What is a virtual event?
Marketers have been toying with the virtual events quite some time, but the onset of the current pandemic has brought it to the forefront. Earlier virtual events were just limited to interface level communication but the urgent need of business continuity pushed brands and service market providers to innovate. Virtual events in its current form emerged as one of the key ingredients of the marketing mix, where it has brought forth more immediate and effective results. A virtual event, in simple terms, is a replica of an offline event where a web-based platform is used to customize the experience. So, in a typical virtual setting an event can have the same offline elements in virtual forms. While hosting a virtual event, a client can create virtual lobby, help desk to assist attendees, separate rooms for multi-track sessions, resource centers etc. Besides, it has flexibility to plug-in LIVE elements to make an engagement hybrid.
What are the types of virtual events?
There are various types of virtual events. It can range from an extensive 2-day event with keynote, multiple tracks, entertainment, game zone, to a simple customer meet or a webinar. Hosting a corporate offsite is also trending due to flexible options to add realism to a virtual event environment. A lot of brands are also exploring the idea of organizing virtual exhibitions by setting up highly integrated virtual solution booths. Apart from these, virtual event platforms have opened doors where new realms of possibilities can be explored. It is like a virtual universe where every consumable content, services and value driven solutions can be offered through integrated experiences. For some a virtual event platform can be leveraged as a full-fledged virtual museum, for some it can be a car showroom where people can buy cars based on their 3D realistic virtual driving experiences. Contrary to the popular belief, a webinar is designed for interaction with smaller groups and is a simple web-based interface, whereas, a virtual event is more extensive and inclusive.
Here are some popular virtual event types:
- Virtual Customer & Partner Meets
- Virtual Conferences
- Virtual Award & Felicitation Events
- Virtual Offsites
- Virtual Exhibition
- Virtual Launches
- Virtual Multi-Day & Multi-Track Events
What are the benefits of virtual events over traditional events?
- The first key benefit is the absence of operation bottlenecks in a virtual event and a lot of cost reduction without compromising on the content and experience of the event.
- Another major advantage of virtual event over traditional event is the ROI factor, especially in a time when brands have to customize strategies within lesser marketing budgets.
- Social media integration has also proved to be extremely beneficial as brands can leverage this feature in a virtual event to spread the word to a larger audience, in real-time.
- Besides, flexibility, customization and engagement quotient are some of the key benefits of virtual event.
How to set-up a virtual event?
Setting-up a virtual event is pretty much easy. Though the exact requirement may vary as per the client requirement, the journey of any virtual event starts with an easy- sign-up to get acquainted with the environment. Multiple things can be added later as per the agenda of the event.
You can ask these simple questions before choosing the right virtual event platform.
- How easy is it for me & my customers to sign-in and quickly get access to the virtual space?
- Is the platform technically enabled to predict my audiences’ preferences and generate data-driven insights?
- How fast my real-time queries and issues are resolved?
- How seamlessly I can connect with my peers across mediums through the platform?
- Does the platform allow me to plug-in customized engagement options with utmost flexibility?
Once all these queries are addressed, you are on the path to experience a seamless virtual event journey.
How to promote a virtual event?
Social media is the most important medium as far as spreading the word is concerned. Social media channels can be leveraged for various targeted campaigns, either organic or paid. The objective should be to get as many people as you can to book a demo, since people choose virtual events mainly for the experience and demo is a great way to give the first impression.
Here are some of the mediums through which you can promote a virtual event easily and quickly.
- Paid Campaigns & Ads on Facebook & LinkedIn
- Organic campaign
- Content Syndication
- Blog Marketing
- Listing on event listing sites
- Influencer marketing
- Video Marketing
How virtual events are different then webinars?
- In the first place, a webinar is designed for interaction with smaller groups and is ideal for hosting workshops, training sessions or internal meetings. In more general term, a webinar is a simple web-based interface. Whereas, a virtual event is more extensive and inclusive.
- A virtual event comes with various formats as opposed to unchangeable webinar spaces, thus giving audiences absolute flexibility on how and where they want to participate.
- Another key difference between a webinar and a virtual event is that a webinar can be hosted for a specific duration, whereas a virtual event can run across several days with a more extensive agenda.
- A virtual event platform can come with intuitive attendee management tools. But in webinars this feature is missing.
- In webinars the results and feedback are somewhat instant, virtual event platforms can be leveraged as an effective lead generation tool.
What is the future of hybrid events?
In the wake of social distancing and isolation, brands are extensively using digital and virtual platforms to engage with their TG. A lot of big format events such as summits, partner meets, trade shows and product launches have moved to virtual event platforms where the physical event flow is replicated virtually. This has given birth to a new possibility of hybridization.
A lot of companies are exploring the possibility of blending physical engagements and virtualization. This is effective for engagements such as trade-shows, conferences, seminars, workshops and summits. While virtual events are growing popular and extremely cost-effective, a hybrid event is the most effective way to increase participation, especially during the current times. A hybrid event erases all the limitations of a virtual medium and makes events more interactive by blending ‘live’ in-person events with ‘virtual’ online components.
In a world where gatherings have taken a pause and social interaction seems indefinite, Kestone virtual platform is the redefining the concept of virtual engagements. There’s definitely a lot more to explore in a virtual event platform. To know more about the treasure trove known as Kestone Virtual Event Platform, book a demo now.