In our rapidly digitising world, everything is going online. From shopping to meeting people, everything happens on our smart devices. Adding the new addition to this ever-growing list is the online events. And the significant reason behind this is the pandemic. After the outbreak of the pandemic last year, the world went into a series of lockdowns. So there was no way to host a live event. Therefore, the world shifted to online events, and we saw a wave of online events.
Online events are also known as digital or virtual events. However, the concept of online events is not new. In fact, online events came into existence in the 90s. Since then, they have been evolving continuously. And today, one can host any event virtually. Also, these events can vary in duration from a few hours to a few days. One can host any event of any length. But what exactly are online events? Let’s explore.
Concept of online events
Online events are those events that are organised in digital space or the online world. These events can be categorised into two types of events – virtual and hybrid events. Those events which are entirely digital are called virtual events. While those events which have part live audience and part digital audience fall under the category of Hybrid events. To host an online event, you would need the right technology. And in the case of virtual events, it is a virtual event platform or virtual event software. Whereas, for the hybrid event, you need a hybrid event platform or hybrid event software. However, you can use a virtual event platform to host a Hybrid event. Because the technology for both types of events is pretty much the same.
The virtual/hybrid event technology allows you to host a wide range of events. That is why we saw various kinds of events going virtual/Hybrid last year. Conferences, trade shows, virtual exhibitions and town halls are a few of the most common events organised online.
If you are planning to host your first online event. And don’t know what to consider while planning, then don’t worry. I will guide you in hosting your first online event.
Things to consider while hosting your first online event
- Identifying your goals
You can start planning your event by deciding the goals of your event. Just like you did before planning your physical event. To realise your goals, ask yourself questions like why are you hosting this event? Or what do you want to achieve with this event? It will help you in determining your event goals. Now you can start working on the strategy to achieve these goals.
- Visualising your events
You might already have a reference for the event. Since you may be trying to convert your physical event into an online event. And if you don’t have any idea, start by visualising the look of your event. Apart from this, you need to decide which activities will happen in your online event. So that you can determine which services and features you need. Also, you need to estimate the number of attendees you are expecting at your event. And don’t forget to select the date, time and duration of your event. Because it will give you a time frame for completing all the arrangements. If this is your first online event, then pick a further date, As it will allow you to adjust to the new format of the event.
- Prepare Budget and allocate funds
Once you are done with deciding the requirements for your event, you can start working on the budget for your event. And just like a conventional event, you need funds for various arrangements. So you need to decide the total amount you can spend on your event. After that, allocate funds for arranging multiple things from this amount. For instance, you need to set your budget for getting the event platform and promoting the event.
- Choosing platform for the event
An event platform is the most crucial thing in an online event. And since you are planning an online event, you need a virtual event platform. And to make your event successful, you must possess the right event platform for your event. If you are wondering how you can figure out which platform is best for your event? Then don’t worry. It is easy to select the event platform for your event. You should pick that platform that offers all the features and services you need for your event.
Apart from this, you need features to engage the audience, tools for networking and security for your event. Also, see what kind of support the platform provider is offering you. These factors will determine your experience with an event platform.
- Marketing your event
To promote your online event, you need a different strategy. The best way is to use all the digital mediums to attract the attention of the masses. First, you need to have a website for your event. This website should contain all the necessary information about your event. Also, it should include a registration button.
Now use digital marketing techniques like social media marketing, email marketing and YouTube marketing to generate traffic to the event website. For this, you need two things, exciting content and an effective strategy. Also, to attract more people to your event, you should promote the speakers and guests of your event on social media. It will intrigue the followers of the speakers and guests to your event page. Hence greater penetration on social media.
- Tapping sponsorship opportunities
In an online event, you can readily get more attendees in comparison to physical events. And this makes online events one of the best sponsorship opportunities. So use this potential to get as many sponsors as you can for your event. You can pitch your event to the brands that have sponsored similar events. And those who are looking for sponsoring online events.
There are various benefits of sponsorships. And one of them is that you use your sponsors to reach more people. For this, ask the sponsors to promote your event.
- Rehearsing for the event
The last thing that is left is rehearsing for the event. It is beneficial in many ways. First, it will help you to test the schedule of the activities of your event. And you can run the event platform to see how it is working. Also, you can rectify the potential issues that might occur during the event. Along with this, you can experience support from the platform provider.
- Collecting the feedback
Collecting and assessing the feedback is a post-event activity. It will let you know the experience of the audience at your event. And you can determine the preferences and expectations of your audiences. So use this data to improve the performance of your next event.
These are things you need to consider while planning your online event for the first time.