We have produced a number of Virtual Events for our clients and in one of my earlier posts I provided a list of 10 Steps to Planning a Successful Virtual Event. I believe that, especially in the UK, virtual events are still very much in their infancy and a lot of business people are still unsure as to their benefits and potential value to their organization. With this in mind, I've prepared a list of 10 reasons why I think more companies will be looking into hosting virtual events in the near future.
1. High Impact
As soon as the audience log in and start viewing from their laptop or mobile device they are engaged — it’s the closest thing you’ll ever get to an instant TV program.
2. Low Cost
It’s about 75% cheaper to execute than a live event. And if it’s well-planned, produced and executed it will deliver outstanding feedback.
3. Global Coverage
A virtual event (properly hosted) can be viewed by an audience of tens, hundreds, or thousands interactively around the world via the Internet.
4. Super Convenient
Your audience may not be able to make it to your live event but they can definitely attend your virtual event because you can give them the option to log-in at the start time or stream and view later at a time that is convenient.
5. Audience Engagement
The active desktop through which the audience is viewing the virtual event can be optimized to suit individual preferences and thereby maximize personal engagement. This can lead to interactive Q&A sessions and discussions over social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
6. Instant Feedback
If you’re sitting in the audience at a live event you can’t normally give immediate feedback, but you can at a virtual event. You can chat online with fellow delegates, ask questions — and even have those questions translated from your preferred language — in real time.
If you want to make a lot of versions or variants of your virtual event, you can without any real cost implications. Different languages, graphics, speakers, video content, etc. — the choice is yours.
The virtual event is just the starting point. You can divide the content into chapter headings and host it on the Internet, or you can redistribute it via WMV, DVD, QuickTime, YouTube, or to smartphones.
A virtual event produces reams of valuable statistics: Who is logging on and when, audience size, geography, location, method of payment and much, much more.
Getting 150 delegates from around Britain to drive to a hotel in Birmingham creates a sizable carbon footprint. Imagine the impact of 500 hundred delegates flying to one place from around the world! With a virtual event the cost to the environment is minute.
I'm really excited about the future of virtual events and the many benefits they can bring to organizations around the world.
If you have any extra suggestions to add to this list, or any arguments against any of the points, I would love to hear them! Please do get in touch with me by leaving a comment below or sending me an email.