One of the biggest impacts COVID has had is on the event industry. Pre-pandemic, the team at Intrigue used to love running in-person events and gatherings, whether they were with our team, clients, or new connections! We definitely miss being able to see people face-to-face, but we have found an alternative way to connect through online events, and we want to show you how you can too.
If event planning is new to you, especially in an online world, don’t worry! Here are 7 tips to help you run a successful virtual event.
1) What is the goal or purpose of your event?
If you’re looking to run an online event, the first place you’ll want to start is with the goal of the event. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why are you running it?
- What do you want your attendees to take away?
- What value do you want to provide?
- What emotions do you want your audience to experience?
- What does a successful event look like?
If you’re running an event for your clients, what are some of the reasons they should attend? What value are you looking to provide? Maybe you want to bring them together for an open forum to connect and discuss. Maybe you’re looking to educate them on a new product or service you have coming out. Maybe you’re looking to provide an educational series to add value on a topic in your industry.
If you’re running a team event, what are you looking to accomplish? Is the goal to celebrate? Have fun? Create connections?
Or maybe you’re looking to attract and engage new customers!
Always remember that people love to buy but hate to be sold.
Instead of talking about yourself, think about ways you can provide them with useful information they can take away and think of yourself as a positive influence in their decision-making process.
The last thing you want to do is have someone attend your event, feel that it is disorganized, and log off feeling as if they just wasted their time. Time is our most valuable resource so before you run an event, ensure there is a purpose and goal you are striving for.
2) What is your ideal number of attendees?
This number is important to consider because it will help you determine the points below. What platform will you be using? What will the format and agenda be?
Furthermore, you’ll want to consider your initial goals when deciding how many people should be attending the event. If your goal is to create an intimate environment, then consider a smaller audience. If you’re there to inform and educate with minimal discussion or intimacy, then look at capping it at a higher number.
If you’re new to running events online, start small! As you become more confident, you can look at running longer events with more attendees.
If you’re feeling totally overwhelmed, find an online event planner to help!
3) What will the format and the agenda of the event be?
Determine the length of your event, the agenda, and how you’d like to format your event. Is it one speaker for the entire event? Will you have multiple speakers? Will you want to break out into smaller discussion groups?
It’s important to create an agenda and set expectations with your audience so that they know what will be happening during the event. It will also help you plan it out so you know who you need, when you need them, and which platform to use, which leads us to our next point.
4) What platform are you going to use?
Once you’ve determined your purpose and goal for registrations, it’s time to consider what platform you want to use. At Intrigue, we’ve used both Zoom and Google Hangouts to run events with up to 50 people.
We’ve found that Zoom has better functionality when it comes to running events. It allows you to build registration forms, manage attendance, do polls during your event, and more.
If you’re looking to run an event beyond 100 people or a conference style webinar, here are a few platforms you can check out:
- Big Marker
- Zoom Video Webinars
Do your research and ensure the platform you choose has the functionality you need to achieve the purpose of your event.
5) How will you market it?
Now that you have your purpose, attendance goal, agenda and your platform, it’s time to start marketing your event!
To gather registrations, you can use a Zoom registration page (if you choose to use Zoom) or a platform like Eventbrite if you’re looking to charge for the event. This has been one of the simplest tools we have found to manage payments and registrations.
Once you have a registration portal, if your event is external, consider setting up a landing page on your website to talk about what attendees will get out of the event. This will also give you somewhere to drive your registrants. If your event is internal or for clients, you may not need a landing page.
From there, how will you get the event out in front of people? Email marketing is one of the best ways to invite your audience! You can also use social media posting, a banner on your website and individual phone calls.
6) Practice, Practice, Practice
This one comes from experience. Always run through your online event before the event itself. This will help ensure you are able to catch any glitches and that everyone on your team knows what to do when the event is happening. Check audio, visuals, and connectivity most importantly.
One of the best practices we have found is to designate one team member as the administrator responsible for ensuring that everything is running smoothly. This will allow the main speaker to focus on their presentation.
7) Do a recap!
Book a time with your team after the event to talk about what went well, what didn’t go so well, and things you could do better next time. Consider sending the attendees a survey to gather feedback and better understand how the event was perceived.
Running an online event might seem stressful, and that’s okay! With these 7 simple steps, you can create an online experience without overcomplicating it. Start small, build confidence, and have fun with it!