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What is a Virtual Event? - The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Virtual Event

What is a Virtual Event? - The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Virtual Event

Introduction

We have seen how effective virtual events can be in the ever-changing pandemic landscape. They provide value-added, engagement-driven experiences rather than single presentations. This article, which Deal Room Events has compiled from years of experience managing, planning, and organizing virtual events, is meant to help you plan an online event as effectively as possible.

What is a Virtual Event?

A virtual event is an organized gathering wherein participants connect and engage through the web rather than physically meeting. An online event is typically a live video stream over a platform and can range from a small group discussion to public events. Virtual events can provide various opportunities for participants to engage and communicate with event staff, exhibitors, sponsors, and fellow attendees. While companies have been experimenting with virtual events since the 2000s, their usage skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the following sections, we will go into greater detail about the various types of virtual events.

Types of Virtual Events

Virtual events go beyond the webinars and live-streamed videos you can set up on Zoom and other similar platforms. We will introduce the most popular category in this virtual event guide, and they are also the kinds of events in which Deal Room specializes. 

1- Webinars and Virtual Seminars

A webinar is an online video presentation with limited audience interaction and requires an instructor, attendees, and a method of communication. While webinars are typically brief presentations, virtual seminars often resemble classroom workshops. Virtual seminar is an effective and affordable instructional tool basically for knowledge acquisition. 

For example, you can schedule live or on-demand webinars for product tutorials, industry panel discussions, voiceover presentations, brand collaboration, Q&A webinars, etc.

2- Virtual Conferences

A virtual conference differs from a typical virtual meeting and webinar because it offers flexibility in multi-session agendas at different times or days. It can consist of keynote and breakout sessions, panel discussions, live entertainment, educational sessions, sales product demos, solution sessions, and more. The primary purpose of virtual conferences is to interact and engage with a larger audience online, and they are accessible from any device or browser. Before the event, attendees can also set their agendas, which enables those in other time zones to attend the event at more convenient times. Thus, it ensures the broadest worldwide reach and involvement.

The Nordic Conference on Sustainable Healthcare, for instance, was a virtual conference in Finland with over 32 speakers, and Deal Room had the opportunity to provide its services for their first major conference format.

3- Hybrid Events

Have you ever experienced a hybrid event before? If not, I’m sure you will. Hybrid events are the future of events. A hybrid event combines in-person and virtual events, expanding the event's global reach. Conferences, exhibitions, small business gatherings, you name it—hybrid events are the way to go! Let’s take a look at the two main types of hybrid events.

Internal hybrid events are suitable for company-wide announcements, training, town hall meetings, department gatherings, sales meetings, and more. For large companies, it is almost impossible to gather all the internal stakeholders and staff in the same room. This is because the company has branches and/or headquarters worldwide. In such cases, a hybrid event is an ideal solution.

External hybrid events are ideal for conferences, summits, concerts, virtual social networking, seminars, workshops, classes, trade shows, and product launches. People from similar industries can connect, share experiences, and network at external hybrid events. External hybrid events target a much broader audience than internal hybrid events, as they target individuals from outside the organization who might share a common interest.

World Business Chicago led the largest Chicago Venture Summit in a three-day hybrid event powered by Deal Room in September 2021 and recorded the attendance of 600+ key players in driving Chicago’s status.

4- Trade Shows & Fairs

A virtual trade show is similar to a traditional exhibition, but visitors and exhibitors interact with one another on the web rather than in person. There are some industries where virtual trade shows make more sense than others, such as the media and entertainment industry. However, research indicates that customers prefer and require the full sensory experience in clothing sectors, manufacturing, and services.

The NAB Show is the world’s leading marketplace for innovation, connections, and transformative technologies. This event series was launched in October 2020, and with Deal Room's support to side events, it has now become a 365-event platform for the global media and entertainment community to connect, communicate, and collaborate all year round.

Why Host a Virtual Event?

Erdal Kilinc, CEO of Deal Room Events points out, “Virtual events have many advantages for organizers and attendees in terms of efficiency and convenience. In person events are back, however virtual is here to stay.” According to Grand View Research, the global virtual events market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21.4% from 2022 to 2030 to reach USD 657.64 billion by 2030. 

