How to Run a Successful Virtual Event in 2023, Plus Best Practices According to Eventbrite's CMO

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As a effect of the pandemic, there's been a displacement successful caller years to virtual conferences.

But a virtual league strategy can't beryllium a copy-and-paste of a carnal one. Virtual conferences travel with unsocial challenges, and necessitate a caller position to succeed.

Here, let's research the benefits of virtual conferences, instrumentality a look astatine immoderate examples of palmy virtual conferences to animate you, and cheque retired a fewer tools that tin assistance you program your own.

Plus, perceive from Tamara Mendelsohn, CMO of Eventbrite, connected her champion practices for hosting a palmy virtual lawsuit successful 2023 and beyond. 

 How to Host Revenue-Driving Digital Events

Skip ahead: 

  • Virtual Conference Benefits 
  • 6 Virtual Event Best Practices, According to Eventbrite's CMO
  • Virtual Conferencing Tools
  • Examples of Virtual Conferences

Virtual Conference Benefits

There are plentifulness of large benefits to hosting a virtual conference.

For one, it tin little the terms of admission, enabling smaller businesses with constricted budgets to acquisition tickets to your league and connection their ain unsocial insights.

It besides lowers the outgo your concern would person to wage for league space, on-hand staff, catering, security, and overmuch more.

Additionally, it allows radical from crossed the globe to interact with each different without needing to walk exorbitant amounts connected flights and hotels. Imagine however overmuch easier it is for marketers from India, Ireland, Australia, and the U.S. to collaborate virtually, alternatively than trying to stitchery in-person.

It besides whitethorn assistance you pull high-demand speakers who don't person the clip to perpetrate to an in-person conference, but are blessed to stock manufacture takeaways via a speedy video telephone oregon pre-recorded presentation.

Additionally, an online league enables you to make a merchandise — recordings from your league — that you tin proceed to stock and usage arsenic a pb procreation instrumentality for months and years aft the archetypal unrecorded launch.

And, finally, there's the obvious: sometimes unforeseen circumstances, similar a planetary pandemic, tin marque in-person conferences successful definite locations simply impossible.

Emily Raleigh, HubSpot's Marketing Manager of Brand and Strategic Partnerships, provides immoderate proposal if you abruptly find yourself shifting your in-person lawsuit to a virtual one: "If you are shifting from a unrecorded event, effort to adhd other worth to the viewers who are present tuning successful online. Do an other session. Offer much Q&A time. Give an other peculiar offer. Find originative ways to adhd extra delight moments."

Additionally, Raleigh mentions, "Virtual events tin easy suffer 1 of the champion benefits of unrecorded events: quality connection. To mitigate that, support the lawsuit engaging and get the assemblage involved."

Now that we've explored a fewer benefits, let's dive into Mendelsohn's tips for making your adjacent virtual lawsuit a success. 

6 Virtual Event Best Practices, According to Eventbrite's CMO

1. Identify your audience.

As you beryllium down with your squad to signifier a virtual event, you archetypal request to determine who the lawsuit is for — besides known arsenic your people audience. Your people assemblage volition interaction astir each facet of your event, specified arsenic the speakers you select, the topics you cover, and adjacent the clip you big the event.

Mendelsohn told me, "Dig into who you privation to be your event, and recognize their challenges and goals. What's going to animate them to register? What worth are you providing? How tin you champion present connected that successful a virtual environment?"

She adds, "Remember that virtual events tin broaden your assemblage beyond the carnal restrictions of in-person, truthful this is an accidental to link with caller audiences — perchance adjacent globally."

Tamara Mendelsohn connected however to make amended virtual events

This is 1 of the large benefits of virtual events: The accidental to scope a wider assemblage than you different could. Of course, erstwhile defining your people audience, you'll privation to see which regions marque the astir consciousness for your event.

For instance, is your taxable wide capable to beryllium global, oregon is it amended to big 1 league for your North American participants, and different for circumstantial regions successful South America oregon Europe? Alternatively, possibly it's amended to commencement with a tiny radical successful 1 city, and grow from there. 

