With the advent of the pandemic, virtual conferences became a popular go-to option for many event organisers. Even while at the time of writing, some parts of the world are returning to normalcy, virtual events, particularly virtual conferences, are here to stay. Events are essential for the company to promote its sales and business. The pandemic had forced the companies to re-evaluate their strategies and adapt to new restrictions set by local authorities. But to make the switch easier, there have been many virtual conference platforms available specifically focused on conferences.
What You Need to Know About Virtual Conferences
Do not mistake a virtual conference for a virtual meeting. It has a lot more activities and is even more involved than a simple webinar. A virtual conference typically runs for multiple days, has keynote speaker sessions, live entertainment, educational sessions, product demos, product training, panel discussions, and more. The purpose of virtual events is to create awareness about a product, build networks, disseminate knowledge in terms of industry trends or hot topics in the industry and provide brand awareness.
Creating the Right Virtual Conference Strategy
Note that since the conference is held virtually, it must have enough juice in the form of content and entertainment to keep the audience engaged for hours. Look at the event program as a whole and curate content that will provide value and engagement to the user. Apart from this, you need to also look at whether you have sufficient technical expertise to pull off a virtual conference event. Check your budget and resources for a virtual conference, too, as the way you spend will also determine the quality of the event. If you usually conduct a yearly in-person event that drives a good amount of revenue and brand awareness, it is recommended to have a virtual conference event this year if there are still restrictions through a virtual conference platform.
7 Benefits of Virtual Conferences
Capability to Reach a Wider Audience
During an in-person event, no matter how bomb your content is, only people living in your area or the surrounding areas could attend the event. Even then, many people would have other personal constraints, especially in terms of time. All these factors are eliminated in the virtual event. Plus, you get to reach a wider audience from other parts of the country and even the world who would be interested in your content and your products/services. This is a cost-effective way to spread your brand awareness and show off what you are as a business. Therefore, if you are conducting a virtual conference, expect higher attendance rates on the virtual conference platform.
Saves Money and Time
There is a lot that goes into in-person events, apart from the main event itself. For instance, you will have to book the venue, order the F&B, ensure adequate staff and personnel throughout the event, and ensure adequate security measures too. But none of these is applicable for virtual conferences. They are more like plug-and-play, and you can provide round-the-clock customer support for people who have queries or want to network during the event.
It is easier to attract high-profile keynote speakers as well, especially because time is valuable for them. Many of them will be happy to just hop onto a video call to discuss trends in the industry and offer important insights. You will also not have to bear their travel and accommodation expenses.
As mentioned earlier, it is easier for attendees as well, even if they are staying in the same region as yours. They avoid the traffic, the last-minute hassles and save on fuel, money, and other additional expenses of arriving at and reaching from the event venue. Through online conferences, they have the flexibility to plan other stuff around the event, as well.
Produce and Broadcast High-Quality Content
Virtual conferences provide an easy and flexible way to curate great content. The virtual event platforms for conferences provide value to the attendees and reduced effort for the business organizing the event. Virtual events are of great broadcast quality.
– Virtual conferences bring the latest tips and trends of the industry right to the home of the attendees. Through webinars, live chats, and other information during the event, attendees can make the most of their time sitting at home.
– It is easier to create engagement online through audio, text, or video chat.
– Virtual conferences provide quick attendee feedback, and you can track your leads easily. Typically, virtual conferences have Q/A sessions that invite the audience to provide suggestions and insights. These events are scalable too, and through the event platform data, you can get a good idea of your audience profile, their interests, and what they like and don’t like about what you are offering.
– Further, you can tap registrations from around the globe, and the same information about them can be added to your company’s customer/leads database.
– Virtual conferences are essentially paperless. Also, since attendees do not have to travel, they are not contributing to the carbon footprint as well. At times when taking environment-friendly measures are crucial, virtual conferences help you do just that.
Great Opportunities to Engage and Network
As an attendee, one of the primary goals will be to build relationships with people valuable to their work and industry. There has been research that around 80% of people attending virtual conferences for educational purposes. Building a network helps in improving business awareness and increases lead. You can either enable different forms of chat for people to network with one another or create breakout rooms where people speed-network. Alternatively, you can also recommend professionals present at the event to the attendees based on the industry they work in and their interests.
Ability to Watch the Event Later Too
One major factor that differentiates physical with virtual events is that the latter allows you to view the event as it was, at a later time, too (of course without the chance to live-interact). Event management platforms have in-built functionalities that allow to stream and record the event at the same time. Later, either you can host it on your website for free or even charge a fee for viewing the curated content. It will act as another source of income, too, without much expense from your end.
The biggest selling point of many virtual event platforms for conferences out there is the data they provide post the event. The ability to collect and measure this data is extremely valuable for virtual conference event organizers. Through post-event analysis, you can help track and measure Key Performance Indicators for your event.
The virtual event has an advantage here because all of them will be using your online platform, and the data they provide will be real-time. These include and are not limited to how many users attended the session, how and where they interacted and how long they stayed at the event. This data can be crucial for you to curate your further virtual conferences in a way that improves engagement and audience attendance rates. Such detailed and accurate analysis is not practically possible for live events.
Overall Event Flexibility
If you have been conducting events on the ground, you know the amount of hassle if one element of the event does not go according to plan. Virtual events provide flexible options to host and attend the event, thereby an advantage for both the organizer and the attendee. Think of it as a venue that is easily customizable and is available for you all days of the year and all round the clock. You can put your creativity and event management skills to the test by figuring out how you want to conduct the event.
For instance, you can add as many interactive elements as you want, broadcast your event in different languages, invite keynote speakers from around the country and even the world, and even move your event schedule up and down if any last-minute changes come into the picture.
The future of conferences is going to be virtual. The advantages they have are enough for the virtual conferences to become mainstream even after the pandemic is over. These conferences are highly scalable and more so using powerful virtual event platforms for conferences that can be customized to your type of event and branding.
Consider GEVME, for instance, which has been a pioneer in conducting different varieties of virtual events worldwide of different shapes and sizes.