Many companies and corporations stage events of all calibres for significant purposes. Events like conferences, trade shows, workshops, career fairs, and the like help them attract a wider audience, cater to job seekers, or introduce new products into their market.
But, we live in a time where the threat of a global health pandemic is pervasive. Because of this, many of these events may not necessarily be feasible in a physical setting.
As a viable alternative, many have begun relying on virtual events. Physical events and in-person conferences remain the standard, but bringing them on a virtual platform isn't as challenging.
Hosting virtual events may not be as straightforward as you think. But once you understand the importance of running one for your future events, you'll soon realize the benefits of virtual events far outweigh any hesitations your company may have for it.
This guide discusses the importance of virtual events and their advantages.
1. Better Event Attendance
Contrary to popular belief, virtual events are just as capable of garnering a larger audience than physical events.
Holding an event with a virtual or hybrid element will more likely result in higher participation rates than in-person events.
Hosting virtual events means eliminating many (if not all) or the limitations of a physical event.
For instance, there's no need for the guests and audience to physically register for the event, book accommodations, and find means of transport to head to the venue.
Removing these additional steps significantly increases attendance rates and engagement for virtual events because everything is accessible online.
Attendees can enter a meeting room by simply clicking on a link. And in many cases, event organizers already provide on-demand videos and other event material.
These practices make the virtual event more easily accessible to the event attendees, no matter where they are in the world.
For example, it was previously unheard of for a person living in Singapore to quickly attend an event in the USA unless they've booked plane tickets and accommodation in advance.
But, virtual events can get rid of such geographical obstacles effectively.
2. Lower Event Costs
The costs of organizing and running physical events are significantly higher compared to virtual events.
Many event planners and organizers must allocate resources, such as venues, audio-visual systems, trade booths, etc. They'll also need to pay for other miscellaneous expenses, like refreshments for example.
There's no escaping the costs associated with planning a physical event. However, by transitioning it to virtual event platforms, organizers, planners, and stakeholders can reap huge savings.
Any expenses related to planning physical events are virtually removed, be it travel costs, refreshment costs, stall setups, etc.
Planners can use their savings to invest in a reliable and feature-rich online event platform that requires fewer pre-event costs and delivers a better Return on Investment (ROI) overall.
3. Saves Time
Once organizers have found a virtual event software by which to stage their event, they can dedicate more time to other critical activities.
Planning physical events is time-consuming, but virtual events can reduce planning time. Everything takes place digitally, meaning less time can be devoted to promotional and marketing efforts.
Registrations and check-ins happen in mere minutes, unlike in a physical event where attendees must walk towards a registration booth.
There's no need to worry about the travel time. Instead, organizers can focus on delivering better value and content for their audience.
3. Real-Time Feedback
One major gripe planners and organizers have about physical events is feedback gathering.
In most cases, they can only collect feedback once the event has already transpired. The audience will likely have little-to-no memory of the event, making them provide inaccurate responses to post-event surveys.
This can gravely impact vital event performance metrics. Organizers will have difficulty getting insightful data to use for future events.
However, data collection is significantly easier for online events. Planners can use the virtual platform to hold live polls, optimize surveys, develop rating systems, and send push notifications.
Proper feedback collection for virtual events is simplified, allowing organizers to stage better online events in the future.
4. Better Lead Generation
Events are essential for capturing cold and hot leads. But the lack of a systematized and centralized way of doing so for physical events significantly limits lead generation opportunities.
Even if businesses successfully connect with and capture potential leads amongst their attendees, tracking essential details, such as names, contact information, preferences, etc, is a challenge.
Meanwhile, as virtual events are ongoing, exhibitors or sponsors can use QR code technology to collect and secure audience data. Virtual event platforms are better at producing more worthwhile leads for the company than physical events.
5. More Networking Opportunities
Time is always of the essence when it comes to in-person events.
Attendees need to be part of speaker sessions, interact with fellow attendees, get refreshments and do other tasks. This significantly reduces the time needed for peer-to-peer networking.
Virtual events make networking much easier. Investing in excellent event management software gives attendees access to live chatting, matchmaking, and other features designed for networking.