Companies host virtual events since they are scalable, have low entry barriers, are less costly, and provide networking opportunities. Even after all concerns regarding COVID have faded away, attendees will still want virtual options. In fact, according to a Kaltura survey, 84% of attendees want the safety net of a virtual event. Virtual events are winning for both sides and intend to stay! 

Advantages of Hosting Virtual Events

  1. Virtual events come with some additional benefits; a lot of events are not aimed at a local audience, but instead, they want to make their events more accessible to global audiences.
  2. Virtual events shrink marketing and operating costs. For instance, the event content is entirely digital. There are various expenses associated with organizing an in-person event, including those for the venue, catering, audio and visual equipment, and so on, that all disappear in the digital world.
  3. Contents of virtual events are digital; Digital content can be restored and repurposed indefinitely and in essence, so the content never dies!
  4. Another advantage of virtual events is that they can be planned and executed quickly. You can also create an experience that is exciting and enjoyable for your attendees.
  5. A virtual event platform enables you to provide your audience with a highly personalized experience. For example, each attendee receives a personalized email and is not required to stand in long lines.
  6. A virtual event allows you to collect data at every step; you have all the analytics! All of this valuable data gives you clues on how you can optimize your presentation next time.

How to Host a Virtual Event?

Now that we have talked about the different types of virtual events and the reasons for hosting a virtual event, let's talk about how to host virtual events.

Clear Goals

You can set up a web-based event more effectively if you clearly define your goals. It should outline your event's goals and provide details on what you and your attendees intend to get, how to proceed with the event, and other relevant details.

The Power of the Right Platform

When it comes to platforms for hosting your event, you'll need a personalized event platform. Platforms can do more than just host events; the best virtual event platforms provide features and services that guarantee your event will be engaging and run efficiently for all participants. It's important to think once more about your audience number, activities, and objectives you defined. You can ask yourself: What features are needed for your event to run smoothly? Do you require breakout sessions or multiple stages? Do you require networking or audience engagement technology?

Right Timing

If you've intended to have viewers from different parts of the country or even different parts of the globe, make sure you schedule your event at a convenient time for everyone involved and make it clear how long it takes. You should know about different time zones, official holidays in the targeted countries, and how much time you need for different event sections, such as the Q&A process. Typically, the more people who can attend, the more successful your event will be.

A Clear Agenda

You should hold the event according to the schedule you have defined for your attendees. Provide a clear agenda with clear timing and any relevant links so that participants can plan ahead. You should have a sufficient number of moderators on hand during your virtual event in case things get out of control.

Digital Event Promotions

Promoting your virtual event is the key. Since it is a virtual event, digital channels are the best way to promote it. Once you've put everything together, it's time to share it on social media, email lists, and your website. It can also be a great way to increase sign-ups for your email marketing list. Also, remember to remind people that it's happening!

Technical Challenges

Prepare in advance for technical errors! Technical problems can happen for every virtual event. If something goes wrong, having a plan and the right technology in place will save you. Before you begin your event, you must determine what technological tools and equipment you will be using and any potential errors that may result from them, such as a camera malfunction.

Post-Event Follow Up

To keep your network engaged, send out post-event communications. Perhaps most importantly, encourage your audience to sign up for your mailing list so that they can stay in touch with you long after your event has ended! Use this as an opportunity to gather productive feedback for future events, learn more about your audience, and make them feel heard.

In-Person Events Vs. Virtual Events

Every event serves a purpose. Both strategies play a part in the marketing mix. The choice between virtual and in-person events depends on your budget, your event's size, and your objectives. Many people are excited to attend in-person events again and spend less time in front of the screen. However, many others are more inclined to participate remotely for various reasons. Hybrid events are the future of event marketing because they satisfy both parties. In the following section, we will contrast these two options.

The Benefits of Virtual Events Vs. Physical Events

Communication drives businesses. The outcomes can speak for themselves when communication is operating at peak efficiency. Here we are going to explain the benefits and drawbacks of virtual and physical events.

Socializing

Humanbeings rely on their senses every day, and sharing the joys of being together is rewarding and forms a stronger emotional connection. Virtual event interactions add a more personalized touch to the event. The virtual event platform's communication features and the creation of interactive materials are the most crucial components for making an incredibly interactive experience for your audience throughout your virtual event. 

