The global events industry is experiencing a transition to a virtual events platform and businesses can greatly benefit from it. A virtual event refers to an online interactive event that takes place to interact with the participants. It can be beneficial for various business
Climate change is a serious challenge that needs attention by everyone and companies are no exception. According to a study by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. In order to reduce carbon footprint, companies are increasingly encouraged to host virtual events. Physical events come with huge environmental costs such as food and paper wastage and an increased carbon footprint.
The bold figures present a strong case for going digital: a virtual exhibition will create less than 1% of carbon emissions of a live physical event Virtual events have benefits such as no travel, minimal food wastage, usage of plastic is out of the picture and water conservation. If your company is seeking to go green, then hosting virtual events in 2020 is the right option for you as it gives back to the community and adheres well to the “New Normal”. Moreover, there is a demand by consumers to opt for environmentally aware businesses. According to Forbes, 88% of consumers wanted brands to help them make a change by switching a sustainable lifestyle.
Organizing a virtual event have a comparatively lesser marketing and operation cost. Simply put, companies can profit more with less invested capital. Hosting a physical event involves more planning and incurs more costs. There is a significant variation such as a physical event implies a venue selection (booking months in advance – if the event is not hosted at the workplace), technical infrastructure setup, food & beverages (which means potentially hiring catering services), decoration cost, hauling a well-known guest keynote speaker, etc. Whereas a live event online minimizes these costs. Marketing and advertising remain a fixed cost but the overall budget becomes efficient.
Opting for hosting an online event is not just an option in today’s day & age, but is a strategic win-win for your business. Tech companies can expand their customer base, engage with sponsors as well as meet their financial targets, within a budget. This can create more profit and an impetus for more productivity and better growth opportunities.
As you are spending less on the event setup, consider investing in giveaways or discounts, and gamification as incentives to haul your virtual audience.
Virtual events rely on technology. Attendance wouldn’t be possible without the use of computers and mobile devices. The virtual event platform is flexible and not quite complicated. You can organize your staff meetings, upload market research surveys, engage with your customers through live sessions or Q/As and post content and updates online within seconds.
Your company can host a recruitment fair with us at Virtual Recruitment Days and ensure swift and efficient recruitment of staff for your business even when offices are closed. By hosting seminars/ online webinars, staff can safely be recruited and trained while ensuring social distancing and a zero spread rate. You can sit at home, facing your laptop’s screen, and engage like you never left your office. Such are the fancy wonders of technology!
4. Audience Engagement
Some questions might be raised about the level of engagement achievable through online events. With the current travel restrictions and limited interpersonal interaction, the switch to virtual events is on the rise. Virtual engagement might pose its own challenges. From multitasking between stellar content creation to competing with rivals on social media to create a buffer between work from home and gauging family dynamics. You can still effectively manage engagement and create more networking. Despite these challenges, online events do not include the cost of travel and hence more people are interested in participating and engaging. This is a hard pass in the current times of COVID-19. With minimal costs, you can invest in inviting a famous guest speaker who engages both your employees and your audience. Politico recently used this tactic, apart from its journalistic practices, and landed prominent guests.
In-person events are built for engagement. From attendees networking at happy hours to one-on-one appointments to live Q&A, these events involve attendees rather than making them sit for hours and listen to content. You might think that virtual events don’t provide an opportunity for engagement – you’d be wrong. Keynotes, while viewed individually, can employ live polling to engage attendees. Sessions can still involve live Q&A. The engagement tools provided in the form of event technology are still available. With messaging capabilities in a mobile app, attendees can meet each other virtually and set up meetings. As always, social media is a great engagement tool to leverage. Utilizing an event hashtag and having attendees post pictures of favorite takeaways from the day, office setups, and more can make attendees feel like they’re part of a community.
Connect with your expanded network while the event is still fresh in the audience’s mind. Consider these steps as a guide for effective networking:
- Send emails to your event contacts with thank-yous and request for further conversation
- Search social media platforms for mention of the event or hashtags and connect with people talking about your hosted event
- Appraise and cross-reference new connections on LinkedIn and send link requests with reference to the event
- Ensure by double-checking with your event notes that you setup and attend any post-event meeting or call that you promised during the event
- Be sure to vigorously check your email for any similar requests from people trying to connect with you. Check your spam folder as well so you do not miss any new connections.
6. Ease of Data collection
Data is the only way to prove and mark event’s success. Measuring engagement and capturing attendee data are the only way to prove event ROI and activate the buyer’s journey. Data is critical and follow-up has to be fast and on-point to guarantee better services. Following are some of the data gathered at virtual events:
- Number of Registrations
- Demographic Attendee Information
- Session Registration
- Email Open and Click-through Rates
- Post-Event Survey Results
- Number of Leads
- Buying Interest
- Session Ratings
- Session Feedback
- Social Media Engagement and Reach
Your business can benefit financially, and reputation-wise, the buildup of great leads, sponsors and more networking opportunities as the virtual event industry is the ++benchmark of the future. There is no reverting back from where we stand in terms of technological progress today. Businesses are profitable when they scrupulously administer their external environmental factors as well as their internal strengths and weaknesses and then formulate a strategy. Given the time and space, a pivot to virtual is inevitable.
Do you think companies should hold virtual events? Let us know in the comment section below.