Pivoting to virtual events can be a great way to boost the return on investment (ROI) for your events. Virtual events provide opportunities to more efficiently reach your target audience and engage them to meet your event objectives.

Event planners are already seeing the benefits of virtual events in the opportunity to reach a wider audience with lower event costs. 34% of event planners consider increased attendance the most positive result of pivoting to virtual, followed by lower overhead costs (27%). Both of these factors can contribute significantly to higher ROIs.

Here are five steps that you can take to increase your virtual event ROI for your next event:

1. Plan Strategically

One of the first steps in your event planning process should be to set your goals for the event and decide how you will measure the success of the event. According to a survey conducted by Event Manager Blog, 91% of event owners measure the success of their events on attendee satisfaction, 61% measure according to their specific event objectives, and 60% determine results based on staying within budget.

It’s most helpful to create a list of your KPIs and build your event around meeting your objectives.

Some of your KPIs could center around:

  • Growing your social media following
  • Generating email newsletter sign-ups
  • Receiving press coverage in print, online, or television media
  • Driving enrollments for membership programs
  • Generating leads
  • Closing sales

Make your goals specific and measurable wherever possible. For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your company’s social channels, one KPI could be to hit a specific follower milestone such as 10,000 Instagram followers. Then you could build in links to your social media throughout the virtual event space under sessions, in the networking lounge, and on the home page. You could even utilize gamification and include following the organizer or sharing a photo with the event’s hashtag and tagging the organizer as one method of earning points.

2. Engage Sponsors

Sponsors can help event owners generate more revenue from the event or offset the cost of the event.

Of course, event owners need to be able to show that sponsoring their event will provide value to potential sponsors in order to get them to make that financial commitment.

Look for different ways to engage sponsors to support different organization’s sponsorship goals. For example, sponsors whose primary goal is to generate leads will want to know that they’ll have an opportunity to connect with attendees to demonstrate or promote their products or services. This is often best done through virtual sponsor booths that attendees can visit throughout the event.

Sponsors whose primary goal is brand awareness or thought leadership may want to sponsor sessions. 91% of event organizers allow sessions to be sponsored in order to generate extra sponsorship revenue. This is great for the event owner as it boosts ROI by lowering costs and boosting profits. It’s also helpful for sponsors as sponsoring an educational session with respected speakers helps them position themselves as thought leaders within their respective industry.

3. Increase Audience Engagement

Virtual events offer many benefits, but event owners, sponsors, and speakers do need to be more thoughtful and strategic when it comes to audience engagement. Virtual event attendees frequently struggle with Zoom fatigue and can become distracted and miss out on key portions of your sessions or content. If they’re not engaged, attendees are less likely to make purchases, stay for the whole event, engage with your brand on other platforms, or attend future events.

You can keep the audience engaged throughout your virtual event with:

  • Quality Content: First and foremost, the key to attendee engagement is providing quality content that attendees are interested in.
  • Polling: Utilizing polls throughout event sessions allows attendees to participate and can reel them back into a session if they’ve started to zone out.
  • Chats: Allowing attendees to participate in a discussion via chat throughout the event and during sessions can keep them engaged and provide real-time feedback to speakers, organizers, and sponsors.
  • Q&As: Attendees generally respond positively to Q&A opportunities. Q&As are a great way to encourage attendees to engage and give them an opportunity to steer the sessions towards their interests.
  • Networking Opportunities: Give attendees a break from staring at a screen and give them time to socialize and network. Breaking up the day helps prevent fatigue. Organizers and sponsors can also attend networking sessions to speak with attendees and boost their own event objectives.

4. Choose the Right Platform

Selecting the right virtual event platform can make all the difference in the success of your virtual event. 78% of businesses that use an event application report that it contributes to a positive virtual event ROI. The right platform can help you properly engage sponsors, engage attendees, and meet your specific goals.

Social27 Virtual Event Platform has features designed to help you generate a positive virtual event ROI for all of your events, both small and large. From polling and chat options, to virtual Microsite sponsor booths, you’ll have everything that you need to put on an engaging event. Sponsors love to see all of the options available to them on the platform including microsites, sponsored sessions, chat and virtual meeting capabilities, content Playlists, data reporting, and more. If you plan to generate revenue through sponsorships to lower costs and boost ROI, Social27 Virtual Event Platform has you covered.

5. Follow-up

Planning and executing an event is not the end. The true measure of your virtual event ROI often isn’t clear until quite a while after the event. In fact, 74% of B2B event organizers only see a positive return on investment at least 6 months after the virtual event.

Events can be a great way to generate and qualify leads, but follow-up is typically required in order to close the sale. The best way to increase your follow-up success is to develop a thorough follow-up plan and stick to it. Ideally, you will have picked a virtual event platform that makes it simple to capture and export interest forms from leads and contact information. Follow-up with everyone that showed interest or attended a product demo promptly. You can also push out post-event content to follow-up with the general event audience to keep your brand, product, or services fresh in their minds.

Social27 Virtual Event Platform Can Help You Achieve a Higher Virtual Event ROI

Social27 Virtual Event Platform can help you tailor your content and event pages to boost your virtual event ROI. From features like polling and chats to increase attendee engagement to Exhibitor Booth Microsites that will drive traffic to sponsors, Social27 is here to help you achieve your goals.

Set up a demo today to learn more about what Social27 has to offer event organizers and sponsors!