Costs

Attendees must think about the total cost of attendance, including registration, hotel stay, travel, meals, and so forth. Renting entire event spaces, booking keynote speakers, potentially providing catering, and printing materials are also challenging for organizers. Virtual events cut participation, marketing, and operations costs significantly. Aside from this, digital content is not printed and can be shared indefinitely.

Location and Accessibility

Attendees have limited time and money to spend on attending an in-person event, especially if travel is required. On the other hand, a physical venue has limited space for a specific number of attendees.

Let’s get the pieces of the puzzle together at this point! A virtual event can host participants from all over the world, reduces the cost of participation for attendees and allows them to manage their time better and interact with one another with the professional tools of the event's platform, and is climate-friendly. Additionally, the event organizer removes the limit on the number of participants, significantly reduces costs, and plans and executes the event quickly. 

Data Collection

It's no secret that tracking a customer's behavior online is much easier. You can collect data on all key aspects of your event using the technology behind a virtual event, such as attendee feedback, how many people used the live chat and networking options, who contacted a specific exhibitor or sponsor, and much more. This valuable data provides insight into the success of your event and can be used to improve future ones.

Try a Hybrid?

A hybrid event is a fusion of both event types, allows people to interact in person or virtually, and customizes to both the audience's needs and the organizer’s objectives.

Virtual Event Planning Fundamentals

Going digital and hosting a successful virtual event requires a solid plan, a dedicated platform, and excellent management. There are multiple factors and details that you must consider, from planning to execution. Here we give you some general guidance on the fundamentals of planning your online event.

Pre-Event Steps

From the moment you decide to hold a virtual event, you must clarify your event's plan, select the appropriate platform, engage speakers and target audiences, calculate your budget, and many other details. Perhaps the most essential question to ask at this stage is whether you have enough time to plan and manage all of these details before the event date to avoid huge costs and stress. Here's how you should get started planning your event.

Your Event’s Goals

Early on, you'll want to decide what your goals are, what you offer and what participants want to achieve, what challenges you might face at each step, what the format of your event is, whether your event is paid or free of charge, and so on.

A Thorough Understanding of Your Audience

  • When planning any event, it is critical to identify your audience's needs and expectations ahead of time. You should also ensure that your attendees know how to log in and communicate. Some audience-related questions to consider include:
  • Who are your target audiences, and how should you reach them?
  • How will your audience interact, and what activities do they respond to and enjoy?
  • What are their objectives, and do they receive the expected value from participating in your event?

The Right Platform

A professional and trustworthy online event platform that serves your purpose and provides all of the features and tools you demand is pivotal to the success of your event. So, based on your responses to the points mentioned so far, you can select the best platform for your virtual event.

Effective and Engaging Content

You've probably already decided on your event's goals and target audience, as well as the best platform or virtual event service. Always remember to provide the most relevant and engaging content. The best content is usually comprehensive, simple to understand, and engaging. It is a good idea to keep the entire virtual event organized, interactive, and able to run smoothly.

Marketing Your Event

Once the fundamentals are in place, you must get people to your event! And since your event is virtual, digital channels are essential for promoting it. To advertise your event, use all available channels, including social media platforms, an event registration page, email marketing, and social media partners. After all, don't forget to continue marketing your event during the virtual event!

Post-Event Follow-Ups

Follow-ups provide you and your attendees with valuable information about how effective the event was and how you can improve it in the future. There are several ways to keep in touch with them, from sending them an appreciation email to providing valuable content to following up with them or using every available channel to keep them connected to you. Aside from all this, another inventive way to keep your attendees engaged is to host a networking event following your event and provide them with a memorable and fruitful experience associated with your brand.

Best of Virtual Event Platforms: Deal Room Events

2017 was the year that 5 events in Nordic Europe used Deal Room. Deal Room extended its borders in 2018 to all around Europe and South-East Asia. In 2019, Deal Room added new skills such as Artificial Intelligence, Marketing and Branding, Design and Salespeople, community builder tools, and better algorithms, and launched native apps for Android and iOS. 2020 was the year Deal Room extended its product and value scope. 2021 started fast! Deal Room event management platform expanded to North America, Middle East, and North Africa markets. Currently, Deal Room is the leading and most inclusive event management technology solution in the world. However, we never stop and keep on growing. 

