What is a Virtual Conference?
Virtual conferences allow people to learn, interact, and network from anywhere around the world through computers and electronic devices. A virtual conference is different from a standard webinar or video conference because it might include keynote and breakout sessions, live entertainment, and even the chance to create a unique experience based on a specific agenda.
Why Have a Virtual Conference?
A year into COVID and counting, most conferences are now happening virtually. Fortunately, when executed well, they deliver powerful results. Here are a few good reasons why a virtual conference will help both you and your business flourish.
Plan It, and They Shall Come
Virtual conferences can be accessed from any device, anywhere, in any time zone, which means you can reach a broader, more diverse audience than ever before. Whether you are at your desk, sitting poolside, or on a couch in track pants and a scrunchie, everyone can join in a manner that’s convenient for them.
Save Time and Money
With no hotels or venues to book, no travel to organize, no event staff to hire and train, and no food and beverage to arrange and secure, virtual conferences are substantially more cost and time-effective than their traditional counterparts.
As Unlimited as Your Imagination
The right platform can help you realize your vision by bringing a new level of interactivity to your event. Choose one that offers a full suite of tools, allowing both your creative and business side to shine. Motion design, visual graphics, and photography can offer well-crafted and effective visual communications. Live Q&As, polling, and event chats will also keep your audience engaged and entertained.
Network Helps Your Net Worth
Networking used to be limited to the people in your Rolodex. With virtual conferences giving you access to the international community, the world is now your oyster. Be sure to make the most of it with online tools such as audio and video chats, breakout sessions, and private virtual lounges. Freed from space limitations, the possibilities for gathering virtually are now endless. Networking rooms can be divided into specific groups based on interests, jobs, or other themes. By allowing attendees to meet and engage with thought leaders and experts from around the world, anyone can build a global network from the comfort of their home. After the event, be sure to sync your registration list with your CRM, mailing lists, and other touchpoints for future conferences and lead generation.
With the right planning, your virtual conference can be significantly more accessible and inclusive than its traditional equivalent. Look for platforms that are compatible with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act. That way, people with disabilities can schedule, attend, and participate in conferences. They can also view recordings, and access administrative features from any computer or mobile device. Use assistive technology such as screen readers and captioning, and also consider hiring a sign language interpreter. Additionally, think about providing written or visual materials in an accessible file format in advance to allow everyone that chance to participate fully.
Virtual Conference Strategy
Having a solid strategy will bring value to your audience, partners, and your business. Here are some good ideas to help you get your strategy down pat.
Value and Package Pricing
Before setting the ticket price for your conference, you need to take several factors into account. Ask yourself what you're bringing to the table in terms of value? Who are your speakers? Is your topic something that people will be willing to pay for? What will the networking opportunities be? Do you want to offer tiered pricing for people willing to pay more for exclusive content? Once you have answers to these questions, create a detailed budget, which factors in your hard costs. Things like software and hosting platforms, marketing, creative resources, speakers, and any swag or gift baskets you might want to include. Then you will be able to determine how much to charge for your conference.
Engaging Content is King
Hire talented conference designers and coaches to work with your presenters to ensure that the information is delivered in a dynamic and visually exciting way. Consider having a surprise guest or an experience that can be revealed halfway through your event, which will keep the energy up. Then consider what content you could share before and as a follow-up to keep people interested long after the conference is over.
New Mediums Get Remembered
Between the applause, laugher, and camaraderie, replicating the energy of an in-person conference online is not without its challenges. However, people will happily give you their time if you make it worth their while. Get inspired and use your virtual setting to make your experience as interactive and immersive as possible. Why not use a backdrop that creates a mood or puts the audience in a specific location, such as Miami Beach? Perhaps a surprise guest could video call into the presentation to add some excitement. Even a simple slide show or integrated video can make your conference an event to remember.
The Value of Vendors
Asking vendors to participate in your virtual conference will add cache while helping fund your conference. Vendors can showcase their products and technologies through immersive learning experiences, fun activities, and virtual storefronts. In turn, attendees can ask questions and acquire solutions for their businesses while building their network.
Promote Your Virtual Conference
Perhaps the most crucial step in planning your virtual conference is how you guarantee attendance. Start by sending out a communication that highlights your value prop. Include the theme, speakers, or vendors attending, and the conference details, including your social media handle, website, and a fun hashtag. Then send a press release to increase your SEO. Finally, get the word out using all available social media channels, including your own, and those of your key partners and vendors.
Executing a virtual conference strategy
Before you start hiring anyone or spending any money at all, you need to define what success looks like and the KPIs you’ll use to measure it. Once you’ve established clear parameters, it’s time to get to work. Start by researching different platforms to find the best technology and capabilities, helping you achieve your virtual conference goals. Having strong security is vital to maintaining a high level of professionalism.
That's why you’ll want a platform that offers best-in-class security like BlueJeans. We have SOC 2 attestation, meet the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, and comply with CCPA and HIPAA. These measures ensure your conference will be a safe space, one that blocks unwanted guests and protects confidential information.
Once the serious stuff is out of the way, you can focus on the more fun aspects like good audio. BlueJeans uses Dolby Voice to deliver best-in-class sound quality. A breakthrough in audio for online events, this solution allows attendees to hear clearly and communicate almost as well as if they were in the same room, regardless of their location or device.
Finally, make sure to capture your virtual conference for post-event playback and training with an easy-to-use recording feature like the one offered by BlueJeans. You can also use it to record material for on-demand content and promotion through social media and CRM.
Now that you've read all about Virtual Conferences in 2021, Click here to try BlueJeans free for 14 days!