At Worktank we have seen it all. The good, the bad, and yes even the ugly when it comes to virtual events. What makes one online event a smash hit, and another an utter failure? It all comes down to presentation and planning. After all, even the best ideas will fail without these two elements. Professional production of virtual events can help ensure that your event is a success. After all, a great experience should not be reserved for face-to-face events. Proper presentation and planning matters for virtual events just as much. That being said we have compiled a list of the top reasons virtual events fail and give you advice on how to avoid them.

1. Lack of an audience

Nothing is more frustrating than putting a lot of time and money into a virtual event nobody attends. To avoid this problem, have a strong promotion strategy in place well in advance. Build up your marketing lists and invite them to attend. Then, take it a step further by asking them to commit/respond/register. Share your killer virtual event on social media, and leverage any industry connections you may have to do the same. Set aside a budget for paid promotion to gain new leads and increase your event’s reach. Finally, be sure to send out reminders just before the event that they’ve signed up to attend. People are busy, and if you do not send this friendly reminder you will most likely be forgotten. Consider including an add-to-calendar feature on your registration page as an additional reminder.

2. Complicated log-in process

People do not want to jump through hoops to log into your event. Keep things simple. If your audience has to spend more than 30 seconds logging in, you’ve already lost them. The log-in window should be as simple as inputting an email and a pass-code. Adding login instructions to your final reminder email is crucial to making it a smooth process. Particularly if you are asking people to input more than those two pieces of information.

3. It’s not a true virtual event

Re purposing live events is great, but your virtual event should not be a recorded version of a live event from a camera stuck in the back of the room. Often this leads to poor sound quality and PowerPoint presentations that you participants can’t even read. Furthermore, nowadays people expect to be able to engage with the presenters during virtual events. Q&As, Chat, and Polling features have become so commonplace that people expect these features. Be sure you are giving your audience what they want.

4. Participants have viewing problems

If your online audience has viewing problems such as latency, buffering, and juddering, you have about 30 seconds to correct the issue before you have lost them. To avoid this problem, selecting the proper virtual event platform is crucial. Not all of these virtual event platforms are created equal. For example, some are much better at streaming multiple videos than others. Check out our comparison of some top virtual event platforms to determine which one is best for your virtual event.

5. Poor sound quality

People may forgive poor lighting, and mediocre video quality, but they will not put up with poor sound. If your audience can’t hear the presenter, or there is too much echoing or distortion, your event is doomed to fail. A simple fix is to purchase an inexpensive microphone, and run a basic noise-removal filter through the recording. However, if your virtual event is going to be live instead of pre-recorded things aren’t so simple. Take the acoustics of a space into consideration before selecting a location. If you don’t, you may find yourself needing to purchase extra equipment to diminish echoes or fix other acoustic issues. Then be sure to allow time to test the sound quality before you go live. Usually this will occur at least a day or two before the actual event when you do a pre-event run-through (yes you need to do one of those!).

6. Dull, uninteresting content

Some topics just don’t inspire people to tune in. Keep in mind your target audience. What is dull to one audience may be a hot topic in another. Do your research and find out what questions your audience has and develop your content around that.

Even worse than dull content, is content that is too simplistic. People tune into virtual events expecting to learn or gain something from the hour or so they spend listening to what you have to say. If you don’t give them useful takeaways right from the get-go, you have lost them. Many virtual events are offered to participants free of cost, so many companies are hesitant to reveal too much of their knowledge. After all why give away for free what you can get paid for? Well, there has to be a middle ground. You want to give away enough unique insights so people find your virtual event worthwhile. Make them think “if this great insight is free, I can’t imagine what the paid stuff looks like.”

7. Poor camera work and production

No virtual event should be shot using a locked off camera in the back of the room. It is perhaps the worst camera shot you can choose. Even for a small virtual event, you will want someone manning the camera to zoom in and pan as needed. For larger events you will need several cameras in order to get different shots. These techniques can enhance your virtual event by highlighting a particular point the presenter is making. It also keeps your virtual event interesting and will help keep your virtual audience engaged. A static shot is boring and makes it easy for an audience to turn their attention elsewhere. They will start checking their emails and multitasking, which means you have already lost them.

Remember, your audience is used to professionally-produced TV programming and polished looking online video content. If you can’t deliver on that, you might as well quit while you are ahead.

Read more about the power of video production >

8. PowerPoint overload

The basic rules of how to set up a proper PowerPoint has been a topic that has been covered to death, but you would be surprised at how many people still cram too much text into slides. A virtual event is all about two things: sounds and visuals. You need to ensure each of these components is as strong as the other. Your slides and visual quality says a lot about you as a business. Poor quality visuals equates to poor quality service in the virtual world. The best thing to do is to employ the help of a graphic artist. If you have an internal marketing team, have them take your slides and jazz them up.

9. The conversation ends once the virtual event is over.

Your virtual event is about more than just informing your audience. It should be the starting point to the audience engagement process. Make sure you have a follow-up strategy in place that captures audience feedback, contact information, sales orders, future bookings, and more. Using this information you can retarget the audience at a later date to stay top of mind and keep them moving along your conversion funnel.

You should also be repurposing your virtual event. By having a system in place where people can view past virtual events, you can extend the life of your investment and make it work for you even when you have moved on to other things. Clips from the event also make great informational social media posts.

Producing a successful virtual event does not have to be a scary endeavor. If you are just starting out, don’t get discouraged if your first webinar or webcast does not go as well as you planned. It is a learning process. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of professional virtual event companies. At Worktank we can take on whatever role you need from a consulting role, to video production, or overseeing the entire process from start to end. Want to learn more? Complete our contact form or call 1.877.975.8265 to get the conversation started.

Adam Adam

Adam Eggleston

Adam began his career in virtual events as a webcast producer where he managed and produced hundreds of events over four years. He transitioned into business development where he now helps organizations plan and develop virtual events solutions to meet their goals.