Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes When Hosting a Virtual Event

Here’s what to avoid when it comes to putting on the perfect digital event

Make sure your online fundraiser, gala or workshop goes smoothly by ironing out the details ahead of time. Just like for in-person events, careful preparation is key to hosting online events that resonate with your audience. From tech fails to poor attendance, learn how to avoid three common virtual event mistakes so you can focus on helping viewers connect with your brand.

1. Untested Technology 

Being in a digital space brings its own technical challenges, from poor internet connection to landing page glitches. In order to make sure your event runs smoothly, be sure to pinpoint the simplest, most effective technology for your event’s needs and test it out beforehand. 

In the hours leading up to your virtual event, do not forget to check your internet connection. Make sure that everyone who needs to be on screen has good service, decent lighting and working audio. After all, if your guests can’t see or hear you, there’s really no reason for them to be there. (Pro tip: In this case, a working microphone is more important than a working camera. If you have to choose between them, go for audio over visual.)

Be sure to troubleshoot all technology in advance of your event. A dress rehearsal the day of is essential to work out any last-minute kinks before the event begins. Of course, you can’t control the weather, so if an electrical storm rolls through and knocks out power, it might be out of your hands. But you can confirm for your own sanity that everything’s working smoothly on your end and also have a backup plan just in case something drastic occurs. 

2. Poor Production

Engaging your audience will be the biggest challenge in putting on a virtual event. Don’t let poor production get in the way. In our Virtual Event 101: Basics for Building a Successful Virtual Event, we emphasize how essential it is to carefully plan the flow of your program. Make sure speakers know when to chime in and how or what the next video clip will be. All of this must be mapped out ahead of time, scripted and practiced during the dress rehearsal. The last thing you want to do is bog down the event with unnecessary wait times, loading screens or awkward transitions that pull your audience away from the magic taking place on screen. Have a Plan B in place in case a speaker’s Zoom crashes or their internet goes down, such as a way for them to call in or a pre-recorded video to play instead. 

Also make sure to plan your event for a time that makes sense for the event type and your target audience. 11:00 a.m. PST is the best time for webinars, and Wednesday is overall the most popular day for virtual events. However, you may want to schedule longer, more involved events on Thursday or Friday evenings when people have more time. The Cara Summer Social took place at 6:30 p.m. CDT on a Thursday which also enabled those on the east coast to tune in with a bite to eat while they participated in this two-hour fundraiser.

3. No Lead Generation

The real key to having a successful virtual event? Making sure people attend it! In this case, it’s all about promotion, promotion, promotion. Put time and effort into your promotion strategy. Keep in mind that even small-scale virtual events typically need at least three to six weeks of promotion and larger ones more than that. While social media and email marketing will likely be your key focus, be sure to also reach out to partners for cross-promotion opportunities and consider using online ads to help you reach a larger audience.

Although it’s important to make sure you have the logistics all thought out, losing sight of promoting your event will mean that not enough people will appreciate your hard work—and most importantly, they will miss out on the opportunity to connect with your brand. So, keep your promotional communication painfully clear. Some people have never attended a virtual event before, and unlike other digital marketing, this isn’t a blog plug where one click is enough to get your audience where you want them. Since you’re inviting people to an event, give clear directions on how to get there—including if they’ll need to download any software or create an account to attend. 

Be sure to let them know if the event will be recorded and uploaded afterward so that they can tune in to anything they may miss. This will also help make sure your team doesn’t get inundated with the same questions over and over again, and your audience will appreciate the attention to detail. 

So there it is—avoid these pitfalls, and you’re sure to host an awesome virtual event! Need support? Yakkety Yak can help. Let’s launch your next digital event together.

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