Here’s How to Run Your Own Successful Online Event
When the Frankfurt Book Fair—the world’s largest international book fair—was forced to use a virtual event platform and turn the fair into an online event in 2020, reactions were initially mixed about its success. But the numbers afterward spoke for themselves: By the end of the fair’s online event, it had reported a staggering 200,000 attendees, 400,000 titles, and 1.5 million views on Facebook alone.
Overall, the virtual event platform the fair ran on was a resounding success. So much so that the organizers have since announced that they will hold a hybrid fair—a mixture of both an online event and an in-person one—for the 2021 event.
The rise of hybrid events
The beauty of a virtual event platform is that it isn’t limited to only online events. Hybrid events are also possible. Hybrid events make a lot of sense as the world eases out of lockdown, and people learn to deal with any fears sparked by the pandemic. Whereas some people are eager to burst out of their houses and travel immediately, others are still afraid to take the jump and would prefer to stick with an online event.
A hybrid model benefits everyone. Those who are keen to meet in person can go to the physical event, while others not yet ready to take the step can participate from within the comfort of their homes.
The pandemic has also left many people struggling financially. For those who are pinching their pennies while they work their way back up to stable financial ground, a hybrid option allows them to participate in an event without incurring expensive travel and accommodation costs.
The same is true for exhibitors. Hybrid events make participation far less costly for those who only wish to have a virtual stand which, in some cases, might even be more effective due to the analytics features that virtual events offer.
Online conferences aren’t just a bunch of live-stream and on-demand webinars
The concept of an online event has changed dramatically from what people considered it to be at the start of the pandemic. The mad scramble to get events delivered online in 2020 led to a number of companies offering a series of live and on-demand video streams and then calling these “online conferences.”
But a fully-fledged online event contains far more integrated elements than just video. A successful virtual event requires more than simply sticking your webcam on and streaming a torrent of information at viewers who do not participate.
By definition, events should be immersive and allow visitors to partake of all the usual things they would normally partake in at an in-person event (except perhaps the food).
The 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair organizers understood this to some degree, building in a matchmaker tool that facilitated over 2,000 participants to find business contacts, a common reason for attending in-person events.
Such matchmaker tools are now par-for-the-course for virtual event platforms, so are networking options and other tools that allow businesses and leads to interact more easily with each other.
Immersive events are the way to go
This immersive method of running a virtual event was excellently embodied in the 2020 Sports Betting Community (SBC) Digital Summit virtual event. The SBC’s event went several steps further than the Frankfurt Book Fair by doing everything possible to make users feel like they were really physically present. SBC created an entirely immersive 3D conference center, including an auditorium, exhibition booths, a networking lounge, a lobby, and a breakout room (a separate room where smaller discussions can be held).
The SBC exhibition stands functioned just like in-person stands, manned by employees who could answer questions, show videos, make sales, and otherwise help visitors. All told, the event attracted professionals from 100 different countries and set the standard for what a virtual events platform needs to deliver to be truly effective.
SBC also made all past events available for anyone to view later online—another benefit of virtual events that physical ones can’t match exactly.
How to run a successful online event without a big budget
Running a successful online event has become much easier since the demand for these events grew to unprecedented levels. Previously, creating a professional online event required either a lot of time or money, or both.
This isn’t the case anymore.
By using a sophisticated virtual events platform such as the one offered by GlobalExpo-Net (GEN), companies can organize a professional online event in a fraction of the time, and for a fraction of the cost.
The GEN Virtual Events Platform guides you through every step of your event preparations, from selecting the type of venue, ticket booths (if any), the number of exhibition stands, design elements, and any other features needed such as chatbots, networking lounges, and so one.
Event analytics make online events better than in-person events
The trend to hold events online doesn’t seem to be slowing. And big corporations continue to bet on virtual events. Just some of the large virtual events scheduled for 2021 include INBOUND, FinCon 2021, and MOMENTUM.
One feature that makes virtual events superior to physical ones is the ability to receive and analyze detailed after-event analytics.
Unlike physical events, virtual events can provide insight into things such as how many connections were made at an event, how many conversations were had, the number of closed deals, the most popular sections of the event, how many users were online at any given time, and many other metrics. Some virtual event platform providers even provide these metrics during the event, so that you can take action immediately should any part of the event not be optimized.
By using analytics data, and then taking actions to improve any weak areas, event organizers can take the hit-and-miss out of successful event planning and start delivering better and better events in the future.
When you register to run your virtual event on GEN’s platform, you will immediately gain access to our in-house ExpoGENIE analytics tool. ExpoGENIE is our analytics dashboard providing detailed insights into your event, so you know what actions to take to improve any aspect of it.
How to increase exposure for your online event
Whereas gigantic event organizers like the Frankfurt Book Fair and SBC simply need to make an announcement to receive thousands of visitors, a large problem faced by small businesses is how to gain exposure for their events, especially if they are new to the arena.
Whether online or in-person, all events need to be marketed using standard channels—social media, email blasts, direct contact, online advertising, etc. But, here at GEN, we’ve come up with a unique approach to getting exposure for your events.
All of the online events hosted on our virtual events platform are publicly searchable through our GEN database, thereby increasing the chances of the event being found by like-minded business people and interested visitors.
When you list your event with us, you can increase the potential exposure for it by:
- Using the right keywords in your event’s description
- Tagging the event in the appropriate categories (e.g., Banking & Finance, Education & Training, IT & Technology, Medical & Pharma, etc.)
Our events database currently lists over 5,000 searchable virtual, hybrid, and physical events which our ever-growing community of business professionals uses to find events that match their interests.
We also have a growing list of business members in our GENCommunity.
Our GENCommunity members are called Gen Netizens and we regularly update them about events that might be of interest to them.
Online events put event planning onto a truly global scale. No matter where people are in the world, they are potential visitors and business contacts for your event. All that is required is a way to help these people find these events. Our events database makes this possible.
To list your event on our events database, simply provide the details of your event here.
And to become a part of our GENCommunity, and receive timely information about events that interest you, you can sign up for free to become a “GEN Netizen” here.