2. Craft your lawsuit strategy.

During the planetary pandemic, galore marketers rushed to repackage in-person events into virtual ones. But successful reality, virtual events necessitate a wholly antithetic strategy. After all, the mean is different, the exertion is different, and the mode attendees interact is — you guessed it — different.

A well-rounded strategy should outline your goals, budget, and enactment program for the large day, according to Mendelsohn.

A bully spot to commencement is answering the "why", oregon intent of your event. On the concern side, what bash you anticipation to achieve? For example, possibly you privation to physique marque awareness, thrust revenue, oregon turn memberships. It's besides important to see what your attendees privation from your event. This could beryllium networking, education, entertainment, oregon a premix of each three.

Mendelsohn gave an illustration of 1 of Eventbrite's creators, customized solid workplace UrbanGlass, which hosted an instructor-led grooming connected crafting glass. After attendance was little than expected, they revisited their strategy to recognize why. They realized attendees were seeking assemblage and opportunities to enactment together.

By experimenting with their virtual radical classes to guarantee they offered a amended consciousness of assemblage and collaboration, UrbanGlass yet recovered overmuch much success.

3. Make it casual for your assemblage to interact and network.

It's already pugnacious to get radical engaged successful person, but erstwhile you displacement the lawsuit online, you person to vie against unwanted distractions.

That said, you don't person to settee for debased engagement. In fact, 47% of radical are much apt to inquire a question at a virtual event, and 37% are much apt to talk to idiosyncratic successful a virtual booth than a existent one. The cardinal is uncovering opportunities for radical to interact.

"Build successful opportunities for assemblage participation. This could beryllium a canvass oregon pulse cheque astatine the commencement of an event, a brainstorm successful the middle, oregon a Q&A league astatine the end," Mendelsohn told me.

She continues, "If it's due for your event, nonstop participants into breakout rooms. People are much apt to enactment successful smaller groups."

If your lawsuit has a carnal constituent — specified arsenic a yoga league oregon cooking people — it'll beryllium easier to prosecute the audience. But if determination isn't, Mendelsohn recommends reasoning extracurricular the box: "Encouraging your assemblage to get up, determination around, oregon enactment successful a radical enactment tin beryllium truly amusive and powerful."

4. Promote your lawsuit before, during, and after.

Whether your lawsuit is in-person oregon virtual, you inactive request attendees — and that means event promotion. According to Mendelsohn, this should hap before, during, and aft your event.

She says, "This could entail paid oregon spouse promotion, unrecorded societal media posts during the event, and 'thank you' emails after. Make definite to pat into your web and inquire others to dispersed the word."

Event branding is different important facet of promotion. This tin beryllium thing from your logo and tagline, to your website and promotional materials. For Mendelsohn, it's each astir creating beardown branding and keeping it accordant crossed your program.

5. Schedule tech rehearsals.

Virtual events trust connected exertion — but exertion isn't ever reliable. This is wherefore Mendelsohn recommends tech rehearsals.

She advises, "Host signifier sessions with your speakers and unit — and person a fallback program successful lawsuit the unexpected happens."

Another mistake with exertion is assuming your attendees are each tech-savvy. In reality, radical person varying comfortableness levels erstwhile it comes to technology.

Mendelsohn underlines this point: "For radical who don't predominant online events, adjacent uncovering the Zoom nexus oregon knowing to participate a passcode tin beryllium tricky."

To combat this challenge, see conducting a trial tally of the lawsuit from the attendee's perspective. Click connected immoderate links, nonstop a connection successful the chat, and motorboat antithetic sessions.

Additionally, you mightiness trial retired utilizing assorted platforms to summation accessibility based connected people's level preferences.

For instance, Mendelsohn told me, "One of Eventbrite’s creators, Eastwind Books of Berkeley, saw this situation erstwhile they introduced virtual programming. Their solution? Streaming connected aggregate platforms, specified arsenic Facebook Live, and past archiving events connected YouTube, truthful radical could be via their preferred exertion and revisit later."

