Easily Plan a Virtual Event👨‍💻Promote Online, in Google Search & by Email

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Planning & Advertising Virtual Events Online, On Google & On Email

The event industry is massive, but there are two major problems with it: environmental damage and inaccessibility. Billions of people around the world attend thousands of events every year, but not everyone has the ability to participate in events and every event has a carbon footprint.

Online only and virtual events are fast becoming the solution to address both of these issues; by providing a sustainable solution that is accessible to everyone and providing a future for the events industry worldwide.

Read on to find out more about how to plan a virtual event, hosting virtual events and advertising your virtual events as well…

“30% of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend the same event the following year” Amber van Moessner

Why Host A Virtual Event?

Beyond the logistic challenge of getting lots of people to and in an event venue; events are significant contributors to CO2 emissions, pollution, wasted food and water; and in more recent times becoming catalysts for the spread of viruses.

  • The average conference attendee produces over 170 kilograms (375 lbs) of CO2 emissions per day.*
  • At a tradeshow with 5,000 people evidence shows that despite recycling and composting program efforts, almost half (41%) of rubbish will go directly to landfill.*
  • A three day conference for 1,000 people creates 5,670 kilograms (12,500 lbs) of waste (about the weight of four compact cars).*

* Source: https://hopin.to/mission

With the increase in responsive web design, smart televisions, exceptional mobile devices and internet coverage, virtual events can be accessed by people wherever they are online.

Switching To Virtual Events Online

During these continuing times of social awareness and desire to reduce carbon footprints; the potential for social interaction becoming increasingly difficult, due to travel costs and other factors. It is an important time for event businesses to adapt and pivot where possible, to ensure income continuity.

Events are critically important. For many organisations, your events represent your people and people are the most valuable component to any business. So when events get cancelled, communities are affected and the financial shock-waves of event cancellations ripple through not only the organiser’s business, but also through the global economy.

Considering virtual or online only events can be a great way to open up a new audience, channels of revenue and mitigate the risk of cancellations. Enabling you and your existing network to continue providing great live content to your audiences.

Virtual Events Online

Hosting & Promoting Virtual Events

There are a few ways to host a virtual event online; you could host events on your own website (as long as you have the necessary web hosting resources); use a social platform which has a live and streaming event feature; or use another third party Virtual Event Hosting Platform that you can customise and re-brand to make it your own. Keep reading and you’ll see how to plan a virtual event on each of these different platforms.

Over 20 Online Virtual Event Ideas

Struggling to think of what type of virtual event to plan? There are many ways that you can use virtual event platforms, they don’t have to be limited to online business events and keynote speakers. You could host a virtual quiz, run an online seminar, teach courses via skype, hold a virtual comedy night, host an online Q&A sessions or even broadcast a live music concert. The possibilities are almost endless once you remove the confines of a physical venue. Here are a few more great Virtual Event Ideas for you:

  1. Virtual Supper Club / Dinner Party
  2. Virtual Bingo
  3. One to One Tuition Online
  4. Virtual Benefit Auction
  5. Online Interviews
  6. Virtual Comedy Night
  7. Live Virtual Tour
  8. Online Seminar
  9. Virtual Workshops
  10. Online Cooking Classes
  11. Virtual Quiz
  12. Live Product Demo Online
  13. Online Q&A
  14. Virtual Gardening Club
  15. Live Music Streaming
  16. Online Yoga / Art / Dance Class
  17. Virtual Trade Show
  18. Teaching via Skype
  19. Product Launch Online
  20. Virtual Art Exhibition
  21. Virtual Open Day

How To Plan A Virtual Event

Planning a virtual event is much the same as planning an event at a bricks and mortar venue. You need to consider many of the same factors when you plan a virtual event. The only things you don’t need to worry about so much, is the logistics involved with people getting to and around your event venue.

Another great aspect of hosting an online only event is that you don’t need to provide any refreshments or physical hospitality. Removing the costly elements from an event (food, travel, venues), allows you to focus purely on what matters: connections and content.

How To Host A Virtual Event

You’re probably thinking, online events suck. Like you, I’ve attended a webinar or virtual event before in the past and didn’t love it. Meetups, festivals, conferences – any events that bring people together – help connect, grow, and develop relationships. We meet new friends, find new opportunities and cultivate lasting memories. Hosting an online only event can be much the same, if you do it well. Here are some of the different options available, that you should consider when you plan a virtual event.

Virtual Events Platform

One of the latest online only virtual events management platforms is hopin.to (currently in early access). Hopin events are sustainable, carbon-neutral, and 100% online, so everybody can come.

