Are you thinking about hosting a virtual class or event?

We think a virtual event is a great idea (especially these days) but there is much planning that should surround your initiative, it’s not something you can execute overnight if you want good results.

Here’s a 13 point check list to get you moving in the right direction:

  1. Make a virtual event plan, including the supporting marketing plan.
  2. What are your goals? Be smart with this.
  3. Will you require payment for the event or will it be free?
  4. What platform will you deliver on?
  5. What kind of ‘experience’ do you want your attendees to have?
  6. Who do you want to attend? How will you deal with time zones?
  7. Will you invite partners, influencers or guests to participate?
  8. Will a recording of the event be available afterwards?
  9. Will you have follow up events? Could this be a series?
  10. How long will it be? Will your target audience tolerate the length?
  11. How will you wrap it up? Will you promote something at the end – if so, are all the proper assets in place?
  12. What will be your KPI’s? What will you need to know to decide if this was a success or not?
  13. How will you engage your staff, sales team and/or alliances?

1. Make an event plan, including the supporting marketing plan. 

  • The time (considering time zone issues)
  • The cost – or will it be free
  • The platform – if it’s free, perhaps you will do a LIVE, if there’s a cost, you’ll likely want to use supporting registration software (see below).
  • What’s your timeline – consider time for planning, marketing and asset creation before setting the date of your event.
  • Do you have the right marketing and technical support in place
  • Prepare closing promotions for other events, or products or services (up-sales)
  • The supporting marketing plan should include how you will promote the event including ad spend, teasers, branding, platform usage, landing pages, blogs, email newsletters and any other marketing collateral, including traditional.

2. What is the goal of this event?

Without a clear and concise goal, your event will at some point get muddled and unclear. The goal should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

3. Will you require payment for the event or will it be free?

If you will require payment, you will need to make sure your set up for that, including:

  • The appropriate landing page
  • Method of payment
  • Registration process
  • Email confirmations and follow ups

4. What platform will you deliver your event on? The list is almost endless and really depends on whether or not you will be charging people to attend.

If it’s FREE, do a LIVE:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

If it’s a PAID event:

5. What kind of EXPERIENCE do you want your attendees to have?

Online events have been done thousands of times so what will make yours different and an experience people will want to repeat.

  • Including the audience with questions and allowing them to answer and ENGAGE
  • A familiar host that is exceptional (even entertaining) in front of the camera
  • If you’re using slides, make sure they’re professional, make sense and can easily be read

If you have one person simply talking for 45 minutes, in one tone, about why you’re business is so great, you’ll likely be disappointed with the results.

6. Who do you want to attend? How will you deal with time zones?

If you’re running an event locally, you’ll still want to figure out if your target audience will be primarily business oriented people, people interested in sports, the age of participants etc.

If you’re running an international event, you’ll also need to consider the best time zone so that everyone can attend.

7. Will you invite partners or guests to participate?

Sometimes it’s beneficial to include more than one voice to have more in-depth conversation or outside opinions.

Partnering with someone can also aid in the cost and marketing of the event.

8. Will a recording of the event be available afterwards?

If you’ll be offering a recording afterwards, this will certainly help with the timing of the event, but you should also consider:

  • Will you email it out to only those who attended
  • Is the event evergreen where you could offer the recording again
  • Can you charge to offer the recording at another time

9. Will you have follow up events? Could this be a series?

Quite often events turn into more than we originally thought they would. A good digital event should really never be longer than about 60 minutes and 30 minutes is quite often plenty of time.

When you’re planning your event and it’s getting longer and longer, consider a series or perhaps having the first event free and then offering more at a cost.

10. How long will it be? Will your target audience tolerate the length?

If you’re running a weekly LIVE event that’s free, you might consider making it only 10-15 minutes long.

If you’re running an exclusive event that only comes once in awhile, and your charging, it’s perfectly acceptable to make them an hour long… remember to include time for Q&A.

Be careful if you’re offering something really long – remember that peoples attention spans are pretty short online. Consider your audience and their tolerance level for what you’re offering.

11. How will you wrap it up? Will you promote something at the end – if so, are all the proper assets in place?

After you’ve provided a positive and productive digital event, it’s quite acceptable to wrap it up with a service or product offering to the people who attended. If you plan to do this, make sure you have the marketing assets in place so that people can make an easy, immediate decision.

12. What will be your KPI’s? What will you need to know to decide if this was a success or not?

Your key performance indicators will help you make future decisions and should really be laid out in your plan in step 1 and/or 2 of this article. KPI’s can include things like:

  • Number of attendees
  • Profit/loss
  • Amount of leads collected
  • Amount of upsales

13. How will you engage your staff, sales team and/or alliances?

Once your plan is laid out don’t forget to include all your ‘people’. Your staff, sales team, partners, alliances – even family and friends – can be extremely helpful in supporting your digital marketing efforts.

One last tip we can’t neglect is to prepare for technical issues. There’s always a glitch and it’s better to expect them rather than being surprised by them.

Before you get started in any virtual event, make sure your computer audio and video are working. If you need additional equipment like microphones or lighting, make sure you have it all in place.

Not everyone is tech savvy so be prepared to assist people as they try to enter into your event – having a support person before, during and even after is advisable.

And remember, if you run into a glitch, it’s not the end of the world. People understand and the more humour you can add, the better the experience will be.

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