Virtual open days have provided attendees with a more convenient and customised experience. They allow universities, businesses and companies to reach out to attendees worldwide, which is why it has been gaining traction in recent years.
Producing a successful virtual event comes with ups & downs and mistakes that you can avoid. They include lack of planning or choosing the wrong platform that couldn’t showcase it at its best.
Without further ado, let’s get into them:
1. Not planning ahead
Make sure you have enough time to organise your virtual open days and tackle issues that come your way. Plan your entire event schedule from introduction to Q&A, and make sure every crew has a copy of a clear brief. Sharing the event agenda with your audience also gives them time to prepare.
Most importantly, brainstorm with your team to point out potential risks and devise a contingency plan together, such as technical issues, late registrations, absences, and more.
2. Not choosing the right platform
Some companies decide on a platform just by searching for information on Google. However, this is not the best way because some may not contain the essential features you need. Features include customising registration fields, hall/booth templates, email functions, and more.
The best way to make sure you choose the right platform is by understanding the goals of your overall virtual event. After that, you can research software that is capable of achieving them.
Consider these when you’re choosing a platform:
- Does it limit the number of registrants who can join your virtual event?
- How many emails/push notifications can you send out?
- Can attendees directly interact with the speakers via live chat/video conference?
Once you know the right questions, you can book a demo with the vendors to better understand the features.
Fairwiz offers a 30-minute demo that precisely explains the key features present in the platform.
3. Not understanding the virtual platform technology
As you transition from in-person to virtual open days, you’re also adjusting to the new technology required for your online events.
Before the launch, take the time to familiarise yourself and your team members with the platform and its technology. This way, your team is prepared for any technical challenges that may occur mid-event.
4. Lack of marketing
You should promote your virtual open day at least 2 to 5 weeks in advance for the best result. A landing page, or the destination point of your marketing campaign, works well if you know exactly how to utilise it to your advantage.
Besides being visually appealing and user-friendly, your landing page should also be informative with details of the virtual event, such as date, time, agenda, and speaker information.
Remember to add a call-to-action (CTA) (e.g., registration form) to get people to sign up and attend your VOD.
5. Trying (too) hard to replicate in-person events online
You should innovate your virtual open days instead of copying the offline version.
A lengthy webinar/presentation may work well in physical events, but it will bore your attendees online. When it comes to virtual open days, you should plan suitable session times to retain attendee attention and engagement. It is best to set your segments to be 15 to 20 minutes long with short breaks in between to keep them connected.
An online session can easily fall flat, which lowers attendee engagement. You and your team play a central role in maintaining a lively conversation with valuable takeaways by deciding on topics that can keep attendees interested and engaged in conversation in the chats or comments.
Read here to learn more about hosting effective virtual open days.
6. Not rehearsing/testing hardware and software
Failure to thoroughly test all hardware and software directly impacts your virtual event’s performance. To avoid technical issues, it is advisable to double-check your internet connection, laptop performance, microphone/camera functions, and screen-sharing functions.
Your speakers and moderators need to be familiar with the flow of the virtual event, especially if it’s a live virtual event. Having a rehearsal helps everyone get acquainted with the software and equipment they will be using on the actual day, such as lighting, sound, and internet connection.
On the other hand, counsellors, agents and representatives should test their internet connection to make sure they won’t have interruptions when communicating with their prospects (students/parents) that visit the booth. They should also check their audio and camera functions, especially if their prospects want to have a video call.
7. Assuming that people will show up
You should actively promote your event to prevent low registration and attendance rates. There are several ways to do it, such as:
- Email Marketing - Send newsletters and reminder emails to remain relevant amongst your attendees. Sending three reminders (a week before, a day early, and an hour earlier) can help you achieve that.
- SMS/Instant Messaging - Some attendees don’t check their emails often. In this case, it is better to engage with them and promote your virtual event through SMS or apps like WhatsApp.
- Social media - Stay active on social media by constantly posting updates of your virtual event. This will remind your followers to register for the event.
- List your event on other websites - Look for websites that target the same demographic as your virtual event and leverage their traffic by promoting on their website.
The features above are available on Fairwiz, so you don’t have to use a separate system.
8. Forgetting about the attendee experience
Your attendees expect zero technical issues when they join your virtual event.
While you want your event to be as stimulating as possible, using 3D elements to appear more realistic does more harm than good. Keep in mind that some attendees may have technological limitations that will cripple their experience. Such restrictions will prevent them from loading and joining your virtual open day.
You can obtain feedback from your attendees by sending surveys at the end of the event.
9. Forgetting about the post-event experience
With so much going on during a virtual open day, it is easy to overlook the importance of a post-event experience.
A survey by PathFactory and Heinz Marketing found that maximising audience engagement post-event is highly likely to maximise virtual event ROI.
The information you collect after a virtual event allows you to continue the engagement amongst potential students & parents. It helps to maintain your brand’s relevance to help you convert them into enrolments. It can also provide you with an insight into your attendees’ interests and how they respond to different elements of your event.
Once you have the information you need, you can create a post-mortem report to analyse marketing channels, chat transcripts, and event databases. The good news is that Fairwiz allows you to study the behaviour of your attendees.
10. Not taking advantage of data & analytics.
Unlike in-person events, your virtual open day allows you to collect real-time data of your attendees. Such data can include how they spend their time in your virtual venue. You can then analyse and utilise them to improve future virtual events for your target market.
Once you’ve developed a targeted marketing campaign with the data, you save a lot of time and money when you reach the right potential attendees.
With Fairwiz, you can view real-time analytics by accessing the dashboard for each VOD.
Host your virtual open days effectively on Fairwiz. Book a demo with us today, or send us an email to learn more.