If you regularly read these pages, you’ll already know many of the benefits of running regular events such as conferences and seminars. However, there are also plenty of rewards to be had from offering virtual events for online attendees.
Online Access vs Physical Access
The first is the most obvious: access. With virtual meetings, attendees don’t have to travel to a particular building to get to your event, so you may find more registrations take place. For one thing, they may appreciate that they do not have to pay travel costs – or take a day off work – but still get to hear what you have to say.
For small group settings, free tools such as Google Hangout or Skype are emerging as popular alternatives to traditional platforms such as Polycom. Check out this article in New York Times, which talks about cross-border employee engagement via Online Happy Hours.
Another key aspect is the potential for better engagement. Some people who go to face-to-face meetings may feel apprehensive about putting their ideas forwards, whereas they might not in a virtual environment. Speaking into a microphone is less daunting than talking to a room full of people so getting people to contribute ideas via online platforms (especially introverts) could sometimes produce surprising results.
Despite concerns about meetings via the web being limited and restrictive, this actually isn’t the case. It’s possible to show slides and presentations, operate mini voting sessions and much more, all on a screen, so your virtual delegates shouldn’t get bored.
Research and Insights
Finally, hosting meetings on the internet makes it a lot easier to collect information from delegates that could make up vital market research and be shared with future clients. Citrix GoTo Webinars allows monitoring of audience attention levels while online chat logs allow capturing of key data and feedback that can be addressed post-meeting.
Invitations to such online events can still be administered centrally using the same platform for physical events, so that you can track the life-time value of attendee engagement, and monitor which is the most engaged audience in your database for events.
Tracking the life-time value of an event attendee
You could really reap the rewards if you try organizing a virtual meeting soon – they won’t replace face-to-face events, but they might be the ideal complement, especially for your travel-weary clients.