Our digital-first world is bursting with new opportunities to take your business to the next level. And because you’re here, on Alignable, building connections, leading groups, and growing your network, you’re already off to a great start. One way to boost your success even more? Host virtual events. And now it’s easy because you can do so right here on Alignable.
Whether you’ve never hosted an event before, are looking for expert tips on how to run spectacular events that get results, or want to know the ins and outs of hosting on Alignable, you’re in the right spot.
So leave your virtual event worries behind you and find out everything you need to know to host your next and best event on Alignable. Let’s go!
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Table of Contents
Why Virtual Events Give You a Leg Up
Before we get into the hows and whats, you might be wondering why you should dive into the world of virtual events. After all, your time is tight, so you need to invest it in the right things at the right time to help your business grow. Virtual events can help you do just that.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of running digital events:
Boost your business reputation online: Your digital presence is hugely important in the post-Covid world. 81% of people search brands online before they purchase, so you want to have an impeccable reputation. Running virtual events shows that your business is providing value to customers and prospects right off the bat.
Expand your market: Now your customers don’t need to be down the street to use your products or services. From Indiana to India, you can find brand new markets to tap into, while keeping your costs low.
Find global opportunities: And those benefits are about way more than just an expanded customer base. You can also form relationships around the globe, giving you the chance to build partnerships, co-promote, or exchange referrals with more business owners than ever before.
To sum it up…
Virtual meetings are easy, fun, efficient, and economical.”—Ron Supancic of The Law Collaborative Los Angeles
We couldn’t agree more!
Virtual Events 101: Your Crash Course for Running a Great Event
Sold on the benefits and ready to get started? Here’s how to run an excellent event from expert organizers on Alignable. From choosing a topic to asking for post-event feedback, this is your crash course on creating effective online events.
1. Choose a relevant topic and nail the set up
First up, choose a topic that makes it clear to your audience what value they’ll receive from attending, suggests events expert Sunil Bhaskaran of Global Business Mastermind. And be sure to spell out the event’s purpose in the format (e.g., a meet and greet, educational session, speed networking, mastermind, and so on) and with a compelling title and description.
Our experts pointed out that attendees want to make the most of their time, so that clear purpose will ensure it’s not wasted.
“If you schedule a networking event or webinar, make sure there is a purpose and you are offering something useful to your audience,”—Scott Sanchez from Firebrand Media, LLC.
If you’re running a repeat event, keep the time consistent and agenda clear. For example, you run your event every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. EST or the first Friday of every month.
Last but not least, make it fun! Ask yourself if you were an attendee, would you enjoy this? What would you walk away knowing?
2. Get and keep attendees
One of the top challenges when you start running virtual events is figuring out how to get people to show up. Luckily, there are some tricks of the trade that can help you build and keep an audience.
If you’re new to virtual events, try these tips:
- Get personal: Invite people individually and get their commitment to show up.
- Bring a friend: Encourage each attendee to bring one person with them.
- Spread the word: Use all of your channels to promote the event—social media, email campaigns or newsletters, and your website or blog are just a few ways to get the word out.
- Send reminders: Keep your event top of mind with pre-event reminders to those who RSVPd. If your attendee list is small, make these personal messages.
- Manage your expectations: It can take a bit to get in the swing of things, so don’t be discouraged if attendance is low the first few times. Keep being consistent, promoting, and adding value each time.
If you want to drive repeat attendees, check out these strategies:
- Stay consistent and add value: Attendees will come back if they’re getting something valuable from your event.
- Ask for feedback: Check in with your attendees after the event: Was it fun? Did it add value? How could you improve?
- Remind, remind, remind: Even if you use a third-party platform like Zoom, it’s still important to send your own personalized reminders. This can also help you build an email list that you can use to announce your next event.
3. Run your event like a pro
If you follow the tips above, you’re set up for success already. Now all you have to do is run the event. Here are Alignable experts’ insider tips for making it go smoothly.
- Keep introductions short and time them: Business owners and people in general love to talk about themselves—it’s in our nature. But intros that drag on can derail your event. If you do introductions, have a strict time limit and be clear about exactly what you want folks to talk about. For example: 9 seconds on the clock: your name, business, and location. Once time is up, mute goes on.
