You thrive on being around people and the energy in the room, and you've hosted more than one small event during your career. Now, you're wondering: how will that translate to virtual event planning on a grand scale? When it comes to a large virtual event, the bar is raised, and all eyes are on you without the luxury of stage lighting. You don't want to mess up.
The intimidation is natural, but planning a large event doesn't have to be. An amazing and memorable event awaits you when you follow these steps.
You've learned over the years never to go into a team meeting trying to wing it. If you do, you won't accomplish what you think you’ve set out to do, and you'll leave a large audience feeling inpatient while you try to figure things out.
This is even more true in a large virtual event, so start here to plan an event people will remember for the right reasons.
Budgeting in event management is key to success, to ensure that you allocate the right resources to the event, and so you don't start spending only to run out of money before your event.
Take some time to consider everything that needs to happen to host a large event. Creating a budget limits how much you shell out for one event and fosters creativity from the start. That way, you inevitably spend smarter. As a result, your event budget goes further.
If this were a physical event, you'd have a venue, caterers, valet, security, grab bags, suppliers, staff costs, etc. A virtual event is much different, to an extent. But you certainly do have to account for advertising, web hosting, or virtual event platform license costs, sound, keynote speakers, staff, tech professionals to ensure up-time, and venue costs, in a hybrid event scenario.
Overpricing tickets and attendance will leave much to be desired. Underpricing tickets may create value perception issues that have a similar effect. It is important to find that sweet spot.
Start by calculating your costs for the event, as we discussed above. Don't forget to include the time any event organizers had to plan for the event if you're paying them. If several managers in your corporation have to meet weekly for three months leading up to the event, this is considered a cost, even if they're salaried. Adding all of this up shows you the absolute minimum you must do to break even.
We also recommend you divide expenses into fixed and adjustable. This provides you with some flexibility if you must adjust ticket pricing.
Refer back to the goal of the event. Is this an employee or marketing event? Then your event may be considered an investment in your business, so ticket revenues may not be the goal. However, you still need to consider whether you need to charge for tickets, knowing that people tend to perceive value when they have to pay for something.
Let's say you do plan to make money. Ask yourself what total "revenue - event cost" do you need to make to call it a success?
Now, divide that total revenue by the number of tickets you'll sell. You may refer to past data to evaluate your chances of selling out the virtual venue.
So far, what we have is (event cost + profit margin)/ticket sales quantity = basic ticket price. But don't skip the next step.
Take a look at what competitors would charge for a similar ticket. This shows you how much your attendees will be willing to pay. If you find you're overpriced compared to competitors, you either need to reduce your profit margin or start cutting those adjustable expenses identified when you began to plan a large event.
This isn't a daily manager call. This is virtual event planning, so it's vital that you choose the right virtual event platform that can both meet your needs and provide an unforgettable experience for attendees. You want them to come back and tell others about the experience.
To find the right virtual event platform, ask yourself these questions:
If someone sponsors the event, start early. Get it all in writing. And make sure the sponsors understand what they're sponsoring to avoid disputes down the road.
You can't plan a large event without knowing what's on the schedule. You'll always know what's on the agenda with these tips.
Schedule leadership events around the leaders. If you're inviting leaders, know that they are the busiest, so they need the most notice. Plan the event around their typical schedule to achieve the highest attendance among these busy professionals.
Alternate formats and presentations. You must keep the audience engaged throughout, especially if this is an all-day event. So alternate types of formats and speakers to keep it interesting and everyone tuned in.
Promote personal connection. While you may need silence during certain times in the program, be sure to include opportunities for people to talk, express ideas, engage each other, and get to know the group.
Have a backup plan. What if a speaker doesn't show? Have a plan for that time slot that seems planned because it is.
Swag bags elevate your event, so don't plan an event without them. Skimping here can leave a bad taste in attendees' mouths. It's even worse than no swag bag at all. When it comes to in-person events, swag bags can be passed out once attendees enter the front doors. Other times, event coordinators can send bags to attendees’ houses. But, how do you build a swag bag when you plan a large virtual event?
At 6Connex, we have a virtual briefcase that can double as a virtual swag bag, which attendees can access easily right from their navigation bar. This briefcase can be designed however event organizers please, even as a goodie bag.
Your virtual goodie bag can include some of these items, depending on the group:
Get the word out!
You can begin marketing and event promotion with tools and techniques like:
Preparing for a large event may require smaller events to connect with your audience and generate buzz around the big event. We have some ideas for networking too!
Host virtual networking events for VIPs or select attendees that align with your big event, such as a virtual:
Learn from any mistakes and improve your future event performance. Delight attendees with your understanding of what they want out of events, and then deliver that experience.
It all comes down to reviewing your event data once live-day has ended. But, before you host your event, be sure you understand the specific KPIs to measure event satisfaction, and how to track them efficiently.
To properly analyze event data, you’ll want to know:
We can help you automate and simplify the event planning process with the online tools you need to plan and host the perfect event. Whether you're considering a more traditional webinar, all-day seminar, or a full-scale virtual trade show, it becomes possible with 6Connex. We're your all-in-one creator and manager of engaging virtual environments.
We make it simple with fully-integrated engagement tools, hybrid events, event security, and perhaps most importantly, useable analytics to demonstrate how your attendees interacted with your event. Customize your event to meet your needs. Our customers consistently praise our attentive customer service. And, yes, we're global, so we can be available whenever you are.
The possibilities are virtually endless. For more information, download our free e-book below, The 6Connex Playbook to Planning Your Virtual Event. Contact us to try it out for yourself today.