As we enter a second lockdown in England, it’s looking likely that virtual events and webinars will continue to be the norm. And there are many benefits – less travelling, for example, which allows attendees to watch from the comfort of their own home, saving time and adding greater flexibility. Costs are kept low for the organisers too, as there’s no need to rent a venue and provide catering.
Hosting virtual events and webinars can be a great way to reach a B2B audience, with targeted promotion, and the ease of hosting an event online.
Following the success of several virtual events including our Virtual Open House for Potters Poultry, which secured more than 80 attendees from across the poultry industry, we like to think we know a thing or two about hosting virtual events.
So, here are our top tips for hosting your own virtual event or webinar
Preparation is key
When in the planning stages of your event, it is important to pick a time and date that will work for your audience. For example, if farmers are your target audience – as was the case for Potters Poultry – they are likely to be busy in the mornings, so hosting the event in the afternoon will allow for a higher turnout.
It’s vitally important to make it easy for people to sign up. Using sites such as Eventbrite makes the process as smooth as possible, you can see sign ups live and download sign up data following the event – allowing you to evaluate the success easily.
Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse again. As well as speakers, you need to think about who will be hosting the event – we recommend having someone separate driving the presentation and logistics behind the scenes.
Make sure you’re familiar with the webinar software – whether you’re using Zoom, GoToMeetings or Teams it’s important to make sure all of the speakers are comfortable in their role and how the software works.
Start promoting early
In order to reach your audience, it’s important you start promoting the event early. Use the streams of communication that are relevant to your audience, such as the social media platform they are most likely to use, newsletters and media outlets.
Partnering with a relevant trade title for your event allows you to reach your target audience easily, as well as giving you endorsement and credibility. Having at least one industry leading figure will also encourage sign ups – not only will this spike interest for attendees, but media may become intrigued too.
Create a suite of content – graphics, small promotional videos and a social media content plan to promote the event, preparing this ahead of time allows you to plan effectively.
It is important to make sure your attendees feel important, therefore personally inviting them rather than expecting them to see your promotional posts will encourage them to attend.
When thinking about the content of your event, consider who your audience is. Would you like your webinar to be an informal conversational event, or do you want there to be set times and speakers with minimal interaction?
Mixing up the content of the event with pre-recorded videos, live talks and Q&A’s allow for a diverse and interesting event which keeps audiences engaged.
We recommend the guest speaker slot is scheduled in before the Q&A session at the end – for a lot of people the draw is the guest slot, and you don’t want them to log off as soon as the guest speaker has said their piece and miss your messaging.
Anticipate some of the questions in advance, so, while you wait for people to ask questions, you can answer these – avoiding the dreaded radio silence.
Another positive with virtual events is that you can record them and reshare. Make use of this content on social media, or make the content gated and ask people to sign up to a mailing list before they’re granted access to watch the event – this will allow you to capture more data for future events.
Create new contacts and build relationships by saying thank you to the attendees and follow up on any unanswered questions.
For more inspiration take a look at the Virtual Open House we hosted with Potters Poultry.
If you would like to talk to us about hosting a virtual webinar or event, please get in touch with us at [email protected] or call 0121 796 8400.