Six (6) Steps to Choosing the Right Virtual Event

Virtual events provide you with the option to connect with as many people as you can attract. The platforms of virtual events are teleseminars, webinars, live podcasts, Internet radio and web TV. In order to be successful with a virtual event there are six elements to help you make the right selection for your business.

Purpose for the virtual event: Being very clear on the purpose of your virtual event is vital to its development, marketing and outcome. Are you launching a product or service? Are you offering online training? Are you developing a book tour? These questions will start you in the right direction to select the appropriate virtual event platform.

Identify your target audience: The audience you intend to attract is the next important factor to consider when selecting a virtual platform. If you select a teleseminar in the evenings, do you know if your audience generally has time for an evening call? When is the best day and time to schedule a teleseminar for your audience? If you select a webinar are they familiar with downloading software onto their computers, webinar links, logins, headsets and access lines? If you are creating programming does your audience view online programming? Will the audience login and participate in the online chat?

How many industry leaders use this platform:  Another indicator to consider is how many of your industry’s leaders use this technology to reach the same audience. This gives you an idea of how comfortable your audience is with this virtual tool. How many virtual events have you attended in your industry? Did you enjoy them? Did you feel you left with useful knowledge you could implement? How many virtual events do you see advertised in your industry? Use these questions when creating your virtual event strategy.

Determine your level of interaction: After identifying the purpose of your event you can select the level of interaction needed for the event’s success. For example, if you choose to give a teleseminar that you record and it is your first time, prepare to give your presentation even if the audience is shy. If you provide a webinar program or online conference you will need to select the virtual event tool for interacting with your audience, (i.e., the webinar platform, chat access for the audience to ask questions and  the capability to rotate whose screen you are viewing for the webinar/conference).

Rate your experience with this virtual tool: Once you decide which virtual platform is appropriate, determine if you have the professional knowledge to use this tool. Is it user friendly? Does it take much to learn? Does it have support? If you do not have the technological background required, hire a professional with the skills to use the platform. Select a professional with the knowledge to outline a contingency plan for technical glitches and how to file, record, and package your event.

Development and marketing:  The last element to consider when hosting a virtual event is how to plan the program and market the event. Plan your program by identifying what you want the outcome to be for the audience. Do you want them to gain useful knowledge and come back to you for ‘what’s next?’ Do you want to sell your new product or service? Do you want them to sign-up for your training or attend a conference? These questions will help you plan your program effectively to reach your business goals and objectives. Next choose a marketing strategy that will connect to as many people as possible and think how to engage them. If you choose Twitter as part of your social media marketing use hashtags to promote your event and encourage registrants to use your hashtag. A hashtag is a way to connect tweets about a particular topic. Using hashtags effectively can increase awareness about your event and interest for more people to attend.

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