- Stick to the agenda: Make sure you let your attendees know what the agenda is ahead of time, and then remind them again before you get started. Once the expectations are set, follow them. And be sure to start and end on time.
- Use the breakout rooms: If it makes sense with your event, plan some time for breakouts where attendees can chat 1:1 or with small groups of other attendees about the theme of the event. If you can, have a few groups share the results of their conversations.
- Promote your next event: You have a captive audience, so get them excited about the next event you’re offering. Mention the time, date, purpose, and agenda. Tell attendees to mark their calendars now and that you’ll remind them closer to the event date.
4. Don’t forget the follow-up
Your event is over—congrats on an awesome job! But don’t call it done just yet. The days after your event are just as important as the event itself. Here’s what to do.
- Ask for feedback: When the event is still top of mind, shoot out a feedback survey or request form to see what people thought. Did they enjoy it? Find value in it? What could you do better?
- Send personal follow-up emails: Just like with invites, it’s a good idea to create personalized follow-up emails to check in with your participants. In them, include a link to the event, the chat transcript, and any links or supporting resources that you mentioned in the event. Remember, it’s all about value.
- Post about your event on social media: Keep up the excitement by posting interesting sound bites, quotes, images, or video clips from the event.
- Analyze your success: Take a look at metrics on your event to determine how it went. This includes anything from the post-event survey results to the number of leads you generated or traffic to your site.
How to Host an Event Using Alignable
Now that you have an expert-backed event toolkit, it’s time to learn how to host right on Alignable. Because we know your time is tight and that you see the value of creating connections and leading groups, we made it easy.
First off, anyone can host events—either from your home feed or in a group. If you want to host one in a group, you have to be a group admin or moderator. You can start a new group or find a group to join and reach out to the current moderators to see if they need help. You can also work with them to set up your event.
Now that you know where you’re hosting your event, simply follow these steps to get started.
5 steps to host your event on Alignable
- At the top of your group page or home feed, click “Write a Post” to open the menu. Then, choose the option “Add an Event” > “Virtual Event.”
- Fill in your virtual event information, including a header photo, event title, event date, and event description.
- Pick the platform you’ll use to run your event. You have two options:
– Host your event using Alignable’s integrated video conferencing system (hosted by Zoom). If you use this option, you can host up to 300 attendees for however long you like absolutely free—a $20 per month cost savings!
– Add a link to the virtual conferencing tool you’re most comfortable using, like Webex, GoogleMeet, BlueJeans, etc. If you choose this option, simply add in the link to your event.
- Select your audience: You can choose to make your event visible to your community, your network, your group, or if you’re a Premium member, up to 5 nearby communities. We’ll help spread the word to these groups too.
- Click “Post” to publish your event. You should see it listed as a post in your group or on your feed. We’ll also let your group members or community and network know about your event, so you can get more attendees.
Now you’re ready to go! Start spreading the word to members and anyone else you want to attend. And Alignable will help too by reaching out to your network or community. You can also keep your attendees excited by posting up to three announcements for your event.
Have specific questions on the Alignable event hosting feature? This article has more info.
Resources to Keep Your Events Going and Growing
You should have everything you need to get your first or best event up and running on Alignable or whatever event hosting platform you like. So get out there, host awesome events, and see how your business changes for the better.
If you want to learn more, here are a few helpful resources to keep on hand:
- How to Host Virtual Networking Events: A guide jam-packed with advice specifically for networking events.
- 3 Things You Need to Host Standout Virtual Events: Quick tips from the pros on taking your virtual events to the next level.
- Hosting Virtual Events to Bring Your Community Together: How to mobilize your local business community to kickstart the economy and encourage local spending.
- 9 Fun Virtual Event Ideas to Hit Your Business Goals: A list of types of virtual events your business can host to hit your goals.
- What You Need to Know About Groups on Alignable: Learn more about our groups to help you connect with other members, problem-solve, and share advice.
- [Video] How to Host Educational Webinars that Get Results: Alignable member and marketing expert Tracey Lee Davis shares her best-kept secrets for hosting educational events that generate leads.
- [Video] How to Lead Virtual Networking Events to Grow Your Business: Alignable member and networking event expert Sunil Bhaskaran shows you how to run a standout networking event online.
If you have questions about groups or running virtual events, visit our Help Center or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.