The Lechlade Festival
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Guide to Delivering Successful Online Events

While the value of face-to-face interaction will never be replaced, there are times when conducting the event online is necessary, especially in this COVID-19 pandemic. 

Delivering successful online events requires the same effort and care as an in-person event. But how exactly do you transform a three-day conference with various sessions and networking opportunities into an online event? And how do you make sure that the attendees are engaged and interested?

This article will provide a short guide of seven steps to help you deliver a successful online event.

Let’s get started. 

1. Plan the Online Event

Image is taken from Unsplash.com.

First, you need to know what you want to achieve by having the event. There should be an expectation of the event takeaways for both you and the audience.

To do that, you’ll need to define the online event’s details thoroughly, so everyone involved gets a clear understanding of the purpose and their roles.

After defining it, determine the key performance indicators for the event and how you’ll measure its success. For example, will it be based on the conversion rates or the engagement rates?

Afterward, you need to find the correct format for the event. For example, will it be an all-day event with multiple sessions and speakers, or will it be a short webinar with only one or two keynote speakers? 

Here’s how you can answer all of the above questions.

2. Define the Online Event Type

Online events come in various formats, but they are generally divided into four main categories, which are:

  1. Virtual conferences – This type of event is built upon a particular agenda that includes keynotes, sessions, and breakouts. Virtual meetings will usually have multiple content sessions and are more likely to have an in-depth interaction with the attendees.

  2. Webinars – This type of event usually lasts around 60 minutes, and everyone can attend and listen to the speakers. This event is more of an educational nature, so there often is 100% virtual attendance.

  3. External hybrid events – This event is held for people or organizations outside your business. It involves a real-life presentation and a live stream at the same time. External hybrid events can include conferences, parties, summits, and product launches.

  4. Internal hybrid events – This event involves sharing important information with everyone in your business in a real-life presentation and a live stream. It’s usually used for company-wide announcements, training, department meetings, and such.

3. Create Content for the Online Event

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In this step, you should start crafting the content for your online event. If you’re inviting speakers, you don’t necessarily need to create content. However, it is still your responsibility to make sure that the event is interactive and engaging while keeping the audience engaged.

Try including chat and Q&A features in the online event to encourage discussion and answer people’s questions. Also, create polls and quizzes to test your audience’s understanding of the topics or vote on certain things.

4. Select the Right Hosting Environment

When you’re creating your online event, you must not forget to promote it. One of the easiest ways to announce it is by creating a website, and to create a website, you’ll need web hosting

To help you select the right hosting environment for your promotional website, here are some things to consider:

  • The web host should be reliable and trustworthy.

  • The plans should have plenty of features like a free domain name, free SSL certificate, one-click WordPress installer, WordPress Accelerator, and 24/7 customer support.

  • There should be a managed-hosting option, so your hosting provider takes care of your website’s management.

5. Promote Your Online Event

Image is taken from Unsplash.com.

The next step is to raise awareness among people and increase engagement before the event starts. 

As I mentioned before, one of the best ways to promote your online event is by creating a website. It allows you to insert all of the crucial information about your event, intriguing people to join it. 

Usually, your hosting provider will provide you with a few event website templates. All you need to do is choose one, rearrange and edit the elements, and insert the promotional content. 

Don’t forget to share the website through your social media accounts to spread the word. 

6. Include Mobile-Friendliness

Because many of your attendees will watch the online event through their mobile devices, you need to make sure that the event’s platform is optimized for a mobile experience. 

You should also keep in mind that the content you’re delivering should still look professional and flow well, even when viewed through mobile devices. 

If you’re using slides, try keeping the texts to a minimum and increase the font size so that it’s readable from a mobile phone. Then, choose a platform with interactive features in mobile devices so your attendees can engage with you no matter where they are. Platforms like Zoom or Bigmarker are great tools for that. 

7. Consider Monetizing the Online Event

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It’s completely fine to monetize your online event because the content you will share, or the speakers you’ve invited are not any less valuable because this is not an in-person event. 

So if monetizing fits into your online strategy, analyze where you can charge a small fee and create tickets for the event. Try looking at ticketing partners or payment processing applications like Stripe that make it simple for you to track who has paid for your event.

Even if you decide to make the event accessible for everyone, it’s a good idea to consider allowing donations or requesting people to register to book a spot at your event. This makes your event feel more exclusive and helps you track conversion rates. 

Why Host an Online Event?

Besides the fact that during the COVID pandemic, the only option to conduct any type of event was to do so virtually, there are two other reasons why you should consider it:

  • Budget – Hosting an in-person event will require more budget as you’ll need to rent the conference room, pay for the utilities and the energy bills. With online events, you can minimize the spendings and focus on delivering the content instead.

  • Accessibility – Online events allow people from all over the world to attend your event, increasing your audience. It also allows you to record the conference so people who could not participate can view the meeting when they’re available.

Conclusion

Now you know how to deliver a successful online event. All you have to do is to start creating one.

When planning the online event, make sure to describe the event’s details thoroughly so everyone involved knows what to do and what role they need to perform. 

Also, make sure that the event is well-organized, properly promoted, and mobile-friendly. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to charge for it or not.

Good luck!