How to plan the perfect online conference easily - Ifairs
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How to plan the perfect online conference easily

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Deciding to host an online conference over a physical one has its clear advantages and benefits. As an event organizer, you get to track digital behaviors and it is much more convenient for attendees as no travel or expenses are involved. They also tend to be easier and faster to set up. For these reasons, online conferences are great options for event planners and participants. 

Connect with attendees on an event platform.

So, if you’re interested in hosting the perfect online conference in a smooth manner, we here at ifairs have crafted this handy guide for you to follow. This will make your event planning as easy as possible. 

What is an online conference?

Before we get into the technical aspects, let’s start right at the basics.

An online conference is a remote event that caters to people with shared and similar interests. Such a virtual event can last anywhere from a single day to several days. They include speakers and exhibitors that share and discuss relevant topics, present ideas, and showcase interesting products. The goal for the attendees is to learn, interact, and network with one another. 

Seeing as the conference is online it also eliminates the need to travel for attendees, event planners, and speakers. Not only does this make it much more convenient - it also makes it cheaper. 

The benefits of online conferences

Now that we’ve established what an online conference is, let us discuss what the clear benefits are versus a physical event. 

First off, an online event is much easier to record. For a physical event you’d require a team of professional cameramen to get anything useful. And after that, the footage has to be edited. 

With a virtual event you can simply just press record since most virtual event platforms have built-in and intuitive recorders. This is handy if you need pre recorded material for the next event or for your website. 

Reach the world with a proper virtual conference platform.

Secondly, it is much more comfortable for attendees to attend an online conference. There are no costs such as food and travel for them. It is also much more time efficient because of this. You don’t have to leave your house, you just have to boot up your computer or tablet. 

Thirdly, scalability for an event is incredibly important. You want as many people to attend as possible for maximum audience engagement. With an online conference, your audience essentially becomes global. This increases your reach massively and allows you to scale your event up. 

Also, we have to touch on the financial aspects of virtual events. Virtual events tend to be much cheaper than physical events. Expenses like travel, hotels, food and drink, and other aspects don’t factor in here. 

The elements of an online conference

Now, with the basics covered, we can start discussing some of the more technical matters. Let us begin with the components any online conference needs to function optimally. We’ve organized these in an intuitive and easy-to-read list. 

  • Registration page
    • Your website should have a captivating page where attendees can register for the event and learn more about it. 
  • Speakers and exhibitors
    • You’ll need professional presenters for your event. You can ask them to attend in-house or they can join remotely. Make sure the presenters are knowledgeable about topics and themes relating to your conference. 
  • A virtual conference platform
    • A virtual conference platform constitutes the majority of the event framework when you host virtual events. The platform you choose should be in accordance with your requirements regarding engagement, branding, and data analysis. 
  • Virtual event team
    • It’s tough organizing on your own - so you’ll need a team. A virtual event team will typically need to include a producer and tech support to make sure the virtual components function as intended. 
  • Marketing tools
    • Reaching your target audience requires effort. Therefore, you’ll need marketing tools that can reach people across different platforms easily and automatically.
  • The host
  • Distributable content
    • Before, during, and after the event you’ll need different types of content. These include promotional materials, speaker presentations, sponsor content, and post-event materials for evaluation.
  • Entertainment
    • During the event, you should have one or more sections of entertainment. This helps keep the attendees active and engaged so they stay til the end. 

Choosing the right virtual event platform

As mentioned in the section above, the majority of the framework for an online conference is the virtual event platform you decide to use. But how do you choose the right virtual event platform for your company and event?

There are some things you can consider in this regard, and we’ll lay them out here. 

The event management platform should, preferably, be easy to use and intuitive for almost anyone. This is especially true when it comes to the comfort of attendees. Not everyone is very skilled with IT. 

It is also handy if the platform can integrate 3rd party software such as marketing software, for example. This is a big help for your team when doing event marketing and analysis. 

A virtual event platform you can trust.

Easy access to customer support is also a must. If you’re having trouble with the platform or if you need to learn more about a certain function, you don’t want to wait days for clarifying answers - especially not if you’re in a hurry. 

You also have to evaluate the features the platform comes with. Here is a list of some good ones to keep an eye out for:

  • Networking features
    • These make it easy for attendees to get in contact with each other and the presenters.
  • Rooms
    • These are great for niche discussion and individual product presentations.
  • Lounge
    • A common room for all attendees to get together and network
  • Chat systems
    • The platform should have a live-chat, Q&A’s and polls. This increases attendee engagement.
  • Data collection
    • To evaluate the success of your event, you’ll need to analyze data from it. The platform should be able to collect this for you. 

Closing thoughts

Hosting an online conference is no small task, however, it does involve less time, effort, and money compared to its physical counterpart. This makes online conferences very flexible and that also helps explain why half of virtual event planners host 20-30 virtual events a year

We hope that this guide will make it much easier for you to put online conferences together going forward. If you have any further questions you’d like answered, we encourage you to get in touch and see what ifairs can do for you.

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