If you’re planning a virtual event, you’ll want to have a meeting with a virtual event production company ASAP. Because let’s face it – this is probably a brand new territory for you. So hiring the best in the field is a big step towards success. And we’re right there with you! Most planners are now scrambling to figure out how to replicate the in-person experience in a virtual environment. And there are plenty of things to consider and check off the list.
But going into a meeting with a virtual event production company unprepared will only drag on the process. The best thing you can do to start this journey off with the right foot is to be prepared. Much like you would do with an in-person event, there are things you need to somewhat solidify before jumping into a call. So to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 45 questions you want to ask yourself prior to scheduling this meeting. It will make things a lot easier for both parties, so get reading!
Standard Event Questions
First things first, you have to remember that there are many things about in-person events that still apply to virtual events. So before meeting with a virtual event production company, start by asking yourself the general questions you would ask normally for any event:
- If everything was possible, what would the virtual experience look like? Virtual events offer a lot of brand new possibilities. So imagine that anything was possible for your event, without technological or budgetary constraints. This will be a great starting point for what you’d want your virtual event to look like.
- What data are you looking to collect and track? Think about what metrics you want to closely monitor throughout the experience. The number of attendees, sales, engagement, profit, new contacts – whatever is relevant to you and your organization.
- What are you struggling with most planning a virtual event? Assuming this is your first virtual event, you’re probably struggling with several aspects. Think about them and write them down so you can present them when meeting with a virtual event production company.
- What part of your event gives you the largest ROI? Ideally, you’ll be able to replicate the most profitable parts of your in-person event in your virtual event. So consider what they are and why they are, indeed, the most important!
- What are the goals of your virtual event? The same way your in-person events have goals, so do your virtual ones. What’s the why behind it?
- What specific organization goals will this event help you achieve?
- What will attendees accomplish by attending your event? Why should people take the time of day to attend your event? Compile a list and make it convincing!
- Who are your attendee personas? Define your attendee personas the same way you would in a regular situation. Who are they? What are their jobs? Their interests? Know exactly who you’re trying to captivate with this event so you can relay the information when meeting with a virtual event production company.
- Who is on the team? Walk the production company through all the people who are involved in planning the event and what their roles are.
- When is your event?
- What do you have budgeted for your virtual event? Giving the production company an idea of your budget is extremely important. This way, they know what will be and won’t be possible for your virtual event. Think about how much you have budgeted for each individual chunk of the event. If you’re not sure, tell them what the number was for the AV and production section of your in-person experience.
- What are the most important points of the show for your attendees? These are the parts you’ll want to go seamlessly. So it’s paramount that you share the information with the people who’ll be putting the event together!
- What’s the date of your event?
- How many days?
- How many hours each day? Remember that you’re competing for your attendees’ attention in a completely different spectrum when calculating this!
- How many viewers each day? Estimate how many people you want to attend the event each day to accomplish your event goals – be as realistic as possible.
- How many sessions?
- What type of sessions? General, breakout, or entertainment? Give as much detail as you can when meeting with a virtual event production company.
Virtual Event Platform
A pivotal piece of your virtual event will be the platform. We’ve already covered the reasons why you shouldn’t opt for a jack-of-all-trades style of platform. And we’ve also offered a Zoom review for virtual events. But at the end of the day, when meeting with a virtual event production company, you’ll still want to offer as much information as possible on this front. This is the best way to allow them to come up with the best-tailored solution for you!
- What existing event technologies do you already have for registration and/or networking? Do you already have registration or networking tools? If so, share them with the production company so they can integrate them into your virtual event.
- How do you want users to access the event? Options include password sent to registration database, user and password login, Google/Facebook single sign-on, and more. Which one would fit your event best?
- Do you want an expo hall or sponsor type of experience?
- Do you want small group interactions/breakout rooms? If you think it’s important for your event to include virtual rooms where attendees can interact with each other, make it known to the production company.
- Do you need a conference merchandise store or sales capability?
- Are there any CRMs or analytics abilities needed?
- Did you have any evening entertainment or receptions to try and replace? Virtual events can still include entertainment. If you’d like to include this in the experience, think about what you’d like to see happen.
Live Stream & Video
Virtual events offer a brand new world of possibilities. There’s plenty of choice but that also means there are things to consider you probably wouldn’t have to think about when planning an in-person event. Some probably didn’t even cross your mind!
- What kind of content will you be presenting? Content format and quality are more important now than ever. What will this look like at your event? Video, slides, or something different?
- Will all your presents be in a single location or distributed? Up to 8 presenters in a session is the ideal limit, so keep this in mind when deciding.
- What resolution are you looking to do this in? Video and audio quality will take the front stage at your virtual event. No one wants bad audio and visuals – that’s a guarantee people will walk away! Give proper consideration to the resolution.
- How many simultaneous rooms/streams?
- Do you have a landing page(s)?
- DVR/On-Demand Video Playback capabilities?
- Record/store the whole event? There is plenty of opportunity for evergreen content with virtual events. If you record the whole thing and then make it available on your website and social media channels, people will keep coming back to it if they didn’t attend when it was happening. Would this be of interest to you?
- Do you need captions? Do you think it’s important to provide this feature to your audience? Keep going back to your attendee personas to get perspective!
- Will you have multiple languages?
- Will you have hard-line Internet?
- What is the Internet bandwidth where you’ll be streaming? Good Internet connection is a non-negotiable in the scope of virtual events. So what kind of bandwidth are we looking at here?
Production & Strategy
Strategy for a virtual event will invariably involve different skills than those demanded from an in-person experience. And the right virtual event production company will jump at the opportunity to help you with all of this! But first, consider the following:
- Do you want someone to train your presenters and manage rehearsals? Your speakers and presenters have a tough job. They’re the ones who will have to keep a virtual audience engaged when there are so many other things they could be doing instead. Charismatic and dynamic people should be your go-to. And if you’re unsure whether or not they can pull it off, having someone train them is a huge plus.
- Do you want help sourcing content that keeps someone engaged? Even amazing presenters can’t do much with boring content. If you’re not sure whether or not what you have planned is enough to keep attendees hooked, having someone on your side to help you source the right kind of content will be a good idea.
- Do you need support in strategizing pre and post-event content and engagement? Think about the pre and post-event strategy. Do you have one? Do you want one? And most importantly, do you need help with it?
Marketing & Engagement
Engagement will be the word to live by when it comes to your virtual event. This time around, you’re not just competing with your attendees’ phone. You’re actually competing with the whole Internet, books, their kids, and many other things. So spend as much time as you can considering the audience engagement strategies and ask yourself these questions:
- What networking opportunities would you like to have at your event? One of the main reasons people attend events in the first place is for networking opportunities. Would you like to have this at your event? What would you want it to look like?
- Do you want Q&A tools?
- Do you want pooling tools?
- What kind of marketing do you want to surround your event? Marketing will play a big part at getting people excited about your event. How are you planning on creating hype and keeping it alive leading up to the event?
- How do you plan on engaging attendees after the event? Speaking of hype, that’s something you’ll want to carry on after the event. How are you planning on nurturing your audience after the event is done?
- How do you plan on using attendee analytics? The best way to measure the success of your event is using analytics. Think about the metrics that would better demonstrate whether or not you accomplished your goals, and what could be improved for the next experience.
And that’s a wrap! Now, if you ask yourself all of these questions before meeting with a virtual event production company, you’re in for a good call. The company will appreciate getting as much information from you as possible. This way, they can align themselves with the goals of your event, and put together an experience that matches exactly what you want to accomplish and offer your attendees. Print it out and get planning!