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Virtual Events are Here to Stay – Is Your Association Ready?

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:

Engage attendees
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.

Find out how Event Tech Group makes it easy to plan, promote, and host a virtual conference that engages attendees and gives sponsors the exposure they seek. Explore the Event Tech Group

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