6. Show humility, and person amusive with the process. 

Finally — person fun, and beryllium consenting to amusement humility if thing doesn't spell arsenic planned.

Mendelsohn says, "At our RECONVENE acme past year, the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Victoria Luisi said thing that’s stuck with me: 'Virtual is present our playground to effort things we would person ne'er been capable to effort before.' This attack tin grow our reasoning astir virtual events arsenic a whole, and it’s particularly instructive for engaging virtual audiences."

Tamara Mendelsohn punctuation connected virtual events

She adds, "We're each successful this evolving virtual/hybrid satellite together. Embrace those moments of levity erstwhile things don't spell arsenic planned and usage them arsenic a mode to further humanize yourself connected camera and found rapport with your audience."

Now that we've explored a fewer champion practices, let's dive into tools that tin assistance you make your ain virtual conference.

Virtual Conferencing Tools

1. Hopin

Hopin is an all-in-one level for readying online conferences, offering everything from a virtual reception to breakout sessions, a mainstage, and networking events.

The networking instrumentality is peculiarly helpful, with a timer you tin acceptable for each attendee to mingle with different for conscionable a mates minutes earlier moving onto the adjacent speech (and, if the speech goes exceptionally well, they tin click "Connect" to person interaction accusation of the different attendee to follow-up later).

Your lawsuit tin see some webinars and live-streams, and a Live Chat relation enables attendees to inquire questions successful real-time. Additionally, attendees tin usage virtual booths to beforehand their products oregon services, and connection discounts arsenic well.

Hopin virtual lawsuit platform

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2. Whova

The Whova Event App has been a person successful attendee engagement and networking since 2014. For 4 years successful a row, Whova has received some the Best Event App grant and the People's Choice Award from the Event Technology Awards.

Event organizers tin use Whova to assistance marque online events highly interactive, fun, and productive before, during, and aft the event. The instrumentality straight integrates with unrecorded streaming and video hosting tools specified arsenic Zoom, Google Hangout, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. It besides provides unrecorded Q&A, attendee networking, a treatment board, meeting-matches, a virtual exhibitor hall, and adjacent virtual meet-ups.

Many organizers supply entree to the Whova app anterior to their events to fto attendees virtually socialize and sermon assorted topics, one-on-one oregon successful virtual groups, making everyone consciousness much connected by the clip the lawsuit comes around. Every attendee has a nonrecreational profile, allowing them to find others with whom they person communal interests. The crystal breaker and in-app chat, successful particular, marque it amusive for strangers to get to cognize 1 different connected a idiosyncratic level and pass with some caller and aged friends.

Whova virtual league platform

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3. Accelevents

Accelevents is simply a customizable and flexible lawsuit level for moving virtual, hybrid, and in-person conferences. It is simply a robust level offering almighty registration, existent achromatic labeling, integrated unrecorded streaming, in-depth analytics, and galore exhibitor and sponsor opportunities. Although the level is intuitive, they inactive instrumentality enactment earnestly with an mean effect clip of less than 30 seconds.

They are known for their suite of networking tools which supply almighty attendee engagement. Among the networking tools are lounges, workshops, 1:1 attendee video, automated velocity networking, and unrecorded attendee chat.

In addition, exhibitors and sponsors person the quality to customize their ain booth and prosecute successful video chat with their prospects that sojourn their booth. The build-in gamification and propulsion notification tools are a large mode to thrust further engagement passim the event. They tin besides advertise connected banners displayed passim the level and person casual entree to pb absorption and insightful exhibitor analytics.


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Examples of Virtual Conferences

Game Developers Conference

The 2022 Game Developers Conference (GDC) switched its in-person conferences to streaming recorded versions connected the GDC Twitch channel. The league volition inactive person ceremonies for The Independent Games Festival (IGF) and Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), and volition watercourse league contented starting 9 AM PT daily, March 16-20.

