Biggest challenge with virtual events revealed

Despite the early predictions that audience engagement will come in as the top challenge, the results uncovered that the lack of tech knowledge and event ROI were far greater concerns on everyone’s minds. 

With the UK settling into the second lockdown, the events industry yet again is struck by the devastating impact that the pandemic has had across the world.

Due to the number of restrictions on in-person events, many businesses have been forced to try virtual events in the recent months. Some have shied away from running virtual events, while others embraced this new challenge as a chance to make the best of a bad situation. 

But for most, there was a lot of upskilling and stepping out of comfort zones, while entering into something that was unfamiliar and at times overwhelming.  

When asked what are the biggest challenges they face right now, event organisers answered as follows: 

  • Lack of Tech knowledge 35%
  • Return on Investment 30%
  • Audience Engagement 25% 
  • Event Marketing 10%

Considering how new virtual events are for the majority of us, perhaps its no wonder then that the lack of knowledge and the know how is at the forefront of concerns. 

Here is a look at the top 3 results in more detail, the common themes amongst the responses and my top tips on how to tackle these concerns.

Lack of Tech knowledge 35%

Most common issues were not knowing enough about the tech in order to fix it if it went wrong. AND

Not having a plan B if the virtual event technology fails you.

My top tips are:

TIP 1: Have a techy person in the virtual room with you – just like you would in the physical meeting.

Just because the event is now online, it doesn’t mean you will magically know what to do if your microphone stops working. Of course it all comes with practice, but it’s the last thing you want to panic about before you are presenting.

TIP 2: Allow time for testing – test everything beforehand (links, screen sharing, audio, video etc).

TIP 3: Have a plan B at the ready – have a backup microphone or back up of your slides (hosted online, so you can share a link) in case the presentation is not showing up on the screen share window.

Return on Investment 30%

The common threads were:

How do you make money from virtual events? AND

How quickly can you get the return for your investment from virtual events?

My top tips here are:

TIP 1: Know why you are holding your event and what return you are looking for. Then you know if and when you achieve it, rather than using a constantly moving goal post.

TIP 2: Put a plan of action together and identify opportunities where ROI can be gained (ticket sales, up sell of a new service/product, audience growth etc).

TIP 3: ROI from events doesn’t just result in hard-earned cash. Just because you didn’t get the number of bookings you aimed for, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold another event. And just because the event attendees didn’t convert on the spot, doesn’t mean you cannot nurture them until they are ready to buy from you.

Read my how to make money from your virtual events blog here.

Audience Engagement 25%

Common concerns here were:

How do you engage an audience to attend virtual events? AND

How to engage the audience at online events?

My top tips here are:

TIP 1: Know your audience and what makes them tick. What are their pain points and how is the event going to address these. 

TIP 2: Use motivational techniques to get your audience to sit up and listen. Some great tips here in the Business Speakeasy, to help you create energy in video meetings.

TIP 3: Offer a bonus for those who attend on the day, and don’t forget those who can’t be there live but are still interested to learn from you.

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