Are you planning a virtual event in 2022? Whether it's your first virtual event or your hundredth, using a virtual event planning checklist can help make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
In this article, we'll go through some tips for both virtual and hybrid events - those which take place both online and offline. We've got you covered if you're sticking with tried and tested virtual event technologies or incorporating some new ideas into the mix.
The importance of virtual and hybrid events in 2022
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic showing the world that it is possible to hold all sorts of meetings effectively online, virtual and hybrid events are more crucial now than ever before. They provide a way for businesses to more easily connect and engage with both their customers and employees.
Not only are virtual events more safe in the current climate, but they're also more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The same goes for hybrid events too, because even though they do involve some of the participants meeting in a physical location, there will be fewer of them than at a completely offline event and they will generally only be the most locally-based people.
What's more, with the right virtual event platform, you can reach a global audience for your virtual or hybrid event in 2022 in a way that would be impossible with an in-person event. So, whether you're planning a virtual conference, webinar, product launch, or trade show, using a virtual event planning checklist can help make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
Who can benefit from a virtual event checklist in 2022
Anyone who is planning a virtual or hybrid event in 2022 can benefit from using a comprehensive checklist to make sure they have considered all the elements of your event. This in turn, can help hybrid and virtual event planners stay on top of the event planning process, keep track of deadlines, and be confident they haven't forgotten anything important - all to increase the chances of running a successful event.
The use of a checklist to organize a virtual or hybrid event will also be advantageous to the speakers, who can rest assured that they will have the necessary equipment and technologies provided to make their presentation run smoothly. This will allow them to focus on preparing and delivering their presentations without having to worry about the technical side of things.
Finally, virtual and hybrid event attendees also stand to benefit by being part of what is more likely to be a well-run and engaging meeting. By having a list of what is required for the event, both hybrid and virtual attendees can also be sure they have everything they need (such as having the chosen virtual platform installed, if necessary) to participate fully.
Explore our virtual event checklist 2022
#1 Set event objectives
What goals do you want to achieve by being an event host?
Without having clear event goals in advance, it can be difficult to determine the level of event success afterwards. Knowing what you want to achieve before doing anything else will make it much easier to plan the rest of your event.
How to set event objectives?
Some aims that you might want to set for your virtual or hybrid events include:
- increasing brand awareness
- generating leads
- nurturing existing customers/clients
- launching a new product or service
Whatever they are, make sure your virtual event is aligned with your business goals.
What tools to use for setting event objectives?
- Google Analytics - for measuring website traffic and conversions (you may consider using Google Analytics 4 setup if you haven't done it yet)
- Eventbrite - for tracking ticket sales
- SMART goals - for setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives
#2 Define your target audience
Who do you want to reach?
If you don't know who you're trying to reach, it'll be difficult to create content or choose a virtual event platform that resonates with them. Figuring out your target audience in advance will make it much easier to market your event and ensure that the right people are attending.
How to define your target audience?
In order to define your target audience, ask yourself about their:
- location - where do they live?
- age - how old are they?
- gender - are they male, female, or non-binary?
- interests - what are their hobbies?
- behaviors - what are their buying patterns?
What tools to use for defining your target audience?
- Google Analytics - for understanding website visitors
- Facebook Insights - to learn about your Facebook Page fans
- Twitter Analytics - for understanding Twitter followers
#3 Find a hybrid venue
Whether you're hosting an online or hybrid event, make sure you have an appropriate location lined up.
Having a venue booked in advance gives you a space to host your event. If your event will be online only then schedule a virtual meeting room on a suitable hosting platform, while if it is hybrid you will also need to book a physical venue.
How to find a venue?
Answer the following questions:
- If it's virtual, does the hosting platform have a good reputation?
- If it's hybrid, does the venue have good internet connectivity?
- Is the venue available on the dates you want to host your event?
- Does the venue have the capacity to accommodate your expected attendees?
- Is the event venue appropriate for your target audience?
- WIll there be one concurrent presentation or multiple breakout sessions? For the latter, several rooms will be required (both virtually and physically).
What tools to use for finding a venue?
- Google Maps - for finding locations and getting directions
- virtual meeting platforms (e.g. LiveWebinar) - to host your event
Tip: Choose video conferencing software that allows participants to join your event from any device by simply clicking the invitation link, with no downloading or registration required. This is exactly what is possible with LiveWebinar.
