What’s involved in making a virtual conference or event successful?

authorShannon Correia dateSeptember 21, 2020

The success of an online event or conference can have significant results for your business, whether that's in terms of awareness, revenue, lead generation or overall business growth. While success is something all hosts crave, to achieve it, one needs to be mindful in the approach and execution of the event, from the planning stages all the way through to post-event activities. Let’s dive into the specifics...

successful virtual events

The advantages of hosting an online conference or event

There are several advantages of hosting your event or conference online. In order to be successful, you need to see these benefits as opportunities for your business, leveraging them to their fullest potential.

These advantages include:

  • Lower costs: Of course, there are many ways in which you can save costs online. With these savings, you can reinvest that money into improving the design elements or increasing the scope of the event. Costs are saved on hiring a venue, catering company, travel and staff costs. For attendees, they can save on entry fees to the events and in terms of the associated costs, such as transport and possible hotel stays.
  • Increased reach: By providing people with a lot more accessibility options, you are opening the door to hosting many more people who would have otherwise not been able to physically attend. With a successful event, you can therefore grow your email database and subsequently your leads as well. For many people, convenience is key. With this comes an increase in your ability to measure the performance of the event.

Creatively provide value

The success of your event is dependent on your ability to provide value to your audience. In order to do so, you need to ensure that you understand their needs and that your content is relevant to them. This will also guide you in terms of how to market and present your event in a way that is most meaningful to them.

In addition to having valuable content or experiences shared with your audience, you should also consider ways to add value for them. An example of this is including a networking session as part of the event, which provides them with opportunities to engage in ways that they would traditionally at physical events.


There is a lot of work required when planning and preparing for your virtual event or conference. Deciding on your goals and strategy is only the starting point. You need to ensure you are ready to go with your technology, your content and your audio / visual equipment, if you have any.  At this point, it is also important to think about how to ensure your event has interactive elements.

You being prepared is the baseline expectation of your attendees, so ensure that you practice and have backups of everything necessary to ensure a smooth delivery. You should also prepare for post-event activities, such as thank you emails and content libraries, for example.


Since your event and its webpage for registrations is online, you need to drive people there. In order to do this, you will need to conduct intensive digital marketing. Have email marketing and social media marketing campaigns prepared and automated if possible in the lead up to your event. This needs to serve as reminders, though it also needs to build up anticipation for the event or conference to ensure that people do attend.

During the event, have the marketing team be prepared to engage with attendees in real time, as some may be live tweeting, for example. Another great idea is to have a marketing goodie bag or kit, which can either be delivered to the guests beforehand, or sent digitally.


Hosting an event or conference online could deter sponsors who are not yet on board with paying for having a digital presence at your event, or are not comfortable with paying higher amounts. This is changing, as companies are realising the value of such events. When reaching out to your potential sponsors, be sure to include the specific offer you have in mind with the benefits it will have for them. When you do get sponsors onboard for your event or conference, you need to ensure that it results in actionable outcomes and provides valuable, knowledgeable information to the audience.

There are various ways to include sponsors without making them the featured brand, such as giveaways and collaborations. As with physical events, acquiring sponsorships provides you with increased credibility, as well as the ability to leverage their audiences. In order to build transparent relationships with them, you should report back with all of the performance marketing metrics that show the ROI on their investment.

There you have it - the route to success with online events and conferences. All you need to do is take advantage of the benefits, be prepared and creative, market it effectively, provide value and include sponsorships. It’s not simple and it will require effort and resources, but the results will be worth it.

Work with experts in the field

Talk to us at Nexa about your virtual event or conference needs. We’ve got the know-how and experience to prepare it, market it, host it and report back on it for you.  All you need is an idea to get started.