As a result of Covid-19, virtual events have become exponentially more popular than ever before. Now that many areas in PA are moving into the green phase, we can expect to see small in-person events again. Even so, my prediction is that we will continue to see virtual events thrive, or even events that are a combination of in-person and virtual for quite some time.
Here are some things to consider when planning a virtual event:
Tired of the same old Zoom events? So is everyone else. Put some thought into how you can make your virtual event more fun. Can you add a game like Pictionary or trivia to break the ice? If a quick game isn’t a fit, then what about a contest for the most creative Zoom background? Even something small will show your attendees that you are making an effort to liven things up a bit.
One of the biggest reasons that people attend events is to meet other people. How can you incorporate networking into your next virtual event? Can you ask everyone to drop their contact information into the chat, or use breakout rooms so that people can virtually meet each other? Maybe you can create a Facebook group where people can continue the conversations later.
Especially if they’re not used to being in front of a computer all the time for virtual meetings, your attendees will appreciate a little movement in the event. Try to incorporate a yoga class or a guided stretch break in between sessions.
Many in-person events offer some sort of swag. Why can’t virtual events do the same? Collect the mailing addresses of your attendees as they register and make it clear that you will be sending them something for the event, so you don’t send something to an office when they are working from home. Mail out the ingredients for a themed cocktail, a branded hand sanitizer, or even a t-shirt for your virtual race. The ideas are endless, and there are plenty of local small businesses that can help with these swag items and packaging. Mailing something like this will show your attendees that you value them, it will make your event stand out from other virtual events, and it might help to encourage social media conversations.
Just because your event isn’t in-person, doesn’t mean that sponsors won’t be interested. Virtual events tend to cost less than in-person events, but analytics and data collection can be more seamless, as well. Sponsors can be recognized not just on slides between presenters, but in pre and post event emails, in the event’s social media presence, or with branded items mailed to attendees. As with in-person event sponsorship, sponsors should be able to tailor their collateral to their goals and needs.
Wondering what in-person events will look like moving forward? Check out Appleseed’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages where I’ll be showcasing some ideas and considerations for the future of in-person events.