#4 Rent equipment
For virtual and hybrid events, you'll need to rent or buy any necessary equipment like audio/visual gear and lighting.
Depending on the event type, you'll need to make sure that you have all the necessary equipment to make it a success. This might include things like microphones, cameras, and projectors for digital events, as well as furniture and AV equipment for hybrid events.
How to rent equipment?
When picking equipment for your virtual or hybrid event, consider your answers to the following questions:
- What type of event are you hosting?
- What equipment do you need?
- How long will you need the equipment for?
- Is the quality of the equipment important?
- What is your budget?
What tools to use for renting equipment?
- Eventbrite - for searching for rental companies
- Zapier - for automation and workflow
#5 Come up with an event promotion plan
How will you let people know about your event?
A virtual or hybrid meeting will only be as successful as the event marketing strategy you have to promote it. You'll need to figure out where your target audience are present and active online, then create event content that will pique their interest and encourage more prospective attendees to register.
How to come up with an event promotion plan?
Will you use email marketing, social media, or a combination of both? Make sure you start promoting the event early and have a plan for how you'll continue to promote it leading up to the event date.
What tools to use for promoting your virtual or hybrid event?
- MailChimp - for email marketing
- Kontentino - for social media management
- Canva - for creating visuals
#6 Create an event website
Your virtual or hybrid event will need an event website where people can learn more about the event and register to attend.
An event website is the virtual equivalent of a physical event space. It's where people can go to learn more about your event, see who else is attending, and register to attend.
How to create an event website?
Consider the following questions when creating a website or event landing page:
- What type of event are you hosting?
- What information do you want to include in the event description?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your budget?
You might also consider creating an event app, if appropriate (e.g. for large conferences).
What tools to use for creating an event website?
- Landingi drag-and-drop website builder or Appy Pie website builder - for creating a landing page or a website
- Eventbrite - for creating an event registration page
- social media platforms - to create events pages on those channels and share you event hashtag
#7 Arrange speakers and the event schedule
Organize who will speak at your event and the running order.
Your virtual or hybrid event will be more successful if you have a lineup of great speakers and a well-organized schedule. This will give people a reason to attend your event and keep them engaged throughout.
How to arrange speakers and create an event schedule?
Some aspects to consider when arranging speakers and creating an event schedule include:
- Who are the keynote speakers?
- Who else will be speaking at the event?
- What topics will be covered?
- When will each speaker be presenting?
- What is the overall event schedule - are there groups or themes?
What tools to use for arranging speakers and creating an event schedule?
- Google Calendar - for creating a schedule
- Slack - for coordinating with speakers
#8 Test everything
Before your virtual or hybrid event goes live, it's crucial to test everything to make sure it's working properly.
You don't want your event to be a complete disaster, so it's important to test out all the equipment and make sure the hosting platform is working properly. You might also have pre-recorded content to show that can easily be checked in advance.
How to test everything?
Do a dry run of the event with a few friends or colleagues to make sure everything is working as it should. Make sure to test the audio/visual equipment, the virtual event platform, and any other tools you're using.
What tools to use for testing?
- virtual events platform - for testing the virtual event meeting
- audio and video equipment - to test the software and hardware
- internet speed test - for checking your connection
- incident management procedures
#9 Have a backup plan
No matter how well you've planned and prepared, things can always go wrong.
The virtual event platform could go down, you lose connection to the internet, or there's a power outage. These are just a few possible issues that might cause your virtual or hybrid event to be a complete disaster.
How to make a backup plan?
Identify potential problems that could occur and have a plan for how you'll solve them. For example, if the virtual event platform goes down, you could switch to an alternative provider or use a backup internet connection like mobile data instead of a WiFi connection.
What tools to use for making a backup plan?
- document editor (e.g. Google Docs or Google Sheets) - for creating a document of the contingency plan
- communication tool (e.g. Slack) - for sharing the backup plan with your event team
#10 Send out invitations and reminders
You're now ready to start inviting people who might be interested in attending your virtual or hybrid event.
Letting people know about your meeting well in advance and sharing as many event details as possible will help them make a decision about whether or not to attend. Sending reminders will help ensure that people don't forget about your event after already signing up and give you another chance to encourage more people to attend.
How to send out invitations and reminders?
There are a few different ways including via email, social media platforms, and online event pages. As a rule of thumb, try to send out your initial invites at least a month in advance and send reminders a week or two before the event, if possible.
