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Event Planning

The Definitive Virtual Event Planning Checklist

Yashika Tangri
November 21, 2023
11
min read

Organizing any event takes a lot, and virtual events are no exception. Yes, you don’t have to worry about many things like booking a venue or catering services. But what about marketing, managing the registration process, or employee engagement? 

With so many moving parts to executing virtual events, we’ve put together this comprehensive checklist to help you create an unforgettable event experience.

A. Defining Your Event Strategy

Mapping out a virtual event requires as much planning and coordination as an in-person event. The best way to start planning is by answering these vital questions- 

1. What are the goals and objectives of your event?

Virtual events indeed focus on creating connections between people. But these events are not free of organizational goals. 

Considering this, you need to ask yourself a few questions like:

What type of community are we hoping to build?

What agendas do we want to pursue?  

Defining clear goals and objectives will help you build a great event strategy.

2. Who will come to your event?

Before you start with the prep, identify your audience. Typically, you will already have a list of attendees who are interested in your topic or speakers. Ask for their emails so that they could easily pre-register them for the event. Registrations are easier to manage when participants have registered ahead of time.

For attendees who register at least 24 hours before the event, send them a welcome email with additional information about the event and other important details. In situations where someone is registered but doesn’t attend, send them a follow-up email.

Since there are no logistical issues in a virtual event, people tend to forget registration deadlines or completely ignore RSVPs.

3. How will your event stand out?

To attract people to your event and make sure they attend, you need to stand out. You can create a compelling event list including all the important details that make your event irresistible to prospective attendees. This will help you plan for all possible factors to shine in the crows. 

4. Where will you hold the virtual event?

What type of event are you hosting? Is it a webinar? A live stream? An interactive Zoom call? What will be the format of the event? A class? A conference? A live performance?

Identify these factors first and then decide on the platform you are going to use. Consider which forum your event will benefit the most from, whether it is Zoom or a private Facebook group where attendees can connect with each other.

5. How to make your event run smoothly as possible?

Don’t assume that guests will be familiar with how to log in to your virtual event. It is better to send a “Know Before You Go” email a few days before the session to help less tech-savvy guests to make their way around the platform’s features confidently.

Also, make sure to include “Housekeeping” at the beginning of each session where the host explains how attendees can interact with the virtual event, so everyone can engage with the content.

B. Virtual event checklist for a stellar experience

Have a look at the comprehensive, actionable checklist we have put together for you -

1. Know your audience

Depending on your goals, here are some of the user types you can tap into-

Your company’s target audience

This includes people you wish to regularly engage with to draw attention to your product or service.

Current clients, employees, and partners

These are those people who are already engaged with your product or service. They may not require a lot of convincing, so you might require a different marketing approach to lure them in.

New audiences

These include the segment of people that you wish to attract or tap into. 

Your target audience may be one of the above segments, a combination of two, or maybe all three. Depending on the type of audience, your strategies will vary.

But how do you segregate your audience to identify the different segments?

Through Research.

Your current clients, partners, and employees would be easy to research because you are likely to have all their data and profiles in your database.  The new markets require more work and educated guesses.

Try to figure out how the answers to these key questions-

  • Who is your key demographic? (age group, gender, etc.)
  • Where do they live?
  • What languages do they speak?
  • How do they find your company (organically, paid adverts, referrals, etc.)?
  • How do they engage with your product (what pages get the most traffic, what content leads to the most conversions, etc.)?

2. Pick the event date and time

A lot of thought and effort goes into deciding the event day unless it is a recurring event. You have to take in many considerations and cannot simply choose a random day on your calendar.

Make sure to keep these factors in mind before fixing a date-

  • Your virtual event should not coincide with any statutory or religious holidays
  • Consider the day-to-day activities of your potential attendees like office timings, holidays, and break time (Keep the date during the weekend if they work during the week)
  • If you planning a virtual event that is international, don’t forget to keep in mind the different time zones
  • If you are not able to pick a time that is not perfect for anyone, don’t worry. You can always upload the recorded session on your website after the live stream.

3. Establish your team and a budget

Even if not as logistically grand as an in-person event, virtual events still have many moving parts that require a team to handle all crucial details. To offer an unforgettable virtual experience, assign individual tasks to each team member to ensure accountability.

Also, you need to fix the budget to give wings to all the fantastic ideas. The event may come to a grinding halt when you run out of funds if your team does not consider the budget during online conference planning. Some of the key expenses to include are-

  • Event management software
  • Technical support
  • Marketing expenses

4. Choose the appropriate event format

Choosing the correct format for your event largely depends on what type of event you are hosting. Some virtual event organizers combine two or more structures to keep the audience engaged.

Here are some ideas to consider

  • Single keynote speaker: One presenter engages with the audience
  • Dual Speakers: Two speakers engaging the virtual attendees. They can bring two different perspectives on the topic.
  • Panel: Host a hybrid event and invite a group of experts to discuss a trending topic.
  • Q&A:  A panel of experts or guests can answer questions from the audience.
  • Interview: Host an interview with an industry influencer.

