6 Things To Consider When Turning Your Live Event Into A Virtual Event

BY LESLEY JEAN

Virtual Event - Woman On Laptop

So you’re thinking about turning your live event into a virtual event? Awesome! You’re one of the few folks that are open to exploring the amazing, yet underutilized technology that can be leveraged to expand your reach online for your business! Migrating from in-person experience to a virtual one doesn’t have to be expensive or overly time consuming when it’s done right and can be a HUGE revenue generator. So what are the questions you need to ask? Who do you need to put in place, and what tools and systems do you need to purchase to make your next virtual event a total success? Here are 6 things to consider when turning your live event into a virtual event!

6 Things To Consider When Turning Your Live Event Into A Virtual Event

1. BUILD YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT TEAM

Whether you’re a team of one or many, you will need more than one person to plan and launch a virtual event efficiently. We suggest having an Event Host or Spokespeople, a Virtual Event Team Lead, Event Planner, Website Developer, Marketing Lead, Video Editor, Tech/AV Support Team. Break up the roles and responsibilities based on the size and need of your event. The org chart below is an example of how Moonshine can help you divide and conquer!

Virtual Event Org Chart

2. MUST HAVE TECH FOR YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT

Deciding on the technology you will use for your virtual event depends on several factors, especially when you are moving attendees from a live event over to a virtual environment. To figure out what you need, ask yourself the following questions:

What technology do I already have in place for my…

  • Website?
  • Hosting?
  • Registration?
  • Online Checkout?
  • Email Marketing?
  • Social Media Marketing?
  • Webinar or Virtual Conferencing?
  • Video Streaming and Hosting?
  • Tracking, Measuring & Reporting?

What are the requirements that my technology needs to meet for my event?

What pieces of tech need to be upgraded or replaced for my event?

What pieces of tech am I missing?

Asking these questions will help you identify the tech you already have in place that you can leverage, gaps that need to be filled, and the tech that needs to be upgraded to guarantee your event runs smoothly.

3. ADD VALUE FOR EVERYONE AT YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT

When you make the move from live to virtual, develop a plan to make the virtual experience a win-win for everyone involved in your event by being clear about what they hoped to receive in exchange for their dollars. Ask yourself how you can give more to your attendees and exhibitors than they would get at an in-person event? What can you do to sweeten the deal and give your participants even more of what they were hoping for? Every participant, weather it’s an attendee, an exhibitor, a sponsor or speaker is looking to connect and grow at your event. Identifying precise ways to help each of their angles make connections and grow personally and professionally will be the key to packing your virtual event full of value.

4. POLL YOUR AUDIENCE BEFORE MOVING YOUR EVENT VIRTUAL

Poll your speakers, exhibitors/sponsors and attendees to see if they are still interested in participating virtually. Explain the value-add possibilities to see what sings to them. Review their feedback to make sure the move will be well received and to help forecast numbers for refunds as well as gauge interest from prospects that haven’t registered yet.

5. BUDGETING FOR YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT

Put together a budget of how much the technology, staff and vendors will cost for you to move your event virtual. What was your original cost for the venue, food and beverage, sound/av and how much of that will be refunded? What are your projections for new registrations vs. refunds based on your polling? What is the ROI on this event and being able to leverage this same technology on future events? If you’re in the green by event 1 or 2, move full steam ahead and make your announcements!

6. COMMUNICATE YOUR MOVE TO VIRTUAL

If you are migrating an event with attendees that have already paid and registered, properly communicating the going virtual value-adds you’ve thrown in is important. Understanding what your attendees perceive they are losing by going virtual is even more critical. Make sure you’re crystal clear on what your attendees think and feel about virtual events by asking them upfront and by having answers ready to go when you encounter their objections.

Make sure you have these key pieces of info figured out before you make your “We’re Going Virtual” announcement:

  1. Why Is Virtual Great – What are your value-adds?
  2. Objection Killers – What are your attendee/prospect objections to participating in a virtual event and how will your event overcome them?
  3. Hotel & Travel  – If your attendees already paid for travel and hotel, find out from airlines and hotels how credits and refunds are being handled so you can provide helpful information for your attendees during this process.
  4. Rate Adjustments – How will you maintain the value of your full event price? Will you discount your virtual event price, or charge the same and add even more value somehow?
  5. How Will Refunds Be Handled?  – For folks that are not interested in participating in the virtual event and want their money back, have a refund process in place and your policy clearly spelled out. Clearly communicating the refund policy and process will be the key to keeping your refund numbers to a minimum. We suggest making all refunds go through a customer support agent that can ask all registrants “why they would like to cancel” and then, based on the answer, address their concerns while explaining all of the value-adds built into the virtual experience. Attendees are less likely to follow through on their refund request if they speak to a person, have their concerns addressed and need to ask that person for their money back.

Now that you have all the ammunition ready to handle your Virtual Announcement, deploy your team and fire away! Announce your virtual move to your attendees in a positive light making the message about being stronger together and not letting challenging times put a strain on the industry. A “Can’t Knock Us Down” stance is not only the reality of you migrating to a virtual event environment during these crazy times, but a powerful message that shows you care about your attendees and event participants and will do what it takes to continue to show up for them. Define your exact message and scream it from the rooftops of your email and social media and track your results!

READY TO START PLANNING YOUR NEXT VIRTUAL EVENT?

Looking for experienced support to get the ball rolling? Let’s hop on a call together to talk about how we’ve been helping organizations generate revenue by taking their live events and turning them into successful virtual events. Click here to schedule a call with one of our consultants today.