But finding the best platform for a virtual conference or event is easier said than done. For one, you have got to slog through a daunting field of potential candidates, carefully matching your needs with an exhaustive list of capabilities. Two, you want it to be simple and easy for you and your team to use. Most importantly, the platform must provide a great experience for your attendees—one that translates to the achievement of your goals.
As today’s audiences become more sophisticated consumers of online content, the quality of the platform can dictate the success or failure of your event. A poor platform can make a mess of your event, turning off exhibitors, attendees and presenters. The right one can allow you to host a virtual event with ease, amplifying your message, generating engagement, and catalyzing relationships.
So how do you pick the right platform for you and your virtual event? Below, we’ve outlined 10 criteria to apply in your search.
1. Create an unforgettable experience
Before you send out invitations, think about the experience you want for your attendees. At a physical event, attendees can break out into their own impromptu discussions and interactions. They can mix and mingle, rubbing shoulders with decision-makers and influencers. Not so easy with a virtual event. Sadly, some virtual corporate events offer little more than a one-way video feed. That's doing a disservice to your attendees. With the right tools, though, you can provide a complete and engaging experience for all your attendees, enriching the value of your virtual event.
2. Clearly establish your main KPIs
As with any in-person event, a virtual event needs goals. And we're not only talking about how many people show up. The best virtual event platforms extend your capabilities and allow you to do more with your event than you realized was even possible. From virtual lobbies and on-demand content to live-streaming, concurrent sessions, and exhibit booths, there's a lot to choose from. The right virtual event platform gives you opportunities where others may give you roadblocks. And then there's the central control and management of it all that only comes with the best platforms.
3. Remove registration and payment barriers
Some platforms use convoluted logins and other barriers that make it difficult to attend and participate in virtual events. But unlike an in-person event, attendees can't just show up and register at the door. Without an integrated platform to handle it all, you may confuse attendees with a mish-mash of different processes. If participants have to pay on one site and get credentials on another while logging into a third, they'll likely give up long before your event starts. The best virtual event platforms seamlessly integrate payment, registration, and the event experience itself, all while organizing it in an easy-to-use interface.
4. Bring people together
Most people attend corporate events and conferences for the networking, not just to take in the presentations and talks. But it's often the case that a subpar virtual event platform won't allow quality interactions to take place. That can run the risk of attendee apathy as the social cues that drive engagement are lacking. It also might send your audience packing if they can't have the rich interactions they crave. So, make sure your virtual platform offers an abundance of virtual networking opportunities.
5. Lean into branding and customizing the experience
Many virtual event platforms feel like they popped out of a cookie-cutter. Instead of strong branding and signs that let attendees know they’re in your event, these platforms plaster their name and logo over the virtual walls, not yours. Make sure you ask about white-labeling capabilities that allow you to replace the vendor's platform branding with your own. For bonus points, consider going with a virtual event platform that allows attendees to customize and personalize their own virtual avatars or profiles.
6. Dig into advanced analytics and numbers
The beauty of going virtual is all about data. Sure, you don't want to get lost in analytics and have them overshadow the event itself. But the best virtual event platforms give you access to a ton of important data collected before, during, and after the event. That can help you design a better experience next time out. It will also let you know what worked, what didn’t, and what you might want to skip for that next virtual event. In addition to the insights you can gain from the data, some platforms even allow you to export it for use in your own materials and systems.
7. Provide different experiences to your attendees
Don’t expect virtual-event attendees to stay glued to their monitors, watching every second of your event unfold. People get bored fast. That dampens their engagement levels, and without other ways to participate, they may opt out altogether. Today, the best virtual events mimic in-person events with multiple avenues for participation, not just one top-down experience. If an attendee wants to break out a side discussion with other attendees or weigh in on a poll, let them. Those interactions don’t take away from their experience—they add to it. And when engagement is up, brand goodwill and satisfaction also go up.
8. Look for comprehensive vendor management
Find a “one-stop shop” that checks all the boxes for managing vendors, rather than having to use multiple resources in a variety of places.
9. Put that content online
Content is king, whether delivered in-person or at a virtual corporate event. Ensure that your online content-management system can store and display event content for an extended period after the actual event. This way your content lives on indefinitely, and there’s little reason to reinvent the wheel.
10. Get a one-stop solution
Your virtual event platform should not just have all the bells and whistles to make it appear robust. It should act as an event planning and management tool for all aspects of the process. This includes being a powerful backend tool that gives marketers control from start to finish.
Time to step up your virtual game
Last year, audiences might have been excited about the novelty of virtual meetings. That seems like an eternity ago now. Today, you have to step up your game. So, look for a virtual and hybrid event platform that will help you deliver exhibitor value, drive leads, and build relationships with customers and prospects.
In the end, events are all about the audience. Sure, they may not be up on stage broadcasting their ideas, but their experience is why you're hosting the event in the first place. An aesthetically pleasing and functional interface can make or break your next virtual event. So bring your audience together with a virtual event platform that enhances the experience.
Hubb is an all-in-one immersive platform that allows attendees to create their own experiences while organizers exercise complete control over the event. To learn more about Hubb’s Virtual, Hybrid and In-Person Event Platform, book a Hubb demo today.