5. Choose the appropriate platform and tools

Choosing the right live-streaming platform is one of the crucial decisions you have to make. With so many platforms available, choosing the best one is not a piece of cake. While some platforms are best for smaller meetings, some platforms are suitable for larger conferences. 

Here are some things to keep in mind before narrowing down your options-

  • Accessibility of platforms to all attendees
  • The platform should chat, live polls, Q&A, upload files and pre-recorded content during a presentation
  • Check out the features and use a free trial before confirming
  • Fix a plan to deal with technical difficulties and connection issues.
  • Troubleshoot technical problems during the practice session and be ready with technical support in case of glitches.

6. Create content that entertains and engages the audience

Your attendees have signed up for the event for value. Make sure you deliver it to them to form long-lasting and meaningful connections. Pick a stellar topic and find someone who is best around it to be the keynote speaker. 

Focus on a specific topic instead of vague or broad issues since virtual events rely on consumable and engaging content. Give a unique angle to your topic to keep the audience engaged till the end.

7. Market the event properly

The attendance rate of your virtual event greatly depends on your marketing strategies. Check out these tips for powerful marketing ideas-

  • Create an attention-grabbing event page that includes the date and time of the event, an agenda, speaker bios, sponsor information, sign-up links, secure payment options, and other important information.
  • Use keywords to boost your search potential. You can make use of a keyword planning tool like Google Ads to discover relevant keywords to include in your content to promote your virtual event.
  • Make the most of email marketing by sending out email newsletters to your curated email list to share news about upcoming events.
  • Create a short preview of your event to entice people and get them excited about what’s to come.
  • Leverage social media across platforms to announce your virtual event and post it on all of your company’s social media accounts.

8. Plan for attendee engagement

Audience engagement is a tricky task for event organizers, especially in online conferences. An audience can easily log out if they lose interest. 

Make sure to curate interesting content and activities to engage your audience. You can make use of Q&As, games, and live polls to create a stellar experience.

9. Follow up after the conference

Following up after the event will help you gather useful feedback and retain your audience for future events. A great way to get started is to send a thank you email or a post-event survey to attendees. 

Sending a few highlights to people who could not attend can also be an excellent way to generate a little FOMO and create interest in your next event.

Here is a  checklist for a successful post-event follow-up

  • Do a post-event shout-out on social media by sharing photos and positive comments from attendees.
  • Send an email directly to registered attendees thanking and appreciating them for joining.
  • Upload or provide links to recordings of meetings or webinars and access to any additional materials.
  • Create a highlight reel and share it on social media. This is also a great way to promote your next event. 
  • Send surveys to attendees to get their feedback on what they enjoyed and what didn’t quite land. Keep the survey forms short and direct.
  • Thank your sponsors and let them know that their participation was integral to the success of the event.  You can also keep them informed about the event's success results by sharing metrics.
  • Send thank you messages to speakers while giving positive and informative feedback based on the information that you receive from attendees.
  • Follow up with partner organizations and thank them for their work. Ask for feedback on any areas they felt could be improved for next time.
  • Thank vendors for their involvement and follow-up for feedback.
  • Update your budget with final costs, assessments, and invoices.
  • Create a post-event report containing all the information leading up to the event and insights, notes, comments, and feedback from the event.
  • Identify and analyze  what worked and what could be improved to start planning your next virtual event

10. Sales and ticketing

A virtual event checklist is not complete without great ticketing software. Even if your event is free and you are not selling tickets, event software is essential to manage attendees and event registration data. 

The data that you get from audience engagement and behavior is valuable for planning your next event and customizing the online discussion for each attendee.

If you are selling tickets for your event, decide on ticket tiers if you are planning to have them. Will it be the same price for all tickets or do you want to sell tickets that offer special access or VIP perks? 

Using a ticket distribution system like Ticket Generator makes it easy for event planners to manage ticket sales and distribution.

Wrapping Up

Virtual events may not be as logistically grand or huge as in-person event, but it still requires a lot of planning and coordination. One small mistake in registration can mess up quite a few things.

That is why to simplify event planning and automate tedious tasks, many event organizers are turning to event technology. 

Ticket Generator provides a centralized platform for your virtual and in-person event needs including registration, ticketing, scheduling, and analytics with a comprehensive onsite event technology solution. 

You will not only save time but put more effort into taking creative decisions to make your event a memorable one.

Sign up and get started now!

Yashika Tangri

Yashika Tangri is an amazing marketing manager who operates from Trycon Technology's Noida office. Her name signifies success and fame, and she has certainly lived up to these expectations.

At work, Yashika is a highly efficient digital marketing organizer and a source of inspiration to her colleagues with her positive demeanor and professional work ethics. Despite being a lifelong student of science, Yashika decided to pursue a career in marketing in 2018.

After work hours, Yashika enjoys creating new playlists on Spotify, and she is an avid reader who finds solace in escaping reality through the pages of mythology books.