Key Features

Deal Room's AI-Powered Matchmaking Software enables participants, exhibitors, and partners to have meetings and develop their professional relationships at matchmaking tables and areas. With the help of our matchmaking engine, event organizers can easily handle any type of meeting and simplify even the most complex matchmaking events.

Midwest Tech was a two-day pure matchmaking, and networking virtual event in the USA hosted on the Deal Room Platform in 2021 and 2022; we successfully hosted 4000 meetings for over 800 attendees over 2 days.

Deal Room Event Registration Software brings you an all-inclusive and fully-featured software that helps make the event successful for the organizers, sponsors, and attendees. You can create and manage the registration process for onsite, online, and hybrid events of varied scopes and sizes. 

Deal Room Event App helps the participants create their schedules, meet-ups, and matchmaking sessions. The app also promotes interactions and engagement between the participants for accurate relationship-building and business opportunities. Take full advantage of the app for in-person, hybrid, and virtual events.

Deal Room Lead Generation Software endows your sponsors and exhibitors with all the features they need to maximize their lead generation opportunities. Exhibitors and sponsors can leverage various capabilities and features of the software to bolster their event ROI. They can capture high-quality leads based on numerous criteria to assess each attendee's profile and maximize quality networking and matchmaking.

Deal Room's Event Integration Platform with a wide range of outbound and integration features and capabilities makes it easy for organizers, exhibitors, and participants to customize the solutions as per each event's specific goals and needs. Bring all your favorite apps to the Deal Room platform through simple integrations!

How to Boost Virtual Event Engagement

A virtual event platform you choose should enable you to track, view, and analyze the effect of engagement on your ROI. A valuable event will have a high rate of engagement. Here are some general strategies to keep your attendees glued to your event.

Online Event Marketing

The world-wide-web provides an excellent opportunity to advertise your event and promote networking. Creating a branded landing page, using show graphics, email marketing, post-event follow-up, polling, and adding keywords to your event page are a few examples to mention.

Customizable Abilities of the Event Platform

Having the right tools is necessary for a successful event. A platform with a customizable interface is complementary to the correct implementation of other factors you have spent your valuable time and energy on. Some of these tools and techniques include creating a virtual exhibit hall, virtual networking, virtual keynote, and breakout sessions, integrating social media, and many more.

Captivating Content

The success of your virtual event is greatly influenced by the preparation of high-quality content and how it is presented. Determining whether the attendee's time investment is worth joining your virtual event is crucial. The participant's engagement not only builds trust but also gives them a sense of value. A few of these techniques include gamification, easy access to on-demand content, multilingual content to reach more people, interactive real-time sessions, passionate presenters of the content, and adding fun features to the live stream.

Breaks Between Sessions

Long periods of staring at the screen are tedious. Your participants will need some time to recuperate before continuing the program. Also, you can maximize the break time. For instance, create a speed networking opportunity or entertain your participants with fun elements.

Follow-Ups

Finally, remember to stay in touch with the participants after the event. This communication not only expresses your gratitude but also promotes your next event. Follow-ups can be done through email, social media, posting content, online books, and many more. 

Detailed Checklist

This section covers a checklist for successfully planning and managing a virtual event.

The Virtual Event Platform Examinations

The virtual event platform that you use provides you and the attendees with functional features. Additionally, everyone who has registered to attend must transfer to the virtual platform. Check the platform's entire feature set, such as the messaging feature, meeting requests, and options. Ensure that everyone who attends will have a positive experience, from logging in to scheduling meetings.

Coordination Among Team Members

To achieve a well-coordinated event, the event manager must inform all team members of the specifics, including responsibilities, timelines, communication channels, platform features, etc.

Rehearsals

You should hold a rehearsal session with all of the speakers to evaluate, refine, and improve the theme, content, behaviors, and so on.

  • Sponsors

You must also hold the rehearsal with the event sponsors because they are making investments and expect to receive leads and clients. They must also understand how to log in and interact with the attendees.

  • Moderators

All moderators must be trained, especially in multi-host events. They should understand how to begin the sessions with the speakers, how to proceed, and how to conclude.

