. It will help you with a million other things, such as attendee registration and marketing. An all-in-one platform will make organizing and marketing the event much easier.
Look for features like registration for attendees, promotion features, integration of zoom, an app for attendees of the conference, sponsor marketplace, and membership management integration.
This includes looking into coworking spaces and utilizing them as your virtual conference event space.
Create a Plan
By now, you know who you wish to invite to your event, it is time to figure out a schedule for yourself. Figure out the following:
- Are you planning to host keynote speakers, a speaker panel or a combination of both?
- What are the contents of the workshop: are you going to discuss hot issues within your industry?
- Are you planning to set up breakout sessions to promote engagement?
- Do you plan to create multiple content tracks and allow the attendees to select the one of their choice?
Above mentioned pointers will help you figure out the type of sessions you want to create and help you establish a sequence for the day. Make sure to keep a realistic pace and include multiple breaks throughout the day.
Get Your Speakers Ready
You need the right speakers if you wish to run a successful virtual conference. It is important to assist your speakers if you want them to be successful. They might not have presented at any virtual event before. Help them out as much as you can and share all the details in advance.
It sometimes means ensuring your live speakers have the right setup at home: a light, microphone, and the right tools. For pre-recorded sessions, select a good camera and microphone and always review the recording ahead of time.
Learn to Engage Your Virtual Audience
Make sure to plan your speaker schedule. It is one of the most important elements of organizing a successful virtual conference. Nearly half of the marketers use attendee engagement software. Audience engagement is one of the major challenges all organizers face. You might need to deploy multiple tactics to help keep your audience engaged. Some of the tips include:
- Encourage audience members to submit any questions they have during the conference.
- Take live polls throughout the day for taking opinions.
- Send attendees to remind them about a break or dispatch through the day.
- Set up discussions on group topics and always encourage attendees to take a part in the conference.
- You can use gamification and reward management to keep the audience excited.
Connect/Engage Your Sponsors
You don’t have to finance the event all by yourself. Contact potential sponsors to discuss multiple funding opportunities in exchange for multiple benefits. You can give them exposure, market for them, and in exchange, they can fund the event for you.
You can do this by compiling a list of organizations and businesses in the similar industry and reach out to them one by one. Aim at adding value for sponsors by outlining the benefits of participation.
Spread the Word
Now that you have nailed down the planning, it is time to let everyone know. Reach out to the prospective attendees with all the details at least two months before the event. Take a multichannel approach and avoid leaning on one medium.
Have a Plan to Tackle Technical Difficulties
Technical difficulties are common and expected in the case of virtual events. You need to have a plan in place to tackle them. Make sure to do a test run in advance and identify and tackle any problems before the big day. That way, you will not be startled by any kind of problem.
Follow Up with Participants
Most people make the mistake of not communicating with the attendees once the event is over. Follow up with your audience immediately after the conference is over in the rearview mirror. Always send a thank you note to the attendees and sponsors. Show gratitude to all the staff members, volunteers, and organizers whose efforts made this event possible.
Make sure to send a post-event survey to the attendees to get solid feedback and thoughts on your conference. This is immensely helpful for improving and creating an even better event the next time around.
Assess the Data of Your Event
Once your event is done, it is crucial to host a post-mortem for your event in order to understand the success of your conference. Make sure to schedule the time to sit and analyze your data. There is always room for improvement and data is a great way to figure out which parts of the conference need improvement.
Organizing a Virtual Conference
While COVID-19 has slowly started to subside, virtual events are sure to stay here. Now you have the right tools and tips to organize the virtual conference, huddle with your team and get to planning. If you need a little extra help with the planning process, feel free to reach out to us.