Virtual conferences/events first became popular in the late 2000s as an economical way to bring together thousands of people worldwide to participate remotely in an event. However, the urgent need for this communications medium as a replacement for a physical location has accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, it has now become an industry necessity. Following are a list of tips that can help you prepare for a virtual event:

  1. Contact event organizers to get a full list of all possible “visibility” opportunities. Don’t miss out on virtual options because you haven’t submitted content or images to their team.
  2. Don’t be afraid to suggest additional virtual visibility options if they haven’t been offered yet! A great example: Request a co-branded splash page to enhance equity by more deeply associating your brand with the conference.
  3. Make sure to set measurable goals. These include:
    • Traffic to landing page
    • Virtual meetings scheduled
    • Attendance at event presentation/webinar
    • Leads
    • Social engagement with conference-related content
    • Post-event “lift” in website visitors or social followers/engagement
  4. Maximize attendee engagement options with your brand. Consider all of the various touchpoints: social media, video, downloadable material, sponsored content and more
  5. Get the most from prerecorded videos. Think ahead for video content that can be promoted before/during the event. This will reduce real-time effort and make your calls-to-action engaging.
  6. Live streaming is life-changing. Get buy-in for digital events and add a touch of “FOMO.” Remote viewers won’t want to miss out on asking questions in this community format, whether planned alongside, or in conjunction with, the event itself.
  7. Plan your virtual event panels and forums now. Live stream from your New York office or your San Francisco home. Hosting an online discussion is a great way to engage your audience with a live Q&A session.
  8. Create a virtual booth experience and set up virtual one-on-ones
  9. Be sure to implement these best practices for your virtual event landing page:
    • Plan ahead, create early
      Draft and launch the landing page well before the conference so Google has time to discover and index the page. Double-check that you are not blocking Google from crawling the URL (use the Google URL Inspection Tool).
    • Link generously 
      Make sure your landing page is highlighted on your homepage, press releases, email signatures, social channels, and any other communications where you can drive visibility and traffic.
    • Reuse URLs 
      Leverage a recurring URL, not a new one, for each year’s event. A meaningful URL will build traction and SEO juice over time (for example, use /events/JPM, not /events/2020/JPM).
    • Make it visual 
      Include relevant, high-quality, static images with an up-to-date representation of the value you bring to conference attendees. Ensure that the image is visually engaging and supports your story.
  10. Prepare your virtual “toolkit.” At HDMZ, we’re developing virtual toolkits to help our clients prepare for ASCO, JPM and more. Reach out to us to get more information on how to arm yourself for the virtual opportunities that lay ahead of you.

Which 2021 conference are you preparing for next? Can HDMZ help with reaching your audiences across channels or preparing your virtual event “booth”? Drop us a line!