In-person events have always stood strong. Over the last two decades, marketing has embraced digital practices, which have become a staple in most company’s promotional strategies. But even though digital techniques have made their way into numerous marketing campaigns, in-person events remained an integral component of marketing strategy.
That is—until COVID hit the world.
The pandemic forced organizations to re-imagine their coveted in-person events in a digital world. More and more prominent companies such as Apple and The National Speakers Association (NSA) flexed their innovation muscles to transition the event landscape into unfamiliar digital experiences.
As virtual events became a mainstay, event managers were pleasantly surprised by how well they performed. Additionally, virtual events rewarded them with some amazing benefits, many of which we’ll discuss in this article.
Will virtual events fully replace in-person events? Definitely not.
In-person events are still valuable and will occur regularly. Though virtual events have come a long way in replacing in-person experiences, there are some things you just can’t replace when it comes to in-person gatherings.
But as the world starts feeling safe enough to leave their homes, we won’t long for in-person events as much as we would’ve thought. The benefits of virtual events have taken center stage, and more people realize their value.
Below, we will detail seven of the top benefits of virtual events. Let’s dive in!
When you host in-person events, your attendee numbers are limited to your venue’s capacity. If your event venue can accommodate a maximum of 250 people, your ticket revenue maxes out at 250 entrants. When you host a virtual event, you aren’t limited to physical space constraints.
Virtual events also foster inclusion and accessibility for the people who can’t travel or don’t want to spend money on travel. Attendees can interact from their homes, a cafe, or even while vacationing in Aruba 🍹! Parents who can’t leave their children and people who can’t leave their homes due to health limitations can also join.
The benefits are numerous, and they all boil down to one crucial perk:
More inclusivity and increased accessibility = increased ticket sales = increased revenue.
Let’s face it; in-person events are pricey. From the physical venues and stage production to the catering and speaker travel expenses, you can blow out your event budget pretty quickly.
Virtual events eliminate most if not all of those expenses. And the extra added benefit? Reallocate these funds to components that will elevate your virtual events, such as event swag, stellar speakers, engaging event experiences, and more.
Virtual events are also more inclusive for people who can’t afford in-person event experiences. Virtual event tickets are priced much lower than in-person events, opening the event experience to a broader demographic.
Typical in-person events cost registrants hundreds and thousands of dollars. HubSpot’s 2019 Inbound event cost event-goers $799 – $1,399 apiece, not including travel expenses. HubSpot’s 2021 Inbound virtual event is now free for a Starter pass and $119 for an All-access pass. That’s a big difference.
In-person events require 9-12+ months to plan and execute successfully. From securing an appropriate venue and top-notch speakers to production and planning logistics, large-scale events are resource-intensive. Planning virtual events takes half the time and requires fewer resources.
The big items when planning virtual events are choosing an event management platform, securing speakers and sponsors, and setting up marketing and promotions. If you go with an end-to-end event management platform that handles most of your event management, you will have assistance with these and all other planning details, saving you time and resources.
For more information on planning, read our recent article on how to plan memorable virtual events.
Your event’s over—but your revenue-earning potential isn’t.
Chances are, your attendees didn’t consume as much content during your event as they wanted to. After the event, send on-demand content replays to attendees and allow them to consume it for some time.
But don’t stop there. You likely have a lot of content from the event, so make it work harder!
Recycle your event content into blog posts, educational videos, white papers, and lead-generating ebooks. If you had solid analytics for your event, you would know which content performed the best.
Repurpose the most popular content first and add it to your content calendars. If your event management platform enables you to segment your audience by preferences, personalize your marketing and send targeted recycled content to these segments. Let your content continue to drive engagement and leads long after the event.
In-person event tracking is ambiguous, and it’s not always easy to decipher what worked and what didn’t. Adding a sponsor’s banner to a device-charging kiosk brings a lot of exposure—but how can you measure the ROI? How can you measure the real-time response to a speaker’s presentation at an in-person event? The answer is, you can’t. But with virtual events, you most certainly can.
Track your attendees’ digital journeys from first-touch to conversion. When you post a sponsor’s banner virtually, track links, clicks, and ultimately leads. You have concrete data to present to sponsors to show the value of partnering with your virtual event.
Want to learn how to maximize sponsorship ROI and generate more event revenue? Register to watch our on-demand webinar: Event Revenue and Sponsorship ROI.
It’s easier to prove ROI and measure performance with virtual events because you can follow the digital footprint and track just about every attendee action. Concrete data can guide your decisions instead of unreliable guesswork and hunches.
The high costs of putting on in-person events prevent small businesses from reaping the rewards. Virtual events give small businesses a lower barrier to entry as they cost significantly less and don’t require a lot of resources to execute. Whether a series of webinars or a full-scale engaging event, small businesses can expand their reach, generate revenue, and get more exposure by entering the event scene.
As we explained earlier in this article, your content can live long past your event—the same goes for your community. Your event enables you to gather like-minded people together, but it doesn’t have to end there.
Continue to build your relationships with your community to strengthen its bonds. Via email, send fun event images, on-demand content, surveys, future event information, company news, fun facts, and more. Invite them to join you on your social media profiles and keep outreach alive.
Your events can work in your favor long after they’re over. When planning your virtual event, consider the long-term relationships you will build and bake community-building tactics into your promotional plans.
The virtual event benefits we discuss in this article are dependent on your ability to engage attendees, provide value to sponsors, and track data seamlessly—and this is only possible when you use the right tools.
Virtual event planning becomes simple, efficient, and highly beneficial when you partner with an end-to-end virtual event management platform like Socio. Save time, resources, and a lot of frustration, and let proven technology guide your event management to execute memorable, ROI-boosting virtual events.
Socio provides the following features to power your virtual events:
- Full customization and branding
- Branded registration
- Live chat
- Live polls
- Virtual stage
- Social wall
- Community platform
- Comprehensive tracking and analytics
- Sponsor opportunities
- Virtual booths
- Video rooms
- One-on-one and group networking
- Attendee segmenting and personalization
- Live streaming
- Dedicated training
- Professional services
- And more!
Want to take Socio for a test drive? Schedule a personalized demo with our Socio event experts today!