You found our virtual events checklist.
A virtual events checklist is a series of steps to take when planning a virtual event. Examples include choosing a topic, planning activities, and practicing the stream. The purpose of this virtual event planning checklist is to help event coordinators plan an online gathering.
When planning your next virtual get-together, you can either work with virtual event companies or utilize virtual event software. Either way, these virtual event ideas can help your gathering shine.
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Here we go!
Virtual events checklist
When planning a virtual event, it is important to consider the standard event planning elements. However, there are some additional factors to take into account. Here is our checklist for virtual events.
1. Select your subject and related themes
In this step, you will want to define your event’s purpose, goals, subject, and theme. For example, perhaps you are interested in marketing your brand. In that case, the purpose could be to gain new customers. You could accomplish this task by showcasing a new product and offering a giveaway. Then, you can have speakers present about your company and the item you are showcasing. Finally, your product’s design could inspire the color scheme, fonts, and attire.
2. Define your audience
Once you understand the point of your event, you need to determine your target audience. For instance, when showcasing your brand, your ideal audience members are potential and existing customers who would benefit from your product or service. Thus, creating a whole event with employees in mind would not make sense. Instead, the gathering should cater to your target shoppers’ demographics.
3. Choose a streaming platform
Since a streaming platform is the cornerstone of your whole event, choosing the right one is essential.
Here are some features to keep an eye out for:
- Flexible branding options
- Social media and fundraising integrations
- Live chat, polls, and games
- Live streaming and video playback
- Data analytics and reports
Depending on your needs, some of these features may be more of a must have than others. Therefore, be sure to explore multiple options before settling on software.
Here are a few virtual event software programs to get you started:
- Hopin: Features expo booths, ticket sales, data analytics, and scalable events
- Cvent: Features one-on-one connections, event content catalogs, and CRM integration and automation
- Whova: Features attendee tiering, protected access, simplified moderation, and community engagement tools
- Webex: Features end-to-end management, registration, networking, and branding tools
After looking through your options, be sure to choose software that fits your needs and budget.
You can also consider hosting your event in the metaverse.
4. Plan activities and speakers
Activities and speakers are the bread and butter of any event. Attendees need to leave your gathering feeling like they gained knowledge, skills, or enjoyment. Thus, planning activities and speakers is essential to a successful function.
Here are some ideas for activities:
- Networking: Allow guests to mingle either in large groups or breakout rooms.
- Icebreakers: If you run an internal or inter-industry event, consider hosting some icebreaker activities, such as word clouds or people Bingo.
- Competitions: Gamifying any experience will make it more engaging. Consider creating a competition surrounding your business, products, or team building.
- Fundraisers: Fundraisers are a great way to give back to the community and draw a crowd. Plus, giving to charity boosts your brand’s image.
- Social tools: Encouraging the use of live chats, breakout rooms, and social media can all help create connections between attendees and your brand.
Planning different activities encourages participation and engagement, creating interest in your firm.
Here are some ideas for speakers:
- Leadership: Have the CEO or another high-ranking officer speak about your company and its products or services.
- Industry experts: If your gathering aims to educate industry professionals, then consider asking an expert to share relevant insights and updates.
- Authors: Similarly, you can ask notable authors in your industry to attend the event and do a reading.
- Development teams: When hosting a function to market a new technology or product, consider having the development team present. Members can talk about their creative process to give customers great insight into the behind-the-scenes moments.
When utilizing speakers for your event, be sure to leave time for a Q&A session at the end. This whole process encourages guests to learn about your company.
Check out this list of virtual keynote speakers.
5. Create an agenda
Once you finish outlining the activities and speakers, it is important to create an outline so guests know what to expect. Perhaps attendees are particularly interested in one topic and not so much in another. This agenda will help participants plan their time wisely and will boost attendance. After the agenda is ready, be sure to send it to attendees electronically. You could send an email, post the outline on social media, schedule text reminders, or all three.
6. Send out invites and utilize a registration platform
After the plans are in place, it is time to get guests at your gathering! You can send out invitations to existing customers through email registrations and newsletters. In addition, be sure to create a catchy flier and post it on your social media channels. Depending on your audience, you can consider other forms of advertising, such as radio, podcasts, streaming services or television, or newspapers.
Once you get the word out, you need a way for folks to sign up. Understanding how many attendees will be at your function is a huge factor in the planning process.
Many virtual event platforms integrate invitations and registration into their software, making this process a breeze. If your chosen program does not include registration, though, it is important to establish a clear system.
For example, you can use event registration programs, such as:
- RSVPify: Features ticket manager, event website builder, content tagging, and event dashboards
- SignUpGenius: Features group messaging, donation tools, reporting, and customer support
- Ticketleap: Features event pages, promoting and selling, admin dashboard, event-day management, and support
- Timely: Features event calendars, customization, event promotion, event aggregation, and integrations
Ultimately, having a clear registration system greatly impacts how you plan and run your event.
7. Get support
Running an event takes a village, especially online. Before the big day, coordinate with a tech team and some moderators to ensure the gathering goes smoothly. The tech team can help answer attendee questions and make adjustments if any issues arise. Moderators are particularly helpful for chat rooms and breakout rooms. Especially if your event has guests from the general public, it is best to have a professional keep an eye on the chats. This step helps keep conversations civil and relevant.
8. Do a practice run
Virtual events come with the risk of technological issues. A few snafus are inevitable, but you can minimize the risk by testing your tech in advance.
- Do a practice live stream.
- Run any prerecorded videos.
- Check sound settings for speaking and music.
- Ensure microphones and webcams work.
- Send chats, answer polls, and try any interactive software.
- Open and join breakout rooms.
- Make a donation.
- Monitor for crashes, bugs, bad streaming quality, and broken audio.
By interacting with your software in advance, you can pivot or talk to customer support if any issues arise. Plus, practice runs are a good way for you to learn the features of your platform.
9. Gather feedback
After the party, sending out surveys to attendees is a good idea. To encourage more replies, consider entering respondents into a raffle for a big prize. This feedback is valuable in curating future events. Through these questionnaires, you can find out what guests enjoyed, what they thought could be improved, and what they hope for in future events. The more responses you get, the better you can tailor your functions to your target audience. As a result, more guests will want to attend your future get-togethers, creating a helpful cycle.
10. Send out post-event materials
Ultimately, the goal of hosting an event is to make an impression on participants. To keep that feeling of goodwill rolling after your function, sending out post-event materials is important. First, be sure to mail out any prizes folks won from competitions or raffles. Next, consider sending follow-up information, like PDFs, presentations, and video recordings. This packet would create an invaluable resource that guests can return to repeatedly, establishing you as an authority in your industry. Finally, consider sending out swag bags with your company branding. These gifts offer a gesture of goodwill, reinforce your company’s name, and encourage recipients to attend future gatherings.
Hosting a virtual event is similar to hosting an in-person event in a lot of ways. In both formats, you have to determine your event type, plan activities, collect registrations, and host a memorable function. However, this virtual event checklist also offers some reminders for online-specific considerations, like finding event software, working with a tech team, and doing practice runs. Whether you are hosting an internal event for industry professionals or a customer-driven gathering, this list can set you on the path to success.
Next up, check out these articles on virtual corporate events, virtual team celebration ideas, and virtual conference ideas.