The shift to conducting day-to-day business virtually rather than in person has been underway for many years. The recent global health crisis has only magnified the value of effective communication with your teams, students, or potential customers via an online connection. While face-to-face meetings provide a level of engagement and interaction that is difficult to match, virtual gatherings’ cost savings and flexibility make them a compelling proposition for a wide range of industries.

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Image Source: Business2Community

More so than traditional events, the success of a virtual event depends on the presenter’s preparation, enthusiasm, and participant engagement design. However, it doesn’t matter how well designed an event is if nobody can see it. Transitioning to mostly online events can be intimidating; there are myriad approaches and tools that you can utilize.

So, we’ve compiled some helpful insight to help you get a sense of your choices.

Deciding on an approach and platform primarily depends on:

  1. The size of your event(s)
  2. The frequency of your event(s)
  3. Your budget

Additional considerations include:

  • Will you need to collect payment from participants, and how will that be managed?
  • What sort of data do you need to gather on your attendees?
  • What technologies has your organization already invested in that can be leveraged?
  • What are the capabilities (time/IT knowledge) of the staff that will support these efforts?

Small Scale Events

Frequent small <30 person events like corporate training and sales meetings can be produced on various platforms. Many DIY platforms meet this requirement while offering features that make it easy to record, share, and follow up with your attendees.

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Image Source: Brafton

Some of the top, small-scale webinar tools include Zoom, Adobe Connect, WebEx Training Center, MS Teams, & Join. Me.

Key features in these platforms include:

  • Quick scheduling and app integration with major email clients- Select your dates, times, and create custom URLs for your webinars in moments.
  • User-friendly Interface
  • Intuitive platform with options for automated webinars and customized invites
  • Chat-based instant interactions
  • Password-enabled sessions and private channels
  • Waiting rooms and host permissions
  • HD Streaming
  • Audio and Video Recording function that stores the recorded file in the cloud for easy download later
  • Multi-device, browser, and OS support
  • Group email notification
  • Information pop-ups to the audience during the webinar session
  • Integration with Facebook Live and YouTube
  • Host Control to Mute/Unmute participants
  • Viewer Engagement with dynamic presentations, interactive whiteboards, videos, and live chat.
  • File management on the cloud and secure sharing

Growing enterprises will find these features especially handy for corporate training, sales meetings, and focused team-based project discussions.

Medium Scale Events

These web conferencing tools are perfect if you want to host frequent events- especially if you want to offer automated webinars that allow pre-recorded content to be transmitted to larger groups.

Some popular platforms include Demio, ClickMeeting, WebinarNinja, Webinars OnAir, and GoToWebinar.

These may include most of the features previously mentioned and other prominent features such as:

  • Analytical insights on past webinars and the audience of the upcoming webinar
  • Source tracking options to check which channel has maximum signups
  • Reporting on webinar performance
  • Password protection
  • Subaccounts creation
  • Closed Captioning with text captions for hard-of-hearing audiences or people using devices on mute.
  • Advanced content editing
  • Scaling-up with less time lag
  • Just-in-Time Webinars (on-the-spot sign up)
  • Custom landing pages
  • Customized invitations, branded webinars, and automated callback
  • Email automation and drip campaigns
  • Multiple presenter support
  • Audience poll and surveys for feedback
  • Data Export

You can either opt for a basic plan that comes with a host of fundamental features or a paid plan based on your budget that would include advanced features like automation, reporting, analytics, custom marketing, and more.

Large Scale Events

Companies involved in intensive and proactive marketing activities or responsible for facilitating conferences composed of 100+ participants (especially those that must show ROI based on attendee metrics) may find value in opting for robust turn-key event solution providers.

A reliable broadcast distribution technology is the backbone of these complete event management tools. These can be especially useful if you need ROI based on attendee metrics and are best served by engaging a turn-key virtual event platform provider such as BigMarker, Cvent, Attendify, and Aventri.

Some of the top-notch features that make global-scale conferences exceptional include:

  • Reporting
  • Conference registration
  • Advanced configuration
  • Event-mailing lists linking
  • Budget management & event payment processing
  • Survey templates
  • Mobile-friendly registrations
  • Integrations with major Global Distribution Systems (GDS)
  • Ticket Management
  • Multi-event support
  • Instant Content Updates
  • App Monetization
  • Unlimited Document Sharing
  • Performance and Web Analytics Dashboard
  • Attendance Management
  • Widget Support
Preparation Tips

Regardless of what you choose, it’s critical to focus on designing interactions with your participants, doubly so in learning scenarios where learner engagement is crucial for retention.

Beyond the need for meticulous design, you can help to ensure things go smoothly by following some of these best practices:

  • Always have a team member dial-in to make sure the event link is working. Also, have this person send you a question to look at its preview in the webinar software.
  • Let your audience know how you will be addressing questions while you share the meeting agenda.
  • Use pre-webinar slides and announcements, possibly with a countdown for the meeting to start so that participants know they are in the right meeting room.
  • Talking to participants and assuring them, the meeting will soon confirm that the audio is working. Also, mute all guest lines to ensure there is no background noise.
  • Send out slides before the webinar to participants to know what to expect and are prepared with questions.
  • Send out a recording of the meeting, post the webinar within 24 hours, and let the participants know in advance.
  • Decide on a standardized format that everyone can comprehend, with the right branding message and visuals that can be easily viewed on mobile and desktop devices.
  • Time your Q&A sessions in a way that the presenters answer a maximum number of questions.

Some of the popular webinar formats include:

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Image Source: Slideshare

If you’re preparing for a virtual event, talk to our experts for support.