Virtual Events Crash Course: Tips for Getting Started
In the wake of a global pandemic, many niche publishers are trying out virtual events – often for the first time. We’ve jumped on the virtual bandwagon with our events as well.
Now the #1 question we get at Niche Media HQ is, “What virtual event platform should I use?”
We’d like to give you a simple answer, but your event is unique. No one platform fits all event types. However, this is the boom year for virtual connection providers (kudos if you invested in Zoom before March 2020), and your best fit is out there.
Let’s walk through how to find your ideal solution:
1. Assess Your Event Requirements
What does your event need to provide – training sessions, keynote speeches, networking groups, entertainment, trade show style set ups? Sit down and map out your ideal event. Then think about the tech needed to make each piece work.
2. Single Platform or Multiple Platforms
Your event requirements will determine whether an all-in-one platform will work or if you will need a base platform with additional plug-ins or parallel platforms to accomplish your vision.
Check out our list of possible pros and cons:
3. Consider Customer Service and Set Up
Are you super techy? Crunched for time? Have complicated requirements? Consider all this when you look at service levels of virtual event platforms. You can go with self-service platforms that rely on help docs or user groups for support, platforms that provide initial on-boarding then send you off, or fully customized and supported platforms. Prices will follow accordingly on each of these.
4. Vetting the Platforms
Before you commit, take as much time as you can to request demos. You can also request a free trial to create a mock event to test actual features you might use. Some virtual event companies offer free platform tutorials and webinars as well. Once you are narrowed down to your top two or three choices, definitely talk to current users – both provided by the platform and on Facebook or other user groups.
5. Pricing and Contracts
It is nearly impossible to directly compare pricing on the hundreds of virtual event tools out there. Because your services will be tied to your event requirements, it’s best to request or negotiate based on those parameters. You can attempt to negotiate as a one-time event, do a full purchase for a year or set number of events, base pricing on number of users or attendees, or a set length of time to access the platform.
If you have several different events, it can be worth it to test the lowest service levels on different platforms by event to decide what your long-term tool will be for your company.
Be sure to keep us posted on how your virtual events are going!
Andre' Marie Dohrn
Niche Media has the best events, education, and training in media! Our super niched-out events & content give target-audience publishers in the B2C, hobbyist, B2B, city & regional, and association markets the tools they need to build revenue, audience, and more.