  • Speakers

Speakers must coordinate with the event team members, particularly the moderator(s), and they must be given information on the schedule and when and how to log in to the platform. After all, a rehearsal session with the speakers is required to practice, double-check, and confirm and check the points just noted.

The event platform Success Manager Team

You should keep in touch with the event platform success manager team to learn more about their services in case of a problem, who to contact, how they support you, and what to expect from them.

Test the Technical Equipment

You should double-check all technical equipment to ensure it works properly.

Make a Crisis Scenario

This will help you recognize current and future problems and prepare solutions in advance. For example, attendee issues and technical problems.

Send Reminders

Send reminders to all attendees, moderators, and all the members involved in your virtual event. One suggestion is to remind all participants one week before the event.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of a virtual event?

A "virtual event" is defined as any organized event or meeting that involves attendees, associations, or companies and takes place through the medium of a platform in the online environment.

What is a virtual event with examples?

Virtual events include those that take place online rather than in person. There is also an option to combine in-person and virtual events, known as a "hybrid event." A virtual event can be anything from a small group discussion to public events, networking, and matchmaking, or a direct video livestream lecture, product introduction, or class. Virtual events can be live-streamed or recorded and then be available for on-demand viewing.

How does a virtual event work?

Virtual events require a host, a platform for presenting and implementing goals, and participants. The host's purpose is to create value by inviting contributors. The event hosting platform also includes features that correctly and accurately convey the host's values.

Why are virtual events important?

Virtual events are beneficial to both parties and plan to stick around! The benefits of virtual events include their scalability, low entry barriers, lower costs, networking opportunities, digital content, quick planning and execution, highly personalized experiences, and the ability to analyze data at every step.

How do you create a virtual event?

From the time the event organizer decides to plan a virtual event to the event's date and after-event, there are steps such as specifying the event's purpose, selecting the correct platform, correct timing, planning the agenda, marketing the event, preparing and troubleshooting technological tools, preparing the content, and finally the event and participant follow-up.

How do I host a virtual event?

A virtual event must be carefully planned and targeted in order to be successful. Then, decide how to promote your event to access potential participants, invite them, and host your event on your chosen platform.

What is the best time to host a virtual event?

The determining factors in scheduling a virtual event are identifying and understanding the target audience, the event's goals, and the type of content. For a global audience, you must consider different time zones and national holidays. The length of the meetings is then determined based on the participants' approximate capacity and content type. Remember that breaks between sessions are also necessary. Correct decisions regarding these factors can result in maximum participation from attendees.

How do you make virtual events more interactive?

Your attendees' participation determines the success of your event. Event marketing, the customizable capabilities of the event platform, and providing captivating content, breaks, and post-event follow-ups are all factors and strategies involved in maximizing participation.

How do I host a virtual meet-and-greet?

You can host meet-and-greet events at all kinds of events, and they are awesome ways to get to know your fans and attendees better. They are also excellent networking opportunities. A successful meet and greet event depends on several factors, including selecting the format, figuring out the date and time, making the guest list, registering, sending invitations, and expressing your gratitude after the event.

What do I need for a virtual event?

As an organizer, you must plan, select the appropriate platform, prepare content, and present it to your audience. If you want to successfully plan and host a virtual event, you should explore the information available at https://www.dealroomevents.com/virtual-events/

What should my virtual event strategy look like?

A comprehensive planning and execution strategy is required to ensure the success of virtual events. The factors determining your virtual event strategy must focus on the goals of your attendees as well as your own. To successfully create and implement a virtual event strategy, you must first understand the value of your participants. Then you can move ahead and find influential speakers and choose the right platform. Keeping your participants' attention with engaging elements, using chat rooms, promoting your event, engaging attendees in real time, and setting up a dedicated networking space are some other determining factors in your virtual event strategy.

July 21, 2022

Adrian Zarif

Adrian Zarif

Event & Marketing Specialist

About me:

After seven years of translation experience in the management-related field and a passion for digital marketing, I was given the opportunity to work with the Cloud Markethink Agency and CloudTalk Global, the largest cloud computing event in Eurasia, as a team member to manage business events.

Additionally, working with Deal Room Events has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to reflect on and expand my experience as a content event marketing professional.

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