Virtual Event Management Platform Early Access

Think of Hopin as your online venue. The place where you can provide an interactive, face-to-face experience for your attendees for a few hours or over multiple days. In fact, Hopin can host up to 100,000 attendees in such a way that no one feels lost in the crowd but rather connected in the way they want to connect, whether that’s watching a keynote, socialising around a virtual round-table, or meeting one-on-one.

Hop In To 100% Carbon Neutral Events Online

Designed from the ground up to be easy to use and full of useful and user friendly event planning features. Hopin events foster those same little random and meaningful moments you get at physical event. Those happenstance electric group discussions that fire up with new friends and those once in a lifetime run ins with a decision maker. Rooms, sponsors, expos, private chats, stages, and backstage areas – it’s all available on Hopin to everyone, at zero cost to our planet.

Virtual Events Management Platform Planning

WordPress Hosted Virtual Events

Do you want to run a small virtual event or webinar on your WordPress site? Webinars provide an interactive way to reach users, share your experience and grow your business. Webinar plugins allows multiple users to join in a video stream. The organiser and participants can all interact, share content, chat and conference simultaneously or under the control of the event host.

Let’s take a look at a few of the best webinar plugins available for WordPress websites…

1. Video Conferencing With Zoom

Virtual Conferences with Zoom

A simple WordPress plugin which gives you the extensive functionality to manage Zoom meetings, users and reports from your WordPress Dashboard. Create posts directly from your WordPress dashboard to show in the front-end as a meeting page. Allow users to directly join via that page with the click of a button.

2. WP GoToWebinar

Virtual Conferences with GoToWebinar

WP GoToWebinar is a totally free plugin used to display upcoming webinars in a table, calendar or widget from your GoToWebinar account which link to registration forms on your website. By using simple shortcodes you can place upcoming webinars and registration forms on any post or page with ease.

3. WebinarIgnition

Virtual Events with Webinarignition

WebinarIgnition is a premium webinar solution that allows you to create, run and manage webinars. Build and fully customise, professional webinar registration, confirmation, live webinar and replay pages with ease.

4. WebinarPress

Virtual Events with WebinarPress

Host live and automated webinars from directly on your website a fully customised attendee experience and without any technical skills. Use the powerful live streaming of YouTube Live or any prerecorded video from YouTube, Vimeo or hosted on your own server.

Social Live Streaming Events

Nowadays live video is popular not just for large broadcasting networks, but also for small businesses. With live video becoming a trendy (and effective!) tool for digital marketers and talented entertainers alike. Here are some tips on using some of the most popular live streaming platforms, YouTube Live, Facebook Live and more.

Google Virtual Event With Hangouts

Google Hangouts is probably the most easy to use webinar software currently available. It is incredibly fast and free. Anyone with a Google account can use it. Apart from the usual voice and video calling, it allows multiple users to join a hangout. Users can share files, chat, share computer screens and so much more.

YouTube Live Streaming

YouTube Live is an easy way to reach your audience in real time. Whether you’re streaming a video game, hosting a live Q&A, or teaching a class, the tools will help you manage your stream and interact with viewers in real time.

There are a few ways you can live stream on YouTube. Here’s a quick overview:

Simple: These options are great for beginners, or if you want to quickly go live.

  • Webcam: Live streaming via webcam is an easy way to go live without the need for an encoder. Start streaming from your laptop/desktop computer using your webcam. Learn more
  • Mobile: Streaming on mobile lets you stream from the YouTube app. Note: to be able to live stream on mobile, you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers. Learn more

Customised: Ideal for more advanced live streams.

Learn more about setting up a stream and the latest features from YouTube Live in this video:

Facebook Live Events

Facebook Live is easily accessible from your iOS or Android device via the Facebook app. The way it works is simple: just head to your Facebook page, event, or group and instead of typing in text, look for the “Live Video” button. From there, you’ll be prompted to enter a description.

But before you “Go Live!” consider the limitations of your mobile device. As with all video content, production value is crucial to success.

Here is some data from Livestream to help you strongly consider using live video at your next event:

  1. Live Video is Extremely Engaging: According to Facebook Live, users spend more than 3 x more time and comment 10 x more when the video is live.
  2. Live Video Grows Attendance: 30% of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend the same event the following year.
  3. Live Video is Cost Effective: It’s a common misconception that live video is costly, but thanks to tools like Facebook Live, anyone can leverage the technology and see a positive return on investment.

Periscope Watch Live & Playback

Periscope (from Twitter) gives you a platform to broadcast live video coverage to your social followers. Anyone can watch and anyone can comment, but the videos themselves are fleeting, they disappear from the platform after 24 hours.

Once the live broadcast is over, be sure you opt to save it to your camera roll. If you don’t, you won’t have anything to share and replay at a later date; so make sure you have this step 100% figured out and tested before proceeding. You can then upload these videos to your WordPress site, without all the Periscope comments and love, just as you would any other video.

