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Wednesday, 06 October 2021 01:05

Make the most of virtual events

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Make the most of virtual events Photo by Samantha Borges on Unsplash

Technology has given us the opportunity to be in multiple places at once, as well as being able to have all kinds of long-distance experiences. This is why online conferences and virtual events have become such a valuable alternative to more traditional approaches, even before the covid-19 pandemic and now, especially because of it.

Quarantines and lockdowns all over the world forced multiple industries, including the event industry, to innovate and evolve to come up with different ways to deliver entertaining, educational and motivational experiences to audiences around the world. Those who had scheduled events for 2020, and even those who are beginning to schedule new ones for the upcoming months, have had to make difficult decisions about how to navigate the pandemic, as event organization now has greater implications and factors to take into account.

While some people have decided to postpone their events indefinitely, others have migrated to virtual experiences and still others have simply made the decision to cancel everything amid the constant policy changes, restrictions and COVID waves that have created the perfect environment for uncertainty. Nevertheless, when faced with the question of whether to cancel your events or not, this route might not turn out to be the best decision. 

Why cancelling your events might not be the best solution

The decision to cancel an event must not be taken lightly or influenced by stress or fear in overwhelming circumstances. The good news is that, as mentioned before, there are now many alternatives that you can take in order to go ahead with your original plans with minimal disruption and without the need to compromise the safety and well being of your staff or the audience. If after careful consideration you’ve determined that cancelling is the way to go, just make sure that you’ve exhausted all alternatives.

Here are a few reasons to consider migrating your upcoming event to a virtual setting instead of cancelling, either because of the pandemic or other unexpected circumstances.

It’s a way to keep your promise and deliver value

A well executed event has the potential to keep your audience interested in your brand at the same time that you create an additional revenue source. The first alternative to canceling your in-person event should be to transform it into a virtual event, as continuing with the plans (even in a different format) demonstrates your commitment to deliver what was promised.

Minimize monetary and other resource losses

Events require a great investment in terms of time, money and effort. A hasty cancellation can result in losses for your organization. A virtual setting can help you not only to keep your projected revenue but increase it, or in the worst case, at least help you recover your initial investment. 

Keep in mind that the decision to offer a virtual event should not only be based on money; analyze if the nature of your event will translate well to a virtual setting, and always put first the safety of your collaborators and audience.

Help you be ready for the “new normal”

Thinking outside the box and reinventing your events instead of cancelling or postponing your events can also provide the opportunity to stay ahead of your competitors in the near future. Taking calculated risks and innovating when it comes to virtual events will provide data and experience that you can use in your events moving forward to make them stand out and be more attractive to your audience and, of course, to your sponsors. The so-called “new normal” is the perfect opportunity to foster innovation in the event industry and finding new and exciting ways to do things.

It will shield your from future uncertainty

Even though there’s been an incredible amount of progress in the past few months, there is still no exact date for everything to become “normal” again. And, even if that happens soon, there’s no guarantee that people will embrace in-person events in the same way, either because they are afraid of the health risks, because they cannot afford to travel, or simply because their interests and priorities will no longer be the same. Having a Plan B already tested and ready to go can shield you (albeit maybe not completely) from future uncertainty.

Other advantages of virtual events

Even though virtual or hybrid events come with their own set of challenges and adversities, they also can provide incredible benefits for organizers and audiences alike:

Increased reach and flexibility

Thanks to online broadcasting and virtual experiences, you can significantly increase the number of people that can attend your keynote or event. The flexibility of attending from any place without the need to travel to a physical location allows you to create a virtual experience as big or as intimate as you want.

It’s good for the environment

Virtual or hybrid events can have reduced carbon footprints and other negative impacts for the environment, helping you and your organization stay on top of your sustainability goals.

Access to international speakers

A virtual or hybrid event can give you the opportunity to choose from an increased pool of talent from all over the world while saving on costs such as their transportation and lodging.

More agile planning, less use of resources

Although planning a virtual event doesn’t come without its challenges, generally speaking it can be developed and executed with a fraction of the time, staff and money that would be required for an in-person event.

Extiende la vida útil de tu evento Increase the shelf life of your event

A virtual event of an evergreen topic can be recorded and used to deliver value to new audiences (and become a source of additional income) for months or even years after it takes place.

Make the most of virtual events

Take advantage of the added benefit of virtual events, but don’t think that just because you’re developing a virtual or hybrid event you will be able to reap the benefits without any effort. 

  • For example, although the potential audience for an event of this kind may be bigger, you will still have to come up with a marketing strategy and advertising efforts to attract these higher numbers. Look for ways to expand your promotional efforts to different geographical areas, channels and platforms.
  • If you’re aiming for a bigger ROI on your virtual event, take advantage of the possibility to book talent from all over the world and focus on delivering an engaging, valuable and innovative experience that justifies your prices, attracts sponsors and convinces the public to invest not only in your event but also in any additional services you might offer. This is your chance to catch their attention and deliver a truly superb experience.
  • Virtual events can also be a great opportunity to create or increase your digital community to foster long-term relationships and convert the audience into clients. How? Again, focus on providing value beyond their expectations; just because you’re offering a virtual event doesn’t mean that you need to limit yourself to offering a boring Zoom meeting and expect it to be enough. Think outside the box!

The virtual and hybrid event industry is just beginning, and with the advance of technology. you can be sure that in the future there will be more and better formats to deliver attractive and innovative experiences that will continue to revolutionize this industry.

In the meantime, remember that when it comes to renowned keynote speakers and professional and motivational orators, Smart Speakers has an extensive catalog and years of experience in the industry that can help you elevate your hybrid,  virtual keynote or in-person event. Get in touch today and request more information about how we can help you turn your next event into a reality.

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