Making the Most of Online EventsMay 7, 2010 By James Sturdivant
STARK: If by virtual events you are referring to virtual tradeshows, my #1 suggestion would be to spend the most amount of time on developing a rock solid event mission statement and then build relevant content (webinars) around that mission. When a publisher has determined a topic that they know is of vital importance to their market and then develop content around this, everything else falls into place. With this foundation, you almost guarantee your target audience will not only want to attend your event, but needs to attend your event. With these in place, the decision will be made for the sponsors to be affiliated with the event.
INBOX: What criteria did you use in selecting a webinar platform? What sort of functionality is most important?
STARK: As I stated earlier, user friendliness of the environment, from both the end user and production side, is vital. Every webinar is unique in terms of the required functionality so having chosen a vendor that allows the flexibility to build events that not only function differently but also look unique from event to event is important. Sponsor B does not want to come market with an event that looks and acts just like Sponsor A, especially if the two are competitors. Also a vendor should be truly cross-platform, meaning the experience your audience has should be identical and their operating system and browser should make no difference.
Finally, and probably most importantly, your chosen webinar vendor should be looked at as a partner and not a vendor. A vendor sells you on platform, a partner provides a environment that allows you to create a sustainable and growing online events business.