Virtual Event Planning: During & After Your Event [4/4]
The big day is finally here! All that hard work and preparation from 3-6 months out to a few days before are about to pay off. But, while it’s important that you enjoy your event, it’s equally important that you are optimising this time to get as much out of your hard work as possible.
During the event
During the event is an especially important time as if you are quick enough and gather enough data, you can make some real-time decisions that could take your event to the next level.
Data collection and review
One of the great things about a hybrid event is that you are able to track more data! The virtual side of things naturally makes it easier for you to gather more actionable data in real-time. This will give you insights into how your event is performing, and if your event is over a few days, you can carry this information forward, providing you don’t change your audience’s expectations too much.
This data will also inform you for your next event. Look at audience data such as age, gender, industry… perhaps your audience are different to who you thought they were. This will then help you when you come to market your event next year.
Look at engagement data such as attendance, ticket sales, talk views and viewer drop-off. Is there any insight into how you can increase these in the future? For example, perhaps your audience dropped out of a talk around the 40-minute mark… was there any interactivity? Did you consider both audiences? Online, audiences can only really focus on speakers for up to 25-30 minutes without any interaction, something worth bearing in mind when creating your content.
Which brings us to our next point:
Keep your audience engaged
It is just as important to keep the conversations going with both your in-person and online attendees during the event as it is before the event. Remember, a lot of your in-person audience will also be experiencing your event online in some respects, for example on social media or an event app if you’ve had one created. This means that a lot of the conversation can happen online. Keep your promotion staff looking to your social accounts and gauging attendee satisfaction.
Also think about breakout sessions for your audience, as here they can network with other attendees, a major selling point for any event. This will also increase audience engagement and make them feel involved.
Check in with your staff and speakers
Whilst it is important to make sure your attendees are enjoying themselves, don’t forget about your colleagues and speakers. Check up on them from time to time, make sure they know what their responsibilities are, but also make sure they are enjoying themselves too! Keeping communication open will help you discover any potential problems and put them right before they affect the event itself. It can be beneficial to use a separate communication tool from the platform so your messages are easily visible amongst the general “noise” of the event.
After the event
You’ve just completed your online event, congratulations! That’s no easy feat! And while you may feel like your job is done, there are still a few loose ends to tie up, as well as some additional tasks that will help you prepare for your next one.
Have a post-event debrief
Now it’s time to discuss with your staff what went well, and perhaps what could be improved upon for next time. Collate and share all the data from the event and have an open and honest conversation with your team. Include the tech team if you used one, as they may have some additional insights for you from a technical perspective.
Review the budget
Take a look at your actual spend and compare it to your predicted spend. Were you under? Were you over? Calculate your ROI. This will give you actionable insights for the next event and give you a better understanding of your event’s success.
Communicate with your speakers
Share the data you collected with your speakers, most of them will be intrigued to know how many people were in attendance and how their talks were received. Also, don’t forget to thank them for their time. Simple, but sometimes forgotten!
Ask for feedback
One of the greatest exercises you can do with you audience is ask for honest feedback. After all, no-one can tell you better how the overall event experience was than those it was intended for. Did you live up to their expectations? If not, why? Don’t be afraid to ask questions you may not want to know the answers to, as these are often the questions that provide you with the best insight. Make your questions relevant though – asking your audience if the speakers were good is a bit of a moot point – after all they may not be experts in judging this – consider asking if they now understand more about a specific topic or what would they have liked to hear about instead.
Don’t forget to thank your attendees for coming. You can also use this communication to tell them about your next events so they can put the date in their diary.
Create on-demand content
An added bonus of pre-recorded and recording live content is that you can put this online to create on-demand content. This should be shared with your attendees for free, as a parting gift. You can also put the content on your website in exchange for email addresses. This will then build up your audience list for next potential attendees!
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. Planning an online event from start to finish is a challenge, but with the right knowledge and tools in place, the rewards from these events can be invaluable both for you and your audience.
If you would like some assistance in your next event endeavour, get in touch, we would love to help you elevate your online events to the next level, whether they are a 5 person Zoom-like meeting, or a week-long, multi-location conference.