Timo heads up marketing at Digistorm, and although all things brand is his professional passion, Timo’s cringe-worthy celebrity encounters are what he’s known for in the office.
Amidst the current COVID-19 outbreak, many schools and businesses are turning to online events as a way to connect with their communities, while safely adhering to social distancing. With an abundance of free programs available online, running a virtual event has never been easier. But, we get it, your first virtual event can be a little intimidating. You’ve never run one before and you have no idea what to expect. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or a little stuck, here’s a quick guide to get you started.Choose your virtual event
Schools and virtual events don’t immediately come to mind as the ideal pair, however, there are many school-related events that can be run just as effectively online as they are in person. It’s important that you aren’t disregarding school event’s all together and instead, are looking at alternative ways to run the event’s online. An example of some virtual events you might like to run include:
Your school’s open day is an event that heavily relies on face-to-face interactions in order to nurture relationships with prospective families. Some of the key reasons why many in-person open days succeed is because they provide a chance for prospective families to; interact with staff and teachers, ask current students about their experiences, and experience the campus first-hand. These experiences can be hard to replicate online, but not impossible! With a little creativity (and a lot of enthusiasm), creating an engaging online experience can be achieved through an immersive virtual tour that families can easily access on any digital device.
Just like any in-person event, it’s essential that your virtual event provides ROI to your school, so it’s time to set some key objectives. We recommended choosing three to four objectives, ensuring they’re specific, measurable and attainable – here are a few examples:
If you ask us, it’s always a good idea to elect an event coordinator or small team to organise, manage and run all elements of the virtual event. This will help ensure that all event objectives, communication and goals are aligned.
There are several different websites that can be used to host online events, but it’s no secret that Zoom and Youtube Live are amongst the most popular. Zoom is an easy-to-use, remote conferencing service that allows users to host video webinars, online conferences and meetings. Youtube Live, on the other hand, offers a similar service where you can live stream videos through one, simple Youtube link. Both services offer question and answer sections to help you engage with your audience throughout the virtual event.
Virtual events require marketing and targeted communication to encourage attendance and increase brand awareness. Here at Digistorm, we are big advocates for inbound marketing. The aim of inbound marketing is to attract, engage and delight your audience through mainly digital techniques. We suggest using blog posts, social media, and email as inbound marketing tactics for your online event.
If your event is geared toward capturing a wide-range of prospective parents, you should promote it across your social media channels before, during and after the event. If you want the event to be invite-only, you can use email to invite and promote the event to a specific, targeted list of contacts. Email should be leveraged to nurture your target audience throughout the entire process.
You should start promoting your event at least two weeks prior to the day to ensure that attendees can put aside enough time in their schedule to virtually attend. The first communication should include key details such as; date, time and a link to an online registration form. If your registration numbers are looking a little low, don't hesitate to re-send the first communication email a week before the event as a reminder! You want to ensure that your first event communication is engaging and unique to capture your audience's attention. You can use online templates from companies like, PosterMyWall, to create designs that can be used for social media graphics, posters, school flyers and more!
On the day of your virtual event, send an email to all of your registered contacts at least two hours before the event is set to start. In this email, be sure to include instructions on how to access the video and your host website. Once your virtual event is over, you should have a wrap-up email prepared to send three to four hours after the event (while it’s still fresh in your attendee’s minds). This email should include a URL link to the recording, a call to action and any downloadable links that you may have mentioned during the virtual event. Don’t forget that you’ll need to be prepared to respond to emails with questions relating to the online event in the weeks following.
When you eliminate the in-person experience of an event, there’s a chance that you might see a drop in engagement among attendees – so what can you do to fix that? Anybody can record a video and post it online, but it’s creativity that will set you apart. A combination of an aesthetic background, informative presentation slides, a range of different speakers and on-brand graphics are all elements you could include to enhance your virtual event. If you’re planning on inviting guest speakers or presenters to participate in your virtual event, be sure to carry out at least one to two full practices before the day.
It can be extremely nerve-racking to present in front of an online audience, so it’s important that your presenters feel comfortable and prepared. It may also be worth investing in new camera and recording equipment to help enhance your video production level.