The GDC has a well-organized itinerary posted connected their website, with breakout sessions led by influencers and experts successful the Gaming industry.

Additionally, you're capable to intermission Live sessions if you're funny successful watching astatine a aboriginal time, and the GDC has included "Recommended Channels" with headcounts connected the near broadside of the screen. With immoderate sessions evoking implicit 30,000 viewers, it's harmless to accidental the GDC has successfully launched a virtual mentation of their initially in-person event.

2. HubSpot's Partner Day

On April 7-8, 2020, HubSpot launched its ain virtual Partner Day. The Partner squad utilized Zoom, a fashionable video conferencing tool, and sent each presenter a "video kit" with a mic, camera, lighting, and backdrop, truthful that participants could acquisition an optimal viewing acquisition from each of the day's virtual speakers. Additionally, attendees utilized Zoom to web with different partners.

I spoke with Arden Brust, a Manager connected HubSpot's Partner Marketing team, to larn astir immoderate challenges you mightiness acquisition erstwhile readying a virtual acquisition of your own.

Brust told me: "When readying an online event, it's captious you stay flexible and open-minded. With a virtual event, you tally the hazard of exertion issues, arsenic good arsenic scheduling issues you mightiness not person considered if you had everyone in-person (including timezone issues). To combat this, proceed to iterate with your squad and program connected pivoting — don't get excessively attached to program A that you don't see however program B mightiness enactment retired better."

3. How I Built This, by Women In Product

With the assistance of the Run The World virtual conferencing tool, the non-profit enactment Women In Product launched an wholly virtual lawsuit March 7-8, 2020. The Women In Product conference included participants from China, India, Canada, and Silicon Valley.

The league featured 10 speakers who've built palmy products — including the Director of Product astatine GoDaddy, a PayPal Product Lead, and a Senior Product Manager astatine Ebay. The virtual lawsuit included fireside chats, keynote speakers, and networking events that enabled women to perceive astir the challenges and successes of merchandise launches successful antithetic markets.

4. Webinar Mastery Summit

Jon Schumacher had hosted webinars online for a portion with minimal results erstwhile helium launched the Webinar Mastery Summit, a virtual league for radical who wanted to beforehand their webinar skills.

His archetypal virtual acme featured 25 experts, and generated 7,000 caller email subscribers and implicit $55,000 successful revenue with his All-Access Pass sales. With All-Access, his participants person beingness entree to 17 adept video sessions, afloat MP3 recordings of each sessions, 3 months of people instauration software, and entree to a backstage assemblage for further networking.

Ultimately, with virtual conferences, you're capable to make recorded packaged contented for aboriginal pb procreation and income adjacent aft the archetypal unrecorded motorboat — thing in-person conferences, for each its networking benefits, is incapable to do.

5. HubSpot User Groups (HUGs)

Meghann Keogh, a HubSpot Marketing Manager successful complaint of HubSpot User Groups and Events, has experienced circumstances successful which she recovered it indispensable to cancel in-person events and make virtual ones, instead. Keogh told maine she's hosted virtual HUGs events for San Francisco, NYC, Berlin, London, Helsinki, Paris, Bogota & Mexico City.

Additionally, she's created virtual fireside chats, including an upcoming 1 with CEO & Co-Founder Brian Halligan & Christian Kinnear, VP of Sales & Managing Director EMEA.

When asked however to tally a palmy virtual event, Keogh told maine — "Whether in-person oregon virtually, radical are bare to connect. The feedback we person received truthful acold has been highly positive. It's not conscionable cities that are connecting, it's countries."

"What's made our virtual events a occurrence truthful far? Our astonishing speakers who inspire, educate, and innovate our HUG communities."

Keogh adds, "We're committed to bringing applicable contented to our HUGs, whether that's in-person oregon virtually. We privation to marque definite our communities inactive person that accidental to prosecute with 1 another, and we’re devoted to making that happen."

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