Events are essential for most associations.
They offer great member value, including educational and networking opportunities. They keep you connected with your members. They can be a great source of non-dues revenue.
Virtual events, in particular, have seen recent growth in popularity. Of course, they’re an essential alternative to in-person events today, at a time when onsite events are not possible. But they can provide perks for your organization and your members any time. For example, virtual events can help you:
Engage more members – Make more members feel included, demonstrating to them that they are a valued member of the organization, even if they haven’t attended on-site events in the past.
Deliver added member value – Meet the needs of your members, offering a convenient alternative to on-site events for those whose schedule, budget, learning preferences, or other factors would prevent them from attending an in-person event.
Generate added revenue – Bring in revenue that you otherwise would not capture from members.
So, how do you create a great virtual event experience? Here are some keys to success:
Online events can seem lonely or boring compared with attending an in-person event. Here are some features to add to your online experience that will keep attendees active and engaged:
- Checkpoints – Use checkpoints throughout sessions to engage your audience and track attendance.
- Quizzes – Periodically quiz your attendees to see how they are absorbing information.
- Live Q&A – Incorporate questions and answers so attendees can interact with speakers in real-time.
- Attendee chat – Enable the live chat feature during sessions so attendees can share ideas.
- Interactive polling – Create a sense of community through interactive polling.
Offer content variety
Just as you would with an in-person event, offer attendees choices and flexibility. For example:
- Offer track or themes for attendees to choose.
- Offer concurrent breakout sessions options.
- Allow learners to change their minds and move from one track to another, even mid-way through a session.
Incorporate sponsors and exhibitors
With a virtual conference, you can offer a variety of sponsorship levels at different price points to generate revenue. Here are some ways to incorporate sponsors and exhibitors during your virtual event:
- Sponsor announcements – Allow industry partners to sponsor sessions and provide a one-minute sponsor announcement at the beginning of each session. This can include a visual image or quick demo of their product for the benefit of online viewers.
- Sponsored tab – Incorporate a custom tab in your session viewer that has text, videos, or downloadable content about a sponsor or exhibitor.
- Spotlight interviews or vendor demos – Pre-recorded spotlight interviews or vendor demos with your sponsors and exhibitors can be recorded and played during breaks in sessions.
- Networking or breakout sessions – Allow industry partners to moderate or sponsor breakout sessions on a certain topic. Sponsoring a virtual networking hour offers great exposure for companies as well.
Take the next step
These are just some of the essentials for planning and executing a successful virtual conference. The Event Tech Group by Community Brands offers all of the virtual conference software and services you need to pull off great virtual events.