As more and more marketers learn about, and try to incorporate virtual events into their marketing strategy, there still are various concerns and doubts about the kind of impact that virtual events & webinars will have for their business’ success, in comparison to hosting an offline, in-person event. Hosting a virtual event is not a very daunting task, and it should not be something to be hesitant or reluctant about, because of the vast opportunities and benefits it offers.
As we move into a post-pandemic era, we now have small-scale in-person events being hosted across various countries. However, just how beneficial is it for a business to host a virtual event over an offline, in-person event? How can you turn the supposed ‘flaws’ of virtual events into advantages? We’ll help you understand the same through this blog.
Before we explore the benefits of hosting a virtual event over an offline event for businesses, let’s have a look at some challenges encountered when planning or hosting offline events, and virtual events.
Challenges – Offline Events:
1. Collection of data: Data is an important asset for marketers and businesses. Collecting data in an offline event has always been a bit tricky. 44.6% of event organizers feel that the data received in a physical event is insufficient for use in developing business strategies. 30% event organizers often feel the need to invest in more resources for data analysis when they host offline events. Clearly, data generation & collection is an essential payoff of organizing an event for businesses.
2. Lower event attendance: This is a very common hurdle that event organizers face. Reaching out to the right target audience and having them attend the event seems easier said than done. There are various logistics involved, including travel, clashing schedules, accommodation for outstation attendees, among others. Last-minute cancellations by speakers or key attendees can also hurt the budget when businesses pay in advance to book travel and accommodation for such individuals.
3. Cumbersome registration process: This happens to be quite a commonly faced situation in physical events where the registration process is lengthy, and takes up a large portion of an event’s schedule. Large events, such as symposiums organized by enterprises, keep one entire day aside for registrations, so that attendees can complete the process and unwind before attending the many sessions planned ahead for them in the coming days.
4. Travel and accommodation costs: Hosting an offline event means taking care of everything – big and small. This includes making arrangements for guest speakers and presenters who might be traveling from different cities for your event. Costs for a large event venue, catering, staff, equipment and technology all add to a high cost. Logistical issues can often impact attendee experience and cause them to shun the next event in case of a bad experience at any point in time.
Challenges – Virtual Events:
1. Technological limitations: Virtual events open a new doorway to connecting to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend the physical events. But there can be challenges that they face – a poor internet connection, or the participants’ unfamiliarity with the virtual event platform are some of the most common hurdles faced.
2. Keeping the audience engaged: Audience engagement has always been one of the top priorities of event organizers. There are a number of ways to ensure that the audience isn’t feeling being engaged in physical events. In virtual events, maintaining engagement with the audience gets challenging. The act of sitting idle before a screen can be draining for some attendees. Thus, event organizers have to constantly identify unique and interesting ways to engage attendees.
3. Seamless event experience: From registration to informing attendees about the event’s sessions, to keeping them engaged on a platform and following up after the event to ensure they have had a holistic experience – ensuring that a virtual event’s attendees have a seamless and comfortable event experience can sometimes be a daunting task if multiple platforms are involved, and event logistics aren’t taken care of in time.
How to turn these flaws into advantages?
While there are various areas to address, to convert the flaws of offline events, and to overcome the challenges faced during virtual events, there are some ways to emerge successful and host a virtual event that is a smashing success, and ensures improved business outcomes for your brand.
Choosing the Right Virtual Event Platform
Choosing the perfect and most suitable platform for your virtual event needs is of prime importance. Opt for a virtual event platform that provides you with integrated registration & ticketing on your event page, so you can assure potential attendees of a hassle-free experience. Choose a platform that provides you the ability to completely customize your event page, offers you with sponsor spaces to increase your event revenue, and has robust technology that allows you to engage a large number of attendees who won’t have a problem using a new platform, due to its easy-to-use interface.
Reach More People
Virtual events naturally allow you to target a near-global audience, which significantly increases your reach and brand awareness in new markets & geographies. With a simple registration process, you can be assured that a large audience will attend your event!
Reduce Event Costs
Virtual events enable you to plan exciting and engaging sessions at a much lower cost than hosting an in-person event. Use the saved money to invest in a quality event platform, gamification features, and to invite notable speakers who will further boost your event’s reach through their channels. More money saved means that you can plan more virtual events to create a top-of-the-funnel marketing strategy for your brand or business.
Plan Rich & Engaging Content
Content is king! Planning sessions that will definitely capture your attendees’ attention, and keep them hooked to the event can be partly attributed to the content presented. Choosing the right speakers & guests is an additional bonus, as they help you execute engaging sessions during your virtual event.
Data for You & Your Attendees
Virtual events open up access to a wide range of data – from audience interactions with your event sessions, to understanding other aspects of their behaviour, their content consumption patterns, and much more! You can choose to share this information with sponsors, to enable them to target interested attendees for their business too. Your attendees can choose to take advantage of a content library, where you can offer them access to event-related information that will have an educational value for them!
Be a pioneer in the modern day and choose to be sustainable by opting for virtual events over in-person events. Cut-down on event-related costs and experience increased ROI. Not only that, you can grab bragging rights in your business vertical of being a brand or business that cares for the planet, and is choosing a sustainable way of hosting events for interested attendees!
Having learned how you can overcome the flaws of offline, in-person events, and overcome some of the challenges that are faced when organizing a virtual event, you can implement these tips to create a successful virtual event experience for your attendees, and notice the positive impact it has on your business!