Planning virtual events is just as involved and intricate as planning live events. Planning Pod delivers 20+ powerful online tools that will organize all your event data and streamline your processes.
Our event collaboration and communications tools ensure every team member, partner and participant is in the loop and on task, saving everyone precious time and eliminating errors and confusion.
Our online event management software platform has all the tools you need to build event websites + registration forms, collect event registrations / RSVPs, process online payments and track attendee data.
Connect all stakeholders in a virtual workspace
Virtual event planning requires lots of coordination between staff members, live streaming and video conferencing vendors, sponsors, speakers, entertainers and other content providers. Our platform lets you invite unlimited users into your account to communicate, share resources and stay on the same page.
Manage registrations and attendees easily
With our virtual events software, you have all the tools you need to offer a seamless registration process for attendees. Like professional event webpages with social media integrations. Event registration forms for free or paid ticketing or to collect RSVPs. Attendee CRM tools and reporting. And data sharing with other video and virtual event platforms via Zapier.
Stay on schedule, on task and on budget
Most virtual events have hundreds of details to coordinate amongst your team members, and our tools keep everyone on the same page. Build itemized event timelines with assignments and session tracks. Share calendars with staff and schedule internal appointments. Build task list templates, then assign tasks and send reminders. Create detailed event budgets with line items, categories, payments and due dates/amounts. And track everything with at-a-glance dashboards.
Simplify communications and processes
You don’t have to live with event details scattered across multiple apps, devices and emails! With our platform, you can track all event email communications in one place with your existing email addresses. Store and share files and digital assets (including those on Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive). Track details on shared worksheets and use virtual vision boards to visually brainstorm.
Boost event ROI with business tools
If generating revenue is part of your virtual event strategy, our platform helps you maximize profits. Track leads and generate colorful proposals on the fly. Collect e-signatures for event contracts. Send out detailed event invoices. And accept online payments for invoices and event registrations with our integrated credit card payment processing.
While virtual or online events are a relatively new phenomenon, events themselves have been around since the first humans started gathering around the primordial campfire.
And although the delivery systems for virtual events (planned / marketed / streamed via the Internet, aided by event management apps and virtual events platforms) are quite different than those for our ancient forebears or even for our younger selves, virtual event planning is quite similar to planning traditional live events.
With the event landscape forever transformed by the coronavirus epidemic of 2020, virtual events will now always be in the mix for most event managers and event planners. And for good reason, because virtual events offer some unique benefits over live events, including:
As for the types of events that lend themselves better to the virtual world, webinars, smaller conferences and meetings, summits, classes and workshops all translate very well to a Web-only experience, while social events like networking events, fundraising events, galas, parties and weddings as well as corporate events like sales meetings and employee events may not work as well due to the lack of face-to-face interactivity and that irreplaceable personal touch.
With that said, when done properly, virtual events can be a vital part of any event planner’s arsenal, and here are nine keys to getting them right.
Is your main goal to educate and drive professional development? To promote or sell a product or service? To drive revenues via online ticketing and registration? To promote audience interaction and create connections?
This is your first and possibly most important task … to identify that one thing that you want to accomplish with your event and who you want to accomplish it for.
Your audience is your primary consideration here, in that accurately identifying their wants and needs is essential in determining if you have successful events or not. So you need to do your research and due diligence in nailing down what will hook your attendees both from a marketing standpoint and with the overall online experience.
Ideally, your attendee experience should interweave naturally with your primary goal (education, revenue, connections, etc.), and from this may extend secondary goals like:
Here’s where the rubber hits the road. If you have a great idea and the execution falls flat, you might as well have stopped at the idea stage.
This is where experienced event organizers and event planners earn their paycheck, because taking an event idea from goal to reality isn’t easy. But the best place to start is with the five W’s (and one H):
Once you make decisions based on these questions, you can start to break down all the details and manage them via tools like event planning software.
When it comes to all things Internet, content is still king, and the same goes for virtual events. Moreover, the programming you plan for your event must both resonate with your live audience and have enough legs to live long afterward as shareable video presentations, interviews, segments and snippets.
The form and format of your content should match your event’s purpose and your audience’s needs, and common content sources that translate well to virtual events include:
To ensure your content hits home and flows seamlessly, keep in mind these best practices:
Keeping your attendees' attention during online events can be a huge challenge because they have so many other distractions (like email or social media alerts, mobile app alerts, phone calls, web browsing, gaming, etc.) on the device they are using to view your event.
Besides planning killer content, event organizers should also incorporate tools that facilitate a more interactive, two-way event experience where your audience can actually participate via:
Another way to enhance attendee engagement is to make your virtual event as inclusive as possible. This includes delivering your content in multiple languages (including translators or translated subtitles) and making the entire online experience easy to see, hear and access.
This area is where many virtual events can flounder because, let’s face it, not all software plaforms are intuitive and anyways many of us in the events industry don’t proclaim that we are technology gurus ... and if you are, you have a bright future in running virtual events :)
When considering software solutions for your Web-based events, you should definitely look into the following:
With regard to hardware and IT requirements, you would be well served to put the following items in place:
Besides getting your technology mix right, proper prior marketing of your event may be the other primary factor in whether you have a successful event or not.
Marketing a virtual event actually starts at the very beginning with identifying an appropriate and highly appealing theme and name, and next comes creating a brand identity that includes key value propositions, differentiators and a visual look-and-feel with logo.
Once you have accomplished these items, you will need to decide which tactics are best to use to appeal to your target audience, which can include:
Online event marketing tactics often work best for virtual events because people are able to take action quickly (like registering) by simply clicking on a link to your event website or registration form.
Because you won’t be interacting with participants face-to-face, it’s critical that everyone knows their responsibilities and how to operate software and equipment well in advance.
To accomplish this, you should create and distribute support materials and instructions for using all technology as well as provide assets like detailed timelines/schedules to participants. You will need to virtually stage direct everything, so you may need to use other off-camera resources like live group chat (Slack is a texting platform that works great here) and cell phones to communicate with participants behind the scenes.
You should test all equipment and technology with all participants during a dry-run of your event, and you should be prepared to troubleshoot potential problems that may arise on event day (like software or bandwidth issues). Having backup systems and procedures in place is also a great idea.
Finally, you should create a help / support page or portal for attendees so that if they are having issues connecting they can easily consult those sources or connect with your support staff for quick answers (which means you need to adequately staff your support channels for event day).
Like we said earlier, a massive advantage of planning a virtual event is that you can measure almost everything, from first contact with participants to live participation to post-event followup.
Common metrics that you should consider measuring include:
As we have mentioned several times, it’s vital that you conduct post-event research and followup to ensure that your future virtual and hybrid events are a success. This includes sending your virtual attendees a post-event electronic survey (which many online event management solutions include).
To continue to engage with participants, you can also post content assets (like video recordings of sessions and slideshows) to your virtual event website so attendees can review presentations or catch sessions that they missed. And don’t forget to invite past attendees to your future events … savvy event planners always do this because they know that it primes the pump for future signups and can give you an early bump in ticketing.
Follow these nine basic event planning principles for virtual events and you give yourself every opportunity to succeed!