How to Create and Promote a Virtual or Online Event?

August 4, 2021
How to Create and Promote a Virtual or Online Event
Virtual events are becoming more popular as the world continues to deal with COVID-19. Fortunately, modern technology has made it possible for companies to host virtual or online events, leading to many benefits for hosts and attendees. In this blog, we will take a deeper look into what virtual events are, why they are worth your time, examples of successful virtual conferences and few tools that can help you plan your own. Let’s dive in.

What Is a Virtual Event?

A virtual event or an online event is an interactive meeting that happens over the web rather than a physical location. Unlike the in-person event, attendees from anywhere in the world can attend a virtual event with a proper internet connection. These events will have interactive engagement features such as polling, Q&A, chat boxes, etc.

What Are the Benefits of Hosting Virtual Event?

There are many reasons why virtual events are beneficial. Here are some of the major benefits,  
  • Virtual events allow individuals or companies to reach a wide range of audience
  • Travel is not an issue with virtual events
  • Easily record important information, like people’s names, titles, etc
  • Save a huge chunk of money
  • Virtual events are measurable. Companies can get amazing insights on which was their popular event and how many attended
  • Easy to collect feedback via real-time polls or surveys

What Are the Types of Virtual Events?

Here are the 4 main types of virtual events,
  • Webinars

    They last from 45 to 80 minutes, make use of video conferencing tools and can also include internal and external training
  • Virtual conferences

    Virtual conferences are also built around agenda such as keynotes, sessions, breakouts and more. It can also have community engagement tools
  • Internal hybrid events

    This is a company-wide event, training, department meetings, and more for organizations that are span across countries
  • External hybrid events

    These types of events are held for people who are outside of the organization

Should You Make your Virtual Event Free or Paid?

Compared to physical events, virtual events are much lower in cost. But this creates a question, should your virtual event be free or paid entry? Sadly, we cannot give you a definitive yes or no answer, but we have put together some key points that will help you decide. Based on your answers to these questions, you can either make your virtual event free or paid.
  • How beneficial is the content?
  • What is the demand for the content?
  • If the content is offered in a physical location, will the audience pay to attend?
  • Which is more important? – Attendees or revenue?
  • Even though you have generated revenue, will it be okay if you have fewer attendees?
  • Do you think paid events will eliminate unqualified leads?
Based on your answers to these questions, you can either make your virtual event free or paid.

How to Host a Virtual Event? (including tools that will help you)

There are many ways to host a virtual event. Here are some of the best ways along with some of the best vital event platforms that can be used.

1. Social Livestream

Every social media platform has a live stream feature. Live streaming is well known for driving huge engagement. According to Facebook, live streams get six times more engagement than regular videos. We have also written a detailed blog that explains how to live stream from a website, do take a look if you like to learn more.  Here are some of the best social live stream platforms to host virtual events,

2. Webinar

A webinar is more like an online presentation that is held in real-time. They can also be shared and viewed afterward. Participants can ask questions through voice or through the chat feed option. Here are some of the webinar platform mediums.

3. Conferences and Networking

If you want to conduct a formal virtual event, you can use advanced tools that include live streaming, chat rooms and more. Here are some of the platforms.

What Are Some Tips to Host a Successful Virtual Event in 2020?

Event promotion comes with some challenges. Here are some ways to effectively plan and promote your virtual event.

1. Create a Plan

Whether big or small, every event must have a strategy. Before hosting an event, you must figure out the kind of experience you want to deliver, will access be free or paid, event promotional activities, duration of the event, access to the event after it’s over etc. By figuring out answers to these questions, you will be able to create a game plan.

Apart from these, decide the type of virtual event you want to host – how-to’s, tutorials, classes, training, courses, ask me anything interviews or behind-the-scenes tours.

2. Spruce-up Your Event Website

Regardless of whether the event is in-person or virtual, an event website serves the same purpose – to promote events. If you already have a dedicated event website, spruce it up. Make sure your event website communicates the value of the virtual event, includes event schedules, showcase speakers, include FAQs and registration. If you don’t have a dedicated event website, you can add all these details to your own business website.

3. Select the Appropriate Time

Offline or virtual, choosing the right date and time is important. Before you send out ‘save the date’ reminders to your network, make sure you don’t choose a date that coincides with a major holiday. If you plan to go global, pick a time that will be appropriate for all your audience. You can also conduct multiple sessions for different time zones.

4. Promote the Virtual Event

Establish the key selling point of your event – it could be an industry expert speaker presence, skill-sharing session etc. Next, share the event details via email and social media. If you plan to run ads to promote your event, choose the right format. For example, LinkedIn’s InMail ads are a great way to send invitations.

Leverage social media for adding a countdown in Instagram stories, or creating a Facebook event. Always make sure that your virtual event marketing includes who, what, where and how. Also, registration will spike if you start promoting 2-3 weeks before the event. Once the event is over, you can use the video for after promotion too.

5. Prepare for Possible Tech Troubles

A day before the actual event, test your internet connection and speakers. Have a back-up of your presentation, graphics and any other files related to your event. If possible, you can run a rehearsal. All of your event attendees may not be tech-savvy, so prepare an easy guide or FAQ.

6. Create Professional Designs

You have to make your virtual event look good. This means registration page, sales page, inner pages, promotional graphics must be professional and eye-catchy. You can hire a designer or create them on your own by using free tools.

What Are Some Examples of Virtual Events Hosted by Businesses?

Here are some amazing examples of virtual events hosted by businesses.
1. Trey Ratcliff, a professional photographer did a fun and engaging live Facebook event where he picked a variety of photo submissions and reviewed them live on air. He also offered tips and tricks to his viewers to better their photography skills
2. Here is an Instagram live video from the set of the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Here viewers get a detailed behind-the-scene look at what goes on within the show
3. An artist from Kennedy Center Education hosts live doodle sessions for kids on YouTube in the afternoon time
4. VanGogh Museum in Amsterdam gives a tour of their gallery for followers

Key Takeaways on Hosting Your Own Virtual Event

Virtual events will continue to grow in 2020 as organizations try to reconcile from the impact of COVID-19. Here are some takeaways,
  • Virtual events capture the essence of in-person events in many ways. Try to provide networking opportunities for people attending the event, introduce great speakers and personalize the experience
  • Make sure to record the session. You can either sell it or use it to better promote your company
  • You needn’t take the entire workload of hosting the virtual event by yourself. You can partner with online marketing company like ColorWhistle to split the workload
  • Plan your virtual event well in advance and familiarize yourself with tools and marketing strategies to make your online get-together a success  
If you need any help with marketing your virtual event, creating a dedicated event website or revamping your business website to support your virtual event, our ColorWhistle team can help. Send a message or call us +1 (919) 234-5140, we are happy to have a discussion with you. 

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About the Author - Anjana

Anjana is a full-time Copywriter at ColorWhistle managing content-related projects. She writes about website technologies, digital marketing, and industries such as travel. Plus, she has an unhealthy addiction towards online marketing, watching crime shows, and chocolates.

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