Live Streaming With Discord

Discord, the voice and text chat originally designed for gamers, has found that its users rely on it for much more; including communication while collaborating and working remotely. In response to coronavirus, they have enhanced features on their Go Live streaming service to support 50 users (a huge upgrade from the previous limit of 10). Follow this link to read more about the steps they’re taking.

Advertising Virtual Events Online

Again, as with planning, advertising virtual events is much the same as advertising any event. It’s all about getting the word out to as many interested people as you can.

Online Event Promotion Ideas

Connect with your social network and those of your performers and speakers. Use the features of your chosen platform to help share and publicise your virtual event. Keep reading for ways of marketing your virtual event online, in Google search and using email campaigns.

Here are a few ways you can promote your virtual events online:

  • Send an email campaign inviting your contact list
  • Promote your event on social media and event listings websites
  • Add your virtual event to Google Events
  • Use an online booking system to register your guests
  • Show an event registration link on your website and in email newsletters

Online Event Promotion Sites

There are lots of event listing websites, online event promotion sites and places online where you can advertise virtual events; many are designed specifically for online event advertising and even allow you to advertise events for free. Creating a listing in local directories, event marketing platforms, social media and anywhere else that offers event advertising; can be a great way to increase exposure and boost interest for your upcoming events. Follow this link to read our other post for some more about Great Places To Advertise Events Online and free online event advertising.

Promote Virtual Events on Google Search

In light of the recent COVID-19 virus outbreak, Google has released some new features; for updating current events and advertising virtual events in Google search results.

There are different requirements depending on if the event is happening online or at a physical location:

  • Physical Venue: If the event is happening at a physical location, set the @type to Place. Add the location.address and location.name properties.
  • Online Event: If the event is happening online, set the @type to VirtualLocation. Add the location.url property.
  • Mix of online and physical locations: If an event has a mix of online and physical location components, include both online and physical nested location properties in a nested array. For example:
"location": [{
  "@type": "VirtualLocation",
  "url": "https://consultantsussex.com/some-url/"
},
{
  "@type": "Place",
  "name": "Some Venue",
  "address": {
    "@type": "PostalAddress",
    "streetAddress": "100 West Venue Rd",
    "addressLocality": "Venuetown",
    "postalCode": "BN3 1XX",
    "addressRegion": "Sussex",
    "addressCountry": "UK"
  }
}]

Be sure to use all the relevant ‘event’ schema markup on your event’s conversion page. If your event is virtual, specify VirtualLocation for the event location and OnlineEventAttendanceMode for the eventAttendanceMode property.

PRO TIP: You can start using the VirtualLocation type even though it’s still pending on schema.org.

Update your cancelled, postponed, or virtual events in Google Search

Google wants to show users the latest, most accurate info about your events in this fast-changing world; and so they have added some new, optional properties to their developer documentation to help. These properties apply to all regions and languages. This is one part of the overall efforts in schema updates needed to support publishers and users.

Here are some important tips on keeping Google and users up to date on your events:

  • Add the eventStatus property: Use this property to tell Google that the event has been cancelled, postponed, rescheduled, or happening as planned. Follow this link to learn more about the Event Status Property.
  • Update Google when your event pages change: Provide a sitemap to Google, and keep the lastmod attributes up to date. If your site host generates your sitemap automatically, it’s taken care of for you.

“We understand this is a very difficult and complex time for everyone. We hope you’ll help us update your events so that we can continue to be helpful and show the most up-to-date information for users.” Google Search Team

Email Marketing For Online Events

Many email marketing platforms now have integrations with some of the major event management platforms. For example you can integrate MailChimp with several event systems like Eventbrite and Yapsody.

Mailchimp & Eventbrite

Mailchimp Sync for Eventbrite is a free extension for your Eventbrite account that can help you sync and communicate with event attendees. Use the specific Eventbrite email campaign templates to remind your contacts about an upcoming event, send announcements and more.

Mailchimp & Yapsody

Yapsody’s integration with MailChimp makes email marketing a simple process for event presenters to easily promote their events and reach out to a larger audience to increase your ticket sales.

Make The Transition To Virtual Today

In times of uncertainty, when your attendees are not sure they can make it to a physical event venue; online events are a smart way to connect with your attendees and ensure human connection is not lost. Plan a virtual event today!

Support For Community Online Events

During these difficult times we want to do as much as we can here at White Rabbit to help and support our community and wider network. If you plan to release any free virtual events that are aimed at entertaining the community and providing light relief when it is vitally needed, we are here to help!

Get in touch and let us know about your project and we’ll let you know what we can do for you.

 

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