The virtual environment is conducive for everyone to access important networking information at their fingertips, be it email addresses, names, interests, etc.
6. Added Value For Sponsors And Exhibitors
At first, it's unclear how virtual events can provide value for sponsors and exhibitors. In-person trade shows, for example, seem to be more accessible.
Business-attendee engagement is facilitated by walking up to a trade booth and interacting with the managers.
Participants can navigate the venue as they wish and hear from booth organizers as they market products and hold demonstrations.
But, virtual events can be just as value-adding. Sponsors and exhibitors can interact with participants any time they wish through social media channels, virtual event communities, etc.
Everyone is constantly online, so there's no need to worry about empty trade booths in a physical location: less walking around and more valuable and effective B2B or P2P interactions.
Everything about a virtual event happens online. This means you'll have more flexibility in broadcasting or participating in it.
All you need is to ensure a stable internet connection to access all the features a virtual meeting platform can provide.
Also, virtual events are accessible on almost all devices, be it computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, or even gaming consoles.
Organizers are flexible when it comes to creating interactive sessions and making the event more accessible, even for attendees with special needs.
7. Minimize Cancellations
Organizers in the past had to be prudent in scheduling their events. For instance, staging an event during monsoon seasons where torrential rains are likely to fall is likely to get postponed or cancelled.
But, not all online events operate within the same principles. The event doesn't have to be live. Planners, exhibitors, and organizers can instead focus on creating pre-recorded content accessible in multiple formats.
This is good news for both participants and attendees. Attendees can access all event content at any time, while organizers can put up the pre-recorded content for sale all year round.
8. Boost Your Sales
We've discussed how online events generate a higher following than physical events. So, it shouldn't be surprising that it also leads to higher sales.
Nevertheless, you must still devote time and effort to developing an effective marketing strategy.
Your event marketing teams still have their work cut out by generating exclusive event content, engaging with the audience through social media, and developing relevant event promotional items.
9. Create Post-Event Material
Virtual events tend to be better for post-event material compared to physical events.
Think about it. Physical events require dedicated marketing teams to record sessions, and lectures, transcribe the event, etc. These are time-consuming and expensive.
But one of the significant advantages of a virtual event is that everything takes place on event management software.
Capturing and recording event material and data is much easier. They can also be utilized later to promote the event by distributing the material to various social media channels or video-sharing sites.
10. More Opportunities For Attendee Engagement
As an event organizer, the attendee experience is just as important as the content featured in your event.
You may have some of the best and most charismatic keynote speakers. But if the audience isn't given opportunities to interact with them, then all your efforts will be for nought.
Virtual events elevate the attendee experience by creating more opportunities for engagement.
Participants are less hesitant about asking questions and posting comments through the built-in chat feature.
Witnessing the event in the comforts of their phone or laptop screen gives them more confidence to express themselves.
Conclusion About Why Virtual Events Are Important
We've discussed the many advantages virtual events have over their physical counterparts.
Initially, virtual events were a desperate response to the bludgeoning global pandemic situation.
With the future of the physical event industry hanging in the balance, organizers had to think of ways to recuperate the losses and make up for a reduction in the market share.
Thus, virtual events were born, and for the better. Although the global pandemic situation has eased a little, there's no turning back on the value that virtual events bring to businesses and corporations worldwide.
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Frequently Asked Questions About The Importance of Virtual Events
What Are Some Tips For Holding Virtual Events?
Here are some tips for a successful virtual event:
- Establish clear goals from the very start
- Select a virtual event platform to host your online event
- Pick an appropriate schedule
- Promote and market your event
- Create a clear agenda, including event speakers and timeframes
- Hire event moderators
- Don't forget audience engagement
- Prepare for the unexpected
How Long Should A Virtual Event Be?
Keep your virtual events two to five hours long. If necessary, you can draw out the event for a couple of days, with two to five-hour daily sessions.
When Is The Best Time To Hold A Virtual Event?
Peak audience participation and engagement occur between 1 and 3:30 PM on the first working day of the week (Monday) or every Friday.
What Makes A Virtual Event Successful?
A successful virtual event can be measured by key performance indicators (KPIs). Having established clear and meaningful relationships directly beneficial to your business is another key sign of virtual event success.