In the last year, the face of the event industry has changed, transitioning to a landscape that is digital-first in nature. This shift in dynamics has touched every aspect of the industry so that now your audiences’ behaviors and expectations of what a fully formed event is has also evolved. Virtual has created a world where you can attend an event from anywhere, giving it flexibility that never existed until now.
Even while in-person events return, hosting an all-virtual event is the new normal. And with that comes perks—like driving down the cost of an event. You don’t have to necessarily worry about hiring personnel and event production, booking venues, accommodations, catering, and travel at virtual events. Reduced costs mean more time focused on planning, increasing audience engagement, and reaching a larger audience than ever before.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your dollars elsewhere—there are plenty of ways to use those savings and improve various aspects of the virtual event experience.
In fact, here are 10 ways to repurpose your in-person event budgets to enhance your virtual events:
1. Marketing: With the leftover savings from hosting a virtual event instead of an in-person event, you can spend more on ads, partnerships, and marketing the event to a global audience—so having the capability to integrate your event platform with marketing suites is important. Leading up to the event, you can send interactive content that’s sharable, as well as reminders about speaker and session details and contests and fun offers that they’ll be able to take part in during the event.
2. Tech Platform & Equipment: An event platform is a must if you’re hosting a virtual event, and investing in a platform that will meet all your needs, as well any other tech needed for the day of the event, is money well spent. Event design, attendee capacity, and networking room are easily scalable when using a virtual platform. Hubilo, for example, offers everything you’ll need to set up the event—including registration, execution, customization, and robust analytics—in addition to a dedicated Customer Success team, whose attentive members help planners with pre, during, and post-event support. The point is to carefully select a platform that will not only achieve the goal of immersing your guests in the experience—which will ultimately elevate your brand—but will also not leave you out in the cold to navigate and manage the platform’s technology yourself (talk about stressful!).
3. Global Speakers: With no travel expenses, you can invest in recruiting panelists recognized on a global level for their expertise. Likewise, you can increase your number of speakers, making sure to have a diverse panel. By bringing in well-known thought leaders, you’ll increase your event attendees by giving the audience the expertise they’re looking for.
4. Entertainment: Invest in entertainment to keep up the level of engagement. Some ideas to think about include games, online polls, and, of course, speaker engagement. Using an event platform like Hubilo—which offers chat moderation, breakout rooms, online polls, gamification, live polls, Q&As, and selfie contests—will keep your guests having fun and immersed in the event.
5. Event Swag Bags: Taking the event industry by storm during the lockdown, swag bags are all the rage for virtual attendees and can serve to not only boost engagement but also as an incentive to bring in more attendees. Let’s be honest, everyone loves goodie bags, whether it’s event badges, T-shirts, or other merch. And swag bags are a great way to elevate your brand message and bring more attention to the theme of your event.
6. Prizes & Giveaways: It’s not a party without rewards and incentives! These give your sponsors a great way to showcase their branding on various free merch, and they can also give out gifts that will allow them to elevate their branding options.
7. Additional Events: Still have money left over? Organize more events and increase top-of-mind recall with your audience. This can include post-event virtual networking opportunities and entertainment sessions where attendees get to interact with a performer after the event. You can also set up virtual exhibitors’ booths that stay live several days after the session, allowing networking magic to happen.
8. Training & Workshops: Provide training sessions during the event. They can be valuable in heightening engagement—who doesn’t like to learn something new and relevant?
9. Team With Diverse Skillsets: Hire a team with diverse backgrounds and skillsets. A few good-to-have individuals on the team include an emcee, event directors, a social media manager, content writers and marketers, an event partnership manager, and a performance marketer. Having a solid team with different talents can round out your event and make it even more dynamic.
10. Sponsor a Charitable Cause: Elevate your brand and donate to a charitable cause, whether it’s through ticket sales, fundraising, or a donation. This is a great way to promote and give to a good cause while also building a brand connection with your target audience.
While in-person events will always be the cornerstone of the industry, virtual events are the future. Going virtual allows you to dedicate your time, energy, and budget to some of the best and most important parts of an event—reaching a wider audience and engaging with them so that you’re providing top-notch experiences that are immersive and deliver your brand message with style, while also providing an unforgettable event.