Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on January 22, 2019. It has been updated.
Hosting a physical conference, event, meeting, etc. can be challenging for many associations.
With the technology available today, associations can reap the benefits of hosting their own conferences…virtually.
Virtual conferences can offer:
- Member education
- An excellent marketing tool
- Networking opportunities for members (and presenters)
- Virtual vendor “booths” and sponsors for partnership inclusion
- Continuing education credits for certifications
- Coverage of broad subject matter (along with a deeper dive through individual workshops or programs)
Here are 4 reasons to consider hosting a virtual event:
- Travel costs are almost non-existent; few if any people need to be in the same place at the same time.
- No requirement for extra manpower to set up, tear down, or answer conference-goers’ questions.
- Fancy presentation and audio/visual equipment are not necessary.
- “Attendees” can participate from the comfort of their own home – or anywhere there is an internet connection using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
- Speakers and facilitators can also present from anywhere.
- Content is available to members at a later date, allowing them access to interviews, events, and resources that were provided during the “live” conference.
3) Connecting and networking
- Networking is actually easier than one might think. Physical conferences can be challenging for attendees to connect. Launching an online relationship can be an effective way for both parties to follow up after the fact.
- No roaming the conference hall(s). With just a few clicks, attendees can collaborate with peers and “meet” the thought leaders they seek.
4) Environmentally friendly:
- Any collateral, brochures, or giveaways are electronic, avoiding print costs and wasted materials which often end up getting tossed in the trash.
- Essentially carbon neutral as there is no attendee traveling.
To get the attention of all members, or to help attract new ones, consider making the conference free and offer it several times a year. It can generate a big return on a small investment.
Creating interesting, valuable, and engaging content will help propel your association forward and keep members and prospects coming back for more.