Not every online events platform is created equal. But with so many platforms to choose from, with so many features, options, names for the same stuff, things can get more than confusing.
So let’s make things a bit more clearer with the help of this handy dandy list of top question you should ask yourself before choosing an events platform.
It’s true. The first thing you need to ask yourself is “What’s the budget?”. This will determine a lot of ulterior decisions in the planning process. There are a lot of platforms with a lot of payment packs, levels or extra features and modules that you can choose from, but, of course, you can only stretch that budget so much. Of course, you can always plan around it while still not making any cuts, as we talked about in our article about reducing the cost of your event (LINK LINK LINK).
The first step after deciding your budget is actually choosing what to do with it. You can go in two different directions: either with an off-the-shelf platform or with a custom built deployment of an events platform. But think about this decision wisely. Most off-the-shelf platforms hide under the pretty and shiny surface a lot of problems. Yes, they’re sometimes a bit cheaper, but are you willing to take the chance? Non-customizable platforms? Security issues? Features that you need missing and features that you don’t want pumping the price up? This is what an off-the-shelf event platform usually consists of. They have little to customization possibilities and shoddy workarounds with the security of the platform so it can actually work. And they never have the right thing, just the right features for your specific event: you might need to get another add-on or another service to even get basic functionalities like ticketing.
That’s why we recommend going with a custom deployment of an events platform. Yes, you may pay a bit more for it, but the trade-off means so much more than a few bucks. More security, a perfectly tailored platform that’s gonna fit your event like a glove, developers and support at every step of the way and extra features that you might need, that’s what you usually get with a custom events platform.
You know, like VEEP.
You don’t want to be left alone in the middle of your event with major problems or technical mishaps. Be on the lookout for customer support before, during and after your event when choosing an events platform. It’s just better to have it, even if it costs a bit more as an extra add on or if it’s on a more expensive payment plan.
Engagement features are everything from polls to round tables, Q&A sessions and more. Any form of extra engagement is only beneficial to your event, especially if it’s a virtual or hybrid event: they keep the attendees interested and more alert, paying more attention to what is going on. Even more, they feel like what they say actually matters and like they participate, breaking down any barriers that might have been in place before the online event.
As boring as it sounds, taking a look at analytics before, during and after your event are the key to measuring the success of your event. And forgetting to do that is a big no no. Absolutely major.
To be able to do this, think a few steps ahead. Before actually launching into organizing any kind of event, be clear on what you are hoping to achieve with it; ask yourself why you are having this event, what are the goals and the key things to convey to the attendees and what metrics will be used to measure the success of your event.
What is also useful in measuring your event’s success is having a post-event survey. Judging by the number of people joining or the revenue you made is one thing, but don’t forget about attendee satisfaction. Send a survey to the attendees, sponsors, speakers and staff, each perspective is useful; it can shape the way in which you think about the future events that you will have.
All of this is so much easier to do if you have a way of measuring attendance and keeping track of analytics with the conference platform of your choosing. So keep it in mind when deciding what events platform of choice will be.
Long term contracts. Nobody likes them. And they’re even worse when talking about the online events industry. Take a good look at the proposed contract before signing it. You can get locked-in and locked away, not being able to leave for a good number of years. Even if you’re not satisfied with the platform!
Know any other good tips?