What to look for in a virtual conference production company?
As we are all very much aware, 2020 has been a challenging, confusing and often contradicting time for us all. All industries have been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic and the events industry has faced particularly difficult and demanding challenges in order to provide a high-quality service to clients whilst still adhering to government guidelines. These guidelines have led to a large increase in virtual events and companies resorting to technology to support them to carry out their business.
During this period, it is not currently possible for companies to bring delegates and attendees together face to face for a large-scale event. However, this does not mean that you as an organisation cannot still host meetings, seminars and conferences.
Many companies may not be aware of how to host a virtual conference. You might be thinking to yourself that virtual conferences are difficult to organise and implement but Eclipse is here to help guide you through the best way to host a virtual conference and make sure your digital event is both seamless and successful.
What is a virtual conference?
Try not to be put off by the term virtual. In this day and age, most business happens in this format without companies even realising. Whether it is responding to an email from a company director or sending out a newsletter to your customers; online tools and virtual experiences are a fundamental part of contemporary life.
Virtual conference literally means a conference that is held in a virtual space (the internet), it is as simple as that. A virtual conference allows users to remotely access live and pre-recorded content through their computers no matter where they are in the world.
In 2020, large crowd-inducing events like the Premier League and The Olympics were cancelled due to global guidelines, although virtual conferencing is not specifically the right format for events such as these. Virtual conferences would’ve been the ideal option for many businesses who through no fault of their own have had to cancel events this year.
Why should you host a virtual conference?
There are many benefits and advantages to hosting a virtual conference:
- A virtual conference is convenient for participants.
Virtual conferences mean minimal disruption to an attendees’ working day and schedule as they can attend the conference from the comfort of their own home without having to spend time travelling, therefore once the conference has finished participants can return to work with ease and minimal impact on their time.
- Virtual conference can be accessed easily at any time.
Typically, when you host a virtual conference you will also record the conference at the same time. For the audience, and event organiser this means that even though the conference has ended they will still have access to the recording for reference and further information. A conference that can be accessed after it has finished can only be considered as a huge benefit to the organiser!
- Virtual conferences can be accessed all over the world.
Regardless of where an attendee may live in the world, they will have the opportunity to access your virtual event without having to leave their home. This allows you to deliver your message to a wider scope of people whether they access your virtual conference live on the day or access virtual downloads after the event.
What do you need to host an effective virtual conference?
When hosting a virtual conference event organisers have several points they need to consider –
- Platform choice
- Format options
- Promoting your virtual conference
- Confident and professional customer support
Here at Eclipse we suggest that you use various pre-recorded and professionally edited content that will stimulate your audience during your event, as not only does this help to promote audience participation but it also reduces the chance of technical faults.
As you record your live event, you have the opportunity to offer all content as a post-conference download. This will give your attendees further access to the event and its contents even after the event. Choosing personable presenters and speakers is a crucial part of planning your content as you want people who will engage with the audience and clearly present your event message whether it’s through a Q&A session or a live chat.
Remember, you know your target audience best and how to effectively communicate your content to them in a way that engages and involves the audience, so putting in a little extra effort to ensure the virtual conference is relevant to your content is an easy way to guarantee its success.
Online platform choice
When it comes to choosing the best virtual event platform for your conference there are many platforms available to you that all have pros and cons. The right platform all depends on the format of your event and the desired audience experience. All platforms have different design choices and functionality, so its always worthwhile trialling various options to make an informed decision on which platform will ensure your conference is most successful.
Deciding on the appropriate format for your virtual conference is extremely important when planning a virtual event as there are many advanced, creative and modern formats for a virtual conference. You will need to decide if your event will be live, live over several days, pre-recorded or with live interactions; remember you know the idea or message you are trying to convey through a virtual conference so you know which format would be best for you. Sometimes it is best to just keep your format simple, easy to navigate, in real-time and user-friendly.
Promoting your virtual conference
Successful virtual events all depend on how you promote your event to ensure attendees join, engage, experience and participate in your event. A well marketed and advertised virtual conference ensures the event will be a triumph.
An eye-catching event page can be just the place for your audience to find out vital information including the date and time of the event, sign-up links and the event schedule. You might think that in this age of social media marketing, an email is outdated however email marketing is still one of the most efficient way to inform your audience about an upcoming event as everyone you are planning to invite is likely to already be in your mailing list. Email marketing is also an effective strategy to give attendees a preview of your event to entice, excite and ensure optimum participation. Remember the power of ‘word of mouth’ as this can play a crucial role in promoting your online conference and there are several ways you can encourage people to share information including providing links so people can invite others and asking everyone to use your virtual event hashtags when talking about the event. One helpful tip – you likely already use keywords to help boost your business website with search engines so remember to include these relevant words in your promotion content. At Eclipse, we encourage your presenters and speakers to promote and remind people of their involvement with your virtual conference, providing exposure to broader audiences and potential attendees.
Finally, it is important to maintain consistency with your virtual event promotions by continuing to promote the event right up to the day. One point to consider, just because you have large registration numbers this does not ensure attendees on the day, so you need to keep attendees involved and engaged. A few simple ways to optimise audience engagement are to have an virtual event countdown on your website, share relevant content on your social media platforms and offer incentives like a ‘giveaway’ for attendees after the event.
Confident and professional customer support
It is vital to have a professional customer support team who will give your event a much more professional appearance, promote a client-friendly experience and relieve any anxieties and concerns you have about hosting a virtual conference. You are probably already familiar with technology and how it enhances our day to day modern life but as we all know technology likes to throw a curveball at us at the worst moment possible… Whether it’s a drop in internet connection or a poorly edited content video, sometimes technology will fail us. We at Eclipse know how important a competent and confident customer support team are for a virtual conference, and that having a professional support team is a huge benefit to you and your attendees as it will enable everyone to have the best experience possible.
Virtual conferencing is an innovative, creative and efficient way to convey your message and ideas to a wider audience on a global scale. Given the current circumstances we as a country and industries around the world are facing, virtual conferences are the way forward when interacting with your audience and operating your business during these challenging times.
So why not give it a go and organise your own virtual conference using our tips and guidance? Because here at Eclipse we believe that anything is possible!