We’re seeing a sharp rise in the number of virtual conferences – and it’s not just because social gatherings of more than ten people have been banned in much of the country. In fact, even before COVID-19 shutdown conferences across the globe, 2020 was showing every sign that this was going to be the year of the virtual event. Why is that? Well, let’s start with these 7 reasons.
Why Host a Virtual Event?
Even when social distancing restrictions are lifted, there are several big benefits to making your next conference a virtual one.
In a world where social and environmental responsibility are at the forefront, it’s important for companies to make eco-friendly choices, and virtual conferences are a good example of that. For one, there’s little to no travel involved with virtual events, which is better for our air-quality. Second, all collateral is digital, so there’s nothing to throw away or recycle, and the trees are happy.
2. Expanded Reach
With a virtual conference, not only are you not limited by space, but your attendees aren’t limited by geography. That goes for your speakers and presenters, too, which gives you a lot more options in terms of who you can invite to speak. Depending on the virtual conference platform you choose, you can host up to 50,000 attendees, and reach a national, even global audience – essentially, anyone with a device that connects to the internet.
3. No Postponements or Cancellations
One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of physical conferences is the fear of postponement or cancellation due to external factors out of your control, such as a severe winter storm or, say, a global pandemic. With a virtual conference, you don’t have to worry about flights being grounded. As long as you have a solid internet connection, the show can go on.
4. In-Depth Reporting
A big drawback with physical conferences is the inability to truly gather good analytics from the event. With a badge scanner you know how many people attended each workshop, but do you know if people engaged with the content that was presented, or how many and what questions were asked, or if people walked out early? Virtual conferences can provide you with these answers, and many more, which can be helpful when creating content for your next event and identifying your hottest leads.
5. Evergreen Content
Unless you physically set up recording devices during every session at your event, the content vanishes as soon as it’s presented. Whereas, most virtual event platforms have the option to record live presentations, and, in some cases, even pre-record content. The benefit? Whether you edit the content into short snippets for your social networks and YouTube, or you make the full presentations available for free or paid on-demand subscriptions, you now have content that you can reuse across multiple channels for years to come.
6. Ease of Networking
The physical barriers of networking are stripped away with virtual conferences. Rather than your conference attendees scouring hotel lobbies and exhibition halls trying to track down the industry leaders with whom they want to speak, they have immediate access to other attendees, speakers and exhibitors with just a few clicks of the mouse.
This is probably the number one reason most companies are transitioning to virtual events. After all, if you’ve hosted a physical conference, you know all about the expenses. There’s the cost of the venue, the food and drink for attendees, speaker travel expenses, badge scanners, and the list goes on. Plus, there’s the travel expense to attendees. While virtual conferences are not cheap – especially if you choose a platform that provides custom options and hands-on support – remember that the platform is essentially your only expense.
Hosting a Virtual Conference
It goes without saying that the biggest concern on everybody’s mind right now is staying socially distanced, and since hosting a virtual event is all done remotely, it’s kind of a no-brainer. But another interesting thing to come out of all this is that the appeal of attending virtual conferences has actually exploded. If you previously rejected the idea of a digital event, citing a user preference for in-person conferences, it may be time to re-think your position. Poll your audience, see for yourself.
If you’re looking to make your next conference virtual and you’re overwhelmed with where to start, give Worktank a call. We get it, it seems like a lot to tackle, but with more than 20 years of experience helping clients pull off successful virtual events, we can walk you through every step. Likewise, if you currently have a physical conference scheduled and you need to convert it to a digital event, we have the knowledge, experience and resources to make it happen.