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How to run a successful virtual event

There is no denying that the popularity of virtual events has soared during the pandemic, with some platforms reporting increases of over 1,000%!

Indeed, last year, circumstances meant that I had to jump onto the virtual event bandwagon myself, making Webcertain’s flagship International Search Summit a 100% virtual event for the first time ever.

This initially stemmed from necessity over preference, but it is now becoming increasingly clear that virtual events are here to stay – and that is why I have decided to run another virtual International Search Summit this year.

If you are reading this blog post, you may be a Marketing Manager or similar wondering if you should include virtual events in your marketing strategy, and how to do it successfully.

You are in the right place! Here, I will share my experience of running the International Search Summit as a virtual event, so that you can learn, reflect and decide whether it is the right option for your brand.

Why choose virtual?

Simply – lower overheads, zero travel time, the ability to join (and host) from anywhere in the world and complete creative control. Plus, you have the capacity to reach a much wider audience and work with industry experts who would have been otherwise unattainable due to distance, time constraints and a whole host of other things.

Naturally, there will always be people who prefer attending an in-person event, but for many, the benefits of virtual events mean they are just as happy attending online.

Which platform should you use?

The minefield of virtual platforms has drastically increased over the last 18 months, and it can be a little daunting, not to mention time consuming, to find the right one!

The best way to approach your search is to ask yourself the core things you want to form your event, and do not compromise (unless your budget means you have to).

Networking, live streaming, sponsorship, exhibitor space – platforms with all these elements exist and whilst you will never fully replicate an in-person event, you can create something really worth attending!

I use Remo to run the International Search Summit virtually. It suits Webcertain’s needs very well, but you should make sure to find a platform that suits the needs of your event, as all events are unique and have their own requirements.

How do you make it engaging?

Engagement is key. If your event does not engage your audience, they will not hang around and they are pretty unlikely to return to another one. Focus on keeping it live, interactive and consider the user experience every step of the way.

In last year’s International Search Summit, I opted to run sessions over two half-days instead of the usual full-day event to avoid the inevitable virtual fatigue. I also included real-time networking, interactive speaker Q&A, live polls and created a custom floorplan that contained multiple spaces for attendees to explore. It worked so well that I will be following the same approach in this year’s virtual event – but with even more interactive elements and features!

Giving attendees the opportunity to connect and interact in real-time with other attendees, speakers, sponsors and your team is invaluable. Not only does it keep people engaged, but it builds trust in your brand and services. Attendees’ challenges, pain points and questions can be addressed live, and they can leave with the answers they need to help drive better ROI and performance.

Beyond attendance, views and clicks, virtual events can generate the results of an in-person event at a fraction of the cost and effort. They are a powerful way to build connections with audiences everywhere and reach even more people.

Register for the virtual International Search Summit for more marketing insights!

If you are still reading this blog post, it likely means that having a strong marketing strategy is important to you and your brand. You may therefore be interested in attending Webcertain’s International Search Summit: Global Virtual Edition, which is dedicated to sharing international digital marketing strategy, tactics and best practice. There are some incredible speakers lined up, from big name companies such as Google, Semrush, TransPerfect, Canva and more!

This virtual event is on 29 and 30 September 2021 and is set to be bigger and better than ever, so book your ticket now to secure your place. Early bird tickets end soon, so make sure to grab a bargain before prices increase!

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Kirstie Cartledge

International Events and Marketing Manager at Webcertain
Kirstie is the International Events and Marketing Manager at Webcertain. With over ten years of experience in the industry, and a passion for curating and delivering outstanding events, she is responsible for the delivery of the International Search Summit and International Social Summit. These international conferences run across Europe and the US, and are dedicated entirely to international search marketing topics and challenges. Kirstie is a highly creative individual who is always striving to exceed expectations and help attendees leave Webcertain events with the answers they need to drive online global performance. She is now based back in the UK, after working in a variety of countries across the globe.

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