But what about…
The answer is yes.
A virtual conference is a cost-effective way to extend your reach worldwide. Let’s look at this in two ways. You can either add a virtual conference component to your existing live event, or launch a virtual-only conference.
There is a lot of value in a live conference – no doubt about that. But they are extremely expensive to host, and typically only larger businesses can afford that type of investment.
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why launching a virtual-only conference or adding a virtual component to a live conference is beneficial and brings value to everyone involved.
- It’s cost-effective for both the organizer and attendee. Organizations of all sizes can use the power of the web to launch a virtual conference. There are multiple platforms that significantly reduce the cost of hosting your own conference. Virtual conferences are typically only a couple hundred dollars, which is a major savings from the couple thousands a live conference will cost to attend. Many times if you attend a live conference, you get a free login to the virtual conference to review sessions after the event.
- Take your conference global. By adding on a virtual component to your conference, you’ve opened the doors to anyone in the world with an internet connection and a computer (or tablet/smart phone). It’s a great opportunity to reach new customers who can’t travel across the world to attend your conference.
- Virtual conferences provide similar opportunities for networking, learning and access to thought-leaders. Virtual platforms make it easy to message and connect with peers in your industry, join discussion groups and even interact with thought-leaders. Many virtual conferences even have exhibit halls where you can interact with digital booths!
- Virtual conferences open up opportunities for sponsorships. Whether your adding a virtual conference component to your existing live conference, or launching a virtual-only conference – there are opportunities to cover your costs with sponsorships. This includes buying a booth in the exhibit hall, sponsoring specific sessions, or being the main sponsor in the virtual lobby. Since the cost to implement a virtual conference is so low, you might be able to pay for ALL the hosting costs with sponsorships! As long as you can show sponsors that their investment will bring them value and a good Return On Investment (ROI).
- Immediate and valuable analytics. Since a virtual conference is online – almost everything within it can be tracked live. You can see where people spent time, what assets (documents, ebooks, etc…) they downloaded, how many discussions they were involved in, and how long they stayed in specific sessions. All incredibly valuable data to help improve your conference next year.
- Help boost attendance to live event. If attendees have a great experience with in the virtual conference, and they find incredible value in the content, they will be more likely to spend the money to attend the live conference. It’s important to not take shortcuts on a virtual conference. Treat it the same as a live conference and strive to provide the best experience and most value possible to your attendees.
There you have it – six reasons why your company should go virtual with your next conference. Check out these virtual conference platforms to help get you started in planning your next virtual conference.
At Wilson, we have the most experience with INXPO and are certified in building virtual events. If you have any questions or want to talk strategically about your company’s live or virtual conference – let us know!