What tools to use for sending out invitations and reminders?
- email client (e.g. Gmail) - for sending out email invitations and reminders
- social media platforms (e.g. LinkedIn) - for creating an event page and inviting people
- event pages (e.g. Eventbrite) - for sending out email reminders to people who have signed up or purchased tickets
- event hosting platform (e.g. LiveWebinar) - for sending out calendar invitations and reminders with a link to the virtual meeting
#11 Follow up after your event
Your virtual or hybrid event doesn't end when the event itself is over.
It is an opportunity to build relationships with your attendees. Following up after the event shows that you're interested in connecting with them and helps to create a lasting impression.
How to follow up after your virtual or hybrid event?
There are a few different ways you can follow up after your virtual or hybrid event:
- send a thank-you email to all event attendees
- write a blog post about the event
- upload photos or videos from the event to social media with your event hashtag
What tools to use for following up?
- MailChimp - for sending a thank-you email
- social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram) - for sharing photos and event recordings
#12 Collect feedback
Following up also gives you the chance to ask the participants for their opinions about your event.
Collecting feedback helps you to understand what worked well and what needs to be done to improve your future event performance. It also shows both your attendees and presenters that you're interested in their opinions and are willing to make changes to the hybrid or virtual event experience based on their opinions.
How to collect feedback?
Some of the best ways to gather participants' opinions about your virtual or hybrid meeting are to send post-event surveys to all audience members and speakers, or to ask for their feedback near the end while the video meeting is still taking place. This allows people to share their thoughts while they are still fresh in their minds.
What tools to use for collecting feedback?
- SurveyMonkey - for sending questionnaires
- virtual events platform - with a feature for asking questions (e.g. LiveWebinar)
#13 Evaluate the results
After your virtual or hybrid event is over, it's important to take some time to evaluate how it went and what could be improved for future events.
Evaluating the post-event results helps you to understand what worked well and what needs to be improved in the future. It also allows you to track your progress over time in relation to your objectives and see how your virtual or hybrid event compares to other events you've organized.
How to evaluate the results?
Look at how the metrics you decided to track when setting the objectives for your event change over time to see if you were successful in achieving your hybrid or virtual event goals. You can also compare your virtual or hybrid event to others by looking at similar metrics, such as attendance rate, number of leads generated, or net promoter score.
What tools to use for evaluating the results?
- Google Analytics - for tracking changes in metrics over time
- virtual events platform - with a feature for tracking e.g. attendance rates (such as LiveWebinar)
Summary of the virtual event checklist 2022
- #1 Set event objectives
- #2 Define your target audience
- #3 Find a venue
- #4 Rent equipment
- #5 Come up with an event promotion plan
- #6 Create an event website
- #7 Arrange speakers and the event schedule
- #8 Test everything
- #9 Have a backup plan
- #10 Send out invitations and reminders
- #11 Follow up after your event
- #12 Collect feedback
- #13 Evaluate the results
Virtual event and hybrid event FAQs
What are virtual and hybrid events?
A virtual event is an event that is held online, without any in-person component. A hybrid event is an event that has both a traditional in-person and an online component, with some participants physically attending and others joining via the internet.
How do virtual and hybrid events compare to traditional live events?
There are several key differences between virtual and hybrid events when compared to traditional in-person conferences. These include the event format (online vs. offline), the delivery method (synchronous vs. asynchronous), the interaction level (one-way vs. two-way), and the overall experience ( virtual experience vs. physical experience).
What are the benefits of having a virtual or hybrid event?
There are many advantages of running at least partially online events over in-person only ones. They include increased reach of a global audience without the need to travel, increased cost-effectiveness, greater flexibility in terms of event format, timing, and location, plus better audience engagement with features such as polling and Q&As.
Are there any challenges facing virtual or hybrid events?
There is a need for a good internet connection and reliable technology, ensuring all participants are able to access and navigate the event platform, and maintaining engagement throughout a longer event. Additionally, virtual events can sometimes be less personal than in-person ones, so it's important to find ways to create a sense of connection and community online.
For what purposes could I run a virtual or hybrid event?
Online meetings are being used for a variety of reasons across a wide range of event industries. They include, but are not limited to, conferences and conventions, trade shows and exhibitions, product launches, corporate events, as well as training and development programs.