Organizing an event is an uphill task for most; virtual events are no different. With endless details to consider, the entire process can feel overwhelming. This is when having a Virtual Event Planning Checklist can help you stay on track before, during, and after your online event.
This comprehensive checklist contains all the moving parts that you need to execute your next virtual event and ensure you don’t encounter snags at any stage.
CHECKLIST OF THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR VIRTUAL EVENT
3 MONTHS BEFORE THE EVENT:
Gather your event support team and form an event schedule
Your team will include both internal and external members assigned to roles for pre-production, run-of-event activities, technical support, marketing, speaker support, etc.
Then, develop a master plan of activities. This programme will be flexible and will need to accommodate keynotes speeches, sessions such as workshops, Q&As, product launches, etc. – all the while ensuring it makes for a smooth attendee experience.
Sles and Ticketing
Decide if the event is free to attend or if there is a registration fee – depending upon your budget. If it is ticketed, determine your ticket tiers, ticket types, special discounts, VIP perks, etc.
All of this can be accomplished using a good ticketing service. Upcoming Buzz’s event management and ticketing tools makes it easy for event planners to not only manage their tickets, but also keep track of revenue generated from sales.
Your event budget will broadly be divided between the cost of the platform, tech and equipment, marketing and promotions, vendors, and speaker fees. Break down the expenses under each category, and also account for sponsors and ticket sales while getting an estimate of your earnings and expenses.
Of note: Use tools like Microsoft Excel to lay down all your requirements in a spreadsheet and get a bigger picture of your expenses.
Create an event design
Not only is this the heart of your event, it is responsible for bringing together all elements of your event and projecting your brand value to your attendees.
1 MONTH BEFORE THE EVENT:
Marketing and Promotion:
Your event marketing will be a mix of organic promotion (including emails, social media posts, press releases, and SEO to drive traffic to your website) and paid promotions (mobilizing influencers, listing your event, sponsorships at similar events, running advertisements.)
Using an omni channel approach powered by programmatic advertising can be your best bet to optimize your event marketing. SoukMedia uses a holistic 360 degree campaign to garner audiences for your virtual event.
Map out your attendee journey:
Your planning needs to include all the touchpoints your attendees will engage with during your event. Create a personalized attendee experiences, with emphasis on the following aspects:
– Landing page:
Since this page will be the first contact your prospective attendees will have with your event, ensure it has a compelling and detailed copy, an easy and well-presented design, and is easy to navigate.
Of note: Hubspot says a highly optimized landing page can take your conversion rates from an average of 5-15% to 30%.
Your registration page converts prospects into attendees. Make the registration process as user-friendly and intuitive as possible to ensure there are no funnel leaks.
Of note: Ideally, registering for an event should not take longer than 5 minutes.
– Collecting fees:
It is important to include multiple payment options like credit and debit cards, along with online payment options such as PayPal and Google Pay, etc – to make it convenient for your registrants. Also make sure to include foreign payments options for international attendees.
Send a “thanks for registering” email:
Do this as soon as attendees register and be sure to include important details like the event date and time and instructions on how to access the virtual event. This process is usually automated if you’re using an event management platform.
Of note: Use email automation tools to make the process easier and less time-consuming.
THE WEEK LEADING UP TO YOUR EVENT:
Send email reminders and instructions
People have busy schedules; send reminder emails reiterating key information such as the dates, program, and speakers so your attendees can clear their schedules ahead of time.
Since they may be unfamiliar with a lot of aspects of your event, make sure to include a participant guide containing instructions on how to access the event, detailing if they need to prepare or bring anything, if they have to keep their computer video and audio on, stay on mute, etc.
Create a chart of logistics and do a dry run
Plan out a minute-by-minute schedule of your entire to-do list on the day of your event – from your set-up to run-through and immediate post-event activities – also including the department responsible for handling each task.
Perform an event rehearsal to make sure that all your tools are working in advance. Take particular care of transitions, video rolls, and audience interaction segments that are often overlooked and can cause problems.
DURING THE EVENT
A good moderator is not just required to keep the chat free of any disruptions, but also takes care of questions and comments, choose askers, pin questions to the top, and mute/unmute and disable/enable video of participants accordingly.
Provide engagement tools:
Analyse each session to identify where engagement activities and gamification elements can be used and choose a platform that has some in-built tools to facilitate these activities.
Of note: A good rule of the thumb is to keep your attendees touching their keyboards every two minutes. Live polls and quizzes are a great way to do this.
Be aware of session length
If the content format doesn’t vary and isn’t engaging, then keep sessions shorter than you might at an in-person event.
AFTER THE EVENT
Post-event audience engagement
Even if your event goes smoothly, your job isn’t over quite yet. Follow-up communication is critical for gathering feedback and attracting attendees to future events. Share event photos, post clips on social media and links to event materials shortly after it concludes.
Cancel your monthly streaming software subscription
Make sure you’re not still paying for a platform, mailing service, or any other subscription service you had bought for the event, to avoid surprise expenses later.
Look for a storage service
Find a service to store all your pre-recorded videos and session recordings safely in case you need to access them later.
Send post-event mails
Send a “thank-you” email to attendees to touch base with them again and to gain feedback from your guests by attaching a post-event survey.
To those who could not attend the event, send an email going over your event highlights, a link to where they can perhaps watch some recorded sessions, and a teaser for your next event to build some excitement.
Of note: Avoid sending surveys during business hours since people are distracted and are less likely to respond. The best time to send your post-event survey is between 5-7 AM or after 8 PM on weekdays.
Analyze event statistics: Total participants, ticket sales, revenue, etc.
Analyze your performance by reviewing ticket sales, number of participants, participation time, chat engagement, responses to polls, etc. Some event management platforms will automatically generate this report for you, so you know which areas to work on for your next event.
Since no two events are the same, you must tweak and customize this event checklist to suit all of your requirements.
However, we understand that handling all the tasks on this list can seem daunting. This is where an online event management tool can come in especially handy. UpcomingBuzz is an end-to-end event management platform that can take care of all your event requirements – right from ticketing and acquiring audiences to producing highly customizable events and smooth attendee experiences.