The COVID-19 pandemic had previously forced most organizations to adapt and evolve their community engagement and customer outreach activities in the last two years. With canceled events worldwide, digital and virtual event platforms appeared as the saving grace to enable customer engagement and retention. Organizers must get with the times with the world starting to open up again. Is hosting a virtual event something you should consider?
Events across the board were reborn in a virtual avatar: tradeshows, exhibitions, award shows, and conferences to employee onboarding and even music concerts. Now, as the pandemic slowly recedes into the background, businesses have to decide their approach to events again – virtually all the way or a hybrid model which is part virtual, part on-ground interaction.
Each event has unique requirements, and for an event organizer, hosting a virtual event on their own can be challenging, given the logistics and technical details involved.
Any virtual event platform aims to provide an immersive and engaging experience as close as possible to a physical event. Virtual events also remove other limiting factors such as high setup and operational costs, geographical constraints, and finite capacity.
Virtual events offer tremendous potential for increasing audience engagement and sales if leveraged as a strategic platform for a company’s brand and business. With experience in both the physical and virtual event spaces, we’d like to highlight five reasons why hosting a virtual event can benefit you.
Potential Leads reside Across the Globe.
Leads, leads, and more leads. A key metric for a sponsor or event organizer is getting new business and generating new leads. In today’s digital age, the whole world is a potential marketplace. And unless your product or service is only for the local market, your next customer could be from anywhere. Virtual events have the advantage of accessibility: they can be accessed from any device, even with limited connectivity. This means wider reach due to a more diverse turnout, leading to a broader lead pipeline.
Virtual events also offer various social engagement features that can help audiences connect and interact with your brand and other participants in a truly interactive way. One great example is universities switching to Virtual Open Days, where students from across the world can learn about the programs, meet alumni and get a virtual campus tour.
Reduce Budget Constraints
Budget constraints are one of the biggest struggles for any event organizer, sponsor, exhibitor, or attendee. Physical events can have high overheads associated with setup costs, logistics, venue booking, developing marketing collateral, giveaways, and other event-related expenses. Compared to the ROI in terms of increased brand visibility, customer engagement, or sales pipeline, these costs can be hard to justify.
Virtual events remove these constraints by digitally packaging their offerings with a significant cost reduction without compromising the overall audience experience.
While there will always be some gap in the experience of physically being at an event vs attending it virtually, advanced features like 3D and 3D 360 experiences offered by leading-edge platforms such as Sarcon come close to making the attendee experience seamless and memorable.
Quantify the Measure of Success
Another salient difference between physical and virtual events is tracking and reporting KPIs to measure success. There is a lot of manual effort for physical events, with metrics such as lead attribution challenging to follow.
With virtual events, every user action can be tracked through dashboards with detailed insights on chat interactions, downloaded content, videos watched, and other activities on the platform.
87% of event organizers opt for virtual event platforms with virtual sponsorship booth capabilities. (Source)
Virtual event platforms like Sarcon provide real-time insights at the attendee, exhibitor/sponsor, and organizer level, which can help you make the right decision when using a partner to host your virtual event.
An intuitive virtual platform can help you set up the event in a matter of weeks compared to a physical event which can take up to months of planning depending on the scale of the event.
When choosing a platform provider, factors such as matchmaking your requirements with the platform features, ease of use, dynamic updates, and ability to customize must be considered.
Sustainability of virtual events
As organizations worldwide become more serious about sustainability, events and their environmental impact are front and centre in many marketing discussions. According to a survey, 58% to 67% of event professionals are very likely or entirely likely to address sustainability in their meeting plans for 2021 (Global Meetings & Events Forecast, 2021).
Virtual events are an excellent way for organizations to reduce their carbon footprint without negatively impacting business, from reducing energy usage to the amount of trash generated.
As you can see, there are many reasons you should consider hosting a virtual event! With the right planning and execution, you can create an engaging and impactful experience for your attendees that will also save you time and money. If you’re looking for help getting started, here are 5 tips for hosting your first virtual event.